How to Build a Kegerator
Bottles. We home brewers collect them, store them, wash them, and fill them. It takes time and space. Eventually we want a faster way to enjoy the beer we brew. Ultimately we want it on tap for not only saving space but to have that "Brew Pub" beer at home. Here is an easy low cost way to enjoy your own brewed beer at home straight from the tap without spending your hard earned money on a commercially made Kegerator.
When I went from single batch 5 gallon extract kits to an all-grain setup brewing 10 gallons at a time, I too got tired of the bottles and wanted to keg. I came up with an alternate way to refrigerate the kegs and tap the beer without converting an old refrigerator with a tap on the door. I went for a lower profile unit that would also look good in my living room.
I bought a small upright freezer on sale making sure I would have enough room inside to fit three 5 gallon carney (soda) kegs. I also purchased a separate temperature control unit that would run the freezer as a refrigerator. More on that later.
I needed a way to mount the tap (s) without going through the side of freezer. I also knew that I would need additional top space on the inside for the keg fittings and hoses. The lid as it was did not allow enough room, so I thought of raising it with a frame to make the unit taller. Now I was set to go.
I built a wooden frame out of 1 "X4" wood, securing the corners with L-brackets on the inside. Holes were drilled for two taps in the front and the gas line in the rear. The lid was removed and the frame placed on top securing it with window insulation between the frame and the cooler. The insulation "adhered" the frame to the freezer. The lid was placed on top. The additional height of the frame now raised the lid higher.
The lid has two brackets for mounting it to the freezer. Each bracket has two holes, a top and bottom to accommodate mounting screws. The top hole of each bracket was over the frame with the bottom holes aligning with the top holes in the freezer. The bottom holes in the freezer were now unused. The lid was secured by replacing the screws through the bracket holes. Each bracket had a mounting screw into the frame and into the freezer. The lid was secure and closed on the frame evenly.
I have a three way port to split the CO2 line into three. One for each keg. Also I have one CO2 line and a tap dedicated for a commercial 1/6 keg. I now have the option of tapping my own brew or a bought microbrew.
An external temperature control unit was attached to the side of the freezer and plugged into an outlet. The freezer plugged into the control unit. A thermocouple wire was placed through the rear hole on the frame with the CO2 gas line and hung freely in the freezer in order to monitor only the inside air temperature. A desired temperature of 60 degrees was set on the controller. In addition, I mounted a drip tray to the front with double back foam tape. My living room was now graced with a wonderful addition that truly served a purpose.