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DIY Kegerator Planning: Fridge vs Freezer

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  • DIY Kegerator Planning: Fridge vs Freezer

    Hi folks, long-time lurker here and not a very frequent poster. Sorry in advance for lenghty post, but wanted to share my thought process as I'm looking for the input from the wealth of knowledge on here.

    For some time I was contemplating purchasing one of the priceier commercial units like the MM Pro-line, BM23 or TDD-1 in a two-tap configuration, but the more I've thought about this, these units may not fit our style. Based on the bottles I normally stock in our spare garage fridge, I think our normal drinking habits would entail me stocking a 1/2 keg of say Bud Light or similar for my wife and In-Laws (aka Transient Free-Loaders) that pass thru, and a 1/4 or 1/6 of a nice craft IPA or Belgian for me.

    So given the above what I am currently thinking about is picking up a new fridge or freezer (I may troll Craigslist, but I'm not the patient type) and going the DIY route. I'm confident in my handyman skills (within reason) and now I'm debating what type of unit to consider. I've ruled out chest freezers as lifting a 1/2 keg up and over is pretty heavy. So I'm looking at converting an upright freezer or using a conventional fridge with freezer on top.

    Redhawk's creation using a 13.7cuft freezer is very impressive http://www.micromatic.com/forum/us-e...er-photos.html, and I might "borrow" this design heavily.

    I have a few questions;

    a) Are there any particular technical considerations when considering fridge vs freezer for one of these builds that should make me look at a fridge vs a freezer?

    b) Looking at Redhawk's layout using the 13.7, it appears that if I always have a 1/2 barrel as #1, that draft #2 would be limited to whatever options happen to come in a 1/4 pny keg (in the upper position). It would seem I would need to go bigger than 13.7 if I want to be able to fit both a 1/2 and a slim 1/4 in the lower position.

    c) I've not purchased keg beer in quite some time, so before getting all-consumed by item (b) is there any practical way to identify which type of 1/4 keg is most common in the craft brew circles? For example does anyone know if DFH, Brklyn, GL uses pony or slim 1/4? Or is it possible that most of these brands would only come in 1/6's?

    I'm sure I may be over analyzing the issue, but I'd appreciate any practical feedback that might be offered in my quest to identify an appropriately sized unit to turn into my project.

    Thanks,
    Greg

  • #2
    A household refrigerator is simply a freezer with some of the cold air being tapped off to cool the fridge portion. The advantage of a refrigerator/freezer over a freezer only is that you will be less likely to have to play with temperature controls. Plus the added bonus of still having extra freezer space. You can check out my build in the link in my signature. I can fit a half barrel & a 1/6 in mine.

    You will probably have to search long & hard to find a craft brew in 1/4 slims - not very common even in the big names. You will have better luck finding something in a 1/6.


    THE ICEMAN
    Last edited by THE ICEMAN; 07-04-2011, 08:27 PM.
    My conversion ===------->> KILLER KEGERATOR
    "Without question, the greatest invention in the history of mankind is beer. Oh, I grant you that the wheel was also a fine invention, but the wheel does not go nearly as well with pizza."
    -Dave Barry-
    "We old folks have to find our cushions and pillows in our tankards.
    Strong beer is the milk of the old."
    -Martin Luther-

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    • #3
      Thanks for the compliment on my build. It seems like our thinking is very similar. I can fit two slim 1/4's on the bottom and a squatty pony keg on top with a low profile coupler on top. About the only thing that comes in the squatty pony kegs anymore are Budweiser, Bud Light, and Miller Light. So if I were you, I would use the top space for your Bud Light. That would leave the bottom space for either a full 1/2 barrel, two 1/6 barrels, one 1/6 barrel and one 1/4 barrel, or two 1/4 barrels. I'm lucky in that the Abita brewery is about 40 miles from my house so I can get some of my favorite brews in slim 1/4 barrels, but the Iceman is correct in saying that most craft brews come in 1/6 barrels.

      a) Are there any particular technical considerations when considering fridge vs freezer for one of these builds that should make me look at a fridge vs a freezer?

      If you get an upright freezer, make sure you get one that is automatic defrosting. The ones that have manual defrost have non-removable shelves since the coolant lines run through them. I decided to go with an upright freezer over a fridge/freezer is because I actually wanted to have the temp controller and didn't like the idea of the top door hitting my taps. I also wanted to put my taps a little higher than what a fridge would allow. Not a big deal for a lot of people though.

      b) Looking at Redhawk's layout using the 13.7, it appears that if I always have a 1/2 barrel as #1, that draft #2 would be limited to whatever options happen to come in a 1/4 pny keg (in the upper position). It would seem I would need to go bigger than 13.7 if I want to be able to fit both a 1/2 and a slim 1/4 in the lower position.

      This is correct. I can't fit a 1/2 barrel and a slim 1/4 barrel on the bottom at the same time. However, I'm not sure most freezers are built wider or deeper, I think they just build them taller for the most part.

      c) I've not purchased keg beer in quite some time, so before getting all-consumed by item (b) is there any practical way to identify which type of 1/4 keg is most common in the craft brew circles? For example does anyone know if DFH, Brklyn, GL uses pony or slim 1/4? Or is it possible that most of these brands would only come in 1/6's?

      Easiest thing to do is to google your favorite beer and keg and then click on sites that offer those kegs. Most sites will let you know what size they come in.
      On tap now: Homebrewed Nut Brown Ale, Oatmeal Stout, Altbier and Berry Blonde Ale.

      My Kegerator with Photos

      My Kegerator With Photos Update

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