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nathan 02-11-2010 01:18 PM

my latest kegorator build
 
I lucked into finding a great fridge. It's essentially a single exterior door and has a dorm-fridge style freezer section inside, so it's just an insulated box with coils on the back. It is light, and once emptied out it held five cornies.
Because it's a fridge, I won't need temp controllers (I am testing it now). It also has the benefit of a stand-up freezer in that it's a single door, so my taps are up and out of reach of my child, and at a nice eye level. I also installed a latch on the side I can lock to keep him out.

Anyway, I hauled it home (light enough for me to pick up and move by myself). I cleaned it out and it sat around waiting for me to get the parts.

My brother came to visit and tore out the inside of the door and replaced it with a pebble-board panel (but reversed so it's smooth). He also built a smooth flat solid shelf that is well supported for the kegs.

I got an 8-faucet drip tray (only using six of the holes) that mounts with the shanks. I put on five stainless steel Perlick forward-sealing faucets and one stout faucet. I can only put five kegs inside, but I figured I might not always have a stout but should always have five kegs. In the two remaining holes I may one day add shanks and faucets and dedicate one to soda (for my son) and one to sour beers, along with kegs that get painted and labeled for that use only (for either, since I wouldn't mingle soda or sours with the rest).

I ran gas lines out the back and around into a closet where the tanks can be stored safely. I have CO2 hooked up, but need to go pick up a beer-gas tank. The beer-gas runs in a simple 5/16 ID line and has a connector inside, so it will be controlled just by it's primary regulator. The CO2 has a line from it's primary into the fridge where it feeds a series of five secondary regulators (Micromatic's high-end models) that are chained to run declining pressures with beautiful dial knobs and gauges. Each of these has a shutoff with a check valve to protect it, and runs to a gas connector.

The connectors in this whole thing, both beer and gas, are done with flare fittings so I can change out taps for commercial or specialty kegs if needed. I also set each one up with 48" beer lines (3/16" ID) for each faucet, and since these also have flare connectors, I made a set of extensions. I made three 6", three 12", and four 24" extensions so if I run a higher carb beer at a higher pressure I can balance the system with longer hose extensions and dial it down to within six inches.

Inside each shank has an elbowed tailpiece so the beer lines hang straight down and won't kink, and the shank and faucet are the highest point. When not connected they hang just shy of the bottom of the fridge and there is plenty of room for the door to close.

The drip tray has a threaded drain down-tube that I have just capped for now, so I can uncap it to flush it out if needed.

Parts laid out:
http://www.aileo.com/images/kegorator_parts_sm.jpg

Drip tray:
http://www.aileo.com/images/kegorator_driptray_sm.jpg

Assembled:
http://www.aileo.com/images/kegorator_full_sm.jpg

If anyone wants more detail, I'd be happy to share. I learned a lot from building previous systems, and have taken classes with Micromatic (I was trained as a pro-brewer, I'm just making more money at my not-brewing job right now). I have to say that the beautiful spreadsheet published on this site in the software forum is a great tool for balancing.

One thing I don't know is if or how to balance a line that's using a beer-gas mix to push to a stout faucet (75/25 mix, 32 psi, 40F).

Bjornbrewer 02-11-2010 07:18 PM

nice...where did you get that drip tray?

nathan 02-11-2010 07:55 PM

beveragefactory.com
not cheap, but pre-drilled and mounts on shanks, so quite sturdy. Has a drain with threaded tube, too.

MMTG 02-11-2010 08:11 PM

nice build! thanks for sharing

droopy 02-11-2010 09:18 PM

"One thing I don't know is if or how to balance a line that's using a beer-gas mix to push to a stout faucet (75/25 mix, 32 psi, 40F)."

I don't really understand what you mean by balancing? Length of beer line?

i've used both the 75/25 and 70/30 mix with 6ft of 3/16" beer line at 38F and 35PSI for years with great results...

http://www.flickr.com/photos/47460190@N08/4343587511/

At 40F I might would try more like 38PSI-- In any case if you over fizz it just dial back and if under fizzing crank it up.

EDIT: I run 6ft, 3/16" line to all my taps, co2 or nitro mixes... 4 footers work but comes fast and foamy with highly spritzy CO2 beers. I am in no rush to fill a mug and 6 footer slow the flow a bit.

nathan 02-12-2010 12:54 AM

I have extenders. Tonight I flushed the lines and put on a bohemian pilsner (still needs to age a bit). I dialed the pressures for four kegs and calculated line lengths (that's what I mean by balancing, using the right length of line).
I made the extensions, and I needed an extra foot for the bohemian pilsner (for a total of about five feet instead of four), so I screwed in an extension. Having all the flare-fitting tubing extensions (I'm on 3/16" also) makes it quick and easy. I'm letting everything settle a bit then will start some test pours.

I'll mess around with the first stout I run through on getting the pressure just right.

mordantly 02-12-2010 02:02 AM

i wasn't too impressed with the lack of fit of the faucet wrench on my nuts. hows yours fit?

droopy 02-12-2010 04:37 AM

force carbonate your stout at 40 PSI (gas on) with the 75/25 and it will be cascading in like 5 days give or take. dial it back to 30-35 if over fizzy after a week or so. maybe a touch higher if warmer then 38F. Kegs are rated for 100 psi but i have never gone more then 45 (by accident)-- too many dings and i don't trust 'em.

The extenders are probably just places to get dirty/infected... The longer lines don't effect the carbonation-- just the speed of the beer coming out. A 6 foot line pouring at 6 psi for a low carbonate beer is just a matter of taking like 10 extra seconds to fill a glass vs the 4 foot line... my 2 cents...

Bjornbrewer 02-12-2010 10:47 AM

Quote:

Originally Posted by nathan (Post 1877486)
beveragefactory.com
not cheap, but pre-drilled and mounts on shanks, so quite sturdy. Has a drain with threaded tube, too.

crap, are you serious?! I ordered my stuff from there and wanted one of those but didn't see them. Oh well, guess i'm just going to have to fab something! :D

nathan 02-12-2010 12:31 PM

Quote:

Originally Posted by mordantly (Post 1878237)
i wasn't too impressed with the lack of fit of the faucet wrench on my nuts. hows yours fit?

the wrench I got is nicer than any I've used in pubs or bars before. It's not just a cresent with a nub on it, it's angled a bit differently and it fits absolutely perfectly.
I had expected to be banging knuckles on the shank threads for the inner faucets but nope, it worked like a dream.

I HATED cleaning faucets at a brewpub I was at because the wrench stunk.


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