Some Kegerator Hardware Questions

Homebrew Talk - Beer, Wine, Mead, & Cider Brewing Discussion Forum

Help Support Homebrew Talk:

ezzieyguywuf

Well-Known Member
Joined
Dec 13, 2010
Messages
308
Reaction score
0
Location
raleigh
Hey homebrewtalk.com . I'm a first-time poster, short-time reader, but am very enthusiastic about building a kegerator. I found a Black and Decker mini fridge on Craigslist for $35 that I will be using. I had the lady measure the inside for me, and the measured the height at ~29'' and the width at ~12''. It has one of those ice things in the corner, but I'm hoping to take that out.

First question, is this the proper forum to be posting this in? I saw the sticky "show us your kegerator" in here, so I figured it was the right place to go.

Second question, to those of you with (vastly) more experience than me making/talking about kegerators: do you think this fridge will be too tight of a fit for a 1/6 barrell commercial keg? My whole excitement about building this thing is that my favourite beer, which is brewed locally, is no longer being sold in six-packs since another one of their brews won an award, so instead of buying it in growlers (which don't stay fresh very long), I'd like to buy a 1/6 barrell keg of it and be set for a few months. I do want to try and put the CO2 tank inside the fridge with the keg, so I'll be going with a 2.5 lb tank, as these look to me to be just the right size, and (from what I've read), will provide enough juice for about 7 of these kegs. From what I've seen, I can expect to spend ~$50 here for an empty tank. If I can find one for $30, or even less, that'd be great.

Anything blaringly wrong so far?

My next question is in regards to the hardware needed to complete this build. I am on somewhat of a tight budget here, so I'd like to know where I might be ok going second-hand/obscure-website-that-has-very-cheap-stuff (haven't found one yet), and where I absolutely must not sacrifice quality. For example, I'm rather certain that the CO2 regulator needs to be of good quality, to prevent leaks and to keep the beer at just the right pressure. But do I have to buy a 'CO2' regulator, from a home brewing store/site? Will it potentially be cheaper to go to some welding supply store and buy a generic 'gas' regulator? Will this still accompish what I need? My research shows me dishing out about $80 for one of these, but maybe there are better, cheaper options that I havent found? Again, I defer to the board's experience here.

Also, what about the keg tap? I'll be going with a low-profile one more than likely, but why are they all similarly priced to the non-low-profile? I would expect to have to pay a premium for space-savings. Is there a loss in quality, or reliability going the low-profile route? The taps I've seen are in the $50 range, but again, cheaper is better.

And then there is the spout. The one's I've seen are in the $40 range, but this seems rather high to me for such a simple piece of hardware. Thoughts?

Finally, what types of tubing will I need for interconnecing the tank to the keg and the keg to the spout? 12-14psi is a respectable amount of pressure, so I'd imagine certain considerations need to be made here.

So, any advice you guys can give me is greatly appreciated. I'm not afraid of working with my hands or getting dirty, and I'm also confortable taking things apart and fixing them (if its feasible), so if there are any do-it-yourself hacks/mods that can potentially make this cheaper, I'm all ears.

Thanks!
Wolfgang
 

conpewter

Well-Known Member
Joined
Nov 2, 2007
Messages
5,077
Reaction score
59
Location
East Dundee, Illinois
Welcome to the forum!

I can help with a few but not all of the questions. First off this is probably better off in the DIY section of the site, as this is about building a kegorator.

You should be able to fit a 1/6 bbl keg in that fridge, height looks good and the width. Depending on how the fridge is set up you can sometimes rip off the interior of the door to get more space.

I don't use commercial kegs so I don't have a lot of experience with those types of taps, so just get the low profile ones
 

Skarekrough

Well-Known Member
Joined
Oct 8, 2010
Messages
315
Reaction score
13
Location
Massachusetts
The "ice thing" strikes me as a deal breaker.

You get drilling for the tap and it's likely "game over." Some local trade school would likely be the only place to repair it at a reasonable price.

You could do a party/picnic tap in there. But I personally would never drill into something where I knew there could potentially be lines.

Kegerators can be done inexpensively, but rarely "cheap."

Buy good dependable hardware and you may find as you want to evolve your setup for more kegs and more space that your gear will be able to evolve with you.
 
OP
E

ezzieyguywuf

Well-Known Member
Joined
Dec 13, 2010
Messages
308
Reaction score
0
Location
raleigh
Thanks for the feedback guys. Admins, feel free to move this thread to the DIY forum.

I went by to take a look at the fridge today, and although there was a 'clean' 24'' bottom to top, there was also a 'hump' sorta thing on the bottom, which gave me only about 9'' from hump-to-door. I figured this would be cutting it way too close, but if not let me know (I got a free fridge lined up with similar specs).

I'm not too worried about yanking out the freezer compartment for more room, as I could just mount the faucet to the door.

Any more advice, as I am wide open?
 

DrawTap88

Well-Known Member
Joined
Jan 29, 2010
Messages
1,064
Reaction score
10
Location
Joliet, IL
Don't rip out the freezer as that'll screw up the cooling lines. The best thing to do is to "fold" it up while being careful not to screw up the lines running into the freezer.
 
OP
E

ezzieyguywuf

Well-Known Member
Joined
Dec 13, 2010
Messages
308
Reaction score
0
Location
raleigh
Hrm, that sounds tricky at best. I found a Visanni kegerator on craigslist for $300, but I'm questioning the quality of it. Guess I'll just have to keep searching for that perfect fridge then...The chest freezer thing seems doable to, but more expensive initially.
 

DrawTap88

Well-Known Member
Joined
Jan 29, 2010
Messages
1,064
Reaction score
10
Location
Joliet, IL
I actually think chest freezers are the way to go...if you're electrically inclined. Pretty sure you have to hook up a temperature control to them.
 
OP
E

ezzieyguywuf

Well-Known Member
Joined
Dec 13, 2010
Messages
308
Reaction score
0
Location
raleigh
I got no problem doing some electrical mods. Won't have to though, as I have quite possibly the awesomess wife in the world. She's been with be every step of the finding-a-refrigerator process, and then last night she had a great idea. Why not just pull all the shelves out of our current, full-size fridge and use it to store the 1/6 barrel commercial keg and co2 tank? She had the idea after I finally realized that I don't really need a tower/faucet or even shank/faucet setup, which requires modding the refrigerator. A picnic tap, from what I've read, is a perfectly acceptable and even popular first step into the home draft world, be you dispensing a home brew or commercial brew.

this is the kit I'm looking at getting. I would also get a 5lb tank, since space would no longer be an issue. My only concern is the 2' hose length going to the faucet. Any advice as to whether this would lead to foam due to too much flow? This concept confuses me a little, as I always figured I could just not open the faucet 100% in order to restrict flow, and thus prevent foam, but of course I don't have too much experience (i.e. none) with beer, aside from drinking it.

'But ezziey', you might be asking, 'where are you going to put all your food?'. Well, I've been busily and diligently searching craigslist for a suitable mini-fridge for kegerator conversion. Many of them don't fit the bill, as they have a large hump on the bottom shelf where the compressor is housed, which doesn't leave enough room for the keg. These refrigerators are great for storing food though! So just flip the script: instead of searching for a fridge to house my keg, find one that is suitable to hold the current contents of our fridge. Its just the two of us, so we don't have all that many groceries. Besides, with just one keg and a tank, there is still plenty of room on the bottom shelf for a gallon of milk, some juice, etc... Not to mention, when I get some time, I'll make some custom shelves to replace the ones we took out of the fridge: that is to say, I'll take some plywood, cut it to the shape of the original shelves, then cut out a slot for the keg/co2 tank. Here is a top-down view of what I'm talking about:

[ok, my attempt at pasting my ascii depiction in here has resulted in failure. You'll find my text file here]

I am very excited now. No mods to the fridge, and my favourite local brew (which is no longer being bottled) available ice cold and in large amounts! I also feel like this is a great first step towards eventually home brewing. Heck, all I need (I think) is a Corny keg or some such and some knowledge on how to brew, and I'm ready for my first brew :p
 

DrawTap88

Well-Known Member
Joined
Jan 29, 2010
Messages
1,064
Reaction score
10
Location
Joliet, IL
The kegging set up will work. Sounds like you have a cool misses.

AS for the foaming issue: you ALWAYS want to open the tap up all the way otherwise the resistence from the half open flange in the tap will cause foaming. The easy solution to this problem is to turn down the CO2 pressure. You should also look into "line balanceing," as that will also help control/reduce foaming.
 
OP
E

ezzieyguywuf

Well-Known Member
Joined
Dec 13, 2010
Messages
308
Reaction score
0
Location
raleigh
Only reason I'd be against turning down the CO2 pressure is that, to my understanding, too low a CO2 pressure = shorter shelf life for my keg. I need it to last at least 2 months, as the keg will eat into two-months-worth of beer budget. By 'line balanceing' do you mean getting longer and longer hoses for my picnic faucet until I find the 'just right' length? I think this may be the way to go.
 
Top