New Giveaway - Wort Monster Conical Fermenter!

Home Brew Forums > Home Brewing Beer > Bottling/Kegging > N00b dream keezer questions (secondary regs, balance, etc), long post.




Reply
 
LinkBack Thread Tools Display Modes
Old 02-03-2010, 04:52 AM   #1
JByer323
Feedback Score: 0 reviews
Recipes 
 
Join Date: Jan 2010
Location: Noblesville, Indiana
Posts: 90
Liked 1 Times on 1 Posts
Likes Given: 1

Default N00b dream keezer questions (secondary regs, balance, etc), long post.

Background and story first, for those of you playing at home who want to skip the craftbrew induced ramblings, feel free to skip down...

I got into this hobby less then a week ago, brewed my first beer (a Fat Tire clone, still in primary) Saturday, and am planning on brewing my second beer this Friday. I love to cook, bartend at a decently high end restaurant, love to play with molecular gastronomy and mixology, and am a tinkerer at heart, so I guess it's no real surprise that even though I haven't even tasted a homebrew yet, I am totally obsessed.

Now a friend of mine works at H.H. Greg (an IN big box appliance store), and I mentioned to him in passing that I was brewing now, and at some point I would be looking for a chest freezer to turn into a keggerator, since I live with three other people, all of us in our mid-twenties, and like to drink good stuff. Next thing I know, he calls me up, and tells me they're trying to get rid of all their chest freezers and wants to know if I would be interested in a floor model 14.8 c/f Frigidaire for $225, including a 10 year compressor warranty.

Right. That was yesterday, and I obviously now have a freezer sitting in my garage, waiting to be converted.

/ramble

This is my tentative plan. It's not going to be all at once, but my gramps and dad taught me to think things through and plan ahead for further needs, so I want to get this all figured out before I start to build, and plan for expansion.

So I want to do a collar, and am planning on making a collar big enough to fit (hopefully) two 6.5 gallon glass carboys for fermentation on the hump. I don't have a 6.5, but I know two 6 gallons will fit side by side like it was designed that way, so I'm hoping it'll work out. If it doesn't, then one carboy and a little basket for miscellaneous stuff will still be awesome. Since I don't yet, you know, own any kegs, by checking out the other threads it looks like this thing'll fit 8 (maybe 9) cornies, which is insane, yet makes me giggle to myself while rocking back and forth.

So I'm thinking 10 (15?) lb CO2 tank, and probably a mixed gas and stout tap setup eventually, though it's not real high on the priority. Both of these would be mounted externally, since CO2 and cold don't mix. Might as well say now that between my experience of being a paintball tech and then plumbing up all sorts of shop compressor setups, I'm pretty confident when it comes to dealing with air systems.

So this is what I'm thinking. Yes, it'll be expensive, but it'll be sick, and totally realistic to build in phases.

/ramble (seriously done this time!)

I'm thinking a dual primary CO2 regulator, and then seven secondaries, plus the one tap set up for nitro. The reason a dual primary? That way I can hook filled cornies up outside the keezer and get the ball rolling on carbing them, as well as using it to power the occasional commercial kegger that'll get thrown from time to time. So a utility hookup mostly, but I'm really digging the idea.

I really want secondary regs on everything, even though it's expensive as hell. I like beer. I've already got like eight brews on deck I want to do, and they're all different styles. I think I'm gonna be happier in the long run if I have the ability to fine tune the pressure for each one. Ignoring the cost factor, can you guys talk me out of it? Are there downsides?

The one thing that has me confuzzled is a balancing question. Yes, I've searched, and I have a (vague? decent? clear as mud?) understanding of it now. So you're calculating temperature, as well as carbonation level, and wanting to balance it. Cool. But on a multi reg system, how is that going to work out if you're fiddling with pressure regularly? Is it a matter of slapping 8' lines on, smacking it on the butt and calling it a day? Do I need to try to customize each line for the what the approximate pressure will be? Do I need to RDWHAHB? Because this leads to that...

So yeah, the balance thing still kinda throws me for a loop.

I guess I'm also just looking for general thoughts about the setup here. In my mind it'll be awesome, and I figure I'll just get a bank of 4 secondary regs and taps to start with, and just add as I need to, predrilling all the shank holes and just plugging them until needed. The Love TS13010 looks like the temperature controller I'll probably end up with, though wiring is not my strong point at all.

Am I totally off base here?

I appreciate those of you who read through that long winded ramble, part of this is just thinking things out loud (so to speak). If any of you folks are in the Indianapolis area, I'd love to meet up with you at a brewpub and pick your brain some more.

-John



__________________

Once in a while you get shown the light,
in the strangest of places if you look at it right.

JByer323 is offline
 
Reply With Quote Quick reply to this message
Old 02-03-2010, 10:56 AM   #2
SankePankey
Feedback Score: 0 reviews
Recipes 
 
Join Date: Dec 2009
Location: Hudson Valley, New York
Posts: 904
Liked 15 Times on 10 Posts

Default My plan based only on research here.

