|Hole saw next to attempted hole.|
This photo shows what several minutes of right handed pressure looks like...it was actually smoking and I was worried that when it finally pushed through, the force would break the plastic backing that lines the interior of the chest freezer. For those of you who might not know the terminology, a keezer is simply a chest freezer (in my case a Holiday brand) that has been converted into a keg beer dispensing unit...as a refrigerator that does the same is referred to as a kegerator. Once the kiddos were off to college, we really didn't have a need for a large freezer, but having draught beer at home for company, or for events, has been a real fantasy! (Oh heck, it's a fantasy--parties not necessary.) This isn't a quick DIY project though, unless your resources and time are limitless...this has been a plan in the making and as you will see, still isn't quite there. But is it worth it? Of course it is!
Adam and I work at the Austin Home Brew Supply together and he's been brewing for nearly a decade... mead, wine, beer etc and he writes the blog for the store and is the customer service guru. A good friend to have! Plus he has a heart of gold and a wicked sense of humor...add beer and pizza to the mix and you might think this project would soon head south...but we're a 'get it done' team! As you can see, he eventually burst through for the double tower, and went onto the second hole, which took half the time! I lined the hole with duct tape to prevent the scratchy metal from rubbing the tubing and also for extra insulation. The second hole is for a single draft tower...mostly to accommodate the folks who don't like beer with an alternative: cider, mead, kombucha or maybe a wine cooler...something like that.You can see that the next step is screwing and securing the draft towers...this happened very quick! The two towers are made by different companies and if you're going to try something like this, I suggest you pull everything out of the box and check them out. The double draft tower in my set was much nicer, having shorter pointed screws that hid the installment, whereas the other tap had 5 inch, flat tipped screws that required pre-drilling and harbor ugly bolts that both protrude into the keezer. Only I see them, but still...they're ugly and awkward and a pain to install.
|The Cluster "Fuggle" inside the Keezer...|
Here's the mess that's inside. 3 kegs (2 Cornelius and one Pin-lock) along with the CO2 cannister which is a fracking nightmare to adjust. The CO2 regulator doesn't have a knob like I'd assumed they all had. It has to be adjusted via flathead screwdriver...and as you can see, with the snug space...it's a pain in the backside. The next step is to try and figure out how to bore through the wall and put the CO2 on the outside so I can adjust it more easily. This is really no small matter. Drilling through the top of the freezer is easy by comparison because there are no coils in the lid...I'm still trying to find a map of the coils so that when we drill through the side, for the shank, we don't hit something! For the time being, it takes two people to adjust and get the dang thing out of the spaghetti hole of beer line and CO2 tubing...again, is it worth it? Hell yeah!
|Fatboy "Bud" Floyd slurping up the beer suds!|
The great thing is that the timing was perfecto...I had two homebrews ready to keg and carbonate...how to do that effectively was a new game for me. Finding a PSI chart online is easy enough, because if you ask 10 homebrewers what's the serving rate, carbonation rate and time or any such technical question you will get a different answer from each Homebrewligan! The above photo is my El Dorado double hopped IPA that I made some 5 weeks ago and it was ready to drink...but needed to cool and carb. Fatboy, my beer loving Boston Terrier was happy to help clean any spillage that occurred, he's great that way. The other was my first completely solo recipe that I was inspired to create for my friend Marc Opperman who gave me a mess of organic Republic of Texas oranges! I call that one The Republic of Tejas Orange Ale and it smells divine!