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Entries in Beer (37)

Saturday
Jan092010

Cold Weather Brewing

Recently, some friends of mine invited me to a brewing event.  It was scheduled for January 2nd and that time of year in the midwest, the weather can be a bit of a crap shoot.  Last year, it was 70 degrees on New Years weekend.  However, this year I awoke to single digit temperatures. 

I confirmed that they were still planning on brewing the beer (they brew outdoors in the garage) and made the trek to the event.  It was kind of like going to a football tailgate party without a football game (or deer camp for city boys, as a friend of mine put it).  There were lots of guys hanging out, BBQing, smoking cigars, and enjoying the fruits of previous brew days.  But it was COLD!  It never got above 15 degrees all day and we kept the garage at a toasty 25-30 degrees with the help of a propane heater and the burners under the brew kettle.

I don't know much about brewing beer (my partner is the beer guy, I'm the BBQ guy), but this was an impressive setup.  Most homebrewers brew beer in batches of about 5 gallons or so.  These guys have been doing this for awhile and they've built their own brewing aparatus that will brew 25 gallons per batch.

When I arrived, the wort was just about done.  It didn't take long to cool it down given the temperatures outside. 

They poured the beer into carbouys to age and it was all over but the clean up. 

Hopefully, I'll get an invitation to one of the brew days when it's a little warmer.  I'm not much for being outside for this long in the cold, unless I'm tending my BBQ pit.  ;-)

Cheers,
Braddog

 

Friday
Jun122009

Review: Saison Dupont

Those of you who have been following our site for a bit know that I have become a big fan of the Saison style of beeer. Most of those I have tried are produced domestically by regional craft brewers (so far my favorite is Kansas City's Boulevard's Smoke Stack Series Saison). I was excited to find a bottle imported from Belgium where it all began. All in all, this is a great beer. Not quite as clean of a finish as some others I have had recently, but very nice. What struck me most is the aroma that rises from the bottle when you first open it. It's a bazaar cross between a pilsner and seven-up. No kidding! There is a nice upfront fruitiness with a mild hint of hops towards the backend. Somewhat dry on the finish, but not as clean as many. There is a twinge of farmhouse funk to it, more so than the domestic examples I have tried lately. Its worth a try and no more expensive than the regional Saisons that you are likely to find. Definitely worth a try if you are exploring this style. This beer was designed for this time of year.

Cheers, -D
Tuesday
May192009

Free Black & Tan Widget from Bass

I'm a fan of Guinness year round, but many find it a bit heavy for the spring and summer months. Stout lovers have been blending beers ("Black and Tan") as a lighter alternative for over a century. They can also be layered by pouring a half a glass of pale ale or lager and then slowly topping off the glass with a Guinness or similar dark stout. This creates a very cool effect in the glass when done properly since stouts are typically less dense than lighter beers which allows it to float on top. The trick is to not splash the surface of the lighter beer enough to cause them to blend.

Pouring spoons are commonly used to help. On my last trip to the grocery store I found that Bass was offering free plastic pouring devices, so I decided to give it a shot.

The plastic device worked about as well as a pouring spoon. The holes trickled the Guinness lightly in the center. This would have turned out perfect if I had started with more Bass in the glass. Keep your eyes peeled next time you stroll by the beer isle.

Cheers,

-D

Thursday
May072009

Review: Guinness 250th Anniversary Stout

My wife had a nice surprise for me this week:   Two six packs of the new Guinness 250th Anniversary Stout (she's a keeper).  I've been itching to try this since they announced it early this year.

 

This is the first new stout Guinness has introduced to the US market since they started importing Guinness Draught in 1967.  This beer is quite a departure from the Draught and Foreign Extra Stout we have become so familiar with.  They seem to be targeting a new market with this beer.  Most notably, this beer is heavily carbonated rather than nitrogenated.  As a result, the head is big and foamy, more like a root beer float rather than a smooth and creamy stout.  It also has a much thinner mouthfeel than what you expect.  Overall, I would categorize this more as a heavily carbonated porter.  Ironically it is quite similar to my own disappointing attempts at brewing an Irish stout.

