Skip to main content

Growing the homebrewery

During the summer I did a post about homebrew wants and needs. Since that time I have added a gas burner and a larger pot. Check off two of my three “needs.” More kegs will hopefully be coming by way of Santa, so I think I have my homebrew needs covered for the time being.

I started homebrewing in college when I found that homebrew was cheaper to make than buying cases of beer. The results also generally tasted better as well. I started with a Mr. Beer and used it for 6-12 months and then upgraded to a 5 gallon system. I stuck with my 5 gallon system for some time and I have recently upgraded things to a new level.

I still do 5 gallon batches but with my new kettle and burner I can do full wort boils. I have noticed a marked increase in my beer quality. Last Christmas I was lucky enough to have a wife that allowed me to build a keezer. I’m hoping to upgrade some of my fermentors to Better Bottles soon as well as get a new mash tun.

Since I have been out of college I have much more disposable income (it’s easy to move up from zero), but I have decided to stick with my slow growth pattern. This allows me to tweak things as needed and really zero in on things that might be causing problems in my beer. One thing that slightly annoys me about some homebrewers is their need to have tons of gadgets. Even some new homebrewers have the latest and greatest without fully understanding what they are doing. I’m all for the love of brewing, but I find it a bit unnecessary to buy every piece of equipment an established homebrewer has right away. I always come back to what my parents told me growing it, “it took us our whole lives to have what we have. You can’t have it right out of the gate, you need to work for it.” It’s a good lesson for anyone let alone homebrewers. I will continue to grow my homebrewery, as I work towards my future goals.

Keezer Part 5

It has been awhile since the last Keezer update and I apologize for that. It has been completed for some time and I am enjoying it a little too much. My wife isn’t a fan of its current location, but she does like that I’m not in the kitchen for hours bottling. In the last update I had the taps installed and the keezer was close to completion.

The only step left is to attach the lid to back collar and turn the keezer on. I don’t have any pictures of this step because it was the most straight forward section of the build. Since the photos in this post were taken I have replaced the taps with new ones (Perlick Faucets). I found that the ones that came with my kit would often stick if you didn’t use them every other day. One of them even became stuck to the point were beer would not flow out. The new faucets have not stuck yet and I would highly recommend them to anyone. Please feel free to ask me any questions about my build. It was a fun project and it only required one tool, a drill. (more…)

Keezer Part 4

The Keezer is really coming together. The collar is on, which gives me the height I need to allow for three kegs in the future. As of right now I only have two kegs and a 2.5 pound CO2 tank. From estimations I’ve seen on different homebrew forums it should get me anywhere between 10-20 kegs.

Now that the collar is attached the position for the taps needs to be figured out. I remembered some of my design classes from college were we talked about ergonomics and all of that to get the perfect height for the “average male and female.” While I remembered it, I didn’t take full advantage of it. I went for simplicity and drilled two holes through the center of the collar. I drilled them on the right-hand side of the collar since that is where the compressor hump is located and where the CO2 bottle is going to live. You can see the results of the holes below.

The taps actaully screw into something called a shank. The shank is a threaded rod that allows for the beer lines to connect to the taps. I used a hole saw that was one inch in diameter in order to make the holes. The shanks fit in there fine and are actually a bit loose before tightening. There are now only a few short steps till the beer starts flowing but I will cover that in update 5. Here is what it looks like from the front so far.

Keezer Part 3

In my last post about the my Keezer build I stained and finished the collar and also assembled it. Once that was completed I had to secure the collar to the freezer. To do this I used all purpose Liquid Nails. Once the Liquid Nails fully set (about 24 hours or so) I caulked all of the joints as you can see below.

Once the caulk dried I went ahead and drilled a few holes. The first set was to realign the hinges so that the lid could open and close normally. I made a paper template by holding a piece of paper up to the old holes on the freezer and poking holes through the paper with a pencil. Simple, but it worked. Remember I am doing this conversion with as few tools as possible. So far the only power tool required is a drill.

After I drilled the holes for the lid I drilled a hole for the temperature controller. The temperature controller is in charge of keeping the freezer from doing it’s job. The freezer can get down to 0 degrees on it’s lowest setting, I don’t want that to happen because I can’t drink or serve frozen beer. The two pictures below show the hole from the outside and inside of the keezer.

In my next update I will drill holes for the faucets/shanks and button the whole thing up.

Keezer Part 1

Santa was nice enough to bring me a few things that will make me enjoy homebrewing a whole lot more. The big guy brought be a chest freezer, and a two keg setup! I’m pretty excited about it and I can’t wait to have my homebrew on draft. One of the biggest stumbling blocks I have with homebrewing is bottling. It takes forever, a lot can go wrong, and you have to wait till it carbonate to drink your beer. Bummer.

Soon enough I’ll have a fully functioning keezer with two taps and room for a third. The term keezer comes from the combination of kegorator and chest freezer. Some in the homebrew community dislike the name, I am indifferent. Anyway, I picked up a chest freezer off of Craig’s List for $80 and the thing looks beautiful. As a comparison a new model of the freezer runs for $150.  I will be keeping a journal of my progress with the keezer along with anything that I find helpful. The project should me pretty quickly since it isn’t very complicated.

I currently live in an apartment and power tools are not abundant, so I am going to make this thing with the use of two tools; a drill and caulk gun. Happy New Year and I hope everyone had a few good beers over the holidays.