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Seeking easiest and most economical route

Hi All, I’m going to take a shot at the kegging route and pitch the idea to my wife, timing’s right since my B-day falls on Superbowl this year and what better gift than a keg system. I’ve read many posts and am not sure which road to take. Seeking the rationale of you keggers. From my handy/crafty ambitions, I like the idea of making a keezer. From my busy with work, wife and 7 y/o son side, I like the simplicity of purchasing a 2 or 3 tap kegerator. My intent would be to house 3 corny’s at any given time (3 and/or 5 gal). From my estimations, cost would be relatively the same between building and buying ready plus the cost of the corny’s. If I bought a kegerator would I have to purchase additional hook ups for the corny’s?? Compatability ease?? etc… The overall goal is to start kegging; in the easiest route. Anyone able to share a thought or two on the road less or more taken?
Thanks, Mike

Buying a kegerator already made is certainly easier, but it comes with a price. I’d buy a chest freezer and temperature control to start and just use picnic taps. I think that’d be much cheaper than actually buying a kegerator ready to go. And you could eventually build a collar and put taps in when you get time. I’d say go with a 9 cu ft chest freezer, get 3 or 4 kegs and a 10lb CO2 tank and you should be good to go. I have a 9 cu ft freezer that I use for a fermentation chamber and it works beautifully; would be perfect for 4 kegs and a tank.

Not sure if this helps, but I just went through the process you’re talking about. What I did:

  1. Purchased a used single tap kegerator from a friend for $75 (you could search craig’s list or ebay for a deal). The plus side here is that the fridge should already come with a CO2 tank and regulator.

  2. My wife bought me a 2 tap tower for Christmas. Which you can find anywhere from $125-$175 or more. I assume my wife bought me the $125 tower, but it looks great and works great too!

  3. I got in on a group cornie keg buy with my brew club. This may be difficult but check on homebrewtalk or your LHBS may be able to start one up. I got 3 ball lock cornies for $75 total.

  4. I purchased all new quick connects, gas lines, o-rings, a Y splitter, 2 check vales, etc… basically a bunch of hardware to get the CO2 tank split to 2 lines and to get the kegs attached to the tower.
    $100

So all said and down. I have a 2 tap kegerator with a backup cornie for getting a 3rd beer conditioned and ready to connect as soon as a keg kicks for about $375. Brand new 2 tap kegerators got for about $500-$700 brand new. If you have the option a bigger keezer that has the ability to hold more kegs and more taps is the way to go. But of course there is some added cost. I wanted a keezer, but live in a small condo and space is a big issue. So that’s why I went with the system I did. Hope this helps you out a little and good luck with your system!

Thanks beersk and dobe12,
Both ideas are unique and worthy of choice. I’m trying to keep the cost under $500. Time to get creative.

A cheap or used chest freezer is the way to go if you have the room. If you go to home depot or lowes, sometimes they have floor models in the back real cheap. Also, used cornie kegs are way cheaper than new. They should come pressure tested. All you have to do is clean the keg out well and replace the o-rings which are very cheap. Try and find a group used keg buy. That’s the cheapest way to go.

If you are planning to put it in either a basement or garage you could also look for a used cheap (or even free) fridge. Drill a few wholes, get your self a CO2 tank, regulator, cornies and a few more pieces of hardware and you’re good to go!

Well the basement’s gonna add cost due to all the coral I’d have to dynamite through. The chest will be in the garage however. This will change a few times but right now I’m thinking 7cuft chest and party tap set up and 3 cornie kegs. Collar and nice taps a couple months later… Again, my mind will change this scenario a couple times.

I had a huge chest freezer (craigslist), with a nice collar, four taps, external CO2 tank, good setup. Then the freezeer died and I decided to go a little smaller and buy a new freezer and use picnic taps and have yet to feel compelled to add a collar and taps again, it’s just easier to maintain and keep clean. You might want to get at least one 2.5- or 3-gal keg to sit on the shelf (great for cider and experimental beers).

I had a huge chest freezer (craigslist), with a nice collar, four taps, external CO2 tank, good setup. Then the freezeer died and I decided to go a little smaller and buy a new freezer and use picnic taps and have yet to feel compelled to add a collar and taps again, it’s just easier to maintain and keep clean. You might want to get at least one 2.5- or 3-gal keg to sit on the shelf (great for cider and experimental beers).[/quote]

And traveling with beer in tow!

Home Depot will give you free delivery and free financing for 1 year (as long as you pay it off in time). They also include free removal if you are replacing an item, which doesn’t seem to apply in your case.

:cheers:

This seems to be the simplest way to achieve all new components [besides the cornies] and get away with kegging. QUESTION; what will be needed in addition to add a second or third line to the regulator? And, what if the beer styles in que require different carbonation levels?

Thanks to all for your input, Mike

[quote=“Steppedonapoptop”]QUESTION; what will be needed in addition to add a second or third line to the regulator? And, what if the beer styles in que require different carbonation levels?[/quote]I have a dual regulator, one side with four lines and the other with two. I usually keep four kegs on tap with the first and use the second for carbing the next in line, but switch things around as needed.

Dual regulator or CO2 Y Splitter or CO2 manifold. If you are running a bunch of lines 4+ I would think a manifold would make the most sense. But there are several ways to do it. I only have 2 taps and a Y splitter works just fine.

Different carbonation levels would require a dual regulator. A manifold or Y splitter will give you the same pressure on all outputs. Dual regulator lets you set different pressures.

This sounds more appealing all the time for me.

+1 with making your own. it’s far more gratifying and probably cheaper. go for a freezer or midsize fridge. also, i was talked out of the dual carb regulator and don’t regret just getting a 3 way splitter.

I’m going the keg route now after nearly 6 years of bottling. i’ve had 1 corny, regulator, 5lb tank, picnic tap for some time just collecting dust. (hangs head low.) So, …

I recently bought an 8.8 freezer on sale at sears: $270
3x perlick ss faucets, shanks, etc, plus 4x manifold $220
i still need:
2 cornys (used) $60-100
hoses/connectors $50
2x6 lumbar, stain, screws, glue, silicone: $25

i figure my total is just a couple hundred more than a new 1 tap kegerator. For that, I’ll have multiple taps plus the capability for temp-controlled lagering year round. Win-win.

cheers

edit: FWIW, ecomomical may not be the cheapest. it may be more economical to buy xtra capability now, at the beginning, then having to upgrade later at a more significant cost.

That’s pretty much what I did. I got an old refrigerator for free, bought a 10# tank, regulator, some hardware, a 2-way splitter, 3 kegs, and I was off and runnning. Even with just that and a couple other odds and ends (bunch of barbed swivel nuts, washers, oetiker clamps, etc, etc), I was up around $350…

Over time, I went on to buy 3 Perlick faucets, 3 faucet shanks, a couple pass-through shanks to run 2 gas lines through the fridge wall, another reg body to build a dual regulator from the single I started with, a distributor, a bunch of tailpieces, wingnuts, and so on. Pretty sure this was another 3-4 bills by the time all was said and done…

I did just fine running picnic taps using a simple Y splitter from my single-body dual-guage reg. Not as pretty as having nice stainless taps, but it worked great!

Invention is the mother of necessity or in “our” case the enjoyment of beer.

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