Friday, August 26, 2011

Kegerator (part one)

I've heard that it's almost impossible to make a great home brewed IPA without kegging equipment. I've heard that kegging saves so much time that you'll never go back. I've heard that the carbonation is better with kegging. I've heard counter pressure filled bottles taste fresher longer. I heard all of these things from seasoned brewers online and that made me wonder, "is it true?"

Keg Kit
I got a dual regulator setup from midwest brewing supply earlier this summer that I have been eager to try out. I chose this system for a few reasons you might want to consider: I wanted 2 kegs so I could always offer 2 beers on tap in case my friends wanted some variety, the dual regulator offers the option of controlling the carbonation of both beers, ball locks are more common and also a bit more expensive. Ball lock kegs and pin lock kegs also have different dimensions. This was important when picking out the mini fridge I intend to use for my kegerator.

The Fridge
I wanted the sanyo fridge that the internet seems to think makes the best/easiest at home kegerator. I could not find one for cheaper than $290 on line. While touring best buy last week I noticed a reasonably sized Frigidaire model BFPH44M4LM on sale for $169+tax. I couldn't say no: not when I was this close. The pluses about this fridge: it has a lock, everything inside of it comes out so it can accommodate kegs, and there is a guide on how to modify it on homebrewtalk's forums. There are draw backs to this fridge however: it requires some modding of the temperature control to fit 2 kegs, and it's not exactly clear where the coolant lines are in the top.

The Next Step
So next up I need to modify the fridge, brew some beers and try this thing out. I've been investing in this project pretty heavily recently. I've wanted beer on tap at home since I was in college and now that I have the chance I'm not going to miss it.

Part Duex? 
As this series rolls along I am going to do a post on keg care and cleaning from a newbie's view. How I plan to purge oxygen from my brewing process(you know the parts where oxygen is bad). How the fridge is working with picnic taps and kegs. I will finish it up with a detailed accounting of the addition of taps and other modifications of the fridge.

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