These pipes are clean!

I’ve been meaning to get a draft cleaning kit going for nearly 4 years. I’ve gotten away without simply because I (we) manage to drink the beer quickly enough that by the time the detritus and germs seriously affect flavor, there’s nothing left to taint. However, I recently had a pony keg of Laurelwood Hop Monkey on since I didn’t have any active brews, and since it lasted longer, the flavors were seriously injured by the end.

So I purchased Micromatic’s basic hand-pump cleaning system and am going to aim for a weekly line cleaning. The process is frighteningly simple and should make for better draft product coming out of my refrigerator door.

The first time I tried it though, I was also watching both girls. I was getting interrupted every 2.5 minutes, so I had to constantly wash my hands to make sure all the caustic was off, put out an emotional fire, then get back to the lines. It took a little longer than I expected, but real world results usually differ from “ideal conditions.”

Behold…. K2

Kegerator version 2, that is. Ever since I had to leave the previous kegerator with our old house, I’ve been pining for its replacement. It was not an easy task though, because I’m a bit frugal and tend to wait a long time to make any decisions. Recently, with a porter in secondary and no desire to bottle, I hit craigslist again with new clarity.

Finding a top and bottom fridge in good shape at a reasonable price can be a bit of a challenge. I managed to find a relatively new (<10 years old) Amana that was energy efficient for $180 and pounced on it. There was a pronounced thawed fish smell that occurred between when I purchased it and when I got it home (24 hours outdoors will do that) which I was able to wash out. And I had to remove all the doors and brackets to get it in to the basement, but it’s a nice fit, it’s quiet, and it now has two taps in the door.

K2’s Facade K2’s Door, inside K2’s Keg and Gas

This time around I ordered the kegging equipment online from Micro-Matic, which has both inexpensive parts and a wealth of information on kegging and conversions. I’m really impressed with their site and the deliverables. I got my equipment quickly, and the conversion kit came with a very useful set of instructions. The only problem I found was that the instructions suggest using a 1” hole saw bit, then using a piece of PVC pipe as a spacer, but the PVC they included has a 1” inside diameter, not outside, so it doesn’t actually fit. I’m going to bring this up with them. I don’t particularly care, but they probably want to fix that.

Something is currently wrong with my regulator, so my porter didn’t carbonate quite right, but I was still able to pour a growler to take over to dinner at my parents. I’m very pleased with it. The porter, that is. But I’m also quite pleased with K2. It’s larger, quieter, frost free, and has 2 taps. By this weekend I should have a pumpkin beer on tap as well. I only had 30 minutes to make the conversion before going to dinner, so I didn’t have time to take pictures of the process. I don’t think I could have improved on the instructions in the Micro-matic manual either.