I’ve been homebrewing now for about 5 years. I’ve loved it since I first started. It’s the most enjoyable hobby I’ve done in my life. I do, however, enjoy it now more than ever. The reason is simple; kegging.
When I first started brewing, I had a couple cases of empty returnable bottles that my homebrew would go in. I’d clean and sanitize each bottle, add some priming sugar to the latest batch, fill each bottle and cap them. Then I’d have to wait at least two more weeks before the carbonation was right for sampling. These days, the only beers I still bottle are batches that are intended for contests that I enter. The rest of my batches get kegged.
The reason I keg my beer now has a lot to do with the lovely Debra, my wife. I remember the day I brought up the idea of building a kegerator. It was one of those conversations I was a bit apprehensive about. You married people out there know exactly how this feels. You bring up an idea that you love, but you don’t know if your spouse will love it too, or laugh out loud and say “That’s rediculous”. So I bring up the question, SO hoping that she likes the idea. And she does.
Now that the boss was on board with the plan, the next step was to locate a fridge that would do the job well. I measured the one in our kitchen and went out to Home Depot and measured the inside dimensions of a few. I found that I needed a larger than average fridge to accomodate a 16-gallon keg, a 5-gallon homebrew keg, and a CO2 tank. The fridge in our kitchen was the right size to do the job, but most others were not.
I set out on a search for what I was looking for at some scratch-and-dent type places and clearance sales at some other appliance stores. I wasn’t finding what I wanted anywhere near the price that Deb and I had talked about. I was starting to get discouraged. Then Deb surprised me for the second time on this project. She said “You know… The fridge in the kitchen has never worked well in that spot for us. The door can’t quite open all the way and you can barely get into one of the drawers. How about we look at a new fridge for the kitchen and this one can be your kegerator”. I was shocked to say the least.
We began looking for a new refrigerator for the kitchen. The design of our kitchen wouldn’t allow the single door fridge we had open all the way; it would hit the countertop before it was all the way open. We were hoping to find a “French door” style that would fit in that spot. Within a week, we had one found, purchased, and delivered. My beautiful new future kegerator was now sitting in my garage!
I went to Midwest Supplies and bought the tubing, regulator, CO2 tank, and faucets I would need to do the job. I got home, drilled 2 holes through the side of the fridge, hooked up all of the stuff I had bought, and voila… I was in the beer dispensing business.
These days, in the summer, I usually have a 16-gallon keg of yellow, fizzy, store-bought beer on tap. (Homebrew isn’t for everyone.) I also have a 5-gallon batch of my latest and greatest homebrew on tap next to it. The freezer up above has a working ice maker and is filled with frozen pints and mugs. It’s been beer heaven out there for the last 3 summers and hopefully will continue to be for many more.