Homebrew Kits: How to Choose the Right Kit for You

Having the right equipment is crucial to a successful home brewing. Rather than attempting to search for all of the necessary components individually, choosing to get a comprehensive Equipment Kit is the best place to start. That way, you know you’ll have everything you need right there and won’t be scrambling for parts come brew time.

We’ve put together an assortment of equipment kits that range from basic to complete, all created with the needs of all types of homebrewers in mind. We’ll take you through each package to help you decide which equipment kit is the perfect one for both your brewing style and your wallet.

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Troubleshooting Your Kegerator

If you are experiencing problems with your kegerator, please refer to our troubleshooting guide below. If your problem is not found below or you are unable to correct an issue you find on the chart, please leave a comment and/or give us a call at 1-866-950-8710.

Issue Possible Cause Solution
Cloudy Beer:
Beer is hazy and not clear
Temperature too low Increase the temperature of the refrigerator to 36°F or higher.
Faucet partially opened Turn the tap off, then open it quickly and fully.
Keg has something warm on it Remove any item that is not cold from the keg.
Flat Beer:
Head comes out like large soap bubbles and disappears quickly. Beer tastes less fresh
Greasy glasses (grease can come from fried foods, lipstick, or dirty hands) Wash glasses thoroughly after use and allow to air dry. Do not dry wipe. Cold rinse glasses before pouring beer. Designate beer-only glasses.
Poor pour Be careful about the distance of the faucet to the glass. A perfect pour will give you about a 1/2″ to 1″ thick tight head on top.
Low pressure Check if the CO2 tank is on and is not empty. Check for obstructions in the air lines. If the PSI is too low, raise it a little bit at a time. (Be careful as the regulator is very sensitive). Regulators need to be replaced every 4-6 years after wear.
Bad or Off-Tasting Beer:
Beer is bitter and has an unpleasant bite.
Dirty beer line or faucet Clean the faucet and lines after you finish off every keg.
Dirty air line Replace the air line if it looks to be contaminated. Otherwise, clean it like you would the beer line and rinse it clean.
Old beer Toss the keg, and get a new one.
Foamy Beer:
You pour and it comes out all foam and no beer.
Warm Beer Regulate the refrigerator’s temperature to be at 38-42° Fahrenheit
Excessive CO2 Lower the CO2 pressure going into the keg. Turn off the CO2tank, pull the relief valve for about 3 seconds, wait about 15 minutes before turning it back on.
Old beer lines Replace your beer lines.
Clogged faucet Remove the faucet, soak in hot water and clean with a brush every few weeks.
Poor pour Be careful about the distance of the faucet to the glass. A perfect pour will give you about a 1/2″ to 1″ thick tight head on top.
Worn down parts in faucet Check for worn washers and replace as needed. Check the faucet to make sure it opens fully. Replace the faucet or it’s parts as needed.
Warm beer lines The full length of beer tubing needs to be refrigerated. Beer lines longer than 6 feet may cause issues as well.

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How to Brew Beer

Home brewing beer has been said to be part science and part art. There is a precise and calculated aspect to the process but at the same time the “rules” and any possible confines can be hazy, presenting grounds for personal interpretation and the creation of a truly unique beer. Sounds like it could be difficult, right? Well, it’s not.

Brewing beer really comes down to a simple process that has roots as far back as 12,000 years. You essentially heat water and grain (and/or extract from grain), boil the mixture with hops, cool the mixture, ferment the mixture using yeast and then carbonate. Easy enough, right? Well, now we’ll go into a little bit more depth within each step.

The Main Steps of Homebrewing:

  1. Cleaning and Sanitizing
  2. The Brew
  3. After the Brew
  4. Fermentation
  5. Bottling and Kegging

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Step-by-Step: Kegerator Assembly Guide

This is a general reference guide for assembling and installing a standard full size kegerator. Depending on the kegerator brand, make, and model, slight modifications may be needed in the assembly and installation.

For a visual reference of parts that are numbered in parentheses in this installation guide, please view the kegerator diagram below.

Listed Parts:
  1. Faucet Handle
  2. Faucet
  3. Beer Tower
  4. Guard Rail
  5. Drip Tray
  6. Regulator
  7. CO2 Tube
  8. CO2 Cylinder
  9. CO2 Holder
  10. Keg Coupler
  11. Metal Keg Floor Support
  12. Caster Washer (x2)
  13. Casters (x4)
  14. Neoprene Washer
  15. Snap-On Clamps (x2)
  16. Wire Shelves (not pictured) (x2)
  17. Half Barrel Keg (not included)
  18. Faucet Wrench (not pictured)

Kegerator Parts Guide
For a more in-depth review of what each component is, please refer to our Kegerator Parts article.


