Wednesday, November 12, 2008

Of Love and Beer.

I should introduce myself as The BigKahuna! I am a beer lover, Home Brewer, and aficionado of all of life's "Extras". I have a wife and 2 kids that I love with all my heart.
I began home brewing the day after I turned 21....that was 9 years ago. After limited success and lack of interest by friends and family, my hobby took a few years off. Now I'm BACK! I brew All Grain with a Home made 5 gallon Mash Tun, and boil on a turkey fryer. I have recently completed the conversion of a beer keg into a boil pot, and intend on boiling my next batch in that. My wife is pretty supportive of my often insane hobbies...She let me build a Keezer!

Let us talk about having beer on tap in your home.
This is one of those things that I always envisioned was for a "Hard Core Drunk" or College Dorm Residents.
I am neither, but currently have 4 different beers on tap in my living room. I often have a pint before dinner, or after dinner or with dinner. One way or the other, I do try and have a beer every day.
A 5 gallon keg seemed like a HUGE amount of beer when I first began looking at it, but then I quickly realized that is only 2 pints per night for less than a month. I have 4 taps, so I could turn a keg every month or so, but I often have one beer on tap for a LONG time, and others turn very quickly.
I decided to build a "Keezer" or Converted Freezer, on a whim just like many of the things I do. I had been reading about other people doing it, and naturally, I wanted one too!
There have been several write ups in publications lately about building a Kegerator or a Keezer. Basic Brewing Radio has released their podcast on the subject today, and it inspired me to tell about my keezer.
I am admittedly a gadget freak, and will often go to extreme lengths to attain the newest latest and greatest of whatever it is that I'm interested in. Because of that, I decided to go with a Brand New Freezer from Lowes. It cost just under $300, including the 2x10 that I used to build the collar. These can be found on Graig's list for next to nothing, but really, patience is NOT one of my gifts. I ordered the taps and shanks, and all of the related hoses and a Co2 Regulator and a Temp Controller from Austin Home Brew Supply.
The Temperature controller is a vital component of this system. A freezer is meant to FREEZE! The Temp controller simply controls the temp by shutting off power to the compressor when a pre-set temperature is reached.
The build was very simple. I cut and screwing the 2x10 together, and I painted it in One afternoon. I did paint before I attached it to the freezer, and recommend that you do the same. I used white tub and Tile Caulk to attach the collar to the freezer, and I have the lid and hinges mounted to the collar. Everything is nice and secure, and looks good to boot. Part of the reason for the collar is because with the modern freezer design, you don't' want to go drilling holes in the side of the freezer. The Temp Controller simply plugs into the wall, the freezer plugs into the temp control, and it has a probe that goes inside the freezer.
As a Home Brewer, I use the old Soda Style kegs with ball lock fittings. They are very easy to use, conveniently hold 5 gallons, and are relatively easy to take care of. I used the 2x10 because it allows me to fit 6 kegs in my 7.? Cu Ft Whirlpool freezer. I can fit one keg on the compressor hump. If this is not a concern for you, I would use a 2x6 or a 2x4. If you are looking to have beer on tap, but you are not a home brewer, fear not. The commercial connections are readily available, and work just as easily. Many brew pubs sell their beer in kegs, and for a quite reasonable price.
I can not explain the convenience and joy of pulling a pint of cold home brew from a tap on a keezer that you built! I would recommend that anyone thinking about this project to give it a try. Your friends will thank you, as will your wife. Bottles on the counter....BE GONE!

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