Thinking About a Keezer - Some Questions

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

Help Support Homebrew Talk:

MrBJones

Supporting Member
HBT Supporter
Joined
Jun 11, 2016
Messages
490
Reaction score
61
Location
Dallas
I was reminded a couple weeks ago how much I don't like bottling! Trying to determine what the general cost of a four tap 7.2 cf keezer would be for me.
  1. Perlick and Intertap faucets are both front sealing. From a practical perspective, why would somebody choose Perlick and its higher cost?
  2. What's required to force carb kegs to different levels?
  3. Are flow control faucets worth the extra cost?
  4. What type CO2 tank would I need? What about refurbished/recertified?
  5. How difficult is it to clean a ball lock corny keg that still has syrup residue in it?
And, hardly critical, but does anybody know where a decently priced black chest freezer can be found?

Thanks!
 

Golddiggie

Well-Known Member
Joined
Dec 14, 2010
Messages
13,222
Reaction score
1,375
Location
Living free in the 603
I like my Perlick faucets far more than the one Intertap I bought. The Intertap isn't actually being used due to how much I don't like it. With the Perlick faucets, you have a little more resistance when you move the handle. The Intertaps move too freely and feel like if you accidently touch the tap it will flip open.

To force carb it depends on the method. In the past I used the two week set and forget. Simply get the keg to serving temperature and put it on the CO2 feed. Use one of the charts available to figure out that combo. You can also try the burst carb method, but people have mixed results. Plus you need to let it stabilize after the burst, so you might not even save any time. You can also use one of the carbonating corny lids that MoreBeer offers which will drastically reduce the time to carbonate without needing to stabilize. You will want either a different CO2 feed for that, or a secondary regulator to change the PSI feeding it during the process. I've done the two week and corny lid methods. Now, I'm simply carbonating in conical (carbonating stone attachment) and putting fully carbonated beer into keg and can. Ready to drink as soon as the keg goes into the keezer. ;)

I don't have any flow control faucets.

I'm using a 20# CO2 tank I bought in 2011 and am still on the initial filling. Depending on how many kegs you plan to have, size your CO2 tank accordingly. Get aluminum as well (weight saving, making it easier on you). At this point I have four CO2 bottles. Besides the 20#, I have a 10# (used to carbonate in fermenter and push out of fermenter), a 5# that I use mostly for moving solutions into/out of kegs when cleaning or for the CO2 purge when canning, and a 2.5# that I'm not using and will probably trade in towards another bottle at some point.

Get a good used one if you can, since most places simply swap them out. Or go to a gas supplier and just get what they offer (with good date on it) and just swap as needed.

For cleaning, soaking in hot PBW will do a lot. A bucket blaster, or something like it, pushing PBW solution through the keg and fittings will also do a lot. I use the bucket blaster on my kegs since I can clean the ball lock posts and dip tubes at the same time.

For the freezer, you'll have to hunt in your local area. I got my current one (10.? cubic freezer) last year when they were in short supply. Wanted a 9 cubic but that went OOS before I could order it. At least I got free delivery on the new one (into position).

Plan to make a collar for the keezer. There's plenty of threads posted already about that. It will make running CO2 into the keezer easier, as well as positioning the faucets easier. I have six faucets in my setup at this time. I have a dual body CO2 regulator and single body nitrogen/CO2 mix regulator going through gas bulkheads (no worries about running the tubing through) in the collar. I then feed manifolds inside to split those to whatever kegs need them. Makes it easy for me to put kegs on the gas even if they're not going on tap yet. Since I can hold up to ten kegs in the keezer (eight in the main/full depth, and two on the hump).

I would advise NOT putting your gas bottles/regulators inside the keezer. They do better at room temp for readings. Plus, it's far easier to check on them and adjust as needed when outside the keezer.

