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Brews & Views Bulletin Board Service * Brews and Views Archive 2008 * Archive through April 27, 2008 * Serving fridge – chest or upright? < Previous Next >

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Vince Turley
Intermediate Member
Username: Vince

Post Number: 290
Registered: 05-2003
Posted From: 192.91.171.42
Posted on Monday, April 07, 2008 - 01:57 pm:   Edit Post Delete Post View Post/Check IP    Ban Poster IP (Moderator/Admin only)

Recently my chest freezer went out, so I am looking at picking up a new serving fridge. I’ve had both the chest and upright type, and am leaning more towards an upright as it is easier to clean, easier to move kegs in/out, and has a smaller footprint. Also, I would really like to replace my picnic/cobra tap dispensers with beer faucets. Living in Texas, garage temps during the day are easily 110/120oF, and even at night rarely do they dip below 85oF during the summer months (May-September).

So, here’s my question… what type of serving fridge is best suited for this environment?

I assume that having faucets installed on the exterior (in a collar (chest) or thru-door (upright)) will expose them to temperature extremes that will warm the beer during the first pour, and make sanitation a real challenge. Has anyone tried mounting faucets on the inside of the door of an upright? Are there any problems or challenges associated with doing this?

I’m thinking that I would mount the faucets on a square plate with a drip-tray attached, and then attach the plate to the inside of the door. How feasible is this? Any good examples, or bad experiences?

Thanks,
-Vince
 

John Baer
Intermediate Member
Username: Beerman

Post Number: 265
Registered: 03-2003
Posted From: 141.158.20.2
Posted on Monday, April 07, 2008 - 02:28 pm:   Edit Post Delete Post View Post/Check IP    Ban Poster IP (Moderator/Admin only)

I just saw an article in Zymurgy that had a project based on a chest freezer. The idea was that the faucets were mounted so that they would remain inside the freezer when the lid was closed. The faucets were mounted on a plate that folded in and out when the freezer was opened and closed. seemed like a cool set up

JB
 

Dan Listermann
Senior Member
Username: Listermann

Post Number: 5490
Registered: 03-2004
Posted From: 216.23.55.202
Posted on Monday, April 07, 2008 - 03:40 pm:   Edit Post Delete Post View Post/Check IP    Ban Poster IP (Moderator/Admin only)

Upright freezers very often have coils built into the shelves which makes them useless for kegged beer. Be sure to check for this.
 

Connie
Senior Member
Username: Connie

Post Number: 1184
Registered: 10-2000
Posted From: 76.17.52.96
Posted on Monday, April 07, 2008 - 06:41 pm:   Edit Post Delete Post View Post/Check IP    Ban Poster IP (Moderator/Admin only)

I think I'd just go ahead and buy a nice keggerator and keep it inside. You can convert it to corny kegs easily enough, maybe add a two tap tower.....
 

Destroyer
Junior Member
Username: Destroyer

Post Number: 64
Registered: 07-2007
Posted From: 68.36.6.194
Posted on Monday, April 07, 2008 - 11:03 pm:   Edit Post Delete Post View Post/Check IP    Ban Poster IP (Moderator/Admin only)

I actually have both. The upright is a great lagering, fermentation, and aging chamber, because the access to it is great - I built a wooden shelf so that I can essentially stack cornies/fermentators. There's no awkward lifting when I transfer kegs around.

However, I don't know if I would be happy with the upright as a serving fridge. You'd have to go through the door to put in the taps, and that solution seems to me to be less than ideal - tubes in the way all the time. My chest freezer is modified with the standard collar + taps, and it's great as a dedicated server. As always, YMMV.

Oh, one more thing - don't forget that these freezers are more efficient the more they are full. (How much, I don't know.) With the upright, there's always a lot more empty space. It seems with kegs in the chest, and some bottles chilling on the step, the chest freezer is pretty full.

Sorry, somehow missed the fact that you want to put the taps in the freezer first time around. I'm having trouble envisioning quite what you're talking about, but I guess it could work. I'd contact other Texans first and see if there's a problem with over-heated taps. It seems to me that since the end of the shanks are in the freezer, they stay rather cool, but what do I know, I live where the weather is less like the Inferno.

(Message edited by Destroyer on April 07, 2008)
 

Steve Jones
Intermediate Member
Username: Stevej

Post Number: 469
Registered: 08-2001
Posted From: 199.190.8.13
Posted on Tuesday, April 08, 2008 - 12:35 pm:   Edit Post Delete Post View Post/Check IP    Ban Poster IP (Moderator/Admin only)

Even with the bulk of the shanks inside, the faucets will siphon some 'coldness' out of the 'cold box' - no matter what type it is. You will also get a lot of condensation on the faucets if there is much humidity in your area.

I saw the Zymurgy article as well. The basic premise is an angled mounting plate fastened to the underside of the freezer top such that when the freezer top is open the angled mounting plate is vertical. The faucets are mounted on this angled plate, and when the freezer is closed the faucets are inside.

