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Old 12-16-2011, 01:59 PM   #1
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Default UPRIGHT Freezer Kegerators

It seems there are two camps, the chest freezer guys and the ones that take any old craigslist fridge and jam the kegs in where they fit and drill the door.

What I'm interested in discussing is the use of upright freezers for kegerator modifications. I'm sure there are pros and cons on both sides, but maybe my thinking is short sighted so help me out.

Chest Freezer:

Pro:

  • May replace any keg without shuffling others.
  • Cheaper per cubic foot.
  • Lower Profile.
  • Collar faucets make mods reversible. (if anyone would ever do this)
  • Cold air stays put when lid momentarily opened. (not a big deal unless you use party faucets)

Con:
  • Larger footprint per cubic foot.
  • Must build collar for faucets (if using shanks/faucets)
  • Without a platform, collar faucets are a little too low.
  • Must lift kegs straight up and over.
  • Cleaning the bottom interior requires awkward yoga moves.

Upright Freezer or Fridge-Only Model:

Pro:
  • Smaller Footprint per cubit foot
  • Ideal Faucet height can be selected in door.
  • Air seals and insulation value maintained.

Con:
  • Must build heavy duty shelf for second row of kegs.
  • Must shuffle a keg or two when replacing ones in back.
  • Cold air falls out when door momentarily opened. (not a big deal if there is a lot of liquid in there)
  • Drilling shank holes is irreversible.


After thinking about all those, it's pretty obvious why people go for chest freezers. However, the one pro of the upright that has me pausing is the smaller footprint. I'm always going to have this thing in my garage so building a fancy cabinet with a marble top isn't ever going to happen.

I haven't looked at all the available uprights and taken a ton of measurements, but I do know one of the Frigidaire models at Lowes will hold something like 12 pinlock kegs (six pack on bottom and top) if I take the shelving off the door. It also has a slightly smaller footprint than my chest freezer that only holds 5 kegs. I'd likely stick with 8 kegs and leave room on the top shelf for lagering a carboy.

Anyone do this already? Pics?
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Old 12-16-2011, 03:46 PM   #2
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Bobby, I think the reason most people don't use upright freezers is because most upright freezers have the cooling coils in the shelves. I have read of people bending them out of the way though(carefully). I think there are some models that do not have the coils in the shelves. Don't know which ones.

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Old 12-16-2011, 03:50 PM   #3
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The manual defrost ones have the coils in the shelves and the self defrost ones don't. At least that's the correlation I've found.

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Old 12-17-2011, 03:06 AM   #4
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If faucets through collars is a reversible "pro" for the chest freezers, drilling irreversible shank holes through an upright freezer has to be a "con".

Also, I'm wondering if you can build a shelf for that upper six pack capable of handling 300 pounds of kegs and brews without it impinging on the space for the lower 6 kegs. And then there's the whole problem of pulling back row kegs out of that upper shelf.

Anyway, we don't care which way you go, as long as you post pictures

Cheers!

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Old 08-08-2012, 06:06 PM   #5
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Bumping this discussion! Bobby - did you ever go this route?

I'm looking at a 20-21 cu ft upright (frost free) freezer that can do the 6x6 like you mentioned. I want 6 taps plus the ability to have 6 more kegs lagering/conditioning.

The closet I've seen to this setup is a little smaller and did 10 (pin lock) kegs. http://www.koolkeg.com/pages/Homebrew%20Models/other_homebrew_pictures.htm

I'm looking for references to other builds like this. I'm really stumped on why we don't see more of it.

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Old 08-09-2012, 02:19 PM   #6
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I made one with a 14cf upright freezer from Craigslist (it was a GE or Frigidaire14FUFD model, I think). I can fit 4 ball locks, as well as maintain a shelf at the top for bottles and I kept the door shelves (except for the first row where I drilled my taps).

I have a 10lb CO2 and an 80cf beergas tank on top, which is also where I store my glassware and some kegging tools. I CAREFULLY drilled a hole through the top corner to run the 2 gas lines in and one utility CO2 line out.

For temp control I was able to fiddle with the coarse adjustment screw behind the the fine adjustment knob and it sits right at 40 (been steady for almost a year now).

The footprint is 28" square, and the freezer is about 6ft tall.

I can post a photo if you're interested.

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Old 08-09-2012, 02:28 PM   #7
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Quote:
Originally Posted by JonW View Post
The closet I've seen to this setup is a little smaller and did 10 (pin lock) kegs. http://www.koolkeg.com/pages/Homebrew%20Models/other_homebrew_pictures.htm
That's crazy!
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Old 08-09-2012, 03:26 PM   #8
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I'm using my old fridge with a bottom freezer. Without removing the shelves on the door I could only fit 6 kegs in there, but I can fit 8 (3 in the back, 2 in the middle and another 3 in the front) after removing the shelves.

99% of the time the freezer keeps a tub with brine that I use to run my wort through a copper coil immersion chiller, but from time to time people come over with some bottled beer for a get together or another and those are the time the tub comes out to put the bottles in the freezer.

The controls are set to cool as much as possible in the fridge compartment (a pretty constant 37*F) and also as cold as possible in the freezer. I just turn the dial down for the freezer side when those occasional bottles are placed in the freezer.

It's in the laundry room. Eventually I'll get a small chest freezer and dress it up really nice and have that somewhere in the house, but will keep the fridge.

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Old 08-09-2012, 03:54 PM   #9
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I chickened out and bought a used chest freezer on CL.

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Old 08-09-2012, 04:39 PM   #10
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I have an upright freezer for a fermentation chamber. Mine had coils onto which the shelves snapped onto, so it was pretty easy to take the shelves off and then carefully bend the coils so they were (kind of) flat against the back. It's a risky move unless you have the right tools and experience.

I placed a 2x 12 across the freezer for the kegs/buckets to sit on.

I wanted an upright freezer for two reasons:

1, I already had it...

2, Less of a footprint in my garage.

My reasoning is that with a chest freezer I'll have a flat surface onto which all kinds of crap will get stored. And I'll have to keep a space above it clear so I can open the lid anyway. Another benefit is that I don't have to lift a bucket or carboy as high to take them in and out.

That all said, I really wish I had a chest freezer now. The foot print for a smaller chest freezer that could hold 4-6 kegs or a couple of buckets is not that much larger. I could build a base that allows the freezer to be slid out, thus freeing the space above for more shelves to place buckets and other brewing apparati.

My upright has a LOT of moisture. I'm fairly certain that a chest freezer in good shape would be easier to keep dry than this thing. (YMMV)

But the one I have works. I currently have Root Beer and a Cream Ginger Ale in kegs waiting for someone to drink them. My other fridge is fermenting a pair of ales.

The fridge was MUCH easier to set up and has a cleaner look and can be re-fitted with it's shelves to be a fridge again, unlike the freezer, which is pretty much screwed.

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