BTW, I've not bottled beer in ages. When I started brewing again early last year (took about five years off due to life) there was no way I'd do that. Ended up getting setup to fill cans instead. I like that a hell of a lot more than bottles. For one thing, they seal very well (no concerns at all). For anther, I don't need to worry about asking for them back. Or going out and buying more bottles, or bottles and caps (never did use the crimp on caps). I'll still bottle mead, but everything else goes into cans.
 

Spundit

Insert Witty Comment Here
Joined
Jun 15, 2021
Messages
72
Reaction score
83
Location
Western NY
1. I use intertaps and have no complaints. No leaks or anything. I have not used perlick so I cannot compare.

2. I am not sure I understand the question. You just need a keg, a CO2 tank and a regulator to force carb beer to any CO2 volume that tickles your fancy. If you will want to serve one beer at 11psi, and force carb another at say 30psi at the same time then you have several options. I just use inexpensive duotight secondary regulators that allow me to have multiple pressures from one co2 tank.

3. I have never used the flow control faucets and I am not really tempted to buy one... so I guess it's not worth the extra cost to me.

4. A new or used steel or aluminum tank will work. You will also need a decent regulator. Tanks anywhere between 5-20lbs are commonly used. A used steel tank is ussually the best value. Aluminum is also a nice option but keep in mind most of the big gas distributors do tank exchanges. If you take a new Aluminum tank to airgas to get filled, don't be suprised if you get a used steel one in return. I have a 10lb tank. If I had room I would be happy with a 20lb tank. I keep mine in the keezer just to keep it out of sight. They function fine whether you store it in or out of the keezer.

5. I suspect you are talking about cleaning used soda kegs that are often available for sale. I have bought 6 of these and they are pretty easy to clean. I did a quick rinse, followed by a 1 hour oxyclean soak. I removed the posts and tubes and soaked those parts separately (my kegs required a 7/8" deep socket. I know some kegs need 11/16). A diptube brush is helpfull. I then replaced all the o rings. None of this is hard or takes much time.

6. My local Walmart has had a black arctic king freezer available now and then but it's hit or miss.

Look into evabarrier lines and duotight fittings for your air and liquid lines. I find them very reliable and so so easy to install.
 

Golddiggie

Well-Known Member
Joined
Dec 14, 2010
Messages
13,222
Reaction score
1,375
Location
Living free in the 603
I use all Taprite regulators and have zero complaints with them. They work very well. I've had one of them for 10 years already, that I bought as a refurbished item. The rest were bought brand new. IMO, don't skimp/skinflint on regulators. These are a vital part of your gas system (akin to your heart is vital).

I use all MFL connections to regulators, manifolds, QD's, etc. With those, I'm NOT using the 'worm' clamps (the kind you use a screwdriver to tighten). Instead I use oetiker clamps. These seal 100% and all the way around. Worm clamps always have a gap where pressure isn't 100%, which is where they are prone to leaking. In fact, I've yet to have worm clamps NOT leak either on some of the connections, or all that they're fitted to. I've yet to have any oetiker clamp connections leak. Plus, oetiker clamps are stainless steel so zero worries there. I buy the clamps either in 25 or 100 bundles (stopped buying them one at a time a while back).

I'm currently using the Ultra Barrier tubing (from MoreBeer), switching over older tubing to that as I can. Most of my gas lines have been switched over already (the Ultra Barrier is more flexible than the double wall I was using inside the keezer). The only place I'm planning to keep the double wall is on my oxygen infusion setup, due to how that works.

I've been swapping my CO2 bottle at the LHBS I visit. They only have aluminum tanks, and only get those from the vendor that they work with (they refill the ones brought over). IMO/IME, most places will at least try to give you the same tank material that you bring in. So if you go with an aluminum one, you'll get one in exchange.

