Building a Keggerator/Keezer – Part 1 – Temperature Control

For a while now I’ve wanted to convert a chest freezer into what is basically a fridge for kegs – a ‘Keggerator’, or ‘Keezer’.

Having the nice flat, sturdy bottom makes the chest freezer ideal for beer kegs, but they can’t be left as a freezer since frozen beer is no good.

To get around this I bought a digital thermostat controller from ebay (no point putting up a link as ebay links don’t last long, but search for something like ‘Digital Temperature Controller Sensor Thermostat Control’ ) – cost a whole £9.

The freezer was free – donated by the parent of a friend who no longer wanted it, and was going to chuck it away.

First job was to remove the vented side panel to see where I could fit the controller without damaging any component of the freezer

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There was plenty of room below the front control panel.

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I carefully cut out the hole using my dremel with a metal cutting disc.

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Check for fit…

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The basics of the wiring are to cut into the main power supply, before it reaches anything, and fit a connector block. From there the earth and neutral continue to their original destinations, but the live goes to the controller, and the return live from the controller goes to where live originally went.

From the connector block we also need an additional live and neutral feed to go to the controller for its power supply.

Finally the temperature sensor needs connected to the controller.

The precise way you may choose to wire this should you attempt it will depend on the freezer and your particular controller.

Since I was adding cable I was sure to add enough that I could wire up the controller outside the freezer where it was much easier and accessible, then slide it back into place and secure with the orange slide clips that just slide up the side and press against the inside wall, holding the unit in place.

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With the power switched on and the temperature set on the controller (again, how to do that will depend on your own controller) the freezer sprang into action and began chilling.

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Once it hit the target temp, the power to the freezer was switched off by the controller, and only once the temp rose by 2 degrees did it switch back on, again only until the target temp was reached.

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The freezer has a red ‘Alarm’ light – obviously intended to illuminate to warn that the freezer is above, well, freezing. Since it’s going to be like that all the time now, I disconnected the neutral plug from the alarm light, and that stopped that showing, but didn’t stop the freezer running.

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With the testing complete it was time to put the wiring covers back in place and get a keg in the Keezer.

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Next step is to work out a way to use my beer engines with the Keezer…. it’s taken me a good few months to get around to doing this bit, so I wouldn’t hold your breath for part 2, but it will be coming soon(ish)

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Father’s Day brew – Big Kenny

This is my 6th brew so far this year, and normally I don’t bother with pics or a blog as time is usually against me, but since it was Father’s Day, and I was given time and space to get on with it by the Mrs (who is usually badgering me to ditch the brewing in favour of some random job she thinks is more important..) I managed to get a few photos as I went along.

So, here we go :

Pale Malt, Torrified Wheat, Crystal Malt, Roast Barley and Chocolate Malt

Fly sparging

Collecting the wort

Boil well underway

Post boil hops steeping

Chiller connected up and running

Draining the boiler

Fermenter filling up

Plenty of hops in this brew

Bang on the target OG :mrgreen:

Giving it a gentle stir….

Rehydrated Nottingham yeast looking happy

Salad spinner basket is dam handy for catching the hops when cleaning out the boiler

The elements looking manky after boiling sweet sticky wort for an hour and a half

5 minutes of soaking in a solution of citric acid and they’re sparkling like new again

And that’s it – brew is one of two (kegged a Cotleigh Barn Owl this morning) intended for my father-in-law’s 70th birthday party next month. Hope the brews are as popular with the extended family as they were last time I provided beer for a family event – it went down a storm then!

Christmas Porter

Hoping to create a gently spiced porter style beer for Christmas.

Grains – Pale malt, crystal, wheat, and a good dose of roast barley.

Loads of challenger hops for bittering, and some styrian goldings for aroma

Malts are still pretty cold despite bringing them in from the garage 3 hours ago… so upping the mashing liquor temperature to compensate.

Mashing in – looks a bit ‘mocha’… So, that’s it all tucked up in the insulated mash tun, so time for me to head to bed and let the grains steep in the hot water while I get some much needed kip 😀

First runnings are suitably dark

mmmmm – black gold :mrgreen:

Jugging the wort into the boiler, and onto a load of Challenger hops :mrgreen:

Start of the boil, all the hops are floating, but at least I’ve avoided the dreaded foam up – boil over 😀

After 15 minutes of boiling, the hop bed has broken up and the hops are circulating freely in the rolling boil

boil complete and got the chiller running 😎

Last few pics :

running the wort into the fermenter along with a little mixed spice and some fresh grated nutmeg

Gave the wort a damned good stir, pitched the yeast and chucked in a cinnamon stick
Stirred up

OG is 11 points higher than target… Brew has been a bit too efficient – if I liquor back to the target OG I’ll have a very full fermenter… :hmm:

ended up liquoring back by 4 litres to get an OG of 1045 – nice compromise between target OG and fermenter volume