Step-by-Step Instructions for Assembling Your Kegerator

Follow these step-by-step instructions for assembling your kegerator and installing/tapping a keg inside of it.

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Guide to Regulating Keg Compression

This regulator adjustment guide will help you with those final steps in assuring that your kegerator provides you with the highest quality tasting beer by walking you step by step through the regulator adjustment process.

Regulator Guide
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How to Use a Hydrometer in 4 Easy Steps

Hydrometer

What is a Hydrometer?

A hydrometer is a basic tool that is used to measure the ratio of a sample liquid’s density to the density of water. In home brewing, it is a necessary tool that will show you the degree to which the yeast is converting sugar into ethanol, ultimately helping you gauge the health and success of your beer’s fermentation.

Why do I need a Hydrometer to make beer?

Homebrewing isn’t a cakewalk. There is a lot of time and effort that goes into it and there are many opportunities for things to go wrong. Perhaps the most important (and delicate) stage within beer making is fermentation. That is exactly why a hydrometer is so important, as it is the device that will tell you how the fermentation process is going. A hydrometer can be the single tool that alerts you of issues during fermentation, allowing you to make adjustments as needed.
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8 Helpful Homebrew Components You Should Consider Buying

So you have your homebrew equipment kit and you’re ready to make some delicious beer. Or so you think. Though equipment kits come with everything necessary to get you through your first few brews, after becoming more familiar with the process, you may want to consider grabbing a few extra components that can help make the process even easier.

1. Improved Temperature Monitoring

Bi-Metal Thermometer

Maintaining proper temperatures throughout the brewing process is critical. If your wort gets too hot or is not hot enough the entire batch can be ruined, and unfortunately, you wouldn’t know it until it was too late.

We recommend getting a trust-worthy brewing thermometer, such as a Bi-Metal Thermometer. This thermometer is able to give you faster readings than your average mercury or silver-based device, which is particularly helpful during the brewing and cooling stages.
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18 Frequently Asked Questions About Kegerators

Here at Kegerator.com, we know everything there is to know about kegerators and draft beer dispensers. Because of this we tend to receive a lot of questions from people that are interested in buying or troubleshooting their kegerator. Here are the eighteen most frequently asked questions that we receive.

Kegerator
  1. What is a kegerator?
  2. What are the different types of kegerators?
  3. What are the different types of kegs?
  4. What parts are included with a kegerator?
  5. What size keg will fit in my kegerator?
  6. What kind of coupler do I need?
  7. What do I need to tap my keg?
  8. At what temperature should I store my keg?
  9. How long does a keg stay fresh?
  10. How many kegs can I tap on one CO2 tank?
  11. Can I use my kegerator outside?
  12. How long should I wait before using my kegerator?
  13. Is a kegerator freestanding or built-in?
  14. Can a freestanding kegerator be built in?
  15. Can I build my own kegerator?
  16. How do I troubleshoot my kegerator?
  17. How do I defrost my kegerator?
  18. How do I clean my kegerator?

If you have any other questions about kegerators, please leave them in the comments down below or give our customer service department a call at 1-866-950-8710.
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The Importance of Cleaning Your Draft Beer Components

Cleaning your draft components is crucial. Failure to do so can lead to buildups of yeast, mold, and beer deposits in your lines and ultimately result in funky tasting beer. Although your first cleaning may seem tedious, it gets easier. As long as you know what to clean and what tools to use to clean it, equipment cleaning will become a quick and easy routine you hardly think twice about.

What Components Do I Need to Clean?

  • Faucet(s)
  • Keg Coupler(s)
  • Beer Line(s)

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A Beer Geek’s Guide to Storing & Serving Temperatures

As you may know, heat is one of beer’s big enemies. It can promote oxidation, which is what happens when natural compounds within the beer react with oxygen leading to off flavors in your beer. Heat can also result in flavor loss altogether, creating a bland product that is in no way reflective of the beer in its original state. It can even age a beer at a more rapid rate and for beer stored at various temperatures with other conditions remaining the same, at 100°F the beer will remain okay for about a week, two months when stored at 70°F and for up to a year at 40°F. Simply put, the lower the temperature the longer the beer is preserved.

Ice Cold Beer

From storage tips to serving temperatures, let’s take a closer look at the many factors that can have an affect on the overall quality of your beer.

