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Old 11-08-2011, 11:40 AM   #1
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Default Kegerator (Beverage-Air) Question

I stumbled across this on a local auction site and just won it with the highest bid. So I need to pick it up, get it all cleaned up and into service.

I figure I did pretty well at $200 into it so far after auction fees and tax but it needs lots of cleaning. I think I will do the shotgun approach and replace all the lines with new ones and replace the plastic taps with metal ones like the center one for a start. There is a home brew supply shop a couple miles from my house that sells bulk line.

I have a bunch of bar keeper's friend to get it all polished up. She is dirty but should clean up well. I also need to make a new handle for the sliding door on top which is shown partially open in the pics. I will probably make something out of oak I am thinking and maybe replace the front door handle as well with a matching one.









One thing I am not sure about is what are the two small cylinders in the back of the fridge? Any ideas? There are two lines one going in and one coming out of each of them. I think they are for pop but I haven't ever seen a mini keg that small. I think it might be part of an optional kit that the manufacturer had.



Initially I think I will set it up a D Coupler and do a keg of commercial beer. I have some contacts that might be able to hook me up with kegs on the cheap. When I say commercial beer it will be the local small breweries nothing like your big Bud, Miller or such. Maybe next spring I will look into getting some cornie kegs and start up a run of home brew. If those are soda tanks in the back I might keep one for Root Beer using it only for that and have two taps for Home Brew beer. From what I have read from Beverage-Air's web site this unit should hold 3-4 cornies pretty easily.

Thanks for any help with this project.

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Old 11-08-2011, 03:03 PM   #2
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Nice score!

Did you have a chance to check it out before buying? Does it run and cool? It can be expensive to fix unless you or a friend can fix it.

Since you only have $200 into it, unless the fix is totally outrageous you are far ahead as these guys usually sell new for $1300

I can't say with any certainty, but it is possible that those small stainless tanks are for a carbonation system for soda. I did not notice a soda gun in your collection, so it is really hard to say.

These units often have a galvanized interior that can suffer from rust rot at the intersection of the walls and the base. Be sure to check those areas out.

You have a very nice machine with an over sized cooling capacity. It can easily handle having cool air drawn out through a simple side vent into a fermentation cooler.

Congrats!

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Old 11-08-2011, 05:26 PM   #3
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Thanks for the reply. Someone else that I know that homebrews mentioned a possible carbonation system as well but was confused by the other connections so he didn't know. I didn't inspect it personally but had it looked at to see if it cools. That was my main concern and it does. I figure everything else can be addressed with time and a little money. Provided all the major components work I should be good. It does have a galvanized interior so I will look into rust issues when I get it. Any tips for addressing any that I find in the corners? There is a product I have used before called rust converter that hardens and stops rust. It probably wouldn't hurt to try some of that in those corners.

The big questions at this point are, do the regulators work, what is the date on the CO2 tank and can I get it filled.

I will also have to dig around a little. I mentioned I want to replace the lines. In some other reading here I saw someone mentioning that the system has to be balanced to get a good pour. To do so they had to adjust line diameter and length. So I will have to find recommendations to that before I buy any lines. I will likely replace all 3 taps with Perlik taps. They seem to be a popular option.

First step is to go get it though. It is about 100 miles away and I need to find time to run out there.

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Old 11-08-2011, 07:02 PM   #4
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That thing looks pretty nice. Couple of suggestions as you dive deeper into it.

- Your Perlick idea is a very good one. I have had one standard, and one Perlick. Go with the Perlick, no sticking even after 2 weeks of non-use
- If you are going to make your own handles, you could make your own tap handles too. Northern brewer sells a threaded insert for dirt cheap and you can use whatever handle you want.
- Four cornies would look awful nice in there. 3 on tap, and one conditioning/carbing!
- As for line, you will probably want to run 3/16" ID. Balancing means you keep the keg carbed between 10-13 psi, and give yourself about 10 feet of line each. The longer line lengths help with foaming. You also want to keep the taps as cold as possible, as the temperature change can cause foaming. Looks like it's already setup for that?
- With two regulators, I'm assuming you can dispense at 2 pressures. Very useful if serving beer (8-15 psi) and pop (30psi). Or for 2 different styles (english bitter on low end, Belgian on high end).
- That tank looks old. Maybe get you can swap it at a store, if they'll take it.
- Keep us updated with pics as you progress. Cool unit!

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Old 11-08-2011, 07:27 PM   #5
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Quote:
Originally Posted by solbes View Post
That thing looks pretty nice. Couple of suggestions as you dive deeper into it.

- Your Perlick idea is a very good one. I have had one standard, and one Perlick. Go with the Perlick, no sticking even after 2 weeks of non-use
Yep that is what I keep seeing. If I don't swap them all out in one shot I will do so as I am going to use them.

Quote:
- If you are going to make your own handles, you could make your own tap handles too. Northern brewer sells a threaded insert for dirt cheap and you can use whatever handle you want.
I kind of like the antler tap idea. I am going to look for options there. I have a metal lathe which I could use to machine something interesting and I could likely do wood in it or my father has a Shop Smith wood lathe as well as a bigger metal. Thanks for the tip on the inserts. I could make them but might just buy them to save the hassle.

Quote:
- Four cornies would look awful nice in there. 3 on tap, and one conditioning/carbing!
From what I have read about this unit 4 will fit. I think I need to get the tank outside the fridge though. Probably not a huge issue. Maybe look into changing how the CO2 tank hooks up to the regulators so the tank can be outside and the regulators inside to only have a single line passing through the wall of the fridge.

