Once I started kegging my homebrew, I needed a way to keep my kegs and carboys cool.
Dan Schultz's example on the OregonBrewCrew web site of a chest freezer and thought it was a great starting point,
so I based mine on his example.
I started with a chest freezer that I got in the classifieds for $25. It is a huge 20.5 cu. ft. General Electric Model.
I built a collar out of 2x4's for a base, and put a facade over it using 1x6" hemlock.
Just like the
OregonBrewCrew example, the 2x4's sit on the top of the freezer and the hemlock extends down by about 2 inches
over the face and side of the freezer. I used weather stripping on the underside of the 2x4's to provide a good seal.
The existing seal stripping on the freezer cover is more than able to seal the top. I finished this up with a couple of
coats of polyurethane cherry stain, and added a screw on bottle opener.
I went with a Johnson Controls A419 digital temp controller that I picked up at
Controls Depot (unfortunately, they are no longer in business as of Aug 2005). I
love the fact that I can just set it and forget it. It was easy to
I drilled a small hole in the back of the collar to accommodate the temp probe. I just let it dangle in the air so that it's
not touching anything inside. This lets it activate according to the air temps, not the temps of my kegs/carboys,
providing much more even cooling.
For the gas supply, I started with a 20 lb CO2 tank with a dual regulator. I keep
this regular set at 30psi.
This sits outside of the kegerator, and feeds the panel through a hole I drilled into the far end of the collar. I used
red 5/8" id for all my gas lines. The lines are each 5 feet long from the manifold to the ball lock connector.
This way there are no spots in the freezer that the line can't reach. Note the temperature probe hanging in the back.
The gas first goes to another dual inline regulator. This allows me to independently
choose the pressures.
The first regulator is my `high pressure' regulator. I use it for the soda or once in a while for quickly pressurizing a keg
(which I tend to avoid. I'd rather let it sit for a week at serving pressure, rather than try to guess how much hi pressure
should be applied for how long). The soda side goes to a 3 way manifold. The serving side goes to the 4 way manifold.
On the beer line side, I went with 5 feet of 3/16" ID line. This allows me to maintain
39øF temps at 10psi and serve with no
The lines are hooked up to 5" shanks which feed my
VentMatic faucets. The shanks are 4" center to center.
These faucets were pricy, but the patented forward-seal design is awesome. I never have any drips
or leaks, and they never face the sticking problems that plague so many other standard faucets.
With the exception of the NewCastle tap, I picked up my tap handles from Ebay. (I
didn't pay more than 15 dollars for
any one of them.). The NewCastle tap was a gift from my Aussie next door neighbor who has become my official
taste tester since my first extract kit batch 3 years ago. Thanks, John! As you can see, I tend to be partial to ales.
Note the Root Beer tap on the right for my kids.
I pretty much got all of the parts online. I have forgotten which parts I got where,
but they came from one of these online
stores. I suggest you shop around for the best deals.
Also, my two local home brew stores were sources for a few odds and ends:
Finally, much of the miscellaneous hardware was purchased at:
I'll be putting together a drip tray and probably try building the fermentation
chamber similar to the
OregonBrewCrew's example. I'm thinking I want to make that removeable in some way.
I want to thank Dan Schultz of the OregonBrewCrew for putting his freezer site up
on the web. It was a great source for reference and ideas. I also want to thank
all the guys in the RealBeer.com
Discussion Forums for their ideas and inputs
(especially Danno). This is a great community of home brewers and other "beer nuts". No question goes unanswered by these
friendly people. Feel free to give me a holler up there. My username there is "BrewDog".