How to Build a Homemade Kegerator
Homemade kegerators are a snap to make for the experienced home brewer. With only a few modifications, you can take a clean fridge and make a homemade kegerator out of it. It only takes about an hour to make the modifications once you have the parts, and your homemade kegerator can hold up to four different varieties of beer on tap all at once. You will thank yourself for going to the effort to make a kegerator, as your home brew will have a clean, cold, professional taste unlike what you have had before. There are two basic varieties to choose from, if you want to build a kegerator, and I’ll go into both of those here.
Either the stand up fridge or the smaller half sized fridge are both easy conversions to make a kegerator from. It is recommended that you take the time to pick your base fridge with care. Measure the size of the kegs you are using and try to get a fridge that will pack as many kegs in it as possible. This will allow you to not only have ice cold beer on tap at all times in your house, but also will offer you opportunities to lager your beer by using kegs as fermentation vessels in your homemade kegerator.
Whether you decide to go with a kit or hobble together what you need from individual pieces, this is the hardware that you will need to build a kegerator: kegs, a CO2 tank with regulator, a coupler, beer lines and CO2 lines (aka a lot of surgical tubing), a tap, tower (optional), drip tray, draft spigot, shank, and draft spigot handle. All of these items can be bought separately or all together in one of many homemade kegerator kits. It is likely that you will already have some of these items if you are an experienced home brewer, but the kits are not very expensive and available easily online.
You will need a couple of specialty tools when you make a kegerator, which are also available online, with homemade kegerator conversion kits, and at your local homebrew supply store. You will most likely need to drill holes into your fridge in order to mount your draft spigots and spill tray. A simple attachment called the hole saw can drill through fridge materials quite easily, and is available at most hardware stores.
You will want to ensure that the part of the fridge you are drilling through does not contain any coolant lines (most fridge doors do not), as damaging one of these lines will likely spell T-H-E E-N-D for your fridge. The only danger of this comes from drilling through the top of a half-sized fridge, one in which the door is side-mounted and not top-mounted. It is recommended to only use the top-mounted-door variety of these fridges for this reason. If you are going to build a kegerator, always use safety equipment such as goggles when drilling into the fridge.
When you build a kegerator, the main difference between making a regular and half-sized fridge style homemade kegerator is that you may install a tower for your draft spigots in the half-size variety. These towers can come with your homemade kegerator conversion kit. When you build a kegerator with a tower it can give your home brew station a sense of bar-liked authenticity. The other difference when you make a kegerator out of the half sized variety is that if you do not use a tower, you will need to build a collar through which your draft spigots are mounted.
Most folks make the collar out of 2x4s with a trim finish. This collar is where your shank is mounted for the draft spigots to attach to. It is a good idea to mitre the wood on such collars, cutting a 45 degree angle in the wood at the joining points. Remember also to seal the wood with a mold and water resistant coating once you are done with the inside (or structural) collar. Some adhesive foam can act a as gasket for between the collar and the edge of the kegerator