Freezerator Build (Keezer)

emoshun

SoCal Herfin'
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Dec 18, 2009
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I wanted to start this thread as a build thread for my freezerator, I've spoken to a couple guys who've built them and they love them. (One of the guys is a master home brewer that went on to open his own brewery with 2 friends.) I'm planning on running 2 1/2BBL in this setup.
 
A good example is found here and another here regarding home brew keg fitment. Here's a good c02 chart.
 
If anyone has built one please comment with what you've experienced. (Good/Bad/Ugly)
 
Stay tuned for documentation/pics as this happens!
 
Chest freezer - Danby 10.2 cu ft (picked it up for $305)
 
Faucet Door Mount Kit - Beverage Factory Combo (using these regulators)
 
Digital Temp Regulator - Johnson Controls
 
Poplar wood (facia), Pine wood (structural), denim insulation, wood glue, stainless steel screws - $169.13
 
2 120MM USB fans - $25
 
Budget - Under $1k - Total spend to date - $987.53, slid into home plate just under budget!
 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 
After a couple coats of varnish, still have a couple more to go.
 

 

 

 

 
Base siliconed up
 

 
120MM USB fans (I have 2)
 

 

 
First pour!
 

 
Thanks for watching!
 
Jimmy
 

MadMonk

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How long will beer stay reasonably fresh in a keg, chilled or unchilled? Web is pretty much all over the place. on lengths of time.
I'm sure the alcohol content makes this vary, but is there a general rule of thumb?
 

emoshun

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Good question Dan, I'm sure Justin (smellysell) could weigh in on this as he's quite the beer guy. (Or anyone that home brews)

From personal experience I've seen beer last on average for 3 months when kept at 34-38°, the key here is to keep clean lines/taps.

I love the idea of having tap beer at home, to enjoy, share, and entertain with. My wife's uncle is a good ol boy who loves his IPA's and I want to surprise him with this setup as I've never really had an uncle type figure share a passion of mine.

If my calculations are correct a sixth keg will last less about a month (41 16oz pours) in my house as the wife loves beer as much as I do, hence the need for 2 sixers! :D
 

Blue Dragon

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emoshun said:
If anyone has built one please comment with what you've experienced. (Good/Bad/Ugly)
 
Stay tuned for documentation/pics as this happens!
 
Chest freezer - GE 7 cu ft.
 
 
Jimmy
 
Hey emohsun, 
Here's my $.02.
1a) You might want to find a different freezer to use. The specs show 33.25" height, and I'll bet that is exterior height. What is critical for you is Internal Dimensions (ID). You have to figure a standard 1/6bbl or corny is going to be ~24"-25" for just the shell. Then you'll need to put the sankey taps on, that will add about 6" or if corney kegs about 3". Then even if the sankey only adds say 4" you still need around a 1"-2" bend in the beer hose. ... And some of those smaller chest freezers don't have a square bottom, often there is a lip of some sort and that eats into your ID. .. Solution: build a collar. 
 
1b) You never have enough space .. so why limit yourself? If you start with a chest freezer, that's about 13', you'll be able to get 6 1/6bbls in there. .. But you'll still probably need a collar. So look on craig'slist or whatever for a used one. Besides, if you drill any hole into the fridge you will void any warranty, so you might as well not buy new. .. Speaking of, make sure you figure out where the coolant runs inside the lid and side walls before you start drilling. Poking a hole in the refrigerant will leave you with a fairly useless box. And if you have to build a collar anyway, make sure the lid can come off (no coolant lines in the hinges). 
 
So what is a collar? 

 

 
There is a lot of information out there on how to build a collar. Usually you'll find it under 'keezer collar'. My researching ground in HomeBrewTalk.com. And the great thing is, with the collar, you don't have to drill trough the side and worry about rupturing a coolant line. 
 
2) You might want to go with a 5# tank instead of a 10#. They take up a lot less room, unless you are planning on putting it outside the freezer ... Also, you probably don't need two regulators. It is ideal, however most likely overkill. You can split the CO2 line with a Y and have two stop valves on each end of the Y. It will save you about $50. Most beers are going to be pushed at about 2-3psi in a keezer; your lines are short and the keg is already carbonated. You are just trying to move the beer. .. another reason to have the CO2 inside the keezer is to minimize foaming; temperature changes are the biggest source of foaming with beer dispensing. 
 