Sort of like this:
Sketch of Freezer

[Edited to add:]
You'll probably need to add a collar just to increase the inside height - you need clearance above the kegs for the faucets and mounting plate.

(Message edited by stevej on April 08, 2008)
 

Bob Boufford
Intermediate Member
Username: Bobb

Post Number: 395
Registered: 03-2003
Posted From: 24.70.95.204
Posted on Tuesday, April 08, 2008 - 01:01 pm:   Edit Post Delete Post View Post/Check IP    Ban Poster IP (Moderator/Admin only)

Vince,

The Craftbrewer podcasters in their last episode talked about conserving energy with upright fridges used for fermenting/lagering. They suggested boards at the front to keep the cold from flowing out when you open the door, basically a second door inside the fridge. Also, the boards only need to be on the lower half.

You could mount the taps right on the "inner door".

Bob
 

Vince Turley
Intermediate Member
Username: Vince

Post Number: 291
Registered: 05-2003
Posted From: 192.91.171.42
Posted on Tuesday, April 08, 2008 - 01:38 pm:   Edit Post Delete Post View Post/Check IP    Ban Poster IP (Moderator/Admin only)

Great inputs and ideas all, thanks. Dan, from what I can determine, the uprights with the coils in the shelves are "Auto Defrost", which I am not intersted in anyway. Steve, thanks for the drawing, that is REALLY cool; I only wonder if the occasional drip from the taps or occasional over-pour might make cleaning the freezer a more frequent requirement. I am leaning to an upright just for ease of use and I can store bottles on the top shelves - thanks for passing along the inner-door concept Bob, that might just be the solution I was looking for. I can envision how a door could also accomodate a drip tray, and since it is all enclosed it will be out of the elements (and the kids!).

If anyone has built either of these enclosed serving fridge concepts I would be interested in hearing about your experience and pictures.

BrewOn!
-Vince
 

Steve Jones
Intermediate Member
Username: Stevej

Post Number: 472
Registered: 08-2001
Posted From: 164.89.253.21
Posted on Tuesday, April 08, 2008 - 04:47 pm:   Edit Post Delete Post View Post/Check IP    Ban Poster IP (Moderator/Admin only)

Vince, IIRC the setup in Zymurgy included a drip tray. I'll see if I can find it tonight and give you some more details.
 

John Baer
Intermediate Member
Username: Beerman

Post Number: 266
Registered: 03-2003
Posted From: 141.158.20.2
Posted on Tuesday, April 08, 2008 - 06:33 pm:   Edit Post Delete Post View Post/Check IP    Ban Poster IP (Moderator/Admin only)

I think Steve's right about the drip tray. I also think its set up so the taps fold in and out with the door to maintain maximum storage.

JB
 

Vance Barnes
Senior Member
Username: Vancebarnes

Post Number: 3136
Registered: 03-2003
Posted From: 74.7.7.66
Posted on Tuesday, April 08, 2008 - 08:48 pm:   Edit Post Delete Post View Post/Check IP    Ban Poster IP (Moderator/Admin only)

Why do taps have to go in the door in a fridge? I have mine in the side with no problems. You do have to check for freon lines and wiring but that's not hard to do.

Newer "frost free" type upright freezers don't have the coils in the shelves. It's the ones you have to defrost that do.

I think the tap setup Steve's talking about was called a Portland tap? Pretty sure it does fold in when the lid is shut like John mentions.
 

ChriSto
Intermediate Member
Username: Christo

Post Number: 348
Registered: 02-2006
Posted From: 216.176.226.154
Posted on Wednesday, April 09, 2008 - 11:19 am:   Edit Post Delete Post View Post/Check IP    Ban Poster IP (Moderator/Admin only)

Vance- how do you check for freon lines in the side? I'm getting ready to add 3 taps to my old side by side fridge and I think putting on the side (fridge side) will be the best option.

I'd heard you just drill a pilot hole through the shell and then check with your fingers prior to drilling all the way through??
 

Bill Pierce
Moderator
Username: Billpierce

Post Number: 8718
Registered: 01-2002
Posted From: 24.57.225.170
Posted on Wednesday, April 09, 2008 - 11:44 am:   Edit Post Delete Post View Post/Check IP    Ban Poster IP (Moderator/Admin only)

ChriSto, take a look at this method (in my post about halfway down this thread): http://hbd.org/discus/messages/40327/40521.html
 

Vance Barnes
Senior Member
Username: Vancebarnes

Post Number: 3141
Registered: 03-2003
Posted From: 74.7.7.66
Posted on Wednesday, April 09, 2008 - 03:16 pm:   Edit Post Delete Post View Post/Check IP    Ban Poster IP (Moderator/Admin only)

Bill's link is what I was thinking of.

I'd still recommend to drill from the inside and stop once you're through the plastic liner. Then feel around in the insulation with your finger to make sure there's not any wires you're getting ready to cut through. I found there were wires to the thermostat control near where I drilled through mine.