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Guinness / Smithwicks on tap -need help designing kegerators

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  • Guinness / Smithwicks on tap -need help designing kegerators

    Planning for 2 separate kegerators.
    i have purchased 2 of the special Guinness kegerator conversion kits.
    i plan on purchasing either 2 upright refrigerators or 2 upright freezers...

    the kegs (I have talked to our local distributor) are going to be:
    The barrel dimensions are w=21” x h=16”, full weight of the barrel is approx 130 lbs.

    Any recommendations??? freezer versus frig? temperature controls?
    One big frig for both beers? I think I like the idea of two separate frigs but want to hear others opinions...
    any recommendation on makes/models to chose with regards to the frigs?

  • #2
    Why would you want to run multiple units? It would be much cheaper to have one unit as well as much easier on the brain rather than having to dial in two units to the proper beer temp. More to the point, I know I have the room for it - but I wouldn't want to have 2 huge units taking up that floorspace.

    Also, I am assuming you swapped your keg dimensions and you meant 21" High and 16" Wide.

    However, unless these are an obscure keg design, I wouldn't trust those numbers. I have never actually measured my kegs, but according to MM, a 1/2 barrel is 23-3/8" Tall, 16-1/8 Wide.

    Draft Beer Keg Size Dimensions


    • #3
      Is there any need to have a temperature difference between the smithwicks and guinness? I mean, is it OK to have them both in one frig at say 44 degrees or so?

      As for the dimensions... those were straight from the distributor...European 1/3 Keg.

      Any recs on a good freezer or frig that will fit two 1/3 kegs, plus the N2/Co2 tank?

      have the tap handles already in place!
      Last edited by jyanich; 09-29-2010, 02:40 PM. Reason: add photo


      • #4
        I can see that you are diving right in, while that is admirable, be sure you understand how all this works before you get too far.

        You can serve your beer at 44, but let me tell you - you are going to have some trouble with balancing. Most people attempt to dispense around 38 degrees, simply because it is easy. I don't think you yet understand how to balance a system - just a guess - but I will tell you you don't just hook up a keg, pick a psi and bam - instant beer. Once you get your beer in the unit, you will have to get a beer temp (do a search) and then calculate your PSI using the beer's volumes (v/v) and temp. It is a very exact science.

        To me - I wouldn't want to mess with serving that warm - I know and understand certain beers taste better warmer, but I would just rather pour a pint and give it a few minutes to rest. In my opinion, there is no reason to have different temps between guinness and smithwicks.

        Now, regarding your taps in the wall - Are you planning on placing the refrigeration units on the exact opposte side of the wall?

        I just realized that you are running Nitrogen - I know nothing about balancing a nitro system and perhaps running 44degrees is easier. Someone more informed will have to speak up.


        • #5
          If you believe that your products will be more flavorful to you at 44F, this can be accomplished. As Sketch indicates, the warmer the beer, the more difficult it will be to dispense. Beer has gas. You know what happens to a gas when it becomes warm. Likes to expand. You will need to control this urge for the gas to blow out of the beer.

          One refrigerator will do. Search the forum on utilizing either a refrigerator or freezer. Numerous posts on the subject. Build the system so that you can maintain temperature 24/7 at the keg and all the way to the faucet. Smithwick is a 2.4 v/v beer. PSIG of 100% CO2 will need to be 15 @ 44F @ sea level. Start with seven feet of 3/16" Id for a slower flow as the beer will be tentative as it comes out the faucet clear. It will want to blow apart when it hits the glass. Slower flow will assist in reducing this impact. If you desire a faster flow, trim back in four inch increments until satisfied.

          Install same amount of line for the Guinness but dispense with a gas blend (25% CO2 / 75% nitrogen) starting @ 30 PSIG and increase to acquire dispense desired. Do not dispense the Smithwick with this blend as the beer will go flat.
          Scott Zuhse, Instructor Micro Matic Dispense Institute


          • #6
            You should check your local keg shop and see what sizes they have in both the beers, Guinness usually comes only in this size (Euro):
            50 liter (13.21 gal) 532 mm (high) 408 mm (ø steel keg)
            21 inches 16.06 inches
            Once you find the size of size of both beers, then you have to worry about the remote dispensing to the taps from fridge.
            Last edited by KillianBoy; 09-30-2010, 03:34 AM.


            • #7
              Originally posted by jyanich View Post

              the kegs (I have talked to our local distributor) are going to be:
              The barrel dimensions are w=21” x h=16”, full weight of the barrel is approx 130 lbs.
              This is per the distribution company...european kegs...1/3 barrel. See dimensions above.

              As for balancing system...not even at that step yet. More worried about what type of frig or freezer to buy first. I can customize every last detail here... nothing is set in stone. I just want to make sure I plan it well so I am not looking back with regrets or struggling with something everytime I change a keg because I didn't account for the size or the way the door opens...etc.

              Yes, the beer will be dispensed thru the wall with the kegerator on the opposite side. I have already planned for cooled lines thru a PVC pipe with a blower fan.

              More worried about selecting frig now... upright?? or more of a chest? easier to load 130lb keg into upright instead of lifting and dropping into a chest-style freezer?

              Can I store 2 kegs in one frig? what about my N2/CO2 tank... that would also be INSIDE frig, (I assume)??


              • #8
                The fridge style is a personal opinion - It is more difficult to load a chest unit, than an upright, but with proper planning - pully system, friends, etc it is not that difficult. I have an upright and if I ever do the build again, I think I will switch to a chest freezer - plenty of room for growth.

                You can store the gas tank in OR out of the unit - doesn't matter. Also, please note Scotts comment about dispensing Smithwicks with pure Co2, not a nitro blend- sounds like you are going to need 2 tanks.


                • #9
                  So since you re-posted the dimensions, are you confirming width 21 inches and height 16 inches, as Sketch asked, are you sure those are the correct dimensions?
                  Also I said local keg store not distributor (if your picking it up from distributor then again confirm), I checked with distributor about size availability, they said "Sure we carry all sizes of Budweiser", I still can't pickup the 1/6 or 1/4 at keg store without special ordering weeks in advance.
                  Sketch is right on all counts, finding a unit that will fit 2 European 50 liter kegs or 13 gallon kegs (I don't think I have ever heard it referred to as 1/3 keg, that really threw me off) will be the hardest thing, if you want to go with upright type you will have to go with refrigerator (never seen an upright freezer that will hold 2 50 liter kegs), might be just 2-4 models that will fit the bill (most $700+), most chest freezers will hold 2 kegs easily, but as Sketch said, you must have friends or mechanical help.
                  Honestly don't think guys look at particular model at first, they look at interior of unit and see what it looks like, most units, you're going to have to deal with the "hump", in a refrigerator you're probably going to have to build a stand for the kegs to stand on , you should do some research, take 2 cardboard circles 17-18 inches wide (or 22-23 inches), and look at as many units as possible and see which ones fit, find model that fits best then ask members their opinion of that model.
                  Also you would need to check your 2 regulators, sounds like you have 2 nitrogen types, might have to get 1 CO2 (or an adapter).


                  • #10
                    Diegeo (Guinness, Smithwick, Harp) distributes the 50L keg exclusively.
                    Scott Zuhse, Instructor Micro Matic Dispense Institute