3) Since you have saved some money elsewhere, spend it where it counts. For a few extra dollars, go with the Perlic Flow Control taps. They are so worth it! 
 
MadMonk said:
How long will beer stay reasonably fresh in a keg, chilled or unchilled? Web is pretty much all over the place. on lengths of time.
I'm sure the alcohol content makes this vary, but is there a general rule of thumb?
 
In a temperature controlled environment (32F-36F), it will keep at least 2 months. If the ABV is 6% or higher, it will keep longer, usually about 5-6 months. Barleywines .. years. When you are drinking a traditional domestic on tap, figure it has been in a keg already for a month before it hit the restaurant. And depending on how often they go through kegs, it could be sitting in the restaurant a month. If it is in a bottle or can, it probably took about a month before it hit the shelves, maybe two. Distributors keep a large supply and sometimes it sits at the disty for quite some time. 
 
Porters, Stouts, Barleywines, big Belgians (Quads , Trippels) typically age the best. Budweiser or Coors .. why are you even asking? You obviously don't care how the beer tastes.  :0  But temperature changes are the worst for beers and cause off flavors. Hoppy beers will mellow out the hop characteristics over time, and are best drank as fresh as possible. They still will last 3 months easy in a temp controlled keezer. 
 
Hope that helps. 
Cheers!
 

emoshun

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Cory thanks for the great reply, really appreciate the points you brought up. I've been researching for the past month about this and read through many a keezer builds for pointers. (My links above)
 
I shouldn't have left it out but I plan on using a 10” collar making the total interior height 35” (See example pic below of exact unit with collar)
 

 
The part without the compressor hump is: 27.5in high X 24in wide X 15in deep
The part with the compressor hump is: 18.25in high X 7.5in wide X 15in deep
 
I made a quick mockup of it just to show how much space the 7 cu ft. fridge has when using the aforementioned units.
 

 
Here is the actual unit's interior, looks like 3 6th kegs fit! :D
 

 
Per your faucet comment I was trying to stay away from the plated units, and stick with the all stainless ones like their new 630SS.
 
I like your idea about the 5# tank and will be using that instead more room the better.
 
My reservation to purchase a used freezer is I have no recourse when it breaks as I was not the original owner/have no receipt/can't return. By purchasing a new unit I have a bit more peace of mind if/when things do go south on the unit.
 
Thanks!
 

emoshun

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Here's some food for thought, I just put this together using averages from the past 2 months.
 
1/6th 5 Gal Keg  41 16oz servings
1/4 7.75 Gal Keg  62 16oz servings
 
On average I drink 1 beer a night (with dinner) Mon-Thur so that averages out to 16 beers a month.
 
On weekends F/S/S I drink on average 4 beers with numbers that can soar up to 8 on a hot summer Saturday. So let’s use the lowest common number and say that I drink 36 beers per month on the weekends.
 
So total per month beer intake is around 52 beers, and that’s just me folks.
 
Then average in my wife drinking 20 beers a month, you have about 70 beers a month that pass through our house.
 
This being established having 2 quarter kegs makes much more sense both from a supply angle and a cost perspective.
 
Thoughts?
 

bfreebern

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I think it's a great investment.  The problem for me would be to find a beer that my wife and I both drink. 
 

bfreebern

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MilesMingusMonk said:
 
The problem for me would be to find a beer that my wife and I both drink. 
Find a new wife. :whistling:
 
 
That, at this point, would just cost me too much.  I might as well just get 3 kegs that I enjoy and continue to buy her 6 packs of Bud Light Lime or Summer Shandy :laugh:
 

MilesMingusMonk

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bfreebern said:
 
 


The problem for me would be to find a beer that my wife and I both drink. 
 
Find a new wife. :whistling:
 
That, at this point, would just cost me too much.  I might as well just get 3 kegs that I enjoy and continue to buy her 6 packs of Bud Light Lime or Summer Shandy :laugh:


 
Problem solved. ;) :laugh:
 

jfields

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MilesMingusMonk said:
 

 

The problem for me would be to find a beer that my wife and I both drink. 
 
