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Any Recommendations on a Fridge for Lagering and Kegging?

I would like to find a refridgerator which I could use to hold a carboy so I may start making lagers but I would also like a good fridge which could be converted into a kegerator.

Does anybody have any recommendations of brands or models of refridgerators which work well for this purpose?

I am looking for a rather inexpesive option, nothing fancy or even aesthetically pleasing is needed, strictly looking for functionality.

Cheers!

I got the freezerless one from Best Buy. Can hold 3 kegs or a bucket and maybe one keg. I’m already wishing I had a keezer to run more kegs if I want. For the money, that’d be the way to go. The fridge wasn’t cheap! Look on craiglist for something used. With a keezer, you could lager in it (assuming serving temps and lagering temps are similar) and serve beer. Something to think about, depending on how much beer you have on hand at any one time.

If you go the fridge route, don’t worry about putting taps on the outside of the door. Picnic taps work just fine until you want to upgrade. Taps look cool, but cost more, if that’s a concern.

So many brands and models will work. Best is to make some cardboard cut outs of your pails/carboys and kegs to be able to do a dry fit.

+1 for a keezer, more efficient use of space and they come in all sizes. I have a small one that hold three kegs and bottled beer on the compressor hump. I can put a carboy in it and still have room for two kegs. I can run a lager ferm at 50F and thats a good serving temp for ales.

I also have an apartment-sized fridge that holds two kegs after removing the door liner. The seal doesn’t want to stay put now though. I use the little freezer for my hops.

If you go the small refrigerator route, try to avoid ones with freezers in them. That eats up space. Also be prepared to rip the plastic shelving off the door if it’s there as it also takes up space. I’m very limited with space so for my first fridge I ended up with a Magic Chef Beverage Cooler. It has a digital temp controller (fairly accurate), no freezer, and a glass door. And it fit under my workbench with about 1/2" to spare :slight_smile: Worked great as a beer fridge and and for fermenting lagers.

However it couldn’t get down below 41 degrees so my ability to truely lager was limited. When I moved to kegging I picked up a Sanyo fridge that could get down into the 20’s. I added a Johnson A419 controller and it can lock it at 31 degrees and holds it perfectly. It can hold two kegs and a 5lb CO2 container.

Ideally, I’d like to convert a chest freezer but I simply don’t have the room. But I’m happy with the way things are set up now.

CapnJB, do you know how many cubic feet that Sanyo is or, better yet, do you know its model number? And, do you know if it will fit an “acid” carboy (6.5 gallons - looks like it would be no problem, but thought I’d check)?

Sanyo and Danby are very popular. I picked up a Black & Decker because it was inexpensive but it would not accomodate kegs because there was something on the ceiling that was in the way. That was not a problem for me because I wanted the fridge for lager primary only… not kegs. But you typically want to get something along the lines of a 4.3 or 4.4 cubic-foot fridge (if you’re looking for a half-height/small fridge) that does not have a freezer. The freezer will just get in the way of kegs. The two small fridges I use for dispensing are both Danby models that I picked up for between $120 and $130 new.

Awesome, thanks!

Craig’s list is a great place to pick up a used mini fridge for either lagering or to convert to a kegerator. Especially this time of year as college classes either just ended or are ending. I picked one up last year for $70. Just make sure you look for one withOUT a freezer for extra head space.

It’s a Sanyo 4912. 4.9 cubic feet I think…

Is it difficult to remove the door shelves from a mini fridge without causing damage to the seal?

In mine, I had to peel back the seal because the door shelves are just one big piece of molded plastic. So you pull back the rubber seal and take out about 100 screws (ok, maybe more like 25-30, but there’s a lot). The seal doesn’t exactly come off. You just lift up the one side and take the screws out. The door panel should come out as one big piece. At least that’s how mine worked.

So, in other words, it’s easy, but maybe a little tedious?

I just took a box cutter and hacked out everything within about an inch of the edge. It’s not pretty but it was fairly quick and I didn’t have to worry about screwing up the seal.

I’m actually starting to think I might go with one of those beverage coolers…nothing to remove from the door, built in digital thermostat, etc. Do you recall which model you had? Was the only problem you had that it wouldn’t get cold enough for lagering? If so, that’s a moot point for now. If I get something for lagering later, I could just revert the beverage cooler to its original purpose. Can it be held in the low 60s without modification?

How much was that magic chef? It looks like a perfect little addition for my set-up. And where did you find it?

I built a kegerator around a Sanyo 4912 a few years ago.

I don’t see a way you could fit a carboy in there. It’s got a compressor hump in the back.

It does fit 2 cornies + a 5# CO2. You do not need to remove the inside of the door, I just drilled some additional holes in it to re-install the bottom shelf rotated so it doesn’t stick out from the door. It’s a very tight fit and I sometimes need to adjust the kegs to get the door to close, but it works.

Exactly. But, for $140 I have a temperature controlled fridge now. $70 for the fridge, $70 for the temp controller. Enjoying home brewed lagers all year round!!! :cheers:

Mine is a Magic Chef Beverage Chiller (MCBC580DBT). I’ve had it at least 5 years so that model is probably long since discontinued. I bought it at Home Depot for somewhere around $300. The digital controler is programmable between 41 and 54 degrees so it works well for fermenting lagers but you’d need an additional controller if you wanted to use it as a fermentation chamber for ales.

Last year my condensor relay burned out and I tought the fridge was lost… but thanks to the magic of google I found out not only how to fix it, but where to get the part I needed. I think it cost me about $20 to get the fridge back online.

It was a bit more than other fridges but it was the largest fridge I could find that would fit my space requirements… so… just don’t tell my wife it was $300 :wink:

Haha, right on man. I actually saw one that does 39 - 64, which is perfect. I’ll dig up the link later tonight or tomorrow morning.

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