1. Don't miss our 7th annual American Craft Beer Fest featuring 640+ beers from 140+ brewers this May 30 & 31 in Boston, MA! Buy your tickets now!
  2. BeerAdvocate on your phone?! True story. Try the beta now.

My Keezer Shopping List (Help?!?)

Discussion in 'Home Bar' started by joshrosborne, Feb 27, 2013.

  1. joshrosborne

    joshrosborne Member

    Location:
    Michigan
    Hi folks,

    I've been looking into building a three-tap keezer and after reading exhaustively over threads on equipment/parts and builds, I think I have an idea of what I would need, but I wanted to check before I started down the path. What I've identified so far:

    Note: most of this is going to be from KegConnection.com since I like that fact that they have good reviews on most HB sites and sell packages specific to what I need.

    +GE 5.0CF Chest Freezer: $189 (Home Depot)
    +Three faucet kit: $219.95 (Keg Connection; http://stores.kegconnection.com/Detail.bok?no=708)
    +Faucet upgrade to 525SS: $25*3=$75 (Keg Connection; http://stores.kegconnection.com/Detail.bok?no=457)
    +Regulator upgrade to dual body: $35 (Keg Connection; http://stores.kegconnection.com/Detail.bok?no=462)
    +Keg, ball lock: $70*3=$210 (Keg Connection; http://stores.kegconnection.com/Detail.bok?no=1)
    +5lb CO2 tank: $65 (Keg Connection; http://stores.kegconnection.com/Detail.bok?no=50)
    +Johnson Controls Temp Controller (Amazon; http://www.amazon.com/Johnson-Contr...d=1361972761&sr=8-1&keywords=johnson controls)
    +10' 3/16" beer hose: $5*3=$15 (Keg Connection; http://stores.kegconnection.com/Detail.bok?no=151)

    Total: $850-900

    Outside of the lumber and materials I'd need to build the collar, am I forgetting anything or would you suggest anything instead of any of the components above? This will be my first adventure into kegging, so I'm kind of groping around in the dark here.

    I appreciate your help!
  2. mikehartigan

    mikehartigan Member

    Location:
    Illinois
    Immediate observations/suggestions:
    1. Will three kegs fit in that freezer? You might be better off with a 7 cu ft model -- about 36" wide, give or take. Since you're looking at a 5 lb CO2 tank, I assume you plan to put that in there, as well.
    2. You might consider looking for a 20# CO2 tank on Craigslist or even ebay. I found a second 20# tank on Craigslist a year or so ago for something like $50, as I recall (and no shipping :)). It only takes one more hole in the collar and, since there are no line length considerations, you can store it virtually anywhere - in an otherwise unused or underutilized closet, for example.
    3. Three kegs??? Are you serious? Rule of thumb: take the number of kegs you think you'll ever need. Add one. Double that. Then double it again, just to be sure. ;)
    4. While I haven't priced kegs lately, and I know they're getting pricey, $70 sounds awfully high for used ball locks. But I could be wrong.
    billandsuz and joshrosborne like this.
  3. dfess1

    dfess1 Member

    Location:
    Pennsylvania
    You can go about this a number of different ways. If you're not in a hurry, and live in a somewhat populated area, I would go the craigslist route. I don't know the size of my chest freezer, but it'll hold a 20# CO2 bottle, 5 cornies and two 6.5 gal carboys at once. I bought it for $40 after a few weeks of looking. I wasn't in a supper big rush though, so I could wait it out a bit.

    I've made do with a single regulator that feeds into a 4-way distribution block. I did get a 4 body reg for christmas, but mainly because I have run out of beer things to ask for, and this was a "nice to have because I'm too lazy to set different pressures". If you're looking to stay on the cheaper side now, and upgrade later, this is one way to do that.

    Definitely get the perlicks though. Worthwhile expense. The CO2 tank, i'd look at a local welding supply company. I don't get the fascination with shiny tanks. 9 times out of 10, it's sitting in the kegerator/keezer anyway, or it's hidden from view. A lot of places only swap tanks as well, so there goes your shiny tank. My local welding supply company sold me the 5lb bottle for 45-55 dollars (forget which), but it was filled. Now it's just 15-20 to refill it. But they swap it for a new bottle rather than refill. The best part about that, I don't' have to worry about re certifying a bottle.

