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Old 08-17-2012, 12:56 PM   #1
mouthfullofbeer
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Default Fridge or Freezer?

sorry my first post is a question, but another member suggested i ask the experts, so here goes:

i just installed a kegerator in our old refrigerator. 1st keg was a bust - all head. no matter what i did, all head. i've been reading a ton on the boards here and i think my issue is that my kit only came with a 4' line, and my excessive pressurizing/depressurizing/checking probably overcarbed the keg and left me with a foamy & ultimately empty hunk of steel... i am running out tonight to get some beer line to hopefully solve that problem.

however, i have found out that my fridge CAN NOT get colder than 48 degrees. is this an acceptable temp for commercial kegs? i know every beer requires a different temp, but is 48 just simply out of the ballpark and i should just start planning out a keezer build?

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mouthfullofbeer (foam)

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Old 08-17-2012, 03:20 PM   #2
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If you can enjoy your beer at 48 F, then there should not be a problem. Although you might want to check the fridge to make sure there isn't something that can't be fixed (refrigerant low, or something else).

On the carbonation issue, a typical beer is carbonated to about 2.3 volumes. At 48 F, this means a serving pressure of 14 PSI which isn't too awfully high. Make sure that when you get your beer line you get 3/16" ID x 7/16" OD tubing. This is the beer line that will work the best for you. Do NOT get 1/4" ID line. Make sure it's 3/16" ID. Buy about 8 feet and put all of it in place and see what your pour looks like. You can always shorten it if the pour is excessively slow.

You can view a pretty extensive write up on kegging here. There is also an interactive table under the Carbonation anchor link where you can input pressure and temperature to get your CO2 volumes.

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Old 08-17-2012, 05:23 PM   #3
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Default Fridge or Freezer?

thanks Dennis.

i do not like serving at 48 degrees. this fridge was free and too old to mess with. time for a keezer.

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Old 08-17-2012, 10:00 PM   #4
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Not so fast. My first keg fridge was from the early 60's. An absolute tank, but seemed to work okay. That is, until it started freezing my beer. The problem turned out to be a very old thermostat whose contacts were fusing together so the thing never actually turned off. No replacement thermostats were available due to the age, but I got a generic one and put it in and got it to work without too much effort. That keg fridge served me well for the next 3 years until I sold it to someone in my homebrew club who used it for another 4 years or so.

All this in saying, it could turn out to be something very simple. Dig a little bit. It might save you the cost of a new unit and disposing of the old one.

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Old 08-17-2012, 10:30 PM   #5
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I found a fridge on the side of the road. Knocked on the guy's door and he told me the hinge pins were all rusted out and bent (they were, no saving them). When I asked him if it got cold, he said it did, but the thermostat was broken and it didn't turn off. Perfect

So I brought it home and tested it out. I cranked its controls as cold as they would go, covered the freezer with a garbage bag, stuck a thermometer in it and turned it on. After an hour, although the fridge wasn't covered in a garbage bag, I could tell the fan in it was shot but the freezer had hit about 40F ... good enough for now. So when I cleaned the fridge up I drilled two 3" holes going from the fridge to the freezer in the back left and back right corners. Three inch holes happens to be roughly the same size as an 80mm ('standard') computer fan so I wired them up to constantly run and push cold air into the fridge. I now use a Ranco temperature controller in the fridge to control temperatures and am happy to say that the fridge maintains perfect temperatures. The freezer does get to freezing temperatures but cannot be trusted to stay frozen when set up this way. I later found the date on a sticker inside the fridge; it was made in 1987. It's older than me Sweet!

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Old 08-18-2012, 12:52 AM   #6
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Definitely time to come over to the dark side. Browns, porters and stouts are great at 48F.

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Old 08-18-2012, 04:27 PM   #7
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great stories guys but i've already made up my mind on this one. i'll throw the fridge on CL and maybe someone will take it off my hands. i'm in need of a new project anyways so i picked up a 7.2 cu ft freezer, extra tap equipment, and a digital temp controller. i cant wait to get started on this one.

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Old 08-19-2012, 02:49 PM   #8
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You could also use it for fermentation, drill 2 holes on side and connect it to fermentation chamber... that is on my mind as my next DIY.

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Old 08-20-2012, 06:35 PM   #9
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A few tidbits:

1) Freezers are typically much more well insulated than fridges, making them more energy efficient kegerators once you pop a temp controller on there.

2) The powers that be (Jackson/Palmer) actually list ideal serving temps for more ales at 50-55F, wheats/lagers/pilsners at 45-50F, and stouts/porters at 55-60F. Homebrew is NOT mass swill BMC - serving homebrew ice cold will virtually eliminate the hops and malt presence in your beer, at least until it warms up into the suggested range above.

I personally keep my kegorator at 48F....so no issues with the fridge you have!!

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