If I was getting into this for the first time right now, I wouldn't try to skimp on the tank cost. IMO, it's not that much to go to one of the gas suppliers and get a good tank from them. Or go to the HBS in your area and get one there (already filled). In the past, stores would have a swap program. The HBS I visit stopped doing that at some point. Now you simply bring in your empty, pay the cost, and get a full one. If you want to get some old tank and bring that to the store, that's your call. Unless you can get it for a significant saving (including shipping) I wouldn't bother.
 

odie

Well-Known Member
Joined
Dec 18, 2016
Messages
1,628
Reaction score
739
Location
CC, TX
I was reminded a couple weeks ago how much I don't like bottling! Trying to determine what the general cost of a four tap 7.2 cf keezer would be for me.
  1. Perlick and Intertap faucets are both front sealing. From a practical perspective, why would somebody choose Perlick and its higher cost?
  2. What's required to force carb kegs to different levels?
  3. Are flow control faucets worth the extra cost?
  4. What type CO2 tank would I need? What about refurbished/recertified?
  5. How difficult is it to clean a ball lock corny keg that still has syrup residue in it?
And, hardly critical, but does anybody know where a decently priced black chest freezer can be found?

Thanks!
1. When I first went to forward sealing faucets I got "Perlick" style. I then found that the nipples don't screw off for other attachments, making bottle and growler filling a bit more of a challenge. And you can't swap out a nitro tip either if you wanted to do that. Plus I like the removable tips since I can better spray some Starsan up further into the body to rinse and clean after a drinking session. So I much prefer the "Intertap" style nozzles.

I have some generic "Intertap" faucets and the inside is the same as a Perlick. Very basic. I have a couple real Intertaps and there is a "shuttle" thing inside. Not a real fan since more parts means more complexity and possibility for bacteria to hide.

2. Multiple secondary regulators.

3. It depends...you can run short lines with FC but then you can't have the return spring in the shank. That return spring will save you many tap disasters and floods. I just run longer lines.

4. Any CO2 tank will work. Buy the biggest that will fit inside if you want, Or the biggest that will fit outside. No replacement for displacement. I would avoid steel.

5. Easy. Supposedly syrup will taint the O-rings but pretty much all used kegs get sold with a new o-ring kit.

Black freezers are hard to come by lately. All freezers are hard to come by since the Covid BS. You indicate you want a 4 tap 7cf class freezer. Very hard to find but not impossible. I found one at Home Depot. Fits 4 on the floor. They had a black option but out of stock everywhere...Most modern freezers are too shallow (front to back) as well. You will need to personally test fit your 4 kegs before you buy.
 

NewJersey

Supporting Member
HBT Supporter
Joined
Oct 22, 2012
Messages
1,323
Reaction score
572
Location
Boonton
I have flow control Perlicks and find them unnecessary.
I have and absolutely love duo tight fittings and 4mm ID VA barrier tubing for liquid and gas.
Next build I want to incorporate duo tight pressure regulators inline.
I have a 5lbs tank inside and will do that on next build as well. I just think it looks better
 

Golddiggie

Well-Known Member
Joined
Dec 14, 2010
Messages
13,222
Reaction score
1,375
Location
Living free in the 603
My gas bottles are in the corner to the left of the keezer. So not visible unless you go over to them. I'd rather have room for more BEER in the keezer. ;)
 

MikeScott

Supporting Member
HBT Supporter
Joined
Aug 19, 2009
Messages
232
Reaction score
12
Location
Colorado Springs CO
Looks like there's some good answers, I only wanted to add that:

I'm in love with the Nukatap faucets. They don't have a lot of thermal mass because most of the inside is rubber or plastic, which reduces the foam on the first pour. Plus, as someone mentioned, the tip can unscrew and there's all sorts of options to replace it with.

I do have one flow control faucet, and I like being able to tighten it up for beers that might be a bit overcarbed. I won't buy another one probably because of the above.
 
OP
MrBJones

MrBJones

Supporting Member
HBT Supporter
Joined
Jun 11, 2016
Messages
490
Reaction score
61
Location
Dallas
I'll have kegs at different pressures. Is there some line length that will put me in the ballpark for everything, with flow control faucets fine tuning it as needed? What about FC quick disconnects?
 

