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Centennial Tap Beer Service, Inc.
1930 W 41st Avenue
Denver, CO 80211
Kegerators can have long term savings on the cost of beer. You can dispense your own draft beer in the glass for about .08 cents per ounce. Compared to about .12- .20 cents per ounce for bottle beer . Building a kegerator requires an old refrigerator or freezer and a kegerator conversion kit and some beer. You will want the refrigerator big enough to fit as many brands of berr you would like to dispense.
Kegerator conversion kits consist of a beer faucet, beer shank, beer line, air line, keg coupler, Co2 regulator, a Co2 cylinder, and if you would like one, a drip tray. You will have to look around your area for suppliers of Co2, as all cylinders are shipped empty. Welding supply houses will usually fill Co2 cylinders.
Building Your Kegerator
All you will need are 2 holes. One for the beer shank, and the other for the Co2 line, if you decide to keep your Co2 cylinder on the outside of the kegerator. The hole for the beer shank will need to be 7/8 inch, and the hole for the airline will need to be 5/8 inch. For the beer shank, you will need to decide if you want it out of the front of the kegerator, or out the side. Either will work fine, it just depends on your setup. Insert the beer shank through the 7/8 inch hole and tighten the nut until snug. Attach the beer faucet to the beer shank and tighten with the faucet wrench. The collar on the beer shank takes a special wrench and using pliers will damage the collar. Next you will attach the beer line to the tail piece and hex nut. Each end of the beer line requires this process. Insert a coupling washer into each hex nut and attach one end to the top of the keg coupler and the other end to the beer shank. Tighten both hex nuts. Next, attach the air line to the air inlet fitting on the side of the keg coupler. Attach the other end to the outlet on the Co2 regulator. Attach Co2 regulator to the Co2 cylinder making sure the Co2 washer is in the regulator, this washer will prevent Co2 leaks and make your Co2 last longer.
And now you are ready for your beer. Depending on where you are located, you will need tohave between 10-14 PSI on your keg of beer to get your kegerator to work properly.
Maintaining your Kegerator
Now that you have a new kegerator, you will need to keep the beer pouring and tasting good. To do this, you should clean your kegerator on a regular basis, about once a month, or after each keg of beer you pour. Cleaning your kegerator is pretty simple to do, but if you're not comfortable doing it, you can check around your area for a professional service to come out and do it for you. There are a couple of ways to clean your lines. First, you can purchase either a cleaning bottle or a cleaning pot. The cleaning bottle is usually about a quart size and comes with a brush and cleaning solution. Most cleaners are concentrated and made to mix one ounce of solution to one quart of warm water, but make sure to read the instructions to get the proper mix for the cleaner you are using. You will have to remove the beer faucet and attach the cleaning tube to the beer shank with the adapter provided, remember, use the faucet wrench so the collar is not damaged. Next, remove the beer line from the top of the keg coupler and place it into a bucket. Then slowly pump the bottle and the solution will flow through the hose and into the bucket. Continue this until the bottle is empty. Then remove the bottle and rinse it out and fill it with cool water and repeat the process again. After rinsing the beer line, take your beer faucet apart and brush it out with the faucet brush and warm water. Put your system back together and you are ready to pour beer again.
Trouble-shooting your Kegerator
If you are having trouble with the way your beer is pouring, first check to make sure you have enough Co2 left in the cylinder to pressurize the keg. Check the temperature of your refrigerator and make sure that it is not warmer than 38 degrees. The best way to check the temperature is to put a glass of water in the refrigerator, leave it overnight, and check the water temperature in the morning. If you continue to have problems, consult your local professional for more help in determining the cause of the foamy beer.
Reviews of Kegerators
At our Denver retail store we have the opportunity to reveiw several brands of residential kegerators because customers bring them to us to fix. The main two differences between a residential kegerator and a commercial kegerator are:
A residential kegerator uses radiant cooling and a commercial kegerator uses re-circulated air. Radiant cooling is exactly like your refrigerator in your house where it cools the back wall of the refrigerator. Re-circulated air is blown into the inside of the cooler and circulated with a fan. A radiant cooled kegerator is not designed to be outside. It can be placed outside but the issues you could encounter is the compressor will need to work harder to keep the cooler cool on warm days. This will cause the life of your compressor to be compromised. It could also cause beer to pour foamy because the lines in the tower are not chilled. If the tower gets warm, so will the lines. When beer pours through warm lines it causes foam.
Re-circulated air commercial kegerators work better outside because they have a bigger compressor and the method of re-circulated air does not cause the compressor to work hard if the unit is outside on a warm day. A commercial kegerator also comes with a hose that connects to the condensing usit and goes up the tower chilling the lines in the tower.
In our opinion neither the residential or the commercial kegerators should be left outside when temperatures start to drop below 40. Low temperatures will cause the oil to freeze in the compressor for either kegerator style.
Draft Beer Parts
A residential kegerator is less expensive than a commercial kegerator because of the difference in cooling and also the durability of the unit and the draft beer parts used. When purchasing a residential kegerator and the price is extremely low, be prepared for very inexpensive draft beer parts to be used. In the service we have done on a variety of brands of kegerators we have found not only are the parts sub-standard they are not designed to pour beer. To have a quality pour, beer needs smooth transition from the keg, up the line, through the shank and out the faucet. If any ridges, bumps or grooves encounted in any of those parts the beer will create turbulance and pour foamy. Restriction is also extremely important in a quality pour. If the line connected to the shank have incompatible restrictions, the beer will also foam.
In the section below we have started a list of residential kegerators and problems we have found with their design that cause problems with a quality pour.
Kegco HS-209SS Kegerator
1. Has a piston in the compressor with a manufacturer defect causing the compressor to make a knocking noise when the piston fires. Having a refrigeration person replace the compressor is more expensive then the unit itself. Our opinion is if you have this problem with this model, your options are to ignore it or ask the store your bought it from to exchange for a unit with a different compresor.
2. At altitudes of 5280 and above the shank needs to be drilled to a 1/4" bore. The shank comes with a 3/16" bore which at Denver Altitude and above is too restrictive. Beer line length also needs to be extended to 6' at altitudes of 5280. For each thousand feet above 5280 add another foot of beer line. Once these adjustments have been made, the pressure needs to be set between 15-18 for most beers. If you are in Colorado, please contact us and we can help you with the altitude adjusment. Drilling a shank assembly should be done by a draft beer professional to avoid ruining the shank.
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