Sunday, December 26, 2010
So imagine my surprise when late one night up pops a full kegerator system with an old school 1930's fridge for $100...not only that, the co2 tank is a 20 pounder (most of the $200 systems come with 5 pounders). The problem is that it is in Gilcrest, Colorado. Gilcrest, in case you don't know, is about 50 miles north of Denver, about 3/4 the way to Greeley up US Highway 85. I tossed and turned all night, and in the morning on a whim, decided to call on it.....and it was available, but I couldn't get out there until later in the evening. I expected it to be long gone, and from the sound from the guy who was selling it, it had a lot of interest (no wonder, it is cheap). I was surprised that it was available that evening, so I went to see it.
It was a beast. It was owned by an old guy, who hadn't used it in 2 or 3 years, but it was set up by his son (who was a refrigeration mechanic) so it had good parts. The fridge itself was a Westinghouse and yes it was from the 1930's or 40's, maybe 50's, it was beat to hell and dented on the top but it still ran. I got the fridge, the 20# tank with some CO2 left, a CO2 regulator, a Sanke tap, a chrome plated brass faucet, a Miller Lite tap handle, a stainless steel drip tray, an empty keg, and all the hoses and fittings....for $100. A similar system purchased new from Northern Brewer with a 5# tank and no fridge costs $263. The 20# tank new would be $125, the regulator $75, the Sankey Tap$30, and even the drip tray new would be $30 and the empty keg will save me $50 when I go to get a new keg of beer....probably a $250-$300 value for $100. I was feeling pretty good.
But, it gets better. After hauling the fridge down to my home and muscling it into the garage for the night, I discovered that the fridge weighs well over 200 pounds! I used to work for an appliance retailer and I used to move appliances by hand all the time, but I could barely move this 4 1/2' tall fridge. I decided that there was no way this was going to fit in my basement. I have my chest freezer that I converted for use as a lagering/fermentation chamber. I can use that with very little modification.
So, I put the fridge on Craigslist....and sold it in an hour for $40. I guess I should have asked for more, because it was gone fast and I had multiple people calling for it. So, I got a fridgeless kegerator system for $60. After cleaning all the hardware, I purchased new hoses, and new connectors, as well as the stuff to put homebrew in (the 5 gallon Corny Keg and connectors), but also bought a gas manifold to use both kegs (and future unbought kegs) simultaneously. All told, I spent another $100. All I need are a couple of two by sixes, a keg of beer, and another faucet or two, some time and I am in business.
I hope to rig it for use with one commercial keg by my birthday.