 

The aroma is very nice and roasty, and the roasty flavor also carries through to the finish with just a touch of bitterness in the end.  The head is just not what you would expect from Arthur Guinness' brewery, but it is still impressive in a carbonated way.  Overall it is a nice beer in classy packaging, but for me it just makes me appreciate true Guinness Stout more than ever!




 

•     Aroma:  A     •     Appearance:    B+    •     Taste:    B+     •

 

•     Overall:    B+






Cheers,
-D

Tuesday
Apr142009

Review: Beer Hero for iPhone

I'm a little slow in posting to the blog this week because I am in the middle of a fabulous beach vacation with my family in Navarre, FL.   Since I am unfamiliar with the area, I decided to try out an iPhone app called Beer Hero ($1.99 in the app store) which claims to locate good beer wherever you are.  Its a great concept, using the iPhone's  GPS to locate beers brewed near your current location ("near beer") as well as local brew pubs and recommended food pairings with local brews.

It prompts you for distance to include in your search and references a local database (no data connectivity required) of 1600+ beers, with ratings for 1000+ microbrews.  Unfortunately I seem to be vacationing in a beer desert.  I had to expand my search to over 100 miles to get any microbrew results, 300 miles to get anything outside of Abita, LA and to 50miles to find any brewpubs.  This might also explain the blank stare I received in a local liquor store when I asked for local beer recommendations.

The concept is brilliant, and I will probably try to get to the brewpub in Destin or Pensacola before vacation is over!

Overall the concept is brilliant but I'll give this app a B so far since the reviews seem a little thin and the brewery info relies totally on the brewery's website by launching Safari.

Cheers,
-D
Sunday
Mar222009

Oldest Bar in England?

While in the UK for business this past week some friends were kind enough to show me around a bit and help me make the most of my stay.  Those diversions will be the subject of a few posts since they typically involved a visit to local pubs!

The weather was fantastic, clear and sunny all week with temps approaching 20°C (upper 60's F).  This led to an impromptu visit to Stonehenge near sunset.  On the way back my friend took me to Winchester in Hampshire.  Winchester was the medieval capital of England and is home to their largest cathedral.  After admiring the Winchester cathedral we decided to take a stroll through the city center and grab a pint.

We stopped at the Royal Oaks Pub which claims to be "the oldest bar in England".  This is quite a claim considering that most pubs that boast a est. date predate our country's existence by a century or more.  The pub's entrance was hidden down a narrow alley next to a 15th century building with signs hung out by the street to attract patrons.   It was a very nice pub with selection of "real ales" (cask conditioned) as well as several other beers including imports and lagers.  The pub was warm, inviting, and even updated with a mix of traditional and contemporary atmosphere including video games.  No doubt it was older than most pubs I've been in but it didn't seem to live up to its claim.  I hit the Interwebs and found this reference on Frommers:

A Lager at England's Oldest Bar -- Royal Oak Pub (tel. 01962/842701), is located in a passageway next to the God Begot House on High Street. A busy pub with plenty of atmosphere, it reputedly has the oldest bar in England. The cellar of this establishment was originally built in 944 to dispense drink to Winchester's pilgrims; the present building was constructed in 1630 atop the much older foundation.

I'd wager that the pint of "Irish Whiskey Ale" I enjoyed (a guest ale pumped from that ancient cellar) was better than what they served in the 10th century.