Quote:
- As for line, you will probably want to run 3/16" ID. Balancing means you keep the keg carbed between 10-13 psi, and give yourself about 10 feet of line each. The longer line lengths help with foaming. You also want to keep the taps as cold as possible, as the temperature change can cause foaming. Looks like it's already setup for that?
The tower appears to have a blower to help keep the taps cold as you mentioned. When you say 10' of line is that on the side between the keg and the tap or on the side between the regulator and the keg or both? I assume it would be between the tap and keg unless you mean both. Maybe that is what you are talking about as you said either side. I also read that cleaning the lines regularly helps. One place I read said to clean before hooking up a new keg and about half way through the keg. I assume they were talking a 1/2 barrel. So if using home brew you are fine with just cleaning between pulling an empty cornie and hooking up a new one. They are only 5 gal.

Quote:
- With two regulators, I'm assuming you can dispense at 2 pressures. Very useful if serving beer (8-15 psi) and pop (30psi). Or for 2 different styles (english bitter on low end, Belgian on high end).
That was a very appealing feature to this. I have seen that these regulators are about $150 new. Looks like a gauge has been replaced as long as they work I will be happy. I agree that they are likely used to run two different PSI. I don't get what those small tanks are but assume for pop and they go to the plastic taps. That would be run at a different PSI than the beer in the center.

Quote:
- That tank looks old. Maybe get you can swap it at a store, if they'll take it.
That or I hope a welding shop will fill it. Won't know until I try. A coworker that is into HB and has a converted freezer for kegerator looked over the pics as well. He thought it was a 20# CO2. He said that he is using a 5# which is a lot smaller.

Quote:
-Keep us updated with pics as you progress. Cool unit!
Will do. Thanks for the info. I really am curious as to what the small tanks. A few people have said carbonation system for soda but then later recanted thinking it was something else they haven't seen.
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Old 11-08-2011, 07:45 PM   #6
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I have my 5# tank inside my small mini fridge that holds one corny. Kind of a PITA to adjust pressure as it's behind the corny. If you can locate the CO2 tank outside without hitting a cooling line as you drill, by all means.

The 10' of line is between the liquid beer "out" on the keg and the tap. Run whatever gas line you want between the tank and the keg, just make sure you can remove the keg without disconnecting the line. As to cleaning, I would think only cleaning between kegs would be necessary (unless they are sitting around for 6-12 months). I just clean mine with oxyclean solution (let it sit for 6-8 hrs), a couple of rinses with warm water, and sanitize with Starsan solution. It's the same regimen for home brewing equipment.

No idea on those small tanks. Nitrogen maybe? Maybe some type of soda syrup thats mixed with carbonated water from a corny keg? Liquid pixie dust?

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Old 11-08-2011, 08:04 PM   #7
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Those small bottles may be a drain bottle for the top. My smaller one has that.
Yes, 4 cornys can fit, but with the bottle in back it may be tight. I tried
to put a carboy in there with 2 kegs, but nope.

Yes, the insides are galvanized. I may paint that If I can empty it out ( need help or misfortune.)

Hoses don't look too bad. Run beer line cleaner through and let sit for 30 minutes, pumping more in once in a while. It may be a bit difficult to get the lines off the
shanks...

Mine can get real cold (25) - enough to lager in there...

Enjoy.

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Old 11-08-2011, 08:39 PM   #8
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Quote:
Originally Posted by adam01 View Post
Those small bottles may be a drain bottle for the top. My smaller one has that.
Yes, 4 cornys can fit, but with the bottle in back it may be tight. I tried
to put a carboy in there with 2 kegs, but nope.

Yes, the insides are galvanized. I may paint that If I can empty it out ( need help or misfortune.)

Hoses don't look too bad. Run beer line cleaner through and let sit for 30 minutes, pumping more in once in a while. It may be a bit difficult to get the lines off the
shanks...

Mine can get real cold (25) - enough to lager in there...

Enjoy.
If you look at the pic of the inside of the fridge there is a hose coming down from the tower area that is hanging on the left side of the fridge. It has a white connector on the end. That is the line that I believe is the drain for the drip try that you mentioned. I did thing drip try at first as well before noticing this line and then questioning why there would need to be two catch cans for the drip tray and why there would be two lines going to each.

I guess my thought with the replacing the lines is if they ran pop through them I would rather not run beer through the same lines. The lines don't look that expensive.

I am also thinking that paint or something might be a nice option inside as well. It couldn't hurt but just a FYI. Galvanized steel can be hard to paint. It doesn't like to stick to it so it may take a special primer to get it to stick. Not sure what is needed there.
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Old 11-08-2011, 08:44 PM   #9
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Quote:
Originally Posted by solbes View Post
I have my 5# tank inside my small mini fridge that holds one corny. Kind of a PITA to adjust pressure as it's behind the corny. If you can locate the CO2 tank outside without hitting a cooling line as you drill, by all means.

The 10' of line is between the liquid beer "out" on the keg and the tap. Run whatever gas line you want between the tank and the keg, just make sure you can remove the keg without disconnecting the line. As to cleaning, I would think only cleaning between kegs would be necessary (unless they are sitting around for 6-12 months). I just clean mine with oxyclean solution (let it sit for 6-8 hrs), a couple of rinses with warm water, and sanitize with Starsan solution. It's the same regimen for home brewing equipment.

No idea on those small tanks. Nitrogen maybe? Maybe some type of soda syrup thats mixed with carbonated water from a corny keg? Liquid pixie dust?
Got it. 10' from keg to tap. Thanks!!
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Old 11-09-2011, 01:30 AM   #10
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I got thinking about this. I wonder if those small taps are used for wine? Something like a white or red house wine?

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