The Green Keezer
I've spent hours upon hours reading these forums over the last month - thank you to everyone else's posts who've got me going on building my first kegerator!
My objective is a kegerator that is capable of keeping cold either 1 full 1/2 barrel commercial keg or two 1/4 barrel kegs. My local grocery store only carries the 17.5" rubber-sided kegs which is part of my pain in finding a working solution! It's been very difficult to find a fridge or small freezer that will fit two of those things!
I have an outside bar on my second story deck which is where the dual-tap tower is getting installed. Since it's outside in the Midwest, line cooling is going to be a must. I bought a Kegco conversion kit on Amazon for the "starter kit" of tower, shanks, tappers, CO2 tank, and gas lines. The original plan was to convert a mini fridge and park it right under the bar on the deck.
After considering and abandoning many different mini fridges and one small deep freeze that just weren't big enough (at one point I even considered buying a real kegerator until I read the dimensions that even that wasn't going to be big enough either), I decided to re-task my old green JC Penny (hence the name) 7.5 cubic foot deep freeze that came out of the 60s and is somehow still running! The freezer will sit below the deck which is somewhat enclosed for shade and rain protection. I bought a Johnson Controls adapter to control the temperature.
There will be an approximately 12-foot run from the freezer to the taps. I'm building a custom 4" collar to run the lines through, including gas to the outside CO2 tank. The two 3/16 beer lines and two 3/8" cooling lines will be wrapped in aluminum tape and ran through an insulated 4" PVC pipe up through the deck floor and bar to the tower. The cooling system will run RV Antifreeze with a 550GPH pond pump in a closed circuit. BSBrewer's post was very helpful in figuring that part out!! I'm still deciding how to setup the reservoir in the keezer for the antifreeze, I'm debating between a bucket of some type, coiled copper line, or both.
I'll post some pictures as soon as I figure out how. Any suggestions or comments would be appreciated!
Good luck, subscribed to the photos of this.
First set of pics
View from behind the bar. Taps are going on the "L" by the back wall
Front view of the bar. Chalkboard had the specials until last night's rain storm!
Underneath the deck where the Keezer will go. Landscape slopes down and away so had to build a platform for it to sit on.
The Green Keezer. Needs cleaned up a bit, it's been sitting unused in my garage for too long.
Made a little progress tonight. Can't tell from these pictures, but the freezer got a good scrubbing from top to bottom, then I built the inner and outer collars. A layer of weatherstripping (once it arrives in the mail this week) will go between the freezer top and the collar. Between the two collars will be filled with insulation and covered with aluminum tape. The freezer lid already has a good seal with the lumber, so there shouldn't be any adjustments other than to bolt the hinges onto the collar. I still need to figure out a way to keep the collar from tipping back when the lid is open though...
My parts arrived this week... now it's really time to get to work. This project is already making me thirsty for that first draft!:mug:
Today I continued work on the collars. Put down a layer of R-1.3 yellow insulation between the freezer and the two collars and secured down with aluminum tape. I did this because neither my freezer top nor boards on my collar are perfectly square. I drilled out the holes for the beer, gas, and coolant lines then caulked the seams between the boards on the collar and the aluminum tape on the freezer. Then I started cutting the R-13 pink insulation to fill the gap.
Also started stuffing the PVC pipe with insulation and running the lines through. The two bigger lines will run the coolant loop up to the taps and to the pond pump of RV Antifreeze back in the keezer. The two smaller lines are for the good stuff!
While I was waiting for the batteries to charge on my drill I went to work on running the electrical under the deck to power the whole shebang.
Looks really nice. Will the beer pipes freeze in winter?
Very little progress this week, boss man kept me hopping at work. I did manage to finish caulking the seams on the collar and insulating the collar. As soon as the rain passes I'll start building the PVC into the deck.
The temperatures really only get cold enough to freeze a beer line from early January to late March so I will probably just disconnect and sanitize for those few months. The snow usually builds up out there during those months, so I couldn't get to the taps anyway.
Got the Keezer moved outside to it's new home and hooked up to power. The temperature control is holding her steady at 31 degrees F. The gas lines (blue) are run through the right side to the CO2 tank sitting beside her. I have a piece of white wicker that matches the deck. It's framed and will hang on those 3 hooks in front of her so as not to be an eyesore.