Cheers,
-D

Monday
Mar162009

Sunday Afternoon Pub Crawl

Started off my UK trip on the right foot! Had one of the finest beers I have ever had today. It was a cask conditioned ale pumped from the cellar!  I think it was called Hopping Hare from Badger brewing.  I'll post details soon. Sorry for the poor picture quality, I just snapped these with my iPhone.
Cheers,
-D




Sunday
Mar152009

House of Beer

A co-worker and I tried to "go for one" after work Wednesday night Trouble is, we picked a bar that serves over 500 different beers and about 60 on tap. Needless to say, we had more than one... The name of this fine establishment is the International Tap House in Chesterfield MO, but we prefer to call it the House of Beer

I'm pretty sure it's the only joint in town that serves Saison on tap. I tried the Le Merle Saison and Young's Double Chocolate Stout. I would have preferred a more traditional pub atmosphere rather than its contemporary feel but being surrounded by excelent brews is atmosphere enough.

Next time I'll know better than try to go for the one and plan to stay for the duration. Fortunately that will be very soon cause they hired my new band from 8-midnight on April 3rd!

Will drum for beer...

Cheers,
-D

PS: Next post will be from a true British pub! Gotta catch my plane now!





Wednesday
Mar112009

Recipe for the Ultimate Cake?

How can you go wrong with Guinness AND Irish Whiskey?  I stumbled on this Irish gem of a dessert.   If I wasn't going to be in England next week (for business) I would have requested it as my birthday cake.  

The smokey carmel sauce sounds intriging (from the book Cheater BBQ), I wonder if you could smoke brown sugar in a smoker prior to making the sauce rather than using liquid smoke?

Here's a link to the original article from the Rochester Democrat and Chronicle from the book:  Elegant Irish Cooking.  I'll report back if I get a chance to try it first hand.

Biddy Mulligan's Dublin Cake:

Biddy Mulligan's Dublin Cake


We tested this recipe with Guinness Stout and Jameson's Irish whiskey. Be sure to use cake flour instead of all-purpose flour. Cake flour's lower protein content yields a baked good that is more tender and crumbly. Adapted from Noel C. Cullen's Elegant Irish Cooking (Lebhar-Friedman, $35).

  • 2 cups cake flour ½ teaspoon salt
  • 1 teaspoon baking soda
  • 1 teaspoon ground allspice
  • ½ pound butter, softened to room temperature
  • 1 cup brown sugar
  • 4 large eggs
  • 2/3 cup Guinness stout
  • 2 cups golden raisins
  • 1 cup dried currants
  • ½ cup chopped walnuts (optional)
  • ¼ cup Irish whiskey, plus more to taste

Preheat oven to 325 degrees. Lightly grease a 9-inch round cake pan, line the bottom with a round of parchment paper and lightly grease the parchment paper. In a medium bowl, sift together flour, salt, baking soda and allspice. Set aside.

Using a standing mixer fitted with paddle, cream butter and brown sugar on medium speed until light and fluffy. (You can also use a hand-held electric mixer.) Add eggs, one at a time, and mix well after each addition.

Fold flour mixture into egg mixture. Stir in Guinness, raisins, currants and walnuts. Pour batter into prepared cake pan and bake for 1 hour. Then turn the oven temperature down to 300 and bake for another 25 to 35 minutes, or until a toothpick inserted into the center of the cake comes out clean (or with just a crumb or two sticking).

Remove cake pan from oven and allow cake to cool in the pan completely. Pierce the surface of the cake with fork or skewer. Run a knife around the edge of the cake where it meets the pan and remove the cake from the pan. Brush the Irish whiskey over the top of the cake where the perforations were made and wrap in wax or parchment paper and store in a cool, dry area for a couple days before serving. If you like more whiskey flavor, brush the cake with an additional two tablespoons of whiskey once or twice during the waiting period. Serve with whipped cream or smoky caramel sauce (recipe follows).

Makes 8 to 12 servings.

Smoky Caramel Sauce


Caramelizing sugar requires careful attention and constant stirring to make sure you don't overcook the sugar. This recipe, from Mindy Merrell and R.B. Quinn's Cheater BBQ (Broadway, $17.95), is surprisingly quick, easy and foolproof. The secret is liquid smoke.

