Thursday, March 20, 2008

The State of the Kegerator

My kegerator is about 4-5 years old now. I have a few projects in mind for the summer. As you can see below, there's lots of room inside. I could fit up to 10 corny kegs inside. Pictured is four kegs, the CO2 setup, and two 6.5 gallon fermenters (lagers brewed yesterday). I could easily fit another keg but would have room for an additional keg if I'd move the CO2 setup outside.

The first project is to move the CO2 tank to the outside and install a 6-line manifold on the inside, preferably on the upper end of the back wall. I would like to keep the compressor shelf available for cases/bottles and the desiccators. This will involve carefully drilling a few holes in the walls, avoiding the coolant lines. I'll need to find diagrams for this Kenmore chest freezer model to see where I can confidently drill through the entire wall for the gas line.
The next project is to sand out and repair the oxidation in the inner walls. This shouldn't take long. I have everything I need to do the sanding but I'll need to do some research on how to seal the areas.
A while ago, I started using desiccators to reduce the moisture in the kegerator. This has really helped slow the process and keeps the kegerator relatively dry. The greatest collection of moisture happens when I warm the kegerator up to lager fermentation temperature (50-56 degrees F). When I first started lagering, this is when I noticed a huge increase in oxidation. Last year, I sealed the drain hole for the drip tray to reduce incoming moisture and added a second desiccator.

Though the desiccators are really effective, I need to remember to recharge them frequently. This is easily done by removing the bag of silica gel and placing it in the oven at 240'F for 3 hours. On the bottom of the box is an indicator that will turn pink when the bag is saturated. After recharging the silica gel bag, the indicator gradually turns back to blue. Below is the two silica gel bags in the oven. 24 hours after placing the recharged desiccators back in the kegerator, the interior is bone dry.

The last project is to create some new tap handles. I really like the oar paddle and surfboard tap handles. The tall "tiki" handle was made from a $2 Hawaiian swap meet figurine. At that swap meet (the stadium in Honolulu has a daily swap meet) I got a mini ukulele that I've been wanting to turn into a tap handle. I have the hardware to make the handles so I just need some practice with wood working to add some new tap handles.

Outside of that, my wife and I will be moving this summer. We're not sure where yet but likely elsewhere in San Diego, San Francisco, or east coast (Boston or New York). Of course, I'm hoping that it will be conducive to brewing!

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