How to Build a Better Kegerator
The key to building a better kegerator is by adding functionality.
Your kegerator can be so much more than just a cooler with a tap - it can become a homebrew workstation. By adding gas manifolds, quick disconnects, and regulators in the right configuration, you give yourself a huge boost in both functionality and convenience. Couple this with software that mimics professional brewery management and you really got yourself a capable kegerator.
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Download our FREE pdf guide below for a more detailed plan on how to improve a basic kegerator
The guide above will give you a more in depth look at the design, but we'll sum things up below. This project requires a lot of parts, make sure you're tracking your brewing expenses.
At the heart of this kegerator design is the gas manifold. The manifold splits your gas lines into various high and low pressure lines by using multiple secondary regulators. Each regulator gives you the flexibility to get the perfect pressure where you need it.
The bulk of the manifold sits outside of the kegerator. Below is a skeleton picture before any gas lines are added.
The left two lines get female quick disconnects. This makes switching out accessory lines super easy and convenient.
On the right, there are two regulators, one for low pressure and one for high pressure. These low and high pressure lines are run through the collar to the inside of the kegerator.
On the inside, there's a low pressure manifold for serving. The high pressure line is for carbonating.
The left side of the exterior gas manifold has two places designed for attaching and detaching accessory lines. We have three accessory lines that we use, but there are no rules here - If you can think of other lines that would be useful, build them!
Basic Keg Line
This is our go to accessory line. It can be used on the high pressure line, or the regulated high/low line. We use it for purging kegs, pushing beer through the bottling gun at low pressures, and pressurizing kegs for storage. I bet you could find other uses for this one.
Pressure Transfer Line
This is a special line we put together for doing closed pressure transfers from the fermenter to keg. This line goes on the regulated accessory line so we can dial the pressure down to just 3 or 4 psi. The end attaches to the top of the fermenter with a special connection we put together. Again, these lines are DIY, you'll have to configure them to match your equipment.
Bottling Gun Purge Line
This line gets attached to the high pressure line, then to the purge input on the bottling gun.
Remember - improving your kegerator is about adding functionality. In this design, we've done two things with our draft lines to do just that.
The first is adding quick disconnects to each line. This might seem unnecessary, but consider the benefits:
You can easily detach lines to deep clean them (such as soaking in a bucket of PBW).
You can detach lines that are not in use. This helps de-clutter the inside of the kegerator.
If you have different lengths of draft lines, you can easily switch them around to meet the needs of the beer you are pouring. Is your American Lager coming out a little foamy? Take off the short line and connect a longer line that will reduce the problem.
The second way you can add functionality through draft lines is by adding secondary draft lines. These are lines that are not always in use, but can easily be "turned on" by simply connecting a keg.
Not sure why you would need this? Check out our article on How to Build an Outdoor Draft Beer Bar to see these secondary lines in action.
You can add even more functionality to your homebrew kegerator by running a simple Windows application we developed called Keg Punk. This app runs on any Windows desktop, laptop, or tablet and can be securely downloaded and installed through the Windows Store here.
Keg Punk, at its heart, is an inventory system. It helps brewers track kegs, manage taps, and creates a digital tap list that updates based on what's on tap.
This is NOT a keg volume tracker. There are no sensors involved. Rather than focusing on individual keg volumes, Keg Punk helps you manage and learn about your "cellar" as a whole and the history of what you've put on tap. While an inventory system may not sound like something a homebrewer needs, the app will help you to maintain the quality of the beer in your kegs by helping you track how long each keg has been in the cooler and on draft.
Keg Punk is not just another shiny thing you can add to your brewing setup...It's a functional tool that helps you improve your draft beer management.
Improve your kegerator by adding functionality. It's possible to take your single-purpose kegerator and turn it into a multi-purpose homebrew workstation. It just takes some creativity and a few gadgets.
I hope this post has given you some ideas or inspiration on how you can add functionality to your setup. If you like this post, check out more posts from our blog. If you're looking for some cool, useful, and affordable brewing apps, check out our software page!