  • 8 tablespoons (1 stick) unsalted butter
  • 1 cup brown sugar
  • ½ cup heavy cream
  • ¼ cup corn syrup
  • ½ teaspoon liquid smoke
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract

Combine all ingredients in a small saucepan. Cook over medium heat, stirring constantly, until smooth and creamy.

Makes about 2 cups



 
Tuesday
Mar032009

Brewing Gadgets: Bazooka Screen v. False Bottom

I've made mention of my poor mash efficiency/conversion rates.  This refers to the amount of fermentable sugar that is extracted during the mash process.  The percentage is in comparison to the theoretical amount stored in grain.  My conversion rate has been as low as 50% over my last several brewing sessions.

To date, I've simply dealt with this by increasing my grain bill by about 10-15%, which costs me about $1.50 per 5 gallon batch overall.  If I were a big brewery, this would be a problem.  However, as a casual brewer its just a matter of pride.  I constantly hear of fellow homebrewers achieving efficiencies over 90%.  I'm skeptical since 100% is theoretical in strict laboratory conditions with small amounts of grain, but that could just be sour grapes.  Anyways, 80% seems achievable so I still have a long way to go.

Two things I've speculated would make a significant difference in my brewery's eficiency are changing from a batch to a fly sparge, and upgrading my mash tun with a new false bottom.  I'm addicted to the simplicity and time savings of a batch sparge so I am saving that for another day. However, this weekend I was greeted at my local homebrew shop that a new false bottom had arrived that would fit the 10gal Rubbermaid cooler I use as a mash tun!

When I first started all-grain brewing I installed a stainless steel ball valve and bulkhead to replace the standard valve in my cooler to control the outflow of wort.  I then needed to find something to allow the wort to flow out while leaving the grains behind. 

Popular options include a braided metal hose (like those used for washer hookups with the liner removed)  or a false bottom.  I couldn't find a false bottom at the time and was concerned about how to keep hose braid material clean, so I turned to the "bazooka screen" which amounts to a copper T connected to tubes of stainless screen material crimped at the ends.  This worked great except I could not get the last inch plus of sticky goodness out of my mash tun since it sits up off of the bottom of the cooler.  I figure this amounted to the loss of at least a couple quarts of high octane wort.

This week I tried a stainless false bottom which is concave and sit flat on the bottom of my cooler at the edges with an outlet for the wort in the center.  The grain bed sits on top of this and liquid is forced via gravity and pressure from the grain into the valve assembly.  Works like a champ!

I'm happy to report that after removing the spent grains, there was no measurable liquid left in the bottom of my mash tun and my overall efficiency has improved 8% while recycling the wort through the grain bed only once (compared to twice or more in the recent past).  This will also reduce my opportunity of extracting bitter tannins from the grain hulls.  Looking forward to more batches to see if this trend improves.  I will plan to use the bazooka screen in a future brew kettle conversion to help filter out hop leaves.

Any other ideas on how to improve mash efficiency?

Cheers,
-D

Sunday
Mar012009

Brewing for Necessity

Today I found myself brewing for necessity after coming to the end of my Pil-Ale keg sooner than planned. What a travesty, I was out of beer! After the initial shock, I collected myself, headed to my local homebrew shop and threw together a grain bill. Here's what I came up with:

Pretty standard Brown Ale, nice and simple!
11lbs of British Two-Row malted Barley
.5lbs American Crystal Malt 40L (for color and caramel goodness)
.5lbs American Crystal Malt 120L (more color and flavor)
Long mash
30min @ 130-135
60min @ 154
30min @ 158
Mash out @ 160-168 30min
75min boil
2oz Fuggles Hops (pellets)
1.25 oz for 60 min
.50 oz for 30 min
.25 oz for 10 min
SafAle S-05 dry ale yeast (no time for propagation)

Surprisingly this turns out to be my 15th batch over the last 2 years. So far it looks, smells, and tastes great! Original gravity is 1.048. Even got a little better brewing efficiency thanks to a new false bottom I picked up while at the shop. More on that next post..

