Kegs cut down the waiting time for home brewers to drink their beer by skipping the bottle conditioning process. Granted, natural carbonation will give beer a different taste, but since beer out of a keg can taste just as good if not better, then why not buy or build your own kegerator?

Four main kinds of kegerators outsell and outperform the rest, mini kegerators, full size home kegerators, commercial kegerators, and outdoor kegerators. But really, most home brewers only care about full size home kegerators…

Buying a kegerator is not straightforward and many home brewers seem to always make these mistakes…

First off, the most common keg used by home brewers is a 5 gallon cornelius keg. This is a thin keg with a black top and it’s different than the kegs you buy from a liquor store or a brewery. It’s not just the look that is different, but the coupler for the gas and beverage lines is different. So before you buy or build your own kegerator, decide which kind of keg you are going to be using and avoid getting stuck with useless kegs… cause you’re not throwing away the kegerator.

Second, make sure you have an external thermostat to adjust the temperature with more precision. These thermostats are inexpensive and easy to install. The control unit goes outside and the attached probe on the inside without need for drilling or wiring.

Third most common mistake is buying or building kegerators using chrome-plated brass faucets and shanks. This material will wear out relatively quick and can give your beer off-flavors. The most desirable materials for faucets and shanks is stainless steel. Plastic is another alternative, but it’s not as lasting as stainless steel.

The use of your kegerator should be planned in advance if you are building your own. If you are building one with two or more faucets for multiple kegs, you’ll need additional components that are usually not covered in most build-your-own-keg instructions. If you just want two faucets, a simple splitter or regulator with multiple outlets will do the job. If you want more than two faucets, a gas distributor will be needed to supply enough gas to all faucets.

Some beers will require special faucets and gas systems. Stouts for example, have a stout-style faucet and will be carbonated with CO2 and Nitrogen. If this is a type of beer you will be brewing, you will need a different gas system just for this faucet alone.

The most common problem when serving beer is getting beer with too much foam and not enough liquid beer. This normally happens when pressure is set well above 12 psi and therefore turns out overly carbonated. This is a common practice known as “force carbonated” beer. While some are able to get good beer using this method, it can lead to structural failure of a kegerator system in the long run.

Another cause of foam happens after the brewer cleans out their system using hot water. Since the lines are made with vinyl, hot water will distort and cause the beer to turn into foam as it flows through the line. The only fix to this problem is 1) Don’t do it 2) If you did, replace the lines…

When building a kegerator, consider making an extra hole to run a line for your CO2. Most home brewers will simply place their CO2 tank inside the refrigerator and will therefore end up using gas twice as fast. By keeping the gas tank outside, you can double the lifespan of your CO2 although you may see some condensation happen because of the difference in temperatures.

Turning a refrigerator (big or small) into a kegerator is easier than most people think. It’s simply a matter of drilling a hole (usually about 1/8″) for your shank and then assembling the lines. To shop for kegerators, buy a conversion kit or get more instructions on building a kegerator click on the image below…

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