The wiring is done and the construction of the collar is done. Now only the final steps remain to complete my keezer and tap my first keg of homebrewed goodness. I have said this in every post I have written about my keezer build: this represents my preferences and mistakes, you can make entirely different build choices and come out the other side with a very successful keezer build.
With the collar mounted and sealed—this is important if you do not want any air leakage—I installed the shanks and faucets:
The tap handles are cheap because I really do not care to have oustentatious handles that are not reflective of the beer coming out the tap. Why have a Fat Tire Amber Ale tap handle if what is being dispensed is house pale ale?
There are two places in your build where you should absolutely not try and skimp on the quality of the components being used. The first is the faucets that are dispensing you beer. I will talk about the second in a few paragraphs.
Aren’t all beer faucets the same? From the outside, sure. You pull the lever and beer comes out. Inside a traditional beer faucet, however, a small amount of liquid will be trapped in the faucet ahead of the seal cutting off flow from the lines and the tube to drain out. Over time this beer will become a sticky mess. If you do not pour a beer for a few days you could come back to a stuck faucet.
The solution? Forward sealing faucets like the Perlick Perl. There are other forward sealing faucets on the market, but I chose to go with the Perl. The difference between a forward sealing faucet and the traditional faucet is that the seal is at the front of the faucet, so all beer is trapped behind the seal in the lines thus eliminating sticky beer goo. Trust me, it is worth the extra money to invest in high quality beer faucets.
One critical area where a lot of first-time keezer builders slip up is on the length of the lines from the keg to the faucet shank. If the lines are too short you will end up with beer that pours very fast and very foamy. Keezers are a balancing act and one of the areas that can help to balance the system is the length of your liquid lines. Some keezer builders go with ten foot lines, but I think that is a bit extreme. In this build I used two six foot lines. Most of my beer styles will either be pale ales or amber ales in the American tradition so the carbonation levels will be similar.
The second area that you should not skimp is on the regulator.
I chose a Taprite dual gauge regulator over a “no name” brown box regulator. One of the reasons for my choice was that the mechanism for adjusting the pressure was a hand operated knob rather than a screwdriver. Very handy if you open the lid to your keezer and want fine tune the pressure a little up or down.
The gas system is fairly simple. I did not use a manifold or a dual gauge regulator. I am not going to force carbonate my beer using high pressure methods. Instead, I am a fan of the “set it and forget it” school of thought where you set your beer at the serving pressure. Sure, it takes a little bit longer but I am used to the weeks waiting for bottles. Plus, I am going to keg condition most of my beer. To get a gas system for a two keg dispensing setup I used a simple T fitting off of a short line from the regulator attached to two disconnects. Very simple.
It’s completed and ready for the first pour!