Potential kegerator upgrade

Discussion in 'Homebrewing' started by deadwolfbones, Jul 19, 2020.

  1. deadwolfbones

    deadwolfbones Initiate (154) Jun 21, 2014 Oregon

    Hey all, looking for some advice. A guy on the local CL posted this kegerator/ferm chamber setup and I went over to look at it today. It's really nice for what it is, but it would produce a number of tradeoffs vs. my current setup, which is a 4-tap keezer and a garage fridge with a freezer compartment.

    Pros:
    -5 taps, compared to the 4 I currently have
    -Kegs would be easier to load (front-facing door vs. loading through the top on the keezer)
    -Can fit 6 kegs, so can carb/condition one more than I have on tap (or more if I'm not using all the taps)
    -Dedicated ferm chamber
    -Ferm chamber should fit two SS brew buckets stacked, so I can do split batches or two brews at once
    -Wide, flat top above unit provides storage space for brewing gear

    Cons:
    -5 taps is a lot, lol
    -The way the ferm chamber is currently set up, it can't ferment lagers—only goes down to about 64; this can probably be improved with better insulation or a stronger fan, as the ferm chamber is basically just a wooden box attached to the kegerator fridge via ductwork, with a fan inside. It could use some improved insulation. Just not sure how much better the cooling can get. 50F would be enough for lagers, but...
    -Similarly, won't be able to cold-crash (it's unlikely I'll ever be able to get the temp near freezing in the ferm chamber portion)
    -Have to keep hops in garage freezer, will likely annoy my fiancee
    -Less room for bottled homebrew/commerical beer in fridge than w/ current setup

    Thoughts?
     
    #1 deadwolfbones, Jul 19, 2020
    Last edited: Jul 19, 2020
  2. deadwolfbones

    deadwolfbones Initiate (154) Jun 21, 2014 Oregon

    Forgot to mention that he's offered to trade me for my keezer/garage fridge + $100, which I consider to be a pretty good deal.
     
  3. PortLargo

    PortLargo Devotee (479) Oct 19, 2012 Florida

    A couple of thoughts: Five faucets should be desired, not a concern. I start to feel uneasy if only four of my faucets are pouring. Plus it's unlucky to have an even number (see, it has you worrying). But, from photo it looks like four of the faucets are an unknown brand and one different . . . this would result in bad karma again. Cold crashing and lagering are overrated. I cold crash after racking to keg (in keezer) and just pour off any yeast sediment or use a shortened diptube.. Temps in the lo-mid 50s are adequate for a lager ferm, and how often do you even lager?

    But the obvious solution is to buy this unit and keep what you have. Who has ever complained about too much refrigerated capacity? Just think of all the money you have saved by not going out for the last several months . . . here's your payoff. That is unless you're unemployed, then this is just a beer-porn fantasy.
     
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  4. Prep8611

    Prep8611 Disciple (312) Aug 22, 2014 New Jersey

    How old is his fridge? Seems odd that he would take yours and 100. Maybe you are better off with what you got.
     
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  5. Granitebeard

    Granitebeard Initiate (126) Aug 24, 2016 Maine

    If you don't lager, yeah this wouldn't be bad. It is kind of a "one of a kind" deal, but even so I would probably go $750 max on it... Makes me think of all the times I see display coolers that stores are getting rid of here and never bought one because they wanted $250 for it. I have kicked my self for that. The one odd ball faucet is actually a perlick, so is actually better. And yeah, I am surprised that the ferm chamber can hold temp. Seems like a poor way to do that to me. Honestly, look to see if there are any used display or wine coolers for sale in your area, then price out what it would be to do it your self + time. Particularly if you have something that works for you now.
     
  6. skleice

    skleice Aspirant (284) Aug 6, 2015 Connecticut

    I think I fall in the 'no-go' camp. I've become a fan of cold crashing and the capability of lagering is nice too. Not to mention that 64 deg doesn't give you much wiggle room for general ale fermentation.

    My other thought is, front loading is not so great. I've been using a front loading fridge and when the keg in the back kicks, I have to move the other kegs out of the way to swap it out (possibly stirring up sediment that had cleared). It's also a pain if you have a clogged poppet or an issue with a beer/gas line. I just recently switched to a chest freezer and I'm already loving the free access to the kegs from above.
     
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  7. deadwolfbones

    deadwolfbones Initiate (154) Jun 21, 2014 Oregon

    He's moving next weekend and needs to get rid of it, which makes him motivated, I think.

    He said he's been using it for 5 years and got it off a CL deal. Hasn't had any issues except some drip tray overflow. I know these commercial units can go for ages, and replacement parts are usually easier to source than with residential freezers/fridges.
     
  8. Prep8611

    Prep8611 Disciple (312) Aug 22, 2014 New Jersey

    I vote don’t do it. The devil you know is better than the devil you don’t. When I built my kegerator I knew everything was done right and it was a relatively knee unit. You can easily put that wood fascia on your current kegerator.
     
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  9. deadwolfbones

    deadwolfbones Initiate (154) Jun 21, 2014 Oregon

    Thanks for the advice, all. Decided to pass, in part because the fiancee wasn't too jazzed about the idea of giving up freezer space to my comically large hops collection. :grin:
     
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  10. PortLargo

    PortLargo Devotee (479) Oct 19, 2012 Florida

  11. billandsuz

    billandsuz Devotee (449) Sep 1, 2004 New York

    You made the right decision.
    It is a beverage Air, and that is as solid a unit you can buy. Easy to fix and reliable.

    It is also a franken-rator. Having seen too many, and I admit I have built a few, these things never work out. It should be easy to get a kegerator to do what it is supposed to do, pour 38F beer with little foam and no waste but time and time again people find ways to screw up the one thing the damn appliance is supposed to do.

    You really can't go wrong with a 4 faucet keezer. Consider yourself twice as fortunate as those who have 2 faucets.

    Cheers.
     
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