I'll keep you posted as this beer develops. Could use some help naming it...

Cheers,
-D

Saturday
Feb212009

Book Review: Alaskan Bootlegger's Bible

You may have noticed some Amazon.com links on our site.  We signed up for their affiliate program in hopes of offsetting a portion of our hosting fees and fund future adventures to blog about.  Mostly this has resulted in me buying more stuff from Amazon!  The latest example is this book that kept popping up in the sidebar rotation.  I couldn't resist the name and I'm glad I didn't.

The Alaskan Bootlegger's Bible by Leon W. Kania is a very amusing read starting out with a brief introduction to life in rural Alaska.  It is full of anecdotal references to life as a a bootlegger while providing very practical advice and recipes for everything from Dandelion Wine to Moonshine and Bathtub Gin.  There are at least a hundred beer, wine, and liquor recipes in this book, and nothing pretentious about it.  While I don't think I'll ever make milk wine, I appreciate this book's bravery in exploring all things fermentable.

As a DIYer I also enjoy the simple instructions and tips for building our your brewery and/or distillery (including several still designs) from everyday objects all while maintaining an emphasis on safety.

This is not a technical book by any means, but it will get the wheels turning if your adventurous.  Its also a fun window into the history of homebrewing and bootlegging moonshine.

Cheers,
-D

Tuesday
Feb102009

Beerconomics?

Conventional wisdom says that the beer and liquor industries are near recession-proof.  Recent numbers from the industry suggest that the beer industry is at least recession resistant.  Check out this weeks story from

Where is going the stock market ?????

NPR's "All Things Considered"

"the beer industry is one of the few sectors not having its worst year since the Great Depression.

...Sales are up 10 percent in January," says Josh Wilson, .... "And I think perhaps people are giving up other things before beer."


With that as a backdrop, please help me reconcile today's call of action from the Brewers Association:

With the introduction of HR 836, the Brewers Excise and Economic Relief Act of 2009, seeking a 50% reduction in the federal excise tax rates for all brewers, America’s small brewers have an unparalleled opportunity to influence policy and strengthen their businesses. We need to build as much support as possible for this bill to give it the best chance of becoming a reality. Please contact your U.S. Congressman and ask that he/she sign on as a co-sponsor of HR 836.


I'm all for tax relief where there is an opportunity to stimulate the economy in a meaningful way, but it seems there are other sectors of our economy that are more desperate for stimuli.  Smells like InBev trying to accelerate their ROI on the A-B acquisition.

Pardon my rant...

-D

Tuesday
Feb032009

Making fuel from leftover brewer's yeast!

Here's an interesting idea for recycling brewer's yeast.  Looks like we'll all have to drink more beer to lower the price of gas  : )  -D

The inventor of the EFuel100 MicroFueler home ethanol maker has signed on Sierra Nevada Brewing to make ethanol from beer dregs.
E-Fuel on Tuesday said that the beer company will start testing EFuel's refrigerator-sized portable ethanol refineries in the second quarter of this year using discarded beer yeast as a feedstock for ethanol.
[ad#goog-links]

E-Fuel last year unveiled its $9,995 home ethanol machine which ferments a mix of water and sugar into ethanol. Ethanol is mixed into gasoline at 10 percent. Flex-fuel cars can run on E85, an 85 percent blend of ethanol and gasoline.

Sierra Nevada every year generates 1.6 million gallons of "bottom of the barrel" beer yeast waste, which it now sells to farmers as feed. The MicroFueler will be able to raise the alcohol content in that mix to 15 percent and remove water.

Initially, Sierra Nevada plans to use the ethanol in its own vehicles. Once it has excess fuel, it will look to supply employees and distribute through E-Fuel's distribution network, a company representative said.

