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Build Your Own Kegerator for Homebrew

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If the title of this instructable peaks your interest, then you probably brew or have brewed your own beer. If so, then you probably get tired of filling and cleaning all those bottles. Building a kegerator is the best way to step up your beer game and impress your friends, not to mention it will save you a bunch of time. You only have to fill a few kegs rather than dozens of individual bottles and carbonating the beer in the kegs can be a lot quicker than conditioning your brew in bottles - READ - you can drink and enjoy your beer a lot sooner!! It may cost a bit, but it's worth it if you're into brewing for the long run!

There are other how-to's and instructables on building kegerators - I'll go through one using a top-loading freezer as that's what I used and it seems to have worked quite well - converting it is quite easy, there's plenty of room inside and it's been great for the last 4 years.

My brother and brother-in-law (with whom I brew) decided we wanted a 2-tap system since we were already brewing 2 batches at a time and we liked the look of 2 separate taps, so that's what I'll be going through as well. You could just as easily go with a single tower with dual faucet. 

If you're ready to take the next step then check out the supplies and equipment listed below and read on! Once you have all the equipment and tools, this should only take about an hour (maybe less) to get your kegerator ready. It will take a bit longer if you want to complete the extra bonus round integrated drip tray though!

EQUIPMENT
-Refrigerator or freezer (we went with a top loading freezer - more room and easier to modify!) Specifically the Holiday®  5.0 Cu. Ft. Chest Freezer  from Lowes
-Homebrew kegging kit* - we used a Dual Cornelius Keg System similar to THIS
-Tap handle(s) (we made a 2 keg, 2 tap system) THESE
-A few extra worm gear clamps (probably available from wherever you order your kegging kit from OR your local hardware store)
-Digital temperature controller (if you go with a freezer) like THIS

*You can break these kits down into individual components if you'd prefer to do it that way (possibly cheaper) For us it was just easier to get the kit and modify it for our needs. Also getting used kegs and gas tanks will reduce the overall cost.

TOOLS / SUPPLIES
-Tape measure
-Drill and drill bits
-Adjustable wrench
-1" Hole saw to match tap pipe diameter (may be different for other taps!!)
-Center punch
-Square
-Small tube of silicone caulk
-sheet metal screws

EXTRA
-1x Poplar furring
-1.5" wood screws
-construction adhesive
-white paint + brush
-router
-miter saw
-CAD drawing for laser-cut kegerator 'bar top' and drip tray
 
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silveravnt3 months ago

The stainless top makes the kegerator. Was it hugely expensive?

PATHfab (author)  silveravnt3 months ago

Hmmm - expensive can be a subjective term.....it certainly is an additional cost which isn't necessary. I seem to remember it being around $300 for the cutting and bending, but so much depends on the amount of cutting or 'machine time' which varies greatly from design to design (we had a lot of holes in our design) and possibly where you have it cut. I had the pieces cut in Ohio where this type of cutting can be a lot cheaper (even when you add in shipping) than having it done locally here in San Francisco where the overhead is much higher and these services seem to reflect that. It's also something you can add to the kegerator at a later date so you don't have to pay so much up front. We share all our brewing equipment 3 ways so it's a lot more reasonable, but then the question is who gets to have the kegerator???!!!

It sounds like it represents about 1/3 of the total cost (including kegs, CO2 tank, regulators, ect.) but totally worth it. With that top, most people would not even recognize that it was made from a chest freezer.
You've inspired me to try and write up how I made mine before I forget what I did.
Photo Oct 24, 10 18 13 PM.jpg
Tdogm6 silveravnt3 months ago
Nice setup!
jbbjshlws3 months ago

I love it!, We have a chest freezer with a T 4 way flooded font and the piping to have it 'flood' so the beer stays cold all the time, The problem i found was the original hinges on the feezer are not too great and it makes the whole top very heavy when changing out kegs. I am yet to but thinking about installing two gas struts. I wanted to finish ours off with a stainless type finish but settled for just the drip tray. How did you overcome the additional weight on the lid?

biohazarus3 months ago

REally like your top!!!

You could also reroute your drip tray to a bucket in the kegarator.

Bigger capacity and since it is cold, will not bother too much if you do not clean it right away.

happypants1113 months ago

Corny kegs actually vary in size depending on if they are ball lock or pin lock. Ball locks are smaller diameter and taller whereas Pin locks are larger diameter and shorter. I don't recall the sizes off hand but there is a difference.

I've got all ball lock kegs and out of 8 I think I have 3 different shaped 5 gallon kegs. Some are taller and narrower depending on manufacturer. But not by much, maybe two inches.

PATHfab (author)  silveravnt3 months ago

Seems like there can be quite a bit of variation in the 'standard' corny keg sizes! I'll add an edit to address this - main takeaway though is to always measure first!!!

PATHfab (author)  happypants1113 months ago

Good point! Yes, these are the ball lock kegs and they also have the rubber handle assembly. Sometimes if you order new kegs you can get them without the rubber handles so they're even 'cleaner' looking though I don't think that it reduces the overall height since the beer and gas connects stick up above the handles!

CrewF243 months ago

Beautiful and clean looking keezer!

You may find that you need to make your draft lines longer. If you implement the "set it and forget it" method of carbonation and serving pressure, you may find that the beer is coming too fast out of the faucet and creating too much foam. The easy fix is to make the draft lines longer to create more resistance and slow the beer down while still maintaining the proper carbonation pressure. Here is an article that explains the physics. http://byo.com/stories/item/164-balancing-your-dra...

PATHfab (author)  CrewF243 months ago
Thank you! So far we've had no issues at all with the beer line length/pressure - pours beautifully most of the time. We always drop the pressure to around 5psi +/- for serving. We have had issues with the dual regulator - one of them seems finicky and needs regular adjustment. Perhaps there's a slow leak in the system somewhere?

Thanks for the balancing article link too - cheers!
NTT3 months ago
I love it. Excellent design and so simple. Thank you :-)
very clean keezer build. I like how you incorporated the drip tray under the top. I posted s keezer build a couple months ago. I'm in the middle of building an all electric brew setup, excited to publish. Happy brew day!
PATHfab (author)  paularellano123 months ago

Thanks! Just saw your keezer - quite nice too. I'll look forward to seeing that electric brew setup!!