Something’s brewing

Beer maker gives new life to old refrigerators

2013-03-10T04:30:00Z 2013-03-11T05:37:23Z Beer maker gives new life to old refrigeratorsAlma Gaul The Quad-City Times
March 10, 2013 4:30 am  • 

Some people have old refrigerators in the garage to store beer.

Kevin Dill of Davenport does, too, but he elevates the practice to a higher level.

Dill is a home brewmaster, making many kinds of beer with his own recipes and equipment, and he has turned one entire refrigerator into a “keg-er-ator.”

On the front of the refrigerator, he drilled four holes and fitted each with its own tapper, just like you’d find in a tavern. Inside the refrigerator, he placed four containers full of beer that are connected via tubes to the tappers. On the floor next to the refrigerator is a CO2 canister that delivers carbonation to the beer via tubes threaded through four holes drilled in the side of the refrigerator, plus the pressure needed to push the beer out when the tapper lever is engaged.

Below the tappers and on the front of the fridge is a “drip tray” made of sheet metal by his father-in-law.

“It’s so the floor doesn’t get sticky,” says 5-year-old Connor, who helps his dad with the brewing.

Dill is one of an estimated million-plus home brewers in the United States and one of more than 80 members of MUGZ, a Quad-City home brew club that includes both beer and winemakers. At 32, he is also among a new generation of brewers who have recently discovered the joys of craft beer.

We found Dill when he responded to our query, published in January, looking for people who own colorful kitchen appliances.

Dill rescued a harvest gold refrigerator from the curb last summer when a neighbor, who had gotten a new fridge, set the “old gold” model out for pickup.

That refrigerator is now a “lager-ator.” That is, Dill uses it to ferment his lager beers, which develop at temperatures in the range of 36 to 42 degrees.

Lagers are the crisp, clean, smooth-tasting beers, such as Miller High Life or Budweiser, that are most common in America.

Ales develop at warmer temperatures, in the range of 60 to 68 degrees. They are, as Dill describes them, “chewier.” They generally are cloudy, and “there’s more at play” in terms of flavor. Blue Moon is an example of an ale.

In all, Dill has four refrigerators in his garage, all dedicated to the storage or making of beer, a hobby he began about six years ago, quite by chance.

He and his wife Sue were attending a fundraiser for one of her co-workers who was battling cancer when Dill won a “beer kit” at the silent auction. The kit included beer-making ingredients, a cooler, a year’s membership in MUGZ and lessons from a live human being.

After that, Dill was hooked.

He now brews 15-20 batches of beer per year, has created his own label called “Northwest Division Brewing Co.” and buys grain by the 50-pound bag.

Copyright 2015 The Quad-City Times. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.

(9) Comments

  1. sludgefund
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    sludgefund - March 13, 2013 12:35 pm
    Puff pieces like this are a slap in the face to productive members of society that choose to ingest cannabis (instead of toxic alcohol) and risk being shunned from society by brainwashed xenophobes. Maybe someday the QC Times will romanticize Cannabis paraphernalia like they do with booze. Maybe someday I can run my car on Hemp oil. John Deere once manufactured hemp harvesters, let's see an article about that! Mondaymorning comparing cannabis to cocaine is a slippery slope logical fallacy. Look at how many people overdose from alcohol and cocaine compared to cannabis, not to mention the proven medicinal and industrial aspects of the plant. I wonder how you would react if the man was sitting in front of a cannabis plant with a child instead of a homemade alcohol brewery.
  2. mondaymorning
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    mondaymorning - March 12, 2013 3:20 pm
    Wow! Way to turn this into something else! Can you please point to an article that promotes adults who consume alcohol as outstanding citizens? It sounds like you think we should just allow MORE mind altering substances to be legal, since your choice of drug is currently illegal. What next, cocaine? I'm sure there are many productive members of society who choose to ingest that.

    I do agree that having the kid on his lap is in poor taste, bu your argument really doesn't work.
  3. sludgefund
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    sludgefund - March 12, 2013 11:56 am
    Drinking a beer with a kid on your lap, no problem! Have a cannabis joint in you bedroom, get raided by a SWAT Team, locked up and publicly shamed! Prohibition failed with alcohol, and it is a disaster with cannabis! This double standard of promoting adults who consume alcohol as outstanding citizens, while incarcerating productive members of society who choose to ingest cannabis is sickening.
  4. senor citizen
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    senor citizen - March 11, 2013 10:10 am
    Homebrewed beer in fact all beer is actually liquid bread. All ingerients can be grown locally, and therefore home breweries are actually saving the enviroment. Just think of it, millions of old refigerators having a second life and actually keeping those nasty, smelly, big ole trucks off the road. The stomach is the perfect container, after the bottle in which to store beer. No cans would be harmed in it's manufacture.
  5. twodogbrew69
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    twodogbrew69 - March 10, 2013 9:05 pm
    I agree bailaw. Instead of some bad news, here is a nice story about a hobby. Someone who recycled a fridge instead of letting it go to a landfill. As for the energy, DPort, you are not paying the bill, he is - so what does it matter? I would rather drill holes into an old fridge than buy a brand new one for that purpose just because it is more efficient. Also - the older ones were built to last! Cheers to beers!
  6. Richard H
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    Richard H - March 10, 2013 3:50 pm
    A megawatt no kidding! You must be a EE.
    Looks like a great idea to me.
  7. bailaw
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    bailaw - March 10, 2013 2:37 pm
    Must be the weather making everybody grumpy.

    I enjoyed the story, "news" or not.
  8. Johnny2cents
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    Johnny2cents - March 10, 2013 1:20 pm
    This is news??? Must be a slow day in the qc
  9. DportWatcher
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    DportWatcher - March 10, 2013 6:14 am
    Sady, the use of old refridgerators and freezers made before 1993 are the main cause of high energy bills in the home. They are ENERGY HOGS! These models are 61% less effiencient than a refridgerator made today and use over a 1000 kilowatts of electricity a year as opposed to models today that use less than 400 kilowatts of electricity a year.
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