    Lastly, look around for kegs. Not sure where you are located, but i know of a LHBS to me that still carries the kegs @ $47 bucks.
    joshrosborne likes this.
  4. joshrosborne

    joshrosborne Member

    Location:
    Michigan
    According to this thread, with a collar, two kegs will fit on the floor of the freezer with one on the compressor hump. I'm kinda stuff with 5cf models, b/c any larger size would jut out from the wall it's sitting on and cover up the trap door to our basement.

    http://www.homebrewtalk.com/f35/chest-freezer-specs-layouts-377518/#post4731043

    Thanks for the rest of the advice. I'll probably pick up more soon afterwards, but I only brew once per month at the moment and I alternate short ferment beers and beers that needs a secondary for a bit of balance. I definitely will have to shop around on Craigslist and my local stores to see if I can knock some of those prices down.
  5. joshrosborne

    joshrosborne Member

    Location:
    Michigan
    Yeah, I wasn't sure about the regulator bit. Seems nice, but if it's something I can do down the road and save some money up front, I might just skip it and do the single regulator with a block. Thank you!
  6. PortLargo

    PortLargo Member

    Location:
    Florida
    I am going down the same road as you . . . about one month into a keezer build. My thoughts:

    Seventy bucks for a corny keg is definitely on the high side. A Google/Ebay search will get you better prices. Also, it's almost certain you will be needing more than 3 kegs. The beauty of what you're doing is to have a good pipeline going, which means more kegs.

    For temp control I am a Ranco fan because it is all digital. But in fairness, the Johnson camp is well populated. Price is about the same.

    For your faucet set you probably want to have shorter shanks. From the photo, they look to be 5 1/8" long which is way too long for a collar (you will lose inside space). I would recommend using some scrap material (wood/insulation) and see what length shank is necessary (I ended up with 3").

    It appears all your gas/beer connections are barbs. This will work, but see my thread in Home Bar called "to MFL or not to MFL" for a good discussion on the topic.

    You will probably want a drip tray. Only the bravest will drill them into the side of the keezer

    Finally, expect a lot more parts from your local hardware store to be required. Things like clamps, washers, gaskets, swivel nuts seem to always be short. For example, I ordered twice as many tail piece washers as I needed. You'll want to have a surplus of these little parts for convenience.

    Good luck.
    joshrosborne likes this.
  7. billandsuz

    billandsuz Member

    Location:
    New York
    alot of good suggestions so far.
    if you have a flexible budget then you are doing well. otherwise you could easily save money, alot of money, with some shopping. get a used chest freezer on CL for certain.
    used ball locks are about $56 + shipping at Northern Brewer last time I looked.
    you won't beat the price for that dual regulator even considering the cost of the kit.

    shop micromatic for parts. not always the cheapest but they have a flawless reputation.

    you are paying for a shiny new CO2 bottle and will likely trade it in for a pre-filled bottle at your gas supplier. just like a bbq propane tank. just pay the supplier for the gas and the tank the first time and continue to trade in. you will only need to buy the gas from then on and your tank will never need to be recertified. most people don't have any need to show off a shiny can of CO2. but like Mike said, having a 10# or 20# tank is nice, since your upgrading most everything anyway go for it.

    good luck.
    also, check out the home bar forum on BA as you progress.
    joshrosborne likes this.
  8. mikehartigan

    mikehartigan Member

    Location:
    Illinois
    Excellent advice. Many stores sell so-called 'Contractor Packs', which are bags or boxes of these parts, usually at much better prices than individual pieces.
    joshrosborne likes this.
  9. DougC123

    DougC123 Member

    Location:
    Connecticut
    Depending on the volumes of CO2 for each beer you will want the ability to run three different pressures. A dual body regulator will not do that for you. You should plan on building a set up that will let you control each individually. A manifold with little on - off levers will not do that either, it needs to be actual guages and an adjustment screw.
  10. mikehartigan

    mikehartigan Member

    Location:
    Illinois
    A good option, but a bit overkill for a typical homebrew setup, IMO, especially when just starting up. I have two regulators, each going to a 3 way manifold. I'm running 4 kegs. I've never needed more than two different pressures at one time. Obviously, YMMV, but you need to set priorities when you're just starting, and I suspect this would be low on most brewers' lists.
  11. DougC123

    DougC123 Member

    Location:
    Connecticut
    It will be low on the list until as long as two of the three are similar.
  12. daysinthewake

    daysinthewake Member

    Location:
    California
    joshrosborne likes this.
  13. DougC123

    DougC123 Member

    Location:
    Connecticut

Share This Page