In a statement, Sierra Nevada Brewing president and founder Ken Grossman said the MicroFueler has the potential to improve the environment by reducing waste and to make fuel domestically.


more links:

http://www.efuel100.com/

http://news.cnet.com/8301-11128_3-10155476-54.html?tag=newsEditorsPicksArea.0[ad#post-ad]

Wednesday
Jan282009

Beer Review: Boulevard Saison

KC based Boulevard Brewing has a lot more to offer than the wheat beers they are best known for.  They have introduced a line of specialty brews they call the Smokestack Series.  My first exposure to the series was on the grocery store shelf.  They're bottled in 750ml bottles with champagne style corks.  Appreciating the nod towards fine Belgium brews, I picked up a Saison.  It set me back about $9, but I might pay more if I could find it again!

This beer has an intriguing aroma.  Spice notes from the Belgium yeast are prominent but not one of four of us tasting it described it the same.  The most curious description was "reminds me of antique furniture, like opening an antique armoire...in a good way"  The appearance is golden in color with a nice full yet light head.  The flavor was the highlight.  Very refreshing yet complex.  Subtle fruit and spice notes from the yeast, a very smooth mouth feel, and lip smacking good finish.

Saison literally  means "season" and is essentially an inverse of the German Märzen.  Saisons are traditionally brewed in the winter for consumption in warmer months.  This beer would be excellent on a hot summer day.   I'm on a mission now for a homebrew Saison recipe so I can be prepared this summer.

Try this beer if you can find it, I think you'll be glad you did.   Yes, its pricey but more memorable than a lot of $9 wine bottles.  This is my first straight A review...


 

•     Appearance:  A     •     Aroma:  A     •     Taste:  A     •

 

•     Overall:  A     •

 

Cheers,

-D

Friday
Jan232009

Homebrew Recipe: Pil-Ale Ice

Here's a happy accident.  I recently brewed a batch of beer and only had access to pilsner base malt.  I cobbled together an all-grain batch using the following:


12lbs Pilsner malt
1lb Crystal malt (20L)
1oz Kent Gouldings hops (pellets) -60min
1oz Fuggles hops (whole) - 30min
1/2 oz leftover homegrown Chinook hops (whole) -15min
SafAle American Ale yeast (dry)

I mashed for 90min at 154° and original gravity hit 1.050 despite sub 60% efficiency.

It fermented in the Ferminator for two weeks at 66-68°  to a final gravity of 1.014 leaving about 4.7%abv.   I kegged it, force carbonated it and served it for the first time just before Christmas.  Its quite a tasty brew.   Even one of my my bud light drinking friends asked for a second glass.  Very pronounced pilsner type aroma with a little wheat-like fruitiness up front.  The beer finishes surprisingly dry with a nice hop finish.  The beer turned out great, but the appearance was cloudy (which makes it look like a wheat beer too).  The head retention just plain sucked.

Then, I accidently froze the beer keg while converting my mini fridge to a kegerator!  I was pissed and figured the batch was doomed.  After thawing the keg and re-carbonating it I found that the head retention vastly improved and the beer cleared up considerably after the first few pours.  My assumption is that some of the particulate matter and yeast that didn't flocculate was shocked to the bottom by the freezing process and was removed in the first few pours.  I can't explain the difference in head retention but it is dramatic.  Any ideas?

The beer is quite tasty with a more subtle fruitiness.  Significantly improved by chance!

Cheers,
D

Wednesday
Jan142009

Can you freeze a beer in under 5 seconds?  

You bet!

This may just prove that I'm too easily amused.  I found this video while reading similar accounts to my accidental freezing of a homebrew keg.  It has parlayed into a set of instant crystallization experiments for my fourth grader's science fair project (It works great with Coca-Cola too).

Move a beer or soda from the fridge to the freezer for a couple of hours (or just put it outside for a few minutes if its as cold as it is here tonight).  The liquid will become super-cooled (below freezing) but stay a liquid.   The pressure of the carbonation prevents crystals from forming until the bottle gets cold enough or disturbed enough to release co2 bubbles and trigger instant crystallization.  Open the bottle carefully, then pop the top of the bottle with another if you want it to freeze from the bottom up or hit the bottle on the counter if you would like it to freeze from the top down.