Required two trips to Home Depot to get a hole saw that would fit my drill and cut a 3-1/2 inch hole through my deck floor, but I finally got through! Ran the PVC down through. I cut off the PVC flush under the bar top, so when I slide the bar back over the pipe the tap tower will sit right over the PVC. I will probably paint the PVC black or something because the white really stands out.
Under the deck I attached the elbow and ran another piece of PVC over to the keezer. A third trip to Home Depot netted another 45 degree elbow to sit flush against the keezer's collar. I got each piece cut to the appropriate size (by then it was too dark to take another picture) and cut a 3 foot post for the elbow to rest on as it sits about 9" out from the nearest deck brace. I'll cut another post to sit next to the keezer at the inlet for the beer and coolant lines. My power is on the left side of this picture so I moved the control unit over there and ran the probe in next to the gas lines.
Monday's agenda calls for a trip to my local liquor store to order the first keg and to find some place around town to fill my C02 tank. Then it'll be time to to cut the insulation, beer, and coolant lines and run them through the PVC.
One other potential problem is the stainless steel tower is going to get rather grimy sitting outside, so I'm contemplating building a cover for that that is also insulated (I'm not going to be able to fit much insulation up in the tower as is) to help protect from the weather, and also help keep the tower itself cool when not in use. I was thinking of painting up an old pail or something.
After doing some more research tonight, I've decided to swap out the 3/8" vinyl cooling line for 3/8" copper tubing. Now the question is, do I wrap the two beer lines along both the outbound and return cooling lines, or just the outbound and run the return separate? Decisions, decisions!!
I think I'll also form a 12-24 feet or so of return cooling line along one wall of the keezer to cool the RV antifreeze back down before going into the reservoir (probably about 1 gallon) to be pumped back outbound to the taps. Any other thoughts or things I'm missing?
I had the day off work so got quite a bit done this afternoon. Only 3 trips to Home Depot in total!!
First up was to drill a hole through the bar top to meet the PVC.
Then I cut the PVC off flush with the bottom of the bar. Definitely need to paint the PVC yet.
Then I built my post for the elbow of the PVC to rest on and used cinder blocks to hold in place.
Then the fun part - running the lines. I got the 3/8" copper tubing straightened best I could and wrapped it around the two beer lines. I was going to wrap with aluminum tape every 6-12" but the aluminum tape wasn't strong enough to hold the copper in place so wound up using duct tape instead. There is a U-shaped fitting up in the tower that connects the two copper tubes and is surrounded with insulation in there. I would later regret hooking up all the tubing to the tower out in the garage first...
I cut the pink R-13 insulation into strips about 4" wide, surrounded each side of the taped tubes with the insulation, then taped together. Right about now is when I figured out I was going to have a problem running this down the PVC!!
I made it work though! At this point (forgot to take a picture) I had removed the 90 degree elbow from the PVC below the deck so that the bundle went straight down the PVC until it hit the dirt ground below. I fed the pipe bundle through very slowly and every foot or so went down below the deck to bend the copper into a right angle once it hit the ground so that I could push more down. Took about 14 trips up and down the stairs. Of course with the freezer in the entry way, I had to walk across the length of the deck and crawl back up from the backside.
Earlier in the week I got my CO2 tank filled so hooked that up also. Cost me $22 at a local welding supply, and they filled my own tank while I waited. Another place in town would do tank replacements for $20.
I stopped at my local liquor store today to pick up the first keg. I'd ordered a 1/4 barrel of my favorite domestic, Miller Lite. They screwed up my order with the distributor and got a full 1/2 barrel instead. Guess who just got half a barrel for the price of a quarter!? That made my day...:ban: I will probably also order a 1/6 barrel of Summer Shandy next month for the second tap. That tap is reserved for Sam Adams Oktoberfest this Fall!, though!
Also in this picture you can see the loop of copper that is the outbound cooling line. I'm having some difficulty getting the outbound cooling line connected to my pond pump. The brass fitting I bought at Home Depot keeps slipping off the length of vinyl tubing that runs from the pump to the outbound copper line. The return line is just dangling there and will go into the reservoir.
Also left to do is finish aluminum taping between the two collars to hide the insulation. I wanted to wait until I was sure I was done running lines through the collars before taping that off, so that will be one of the last things I do.
Almost ready for a cold one!! I still need to sanitize the beer lines before actually connecting the keg since the thing was in my dusty garage and then in the dirt below the deck for a good portion of the day!
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