Bailey's Brewing Keezer

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dasein668

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I had a couple of questions about my keezer when I posted a picture in another thread, so here are a few details and pictures...

First, and foremost, let me say that this project is totally inspired/shamelessly ripped off of Jester's amazing keezer build.

Secondly, this is a work in progress. I've only built the tap box so far, wanting to get the thing up and running. I've got a few other projects that I need to deal with before I can build the cabinet to surround this thing. Stay tuned...



Ok, to start, this is built around a Magic Chef 7.2 cf chest freezer, model no MCCF5WBX. This unit will easily hold 4 kegs if I move the co2 tank outside the freezer. 3 kegs with the co2 inside. (You could also put the tank on the hump if you built a 4 inch or larger collar.)

I built the tap box from 3/4 inch cherry plywood and solid cherry that I had kicking around. While I've only got 3 taps installed at this point, my plan is to eventually have 4 standard faucets plus a nitro faucet for my wife who loves, loves, loves nitro-poured stouts. Who am I to complain? While I can only fit 4 kegs in there at a time, I figure with my planned set up I can either run 3 kegs on regular faucets and a nitro pour, or 4 kegs on regular faucets, depending on what I've got ready to go.

The overall dimensions of the tap box are 5-3/4 deep by 20-3/4 wide by 14-1/4 tall. This turned out to be ok, but I really should have gone another 1/2 to 1 inch deep to give me a bit more room in the box. Still, it works ok but I had to dig a little bit out of the insulation at the back to allow the dispense lines to bend around to the shanks.

The mirror is recessed 1 inch from the front of the tap box, allowing a string of rope light to be hidden behind the tap board and in front of the mirror.

The box is insulated with a single layer of 1-inch rigid foam insulation. This is temporary until I get the two additonal taps on there at which point I'll improve the insulation substantially. But the 1-inch foam seems to be working pretty well, actually.

The box is attached to the lid of the freezer with two 1/4-20 machine screws that thread up from inside the freezer and into two threaded inserts in the base of the tap box.

I guess that sums up the salient details. Here are some pics...



Taking a cue from Jester, I drilled out all 5 shank holes from behind using a forstner bit and a drill press. The two outermost holes stop just shy of the front of the tap board so that I can easily drill in the two addtional shanks when I'm ready to add them.



I painted the rabbet on the back of the tapboard where the rope light is housed hoping that the white would reflect out more of the light.



The insulation is ugly, but functional. Improved insulation when I add the two missing taps.



First pour!





 
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dasein668

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How is the back attached? what's the back look like with panel on?
The back is just a 1/4 inch piece of plywood which is attached with screws and sits in a rabbet so that it is basically flush with the back of the sides (so the edge of the ply is hidden when viewed from the side.

 
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dasein668

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very sexy. are you planning on paneling the whole keezer or leaving it as is?
Yes, I'll be building a cabinet to house the freezer. The cabinet is actually going to be larger than the freezer itself so that I can move the co2 and eventual nitrogen tanks out of the freezer but still have them hidden from general view.
 
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Yes, I'll be building a cabinet to house the freezer. The cabinet is actually going to be larger than the freezer itself so that I can move the co2 and eventual nitrogen tanks out of the freezer but still have them hidden from general view.
great idea. also increases the amount of space for air to circulate.
 

Catt22

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I would add a fan to get some cold air up around the beer lines and faucet shanks. The faucet shanks function as heat sinks and keeping them cool makes a big difference.
 

Jester369

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I would add a fan to get some cold air up around the beer lines and faucet shanks. The faucet shanks function as heat sinks and keeping them cool makes a big difference.
Hey Catt, have you had a problem with that? I was originally going to put a fan in to circulate up through the tower, but it worked so well without I never bothered to install it.
 
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dasein668

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Looks great! I really wish I had used a nicer wood for mine - that cherry looks sweet :mug:
Thanks! I love the look of cherry, and since I had some left over from the fish tank stand and hood I built it was really a no-brainer.
 
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dasein668

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I would add a fan to get some cold air up around the beer lines and faucet shanks. The faucet shanks function as heat sinks and keeping them cool makes a big difference.
I'll keep an eye on how it works. So far I haven't noticed any issues with foaming or the first pour not being cold, but I definitely thought about whether or not I'd need a fan. The hole from the freezer up into the tap box is pretty large so I think at least some of the coldness is getting up there. A fan might be better though...
 

Catt22

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Hey Catt, have you had a problem with that? I was originally going to put a fan in to circulate up through the tower, but it worked so well without I never bothered to install it.
Yes I did. I have a collar on my setup, but even then the air temp in the top of the freezer was significantly warmer than the bottom and the resulting pour not as cold as I wanted. I added a muffin fan to circulate the air in the freezer and that fixed it. The kegs stay uniformly cold along with the lines and taps. It was a major improvement for at a very low cost. The fan runs continuously.
 