It's fascinating to watch in a clear bottle!  This also reduces any guilt since most good beers don't come in clear bottle.  Try not to forget and leave a bottle in too long because it will freeze, crack and make a big mess.

Enjoy,

-D




Saturday
Jan102009

Comfort Brew

Guinness hardly needs a review since it has been a staple since the 18th century.    Its a rare example of a mass produced, heavily marketed beer that still has street cred.  For me, its as welcome as a home cooked meal after a long workday.

Guinness has done a great job of capturing the pub experience in their latest Guinness Draught Can.  Its a 14.9 oz package with a nitrogen filled sphere or "beer widget" inside that releases the classic beer gas as you open it.  Quickly turn the can up and pour directly down the center of a pint glass and you will have a remarkable facsimile of Guinness on tap.  Complete with cascading bubbles!  Don't hesitate, the 14.9 oz leaves just the right amount of headroom in a pint glass and the velvety head will cover the beer all the way to the bottom.  Drink and repeat!  The cans are pretty expensive at the supermarket fetching as much as $7-8 for a 4-pack.  Luckily both Sam's and Costco offer 18-packs for about $20.


 

Appearance:  A+ Aroma:  B+  Taste:  A 

 

•     Overall:  A      •




Cheers,

D

Wednesday
Dec312008

Happy New Year!

Irish toast:
In the New Year, may your right hand always be stretched out in friendship, never in want.


Wishing you and yours a Happy and prosperous New Year!

Prost!

-D

Tuesday
Dec302008

...DIY Kegerator!

As I mentioned in my last post, I decided to tackle converting my mini fridge to a kegerator this past weekend. I am pleased to report that this project was much easier than I expected. It still requires some tweaking to dial in the perfect draft beer but I think that would hold true with most commercial kegerators as well.

After reading a couple of other accounts and DIY instructions online, I purchased a single draft tower on eBay. There are a lot of options out there ranging from a plain chrome single faucet from about $60 to gorgeous multi-tap towers for several hundred dollars. I opted for the economical single faucet model as an entry level solution. Once I had the tower in hand is was a simple matter of getting up the guts to drill into the top of my mini-fridge (that took a while since I am quite fond of my fridge as-is).

One of the great things about that model fridge is that it has a built in plastic top which gives it a nice finish as a stand alone unit. It also stands alone a counter height with the added trim.

First task was to remove the plastic top which was held on by a couple of screws in the front near the hinge mounts and four across the back. The plastic top is reinforced with a series of ribs, I removed the ribs in the center square by cutting them out with a utility knife to make room for a block of wood to secure the base of the tower to. There is a circle in the direct center of the underside of the top that I used to drill a pilot hole to mark my starting point for drilling through the top for the beer line.

After cutting a piece of wood to fit the center, I set the cover back in place an it was time for the big drill. I used a hole saw for drilling doorknob holes that had had laying around. It wasn't deep enough to make it through all the materials, so I took it a layer at a time, the wood being the most difficult overall. Once the pilot bit made it to the metal top I was able to move the plastic top out of the way. Once through the metal top, the insulation was a bit messy but cut like butter and then their was only the interior liner which cut pretty smoothly as well.

Time to breath a sigh of relief! Downhill from here. Center the draft tower over the hole and secure it to the wood with 6-8 screws and drop the beer line(s) down into the fride and reattach the top to the fridge.

My draft tower was set up with a hex nut end for a sanke keg (standard commercial kegs). The simplest solution seemed to be to cut the hex end off of the beer line and replace it with a ball lock for a corny keg so I did just that.

Poof, my ordinary minifridge is now a kegerator! Next up, experimentation with the length of the beer line and its impact on the amount of foam...

Cheers,

-D