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Old 11-09-2006, 04:09 PM   #1
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Default Built-In Draft Setup / Refrigeration vs. Draft Box

So here is the situation – I’ve got this recessed wall closet/shelf at my place that I’ve been itching to renovate into a bar/keg setup for a while now. There are a handful of issues regarding location and refrigeration so I was hoping some of you more wise home-keg-setup folk could help me out. I’ve done my best to comb old threads for info (and there certainly is a lot of great stuff) but I think I still have some questions that have not been specifically addressed.

Below is a quick sketch of the closet, in section. If is not dimensionally exact, it is more meant as a schematic diagram so you can see what I’m getting at.



My overall desire is to have cold homebrew dispensed at the countertop level and install some shelving above for liquors/display. Exactly HOW to chill the cornies is the biggest question. Conceptually speaking, I could either A) chill the kegs or B) chill the lines heading to the taps.

Speaking of A – aside from ripping out the countertop and rolling in a kegerator (this is not exactly what I want to do, i'd rather just live w/ the free-satanding kegerator and use the below cabinet space as storage) what options would I have to refrigerate the space? The closet is not located on any exterior walls so a window AC unit (as done in some great DIY threads here) is out of the question. I know this sounds wacky, but if the keg space was built into a insulated, accessible “box” how could I get that refrigerated? There is a spare bedroom which shares the rear wall of this closet (at extreme right in the above diagrams). Is ducting a standard mini-fridge through the wall a viable option? Are there refrigeration “kits” out there where I could directly cool/ventilate with the guts of a fridge built directly into/adjacent to this space?

Speaking of B – I’ve heard of “flash chillers”. They seem expensive and rare, but I would not have to worry about insulating and chilling a “box” for the kegs. Are there any unit out there that do this for a homebrewers type budget? Also, I’ve heard of people around here making “draft boxes” in the Irish pub “coffin” style units. How would these draft boxes be cooled? Are they commercial-type units specifically designed for this purpose? I guess it sounds like I am looking for a home/more affordable version of a glycol system or something. A friend of mine keeps saying “just make it like a jockey box, and routinely drain the water and add ice”. I definitely don’t want to do that, but conceptually it is exactly what I am looking for.

Sorry if this seems trivial to some of you guys - based upon the setups I'm hearing of and seeing here this is definitely a smaller project with many beginner questions! I’m sure there are other methods and ideas out there, that’s why I’d like to tap into your collective knowledge. Any thoughts or input would be great. thanks all.

Extra info: I already have the entire keg setup and am pretty good with the details of layout/manifolds/pressures/etc. - the refrigeration is where I'm more clueless!



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Old 11-09-2006, 04:43 PM   #2
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Fiery Sword
Speaking of A – aside from ripping out the countertop and rolling in a kegerator (this is not exactly what I want to do, i'd rather just live w/ the free-satanding kegerator and use the below cabinet space as storage)
Explain to me why you're unwilling to relocate a counter top but seem ok with a permanantly installed home made refridgerator or ducting something from an adjoining bedroom.

Are you married?

I think a self built refrig unit is fine if we're talking about a garage or some other man-space, but I'd be worried about how loud it might be or the fact that you'll be married to this system becuse it will be a permanent piece of your house.


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Old 11-09-2006, 04:58 PM   #3
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I hear ya on the critique, and I think perhapd I didn't phrase the entire idea too well. (and no, i'm not married )

More simply put than the first post, I just want to know if it is feasable to convert this little closet into a min-bar with a draft beer component. I don't have the space for a "real" bar in the basement or garage or anything and I'm looking for a way to not have a kegerator floating around frat-house style.

See, despite not being married I am still SWMBO'd. In the crafty way which this whole thing has been worded to 'S', the built-in, well-crafted and finished "recessed bar" is much nicer than the old, beat up coverted kegerator sitting in the middle of the common room. I'm doing this for her, after all, and I don't want to place to look like a frat house.

Even if the draft setup doesn't work out, I'm ripping out all the doors/paneling and installing a nice tile bar and tile walls with some glass shelving and nice lighting. I just don't want the homebrew left out from the bar!!!!

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Old 11-09-2006, 05:09 PM   #4
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You can always insulate it and make an icebox, just get the ice man to stop by once a week with a 20 lb block

I can't see a as being really feasible. I mean, if you're basically going to make a homemade refigerator, it'd be easier and cheaper just to rip out the cabinet and put in a mini fridge. Or rip out the cabinet, put in a mini fridge, and put the cabinet back in. Actually that might not work, if it were a tight fit there'd be little airflow for the mini fridge and it would probably have a less than impressive lifespan.

I'd vote for b, but I have no idea if you could find something that would work for that. You'd need some sort of counterflow heat exchanger, but in order for that to work you'd have to have a really cold liquid. That would require a compressed refrigerant system. Practical for a home application? I seriously doubt it...

I think the only practical answer, other than an icebox, is to rip out the cabinet and put in a mini fridge. Either that or get a commercial flash chiller (micromatic has them for $1,100).

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Old 11-09-2006, 05:17 PM   #5
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When you say: "I already have the entire keg setup"; and "than the old, beat up coverted kegerator sitting in the middle of the common room" do you mean to tell us that you already have that?

What are the dimensions?

If it fits in the space; or can be made to; or the space can be tweeked then potentially 4 of the 6 sides of your cube are out of view.

Figuring out a way to attach a cabinet door to the outside of your fridge door will be easy enough leaving you with how to integrate it into the counter top.

Detach the tower. Reinsulate and cover the hole and re-fit the tower on to the counter top.

Pics and dimensions?

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Old 11-09-2006, 06:03 PM   #6
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Hmmm. I just had to run some work stuff up the street (sorry for using the W word ) and I was thinking about this.

Yes, I have a little family of 5, 3 and 2.5 gal cornies w/ a kegerator. Right now it fits 2 cornies but I only have a single tower on it - part of this upgrade would be to (at least) double the taps.

Thinking about that, and the replies, what you are getting ollllo is probably the best way to go. If the new countertop were situated so that I could simply roll the existing kegerator under it, insulate the few-inch extension through the new "bar" countertop and set up the tower. I'll have to confirm a few exact dimensions tonight but I am pretty sure the kegerator will stick out into the room a bit. This could be easily boxed in with some romoveable or hinged cabintery so access to the kegeretor is possible. Thus creating a draft bar w/o going Frankenstein on the house and w/o having to purchase too much.

I'll get some more solid info, but the more I think about this with your comments the more I realize I was overthinking the intial idea!



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