I have what I would call a reasonably well put together and balanced kegerator. In spite of that, for years, I have dealt with the dreaded first foamy pint of beer. After that, the beer pours great. That is until a significant delay between pours – overnight or a few hours..
The cause of the problem is pretty clear. Heat rises. That means the top of your kegerator is going to be warmer than the bottom of your kegerator. That warmer beer foams when it comes out. The faucet and shank are also warmer. That warmth adds to the problem.
How much is the temperature variance? Of course, this will vary from setup to setup and climate to climate. I was relatively shocked by the temperature difference in my own kegerator.
The top reading about mid keg and the bottom reading is the top the top of my beer lines. These are about 22″ apart. This graph shows a point in time variance between the two of 14.9 degrees F. My beer is about the temperature I want it, but the top of my serving line is much warmer. That difference in temperature causes the first pint to have too much foam. Pours that happen soon after the first are fine. The tubing, shank and beer are relatively cool.
The setup. I have two temperature probes in my kegerator. One is zip-tied to the top of a beverage line. The other is zip-tied to a can of beer. That’s how I have kept the probe in my kegerator for a long time with the thinking that the mass of the can of beer will help to stabilize temperature readings and give overall stable and accurate readings. That can is sitting on the compressor hump of my Kenmore Deep Freeze (8.8 Cu ft Model 16932, out of production). That puts it about mid keg.
I placed the fan on my CO2 tank, leaning up against a keg. Yes, you will notice that there’s no beer in the keg. That keg was formerly filled with 1 Hr IPA and I’m sad it’s gone. More Beer’s M-80 IPA is in the fermenter now.
I used AC Infinity’s Pre-Wired LS8038A-X 115 Volt AC Fan, because it is reasonably priced, gets great reviews and it’s already setup to use AC. I will say… My guess is that the manufacturer would not recommend this application. If you decide to do something similar, proceed as you see fit. I’m only telling you what I am doing myself.
This graph illustrates the effects of adding the recirculation fan inside of my kegerator. Prior to the fan, the tubing temperature spiked to around 55.4 deg F. After the deep freeze kicked on, the tubing dropped to around 53.15 deg F. Not a big change. That averages out to 54.275 deg F.
You can see the point in this graph where the fan is turned on. The temperature drops sharply. The new is high 47.3 deg F and the new low is 42.13 deg F for an average of 44.715 deg F.
Before – Avg Tubing Temp = 54.275, Avg Mid Keg Temp = 38.83, Dif = 15.445 deg F
After – Avg Tubing Temp = 44.715, Avg Mid Keg Temp = 38.89, Dif = 5.825 deg F
The recirculation fan dropped my tubing temperature by 9.62 deg F (62%). Practically speaking, that difference is enough to make every pint pour right. My first pint pours correctly… I like that!
A look down. You can see my Eva Dry E-500 (Hands on Review) standing by taking care of condensation. I’ve heard from others that a recirculation fan makes the Eva Dry work even better. My kegerator has remained dry (with the help of the Eva Dry) since installing the fan.
A look down my collar. As you can see, I’m no wood worker. Having said that, I spent a lot of time working on the fit and finish of this collar. The end result was good. If you let the deep freeze door fall shut the resulting noise, sounds like a factory seal sort of thump. I did put weather stripping on the bottom to seal between the collar and the deep freeze. Adding insulation to the collar would, presumably, also help maintain temperatures and reduce foaming.
Reader Feedback: Google+ Friend Justin Says: “I use the same fan in my keezer and it works great.”
Update: As of Otober of 2016 my same fan continues to work great. It has been running continuously in my kegerator for over a year straight. Note – I use an Eva-dry E-500 in my kegerator to held handle kegerator condensation. See: Handling Kegerator Condensation with the Eva Dry E-500. I theorize that keeping condensation under control may play a big part in fan longevity.
Related: Tips & Gear for your Kegerator | Balancing Your Draft System | Temp Probe Placement | Handling Kegerator Condensation with the Eva Dry E-500 | What’s the Difference Between Ball Lock Kegs and Pin Lock Kegs?
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