Monday, May 18, 2009

One Simple Kegerator Trick

Sometimes, even the simplest of ideas tickle the hell out of me and here is just one cast that keeps on giving in the tickle department.
If you end up buying a chest freezer with the thought of turning it into a kegerator, like I did, you will need to purchase a temperature controller from your homebrew store.

I got mine from http://www.breworganic.com/ . This device overrides the manufacturers built in thermostat and allows you to keep the temperature above the freezing range. I generally keep mine set at 42f.-45f. which accommodates my normal range of beer styles that are on tap.


Now, the problem I have is two fold.

  • First, I tend to screw around a lot with the kegerator. I'm either switching out kegs, pulling out a gas line to force carbonate a keg, grabbing bags of hops that I store in there, etc. This leads to the
  • second problem which is that I am a cheap bastard when it comes to homebrewing, and opening the kegerator causes the condenser to kick on to replace the cold air that flew out increasing my costs in energy.

This is where the trick comes into play. By placing the thermocouple

in a container of water located in the kegerator, the water temperature will remain constant while you screw around with the lid up. The temperature fluctuation around the thermocouple is minimized, thus preventing the condenser from going on.


The steps:

  1. Take a used Whitelabs yeast vial http://www.whitelabs.com/ and drill a hole in the lid to the vial big enough for the thermocouple to slide through snuggly.
  2. Fill the tube with water (adding a couple drops of sanitizer will keep down the mold growth) and screw the cap on firmly.
  3. Then squeeze a blob of silicon into the hole to seal the opening, in my case I wrapped a bit of metal tape around the top to hold the silicon in place while it set up.
  4. Place the thermocouple in the tube in a safe location inside the kegerator.

This project is easy to do, and worth the cost of buying a yeast culture in a vial, if you're not doing so already.

Here's to staying cool! Cheers.

2 comments:

Brad said...

Mark, I did this for a while with my converted chest freezer. Not knowing what the temperature probe is made of and fearing rust, I wrapped it in some plastic wrap and aluminum foil before dropping it in a beer bottle full of water.

For whatever reason I stopped doing this and now I keep a full six pack of whatever on the compressor hump, and I slip the probe down in there so it's snug up against a bottle.

Anonymous said...

Hi Brad,
I haven't seen any signs of deterioration on the probe itself and I have had it in the water (tube) for several years now. The great thing about this hobby is variety of ways to 'skin a cat'. It's good to hear of the alternatives.
Cheers!
mark

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