I'm first time keezer building too. I will have a single primary on the tank set at 30 PSI with a wye splitter (or manifold), in stead of 2 gauge primary. No reason to have 2 primaries if the keezer will pressurized the same as force carbing. So, one line goes into the keezer, one goes into the fermentation chamber to carb in the primary during cold crashing before counterpressure keg filling. (party on wayne)

In the 6 keg keezer, I'll have a 3 gauge secondary- one with a 3 port manifold. The other 2 for alternate beer pressures. And at the end, in stead of terminating the line, I'll have a check/shutoff that passes the 30 PSI thru to a seltzer/soda keg, so 4 different pressures with 3 secondary gauges.

I'm going with a used 20 lb tank because I can't find a filling service, just a swapping service- so don't want to see a brand new keg fly out the door as soon as it comes in. Most guys recommend at least having a spare 5 lb tank because your gas will go out, of course, on the day of your killer party. Also, no place I've seen swaps 15 lb tanks, just 10 and 20.

That's my plan anyways. I think it'll be easier that way than doing every keg with it's own regulator. So there is a 'regular' beer pressure with a manifold and 2 fine tuner's for different styles. From what I've read so far, balancing is better done thru serving line diameters and lengths rather than pressures. Pressures are saved for appropriate carbonation levels for specific styles. Of course, until I have 1st hand experience, it's all conjecture.

BTW, if you're going new with your regulators, check out kegcowboy.com. Best prices on new regulators (and other stuff like new CO2 tanks, too) I have found so far. He's been quite helpful, too. So has kegconnection.


Personally, I would save the stout setup for a future expansion.

And, alternately, you could think about boost carbing with the primary pass thru (like my seltzer line) inside the keezer instead of force carbing (shaking the kegs) outside. I just think it will be a little more manageable and you won't have to babysit/burp the kegs every day. Described in the sticky at the top of this forum.



__________________

Last edited by SankePankey; 02-03-2010 at 10:58 AM.
SankePankey is offline
 
Reply With Quote Quick reply to this message
Old 02-03-2010, 05:44 PM   #3
tincob
Feedback Score: 0 reviews
Recipes 
 
Join Date: Oct 2009
Location: Darien, CT
Posts: 170
Default

Hey I'll join the party of noob keezer builders. I just bought a used 13 cu ft chest freezer so I'm probably in the 6 corny keg + 1 or 2 carboy category - collar, 20 lb tank in the freezer.

I was planning for a dual pressure regulator also. I am planning to put a "Y" fitting onto one outlet and use one as an auxiliary output (seal kegs, purge, etc.) with the other going to a seltzer/soda tap.

I decided again the bank of secondary regulators because it was too expensive. Being able to fine tune the pressure would be nice but I am planning to go with a 3 port distributor with check valves.

If I get more than 4 taps, I can add another distributor at a later time.

I also have a question on balancing for two different style of beer, let's say Hef and Bitter, off of the same line pressure (let's say 12 lbs). Obviously I would want the Hef to have a higher level of carbonation than the Bitter but is that possible without another regulator. Would different line lengths accomplish that?

__________________
tincob is offline
 
Reply With Quote Quick reply to this message
Old 02-03-2010, 06:16 PM   #4
SankePankey
Feedback Score: 0 reviews
Recipes 
 
Join Date: Dec 2009
Location: Hudson Valley, New York
Posts: 904
Liked 15 Times on 10 Posts

Default

Not to my knowledge. Eventually your beer will equalize at the pressure you have set it at. Balancing with line lengths just helps give enough counterpressure to prevent foaming at the tap. It doesn't do anything with changing the carbonation of your beer. To my knowledge.

Also, I was told by someone (I think at kegconnection) that if you put your CO2 bottle inside the keezer, you will decrease the amount of CO2 that you get out of the tank. That's what he said at least.

__________________
SankePankey is offline
 
Reply With Quote Quick reply to this message
Old 02-03-2010, 07:17 PM   #5
MadDwarf
Feedback Score: 0 reviews
 
MadDwarf's Avatar
Recipes 
 
Join Date: Oct 2007
Location: Redmond, WA
Posts: 137
Liked 4 Times on 4 Posts

Default

I've got a bunch of secondary regulators in my keezer - see some pics here. I put a splice in my beer lines so that I could swap out the section coming from the keg, then just kept a handful of pre-cut beer line sections for the carbonation levels I use.

I've also used the McMaster mixer parts talked about here, but only on high-pressure sodas so far. I may swap over to them completely at some point in the future.

__________________
Anvil Horn Brewing

Fermenter:
Oatmeal Stout
Edwort's Apfelwein
American Pale

On Tap:
Honey Dunkelweizen
Wee Heavy Scotch
Edwort's Apfelwein
MadDwarf is offline
 
Reply With Quote Quick reply to this message
Old 02-03-2010, 07:45 PM   #6
SankePankey
Feedback Score: 0 reviews
Recipes 
 
Join Date: Dec 2009
Location: Hudson Valley, New York
Posts: 904
Liked 15 Times on 10 Posts

Default

which can be found here:

http://www.micromatic.com/draft-keg-beer/fittings-pid-543BS.html

unless you got them for a better price. With the tail pieces, nuts and washers- that's just shy of $20 per line (ouch).

