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Old 12-20-2012, 04:33 PM   #1
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Default Early ghetto kegerator workaround?

Howdy... I'd like to switch to a keg system after Christmas, but I'm not in a super hurry to set up a kegerator, per se (though the wife is surprisingly on board with it if we can find a compact fridge used and make it look like a built in dining room cabinet).

Long story short, I was wondering if I could use my bottling bucket swamp-cooler style to house a corny keg (while swapping out small plastic picnic cooler ice packs) to keep the temperature somewhat low (I'm into nut browns, stouts, and porters, and don't really care if they're super cold) in my basement. Any reason why that wouldn't work?

Oh... and one other thing... While I'm not a super huge fan of bottling, I can certainly appreciate the conditioning process and the patience required to achieve good beer (I only just cracked my first ginger holiday beer that I bottled in early October). Will my kegged beer condition? Will it always be green? Can I buy an extra keg, fill it with something like a spiced ale that requires aging and just set it aside in the basement (after purging the oxygen) until I think it's ready for consumption?

Thanks for your advice.

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Old 12-20-2012, 09:46 PM   #2
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The answer to both the questions is yes.

The "swamp cooler" will work fine as long as the temperature is somewhat consistent. I recommend using a carbonation chart/calculator to calculate the right pressure based on your temp and desired volumes of CO2, and leaving the pressure there till the keg's kicked. It'll take a couple weeks to carbonate, then you should be good to go.

Keep in mind that if the keg is warmer, the pressure will need to be higher. So make sure you get plenty of beverage line to balance the pressure (maybe try 15 feet?)

A keg is just a big bottle. You can certainly condition in there, if you're aren't in a hurry you can naturally carb in the keg as well.
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Old 12-20-2012, 09:52 PM   #3
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Beers age in keg just like they do in bottles. The only difference is mainly just the method of carbonation. Things fall out of suspension and mellow over time no matter what vessel they're in. I will say that my bottled lagers have a slightly different taste than my kegged ones, though.

You can also get a cheap fridge from craigslist if you have the space. That will hold plenty of kegs with shelves removed and for about $40.
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