RolandD

Supporting Member
HBT Supporter
Joined
Aug 24, 2020
Messages
137
Reaction score
88
I went with Intertap SS forward sealing and installed self-closing springs to keep the cat opening them. I used Bev-Seal tubing for the wet side with push on connectors and the red CO2 tubing with oetiker clamps for the gas side. For the collar, I got 5/4" PVC boards that worked out great. I have a 5lb CO2 tank that sits on the hump in the keezer for dispensing, and a 20lb tank for force carbing. Eventually I intend to install a bulkhead and use the 20lb tank for dispensing.

My set up has worked out great for me.
 

Golddiggie

Well-Known Member
Joined
Dec 14, 2010
Messages
13,222
Reaction score
1,375
Location
Living free in the 603
I'll have kegs at different pressures. Is there some line length that will put me in the ballpark for everything, with flow control faucets fine tuning it as needed? What about FC quick disconnects?
How many different pressure levels do you actually NEED?? I have the dual body regulator set to server either ales or stouts/porters (ales at a higher PSI). IME, that's about all you need is one per style family. Putting each keg on it's own pressure level, IMO/IME, would be an exercise in insanity. Especially since you're going to end up spending more than you really need to for this. I have my keezer at 40-41F and the ales at 12psi, stouts at 8psi. I haven't been using the stout side of the CO2 for a while, since getting a nitro mix setup. I simply put anything going onto a stout tap onto that manifold set and call it a day (75/25 mix, set to give ~9psi of CO2). At this point, I could set the two CO2 feeds for two ale style families and not need to change anything. IF I was making a style of ale that was optimal at a different pressure level. I'm not, so that regulator body has the feed turned off.
 
OP
MrBJones

MrBJones

Supporting Member
HBT Supporter
Joined
Jun 11, 2016
Messages
490
Reaction score
61
Location
Dallas
How many different pressure levels do you actually NEED?? I have the dual body regulator set to server either ales or stouts/porters (ales at a higher PSI). IME, that's about all you need is one per style family. Putting each keg on it's own pressure level, IMO/IME, would be an exercise in insanity. Especially since you're going to end up spending more than you really need to for this. I have my keezer at 40-41F and the ales at 12psi, stouts at 8psi. I haven't been using the stout side of the CO2 for a while, since getting a nitro mix setup. I simply put anything going onto a stout tap onto that manifold set and call it a day (75/25 mix, set to give ~9psi of CO2). At this point, I could set the two CO2 feeds for two ale style families and not need to change anything. IF I was making a style of ale that was optimal at a different pressure level. I'm not, so that regulator body has the feed turned off.
My thinking was that I could use a single body reg, leading to four Duotight secondary regs in parallel. Then each to a faucet with same-length lines, and making minor adjustments with the FC faucets. Total cost would be a bit more, but the increased flexibility would be worth it -- I could go all low carb, all high carb, or any combination without being limited to which faucets to use.

At least, that's my thinking. Am I going wrong somewhere?
 

MikeScott

Supporting Member
HBT Supporter
Joined
Aug 19, 2009
Messages
232
Reaction score
12
Location
Colorado Springs CO
My thinking was that I could use a single body reg, leading to four Duotight secondary regs in parallel. Then each to a faucet with same-length lines, and making minor adjustments with the FC faucets. Total cost would be a bit more, but the increased flexibility would be worth it -- I could go all low carb, all high carb, or any combination without being limited to which faucets to use.

At least, that's my thinking. Am I going wrong somewhere?
Those regulators are pretty inexpensive, I've thought about it because it's not uncommon to have a belgian, a stout, and a standard ale on tap at any one time. If you have the same experience, then I say go for it. I do suggest checking out the nukatap though. :)
 

Golddiggie

Well-Known Member
Joined
Dec 14, 2010
Messages
13,222
Reaction score
1,375
Location
Living free in the 603
My thinking was that I could use a single body reg, leading to four Duotight secondary regs in parallel. Then each to a faucet with same-length lines, and making minor adjustments with the FC faucets. Total cost would be a bit more, but the increased flexibility would be worth it -- I could go all low carb, all high carb, or any combination without being limited to which faucets to use.