Find a new wife. :whistling:
 
That, at this point, would just cost me too much.  I might as well just get 3 kegs that I enjoy and continue to buy her 6 packs of Bud Light Lime or Summer Shandy :laugh:
 
Problem solved. ;) :laugh:

Spike it with Rat poison! Problem solved.....

I hope my wife doesn't read this.
 

whylieineedacigar

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jfields said:
 
 


 


 


The problem for me would be to find a beer that my wife and I both drink. 
 
Find a new wife. :whistling:
 
That, at this point, would just cost me too much.  I might as well just get 3 kegs that I enjoy and continue to buy her 6 packs of Bud Light Lime or Summer Shandy :laugh:
 
Problem solved. ;) :laugh:

Spike it with Rat poison! Problem solved.....

I hope my wife doesn't read this.
 


 
And make sure she has life insurance to cover the cost of the new wife.
 

Backslide

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Ate you really wanting to drink the same beer 50x time in a row? That's what I noticed when I purchased my setup. Kegs will last you longer than you're expecting them too. Make sure you have room for bottles, cause you won't stop buying em.
 

Blue Dragon

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Another thing I forgot to mention .. find out who refills CO2 tanks in your area. Call them up and see if they have a reusable tank program. Usually they will have painted steel 5# CO2 tanks (most common and easy to swap out) or aluminum ones. Get 2 5# tanks so you have a backup, and then just take the empty down and swap it out like you would a propane tank at a grocery store. That way when your chillin with friend or family you can always pour beers.  :thumbs:
 

B.HOBS

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You know where Im at if you want some company/help/selfish moocher around!!
 

Blue Dragon

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emoshun said:
Per your faucet comment I was trying to stay away from the plated units, and stick with the all stainless ones like their new 630SS.
 
Looks like my link didn't pan out like it was supposed to, and Perlick's online website is SHIT!... This is the faucet I was referring to: http://www.homebrewstuff.com/perlick-perl-545pc-flow-control-faucet.html
 
So that is to my buddy's home brew supply shop. He lives just a couple miles down the road, and his store front is in the building next to Kilted Dragon Brewing. He has deals all the time, and usually you can get shipping for like a flat $8 from his Amazon store... When you get ready to pull the trigger, let me know and I can probably get a competitive quote that will beat whatever you are looking at. 
 
But I see what you're talking about; the PC stands for Plated Chrome vs SS for Stainless Steel. So I did find the 545SS in Austrailia .. WTF? They are manufactured in the US, so why not here first? ... 
 
I just called HBS and found out some interesting information. Apparently, the 525SS and 575SS are having leaking issues. Apparently the internals were not also converted over to SS and are still PC. So last he heard, Perlick was holding off on releasing the 630SS to fix the inards, and that issue has now been resolved. I found this info on a side by side comparison on the 525SS and the 630SS designed to replace the 525SS. The improvements look solid. 
 
Linky
 
Perlick may be waiting to release a new version of the 545SS, and that may be why I am having such a tough time finding any info on Perlick's website. I'll let you know what I hear from Perlick (through HBS .. they order way more product than I, so they'll have more pull to get an answer at the source). 
 
 

emoshun said:
This being established having 2 quarter kegs makes much more sense both from a supply angle and a cost perspective.
 
Thoughts?
 
Not a lot of breweries sell 1/4bbl kegs, at least not in our area. I'm guessing you aren't going to see much if any of a price break between a 1/4bbl and a 1/6bbl. However, you typically will see about a 30% price difference between a 1/2bbl and a 1/6bbl by the pint. Your fridge cutouts look like they will hold 1/4bbl and 1/6bbl, so what ever floats your boat. 
 
Honestly, in looking at the picture again, I would go for 1/6bbls and see if 4 will fit in there. If you've got a local brewery who is self-distributing, you may be able to borrow 4 empty 1/6bbls (with a check deposit) and do a dry run test. That way you can plan out if you need 4 tap handles. ... Also FWIW, plastic PKA 1/6bbs are wider than SS 1/6bbl kegs, and corney kegs (ball lock) are the skinniest and push lock are the fattest. ... If you ever have friends bring over homebrew. Just planning.  :thumbs:
 
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