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Old 08-10-2010, 04:31 AM   #1
throwbookatface
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Default How easy is it to replace a tap tower?

My roommates and I are looking to start kegging - my roommate would pay for it all as a birthday present for himself while I brew. We found a good deal on Craigslist for $350-$400 for a kegerator that holds a full half-barrel keg, or three corny kegs. The problem is it's a single-tap system. Apparently it's in great shape.

If it is as the seller says it is, would it be worth it to get it and switch out the tap for a two-tap system? We want at least two for multiple corny kegs.. Or would it be more cost-effective to just search out a fridge from scratch and construct the taps ourselves, buy a pre-built or unassembled multiple tap kit, or just keep an eye out for a complete multiple-tap system later on?

We're not too handy, so we could so some basic assembly, but the drilling and "from-scratch" builds I've seen around here are probably outside of our range, both expertise-wise and time-wise (plus the tools we'd need).

Appreciate any input. Thanks, guys.

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Last edited by throwbookatface; 08-10-2010 at 04:40 AM.
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Old 08-10-2010, 04:49 AM   #2
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I would wait and find a cheap fridge off craiglist to put taps on. All it involves is drilling through the side of the fridge and putting a shank on. All of it is VERY easy.

I can tell you from experience that upgrading a kegerator isn't really worth the money. They look nice...but it's expensive. I bought a kegerator for $500 and it was a single tower. I then upgraded to a triple tap tower with perlick faucets. I can't get rid of my single tap tower for the life of me even though I'm practically giving it away and it's been used once. My kegerator has cost me over $800 so far and that's not counting the misc. fittings and hoses. I even went with the cheapest tower I could find (aside from the perlicks which were a must have).

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Old 08-10-2010, 05:23 AM   #3
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$350 is pretty steep for pretty much a mini fridge that you would have to outfit yourself. The only thing salvagable would be tthe fridge and the co2 tank. I'd recommend building up from a regular mini fridge myself. Unless you are deadset on having 3 taps without the size of a chest freezer.

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Old 08-10-2010, 05:36 AM   #4
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That's what I was thinking. The way I see I have two options:

1) Convince my Mechanical Engineering buddy at Apple to help me convert a small freezer, or
2) Wait until a better deal comes along.

Another question though: If my roommate decides on the single-tap system, would it be possible to keep one keg carbonated but off the tap system? In other words, could I pressurize a keg then pressurize the other one, keeping only on on tap? Or do I have to keep the regulator on each keg at all times? We might sacrifice having two taps on-demand for the $$$ savings, but if I can't keep two batches carbonated (even if I can't necessarily switch between the two) it may not be worth it.

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On Deck: Maple Bacon Porter, Espresso Stout?
Fermenting: Ed Wort's Apfelwein, Coffee Stout
Drinking: Belgian Tripel, Caramel Blonde, a crappy estery IPA that fermented too warm
Enjoying: Lagunitas Lucky 13 Ale, Grand Teton Sweet Grass Pale Ale (a MUST-TRY!), Old Rasputin Russian Imperial Stout, some Coors Light too.
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Old 08-10-2010, 06:13 AM   #5
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Quote:
Originally Posted by throwbookatface View Post
That's what I was thinking. The way I see I have two options:

1) Convince my Mechanical Engineering buddy at Apple to help me convert a small freezer, or
2) Wait until a better deal comes along.

Another question though: If my roommate decides on the single-tap system, would it be possible to keep one keg carbonated but off the tap system? In other words, could I pressurize a keg then pressurize the other one, keeping only on on tap? Or do I have to keep the regulator on each keg at all times? We might sacrifice having two taps on-demand for the $$$ savings, but if I can't keep two batches carbonated (even if I can't necessarily switch between the two) it may not be worth it.
As long as you set the lid with 30psi or so and purge the Oxygen you can keep the keg, uncarbed or carbed and cold or cellar temps/room temps. The colder you can keep it the better for long term storage. Something tells me you will be drinking it all pretty quick anyway. So no need to keep it on the gas!
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Old 08-10-2010, 06:35 AM   #6
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Cool, thanks for the advice. We'll see how the economics play out, and hopefully I'll be serving a coffee stout out of there in a month or two!

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On Deck: Maple Bacon Porter, Espresso Stout?
Fermenting: Ed Wort's Apfelwein, Coffee Stout
Drinking: Belgian Tripel, Caramel Blonde, a crappy estery IPA that fermented too warm
Enjoying: Lagunitas Lucky 13 Ale, Grand Teton Sweet Grass Pale Ale (a MUST-TRY!), Old Rasputin Russian Imperial Stout, some Coors Light too.
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Old 08-10-2010, 01:14 PM   #7
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Quote:
Originally Posted by throwbookatface View Post
That's what I was thinking. The way I see I have two options:

1) Convince my Mechanical Engineering buddy at Apple to help me convert a small freezer, or
2) Wait until a better deal comes along.

Another question though: If my roommate decides on the single-tap system, would it be possible to keep one keg carbonated but off the tap system? In other words, could I pressurize a keg then pressurize the other one, keeping only on on tap? Or do I have to keep the regulator on each keg at all times? We might sacrifice having two taps on-demand for the $$$ savings, but if I can't keep two batches carbonated (even if I can't necessarily switch between the two) it may not be worth it.
You can just put a line splitter on your CO2 tank and carb both kegs at once. They'd be at the same pressure...but carbonated.

Also... I like my store bought kegerator over a mini fridge simply because I can fit 3-5gallon kegs and a 3 gallon keg inside it.
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