At least, that's my thinking. Am I going wrong somewhere?
IME, unless you're going to have several families of brew, that are best at far different pressure/carbonation levels, it's pretty pointless. My ales pour perfectly, as do my stouts and porters with my setup. Granted I'm only using half of my dual body regulator right now, but that's because I got it before I picked up the nitro mix setup (when I built the keezer). I have each of the gas feeds (from outside) going through a gas bulkhead and then to manifolds so that I can send them where I want. I've used that type of setup for over a decade with great results.

Unless you're going to have four, very different, pressure level NEEDS, I wouldn't bother with the complicated regulator setup. Consider this, when the regulators have aged, you'll need to rebuild/replace all of them (or the ones that show issues, which will be all at some point). Which requires removing them from the system in order to perform the rebuild. If you can't rebuild them (if you go cheap) then you're replacing them.
 

Deric

Supporting Member
HBT Supporter
Joined
Dec 14, 2011
Messages
288
Reaction score
163
Location
Marysville
I have a 2 stage regulator and a 4-way manifold (keezer holds 4 kegs). One regulator feeds the manifold and the other feeds a single gas hook up. The manifold is always set at my typical "ale" serving pressure. I adjust the the other up or down depending on what's on tap. I use it quite often but sometimes it goes completely unused for a month or more depending on what's on tap. All lines (gas and liquid) are EVABarrier with Duotight fittings.

IF I were doing it over again I'd be tempted to go with individual Duotight regulators for each keg. The cost is likely less than my current setup with a bit more flexibility.
 

Golddiggie

Well-Known Member
Joined
Dec 14, 2010
Messages
13,222
Reaction score
1,375
Location
Living free in the 603
Be sure to have enough taps in your keezer collar. I just installed a new stout faucet (replaced an ale faucet) earlier today.

1632344111927.jpeg


Space for 10 kegs, but only six faucets. Might end up installing more at some point, but six works. ;)
 

AlexKay

Supporting Member
HBT Supporter
Joined
Jan 18, 2020
Messages
243
Reaction score
180
Location
South Bend
Perlick and Intertap faucets are both front sealing. From a practical perspective, why would somebody choose Perlick and its higher cost?
I use Intertap and have never used Perlick, so no comment on differences. I can say my 27 Intertaps have given me zero problems.

What's required to force carb kegs to different levels?
You need a secondary regulator. One for each pressure. On my first keezer every keg had its own regulator; on my second, each regulator led to a four-position manifold, so each secondary set the pressure for four kegs.

Are flow control faucets worth the extra cost?
I've never needed flow control, and it's a more complex faucet to clean or to break. Balancing pressure with line length is critical. I recommend EVAbarrier tubing.

What type CO2 tank would I need? What about refurbished/recertified?
Don't buy a tank! Many places will swap tanks when you go in for a fill, so your shiny new tank is swapped out for an old steel one anyway. It's worth a call to your gas supplier to see what their practice is (and whether they'll sell you that initial tank.) N.B.: my Airgas is no longer supplying CO2 tanks due to supply chain issues; this is another good reason to call ahead.

How difficult is it to clean a ball lock corny keg that still has syrup residue in it?
You didn't ask about new vs. used, but ... I've always bought new from AIH. Used, depends on how cheaply you can find kegs; factor in the cost for new o-rings for each keg as well. And how much your time cleaning, replacing o-rings, and checking for leaks is worth.

And, hardly critical, but does anybody know where a decently priced black chest freezer can be found?
Nope! Black paint is your best bet. If you ask, folks around here can tell you what type to use and how to put it on.
 
Top