Catt22

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I'll keep an eye on how it works. So far I haven't noticed any issues with foaming or the first pour not being cold, but I definitely thought about whether or not I'd need a fan. The hole from the freezer up into the tap box is pretty large so I think at least some of the coldness is getting up there. A fan might be better though...
The problem is that the cold air won't migrate up through the hole sufficiently without a fan assist of some kind. The cold air tends to hang at the bottom of the freezer and the warmer air rises natually to the top. I used my setup for more than a year without the fan and it worked marginally OK, but the fan made a huge difference for the better.
 
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dasein668

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The problem is that the cold air won't migrate up through the hole sufficiently without a fan assist of some kind. The cold air tends to hang at the bottom of the freezer and the warmer air rises natually to the top. I used my setup for more than a year without the fan and it worked marginally OK, but the fan made a huge difference for the better.
Yeah, that makes sense. Thanks for the input! I'll put it on the list of things to do when I add taps/build the cabinet.
 

Catt22

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FYI, the reason that the faucet shanks are essentially one large chunk of steel is the heat sink effect. When I first bought the faucets and shanks, I was surprised to see that the shank was solid except for the small beer passageway. Now I understand why they are made that way.
 
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dasein668

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I see that your fan runs continuously. Do you think that's really required, or would tagging it to the temp controller work? I'm thinking once the air is mixed, less striation of the air temperature is going to occur. But maybe it really does need to run all the time?
 

Catt22

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I had it linked to the controller at first, but found it works much better to keep it running full time. The fan only consumes 20 watts, so it's very cheap to run. The controller responds faster and more precisely when the probe is mounted directly in the air stream of the fan. Without the fan, the freezer walls would ice up, yet the beer wasn't cold enough to suit me. That doesn't happen anymore.
 

Jester369

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I wonder if the difference is having a collar. Since I am using the freezer unmodified (other than the two holes cut in the lid) it functions pretty much like the normal freezer - everything is pretty uniform in temperature. The amount of liquid in the lines to the tower is pretty minimal - not sure the calculations but it's not more than 30" of 3/8 beer line at the farthest tap - so pouring the first pint of a session is indistinguishable from the next 39 ;)
 

Catt22

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I don't think it's an issue with the collar. The collar is made from 2 x 6 material and it doesn't get noticeably cooler on the outside. I suspect it was more to do with the ambient room temperature. It was more noticeable in hot weather without the house air conditioner running. With the fan installed, the taps are now much colder to the touch.

You are using 3/8" beer line? I'm surprised you are not having foaming issues with that large diameter line, especially when it's as short as it is. I agree that the volume of beer in our lines is small and not a factor. It was the warmer temperature of the lines, shanks and faucets that was the problem for me.

No need to change anything if what you have is working OK for you. I didn't take action until I measured the temperature of a poured beer and noticed it was considerably warmer than what the controller was reporting. I gradually dialed down the controller to get a colder pour and then began having problems with the beer partially freezing in the bottom of the keg blocking the dip tube. All those problems disappeared after I installed the fan.
 

Jester369

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Damn memory failing me again! - it's 3/16" of course. 3/8" would be a bee-hotch. And there is 10' of line for each keg, it's just coiled up in the freezer.

:mug:
 
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dasein668

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I haven't done anything else on the keezer, though I do have another Perlick and a stout faucet coming in the mail, so I'll be getting on that soon.

But I did get some graphics made for a chalkboard. I just need to throw together a cherry frame for it...

24 inches by 36 inches.

 
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Awesome sign. You put the graphics on yourself or just say I want "this" on a giant chalkboard?
How much it run if you don't mind me asking.
 
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dasein668

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No I had them do it. I've applied vinyl before so I was going to do it myself, but there was no added charge to have them apply it, so... I figured if they screwed it up, then THEY were out a second run of vinyl!

Cost was 30 and change for the top graphic, plus 22 something for the striping and white text. Total was 55.40 including tax. I provided them the chalkboard which cost me like 5 bucks for the masonite; I already had the chalkboard paint on hand but I think that stuff is like 5 dollars a can or so.

It's sort of extravagant really, but I decided to splurge.
 
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dasein668

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Note that I provided them with full-size vector art, so there was no art set-up/modification charge.
 
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Could point on the Supplying of Vector art. I had a shop wanted to charge $30 bucks. for artwork. I was only doing a graphic to dye a disc golf disc so I said no thanks.

I think that signs looks well worth the $55
 
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dasein668

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Well, my vocation is graphic design and web development, so I just drew the whole thing as vector art to begin with. I use Adobe Illustrator. I believe there are some programs designed for converting raster art to vector art, but I don't have any experience working with them.
 
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Well, my vocation is graphic design and web development, so I just drew the whole thing as vector art to begin with. I use Adobe Illustrator. I believe there are some programs designed for converting raster art to vector art, but I don't have any experience working with them.
Yeah, I need to get better with Illustrator, aka take the time to play with it. I converted a drawing to vector but still wasn't good enough for his plotter.
 
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dasein668

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Well, I finally got going on the rest of the project. It's pretty much finished up with just a few minor things to deal with. I'll put together a detailed post on the construction later (probably after the holidays) but here are a couple of pictures:



 

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