Avoid Both Heat & Light

So, how much heat can you expose your beer to? Well, as a general guideline, if you don’t have any more room in the fridge, room temperature storage is acceptable so long as the beer is kept out of the reach of another enemy — light.

Light can have a far more detrimental impact than heat, resulting in off flavors. Though, the thing about heat, as previously mentioned, is that it ages the beer more quickly. So, if you plan on storing the beer for an extended period of time before cracking it open, it’s advisable to keep it at a lower temperature.

Storing Beer: Kegerator vs. Refrigerator

A refrigerator will certainly get the job done, but if you don’t have the space then you’ll need to find a better solution. In this case, a kegerator is the optimal solution as it provides an environment that is always cool and dark but unlike your household refrigerator, the door isn’t opened nearly as often helping to avoid frequent temperature changes.

However, those with kegerators should be far more mindful of its interior temperature than how you would be with a household refrigerator mainly because of the contents. Chances are a keg of beer will last and sit longer in the kegerator than a gallon of milk or last night’s leftovers would in the fridge.

Tips for Monitoring Your Kegerator Temperature

To ensure that your kegerator is holding the proper temperatures, you should first make sure that it is properly sealed. Over time, the insulation may move or need adjusting or replacement so make sure that the door is properly sealing all the way around at all times.

EdgeStar KC7000SSTWIN Kegerator

Also, ensure that the temperature inside the unit is actually what it should be. Sometimes the thermostats are in need of calibration and may not actually be cooling to the temperatures that you think they are. Some people place an air thermometer within the cabinet to get a read, but the best way to gauge what the temperature of your beer is, is to place a glass of water inside the fridge and then place a liquid thermometer in the water. You can even use your brewing thermometer.

Just make sure that if it’s a metal thermometer that the probe is not touching the glass itself as it could provide an inaccurate reading. This will ensure that your beer is being stored at the right temperature but what about being served at the right temperature.

To take things to the next level, there are high-end kegerators that include built-in tower coolers. These divert air from the forced air-cooling unit within the fridge through a tube and up through the draft tower. This ensures that the draft lines within the tower are properly cooled just as the rest of the main fridge compartment. Having cool draft lines greatly reduces the amount of foam that you will get on the first pour or two. While foam is undesirable because you cannot really drink it (foam is only about 25% beer), more importantly it is a premature release of the beer’s carbon dioxide. The lack of carbonation will have a negative effect on the mouthfeel, flavor, aroma and overall drinking experience of that beer—and you certainly won’t be enjoying it as the brewer intended.

Why You Shouldn’t Over-Chill Your Beer

Now, with all this talk about proper cooling, it’s important to understand that you can also over-chill your beer. When the temperature of beer is reduced below 38°F it will retain a noticeably greater amount of CO2 which will result in more bubbly beer. This bubbliness may not be right for the beer and can create a mouthfeel that is unfit for the style.

Additionally, beer at exceptionally low temperatures will numb your taste buds and prevent you from getting a full flavor experience. Though, as long as you are at or above 38°F, different styles of beer can call for different temperatures.

Different Styles, Different Temperatures

To make it even more complex, not every style of beer should be served at the same temperature. Each unique style has its own recommended serving temp, but for the most part, they all fall in the three ranges below.

Beer Styles
  • Lighter-bodied beers, such as lagers and light ales, should be served within a temperature range of 38° to 42°F. This maintains good carbonation levels which pairs well with the crispness of beers of this type.
  • Slightly heavier beers, such as dark lagers and ales, should typically be served around 42-46°F which allows for the perfect blend of a lighter mouthfeel and the slightly more substantial body of the beer.
  • Heavy beer styles, including stouts, barleywines and strong ales, among others, can even be served at temperatures of 48°F and higher. In fact, you find that a lot of the beers within these styles may even advise serving temperatures of 55°F and above. Serving these at a higher temperature allows the full complexity of the beer to open up without being too carbonated.

Should You Chill Your Glass?

Additionally, it’s important to understand that the temperature of the glass in which you serve the beer can have an effect on the beer. You don’t want to pour beer into a glass that has been sitting in a freezer because that can lead to a higher retention of CO2. It’s best to serve beer in a room temperature glass or one that has been slightly chilled.

Also, once you pour the beer into the glass, the temperature of the beer will rise a few degrees, so keep that in mind. The next time you’re storing, serving or enjoying a beer, be mindful of the environment in which you store it, the way in which you serve it, and that the temperature at which you enjoy it is fit for the style and you should be much happier with your beer-drinking experience.

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