MadDwarf's keezer was my inspiration. I just can't afford 6 regulators.

__________________

Last edited by SankePankey; 02-04-2010 at 01:22 AM.
SankePankey is offline
 
Reply With Quote Quick reply to this message
Old 02-03-2010, 11:53 PM   #7
Guntr
Feedback Score: 0 reviews
Recipes 
 
Join Date: Jan 2010
Location: North Stormont, Ontario
Posts: 114
Default

Quote:
Originally Posted by JByer323 View Post
... Both of these would be mounted externally, since CO2 and cold don't mix.
I keep mine in the keezer. Found more info stating it was ok than not, to keep the cylinder inside and that there was no loss in CO2 volume despite the lower pressure reading when the tank is cold.

I'd also suggest you go for a 20lb tank, by the sounds of it you're going to have a pretty big set up eventually.

BTW, nice sig quote... The Boondock Saints right?
__________________
My Kegerator Build

Planning: Portable Kegerator?
Primary 1: Air :(
Primary 2: Air :(
Keg 1: IPA
Keg 2: Lager
Keg 3: CO2
Keg 4: StarSan
Glass: Half Full :)
Guntr is offline
 
Reply With Quote Quick reply to this message
Old 02-04-2010, 03:44 AM   #8
JByer323
Feedback Score: 0 reviews
Recipes 
 
Join Date: Jan 2010
Location: Noblesville, Indiana
Posts: 90
Liked 1 Times on 1 Posts
Likes Given: 1

Default

Quote:
Originally Posted by Guntr View Post
I keep mine in the keezer. Found more info stating it was ok than not, to keep the cylinder inside and that there was no loss in CO2 volume despite the lower pressure reading when the tank is cold.

I'd also suggest you go for a 20lb tank, by the sounds of it you're going to have a pretty big set up eventually.

BTW, nice sig quote... The Boondock Saints right?
Yeah, I think I'm gonna just bite the bullet and end up with a 20lb tank. Buy right the first time I guess.

As far as CO2 and cold, this is based on my experience with paintball equipment. CO2 is a liquid in the bottle, and as it is dispensed it turns into a gas. Cooler temps make it harder for it to evaporate, so less... tank potential, if that makes sense? You're right that there's no loss in volume, CO2 is measure by weight anyway. The reason that the pressure is going to read lower when cold though is because it IS lower when cold, since not as much of the liquid is evaporating into gas. So you're not wasting any CO2, but at the same time you're not utilizing it all.

Make sense?

And yeah, it's a quote from Boondock Saints, which is one of my favorite movies of all time. You get to see the new one?
__________________

Once in a while you get shown the light,
in the strangest of places if you look at it right.

JByer323 is offline
 
Reply With Quote Quick reply to this message
Old 02-04-2010, 12:09 PM   #9
SankePankey
Feedback Score: 0 reviews
Recipes 
 
Join Date: Dec 2009
Location: Hudson Valley, New York
Posts: 904
Liked 15 Times on 10 Posts

Default

Yeah, I think this is how the guy at kegconnection was explaining it to me and it didn't really sink in. I wonder then if you finished the tank outside of the keezer if you'd get the full amount of gas possible from the tank.

I guess then if you are a tank swapper and not a refiller, it makes much more sense to have the tank outside. If you refill you aren't wasting any gas. I have not been able to find a tank refiller in the Hudson Valley yet, just swappers.

__________________
SankePankey is offline
 
Reply With Quote Quick reply to this message
Old 02-04-2010, 02:26 PM   #10
BSBrewer
Feedback Score: 0 reviews
Recipes 
 
Join Date: Jan 2010
Location: Bergen County, NJ
Posts: 408
Liked 2 Times on 2 Posts
Likes Given: 1

Default

Sounds like you are well on your way with figuring this out. I am a few weeks out from starting my own - and like you - want to do it right the first time (even if it costs a bit more). I am running a truck line approx 25' to my bar vs having taps coming right out of the collar or a tower.

Quote:
And yeah, it's a quote from Boondock Saints, which is one of my favorite movies of all time. You get to see the new one?
Gotta agree with you on that too - Boondocks is definitely in my top 3 favorite movies of all time. I had to drive 30 minutes away to see the second one (on release day) - pretty good flick but not as good as the first - if you missed it in theaters I'm pretty sure its hitting DVD in March.


__________________
BSBrewer is offline
 
Reply With Quote Quick reply to this message
Reply


Quick Reply
Message:
Options
Thread Tools
Display Modes


Similar Threads
Thread Thread Starter Forum Replies Last Post
N00B Questions Aguirre Beginners Beer Brewing Forum 7 01-19-2009 11:41 PM
Oops - I have to post a n00b in trouble question - what temp to pitch/ferment my beer NitrouStang96 Extract Brewing 10 01-06-2008 06:08 AM
n00b kegging questions Tankard Equipment/Sanitation 10 10-30-2007 05:36 PM
some n00b questions sloppyjoe Beginners Beer Brewing Forum 10 03-08-2007 05:31 AM