Recently we decided that we were tired of bottle conditioning our beer ( a 1 to 2 week process that gets you carbonated beer) it's long and boring and we were sick of it. The solution? KEG IT! Kegging your beer means that instead of cleaning 36-50 bottles you clean a single keg and your liquid lines. Commercial kegs are great and all, but they are not easily re-fillable at home with your own stock. Home brewers solve this problem with Cornelius kegs. The great thing about these is their ease of use, and that their tall instead of fat. A mini-fridge used as a kegerator can often hold 2 Cornelius Kegs where it could only hold a single quarter barrel commercial keg. You end up with 2 types of beer, more volume of beer, and it tastes better too.
The downside? Pain to the pocket book. If you buy everything new your looking at between $450 and $600.
Oh ya'... you'll also be needing 10 gallons of beer =)
Step 1: Get your stuff together:
Basically the plan is to remove the plastic top, reinforce the area under the plastic lid with a board to make sure the tap has a nice solid base it's on top of. And then we drill a 2 1/2 inch hole right in the center of the top (Yes towards the back is nicer, don't do it I'll get into that later). Our hole is going to go through the plastic lid, our support board, the metal top of the fridge, the foam insulation, and the plastic interior.
So total what you need:
Sanyo 4912 M Mini-fridge (the 491x line all should work)
4x 10-24 2.5" Machine screws.
4x 10-24 acorn nuts.
4x washers that are as wide as possible.
2.5" hole saw that is rated for soft metal (don't just get a wood one)
2 tap 3" diameter chrome tower with faucets.
2x 5 gallon ball lock cornelius kegs
2x liquid ball lock disconnects (barbed or threaded, threaded will be easier to clean, but also means get extra stuff to hook your lines up)
2x gas ball lock disconnects(barbed or threaded, threaded will be easier to clean, but also means get extra stuff to hook your lines up)
5 lb CO2 tank
Dual Gage CO2 regulator
Wye splitter with 2 gas shut off valves
Lines to connect regulator to the disconnects
2x tap handles
2x ear clamps for the beer lines (depends on the hose size that comes with the tower, call the shop your ordering from for details).
All of the stuff in the 2nd group is typically found in a 2 keg refrigerator conversion kit. You can get these from multiple online suppliers. Do yourself a favor and don't order off their website. Give them a call on the phone. Most of these online suppliers are regular stores that just have a nice website to go with it. When you call you should easily be able to get a person on the phone. The 2 keg fridge conversion kits come out a lot cheaper than buying everything in parts. Call them on the phone and have them remove the shanks (these are tubes meant to go through the fridge door and connect a faucet too) and faucets. In their place have them add the chrome tower which comes with it's own faucets. Doing it this way will likely save you something between $40 and $60. Midwest Supplies did this for us and I've heard of other places doing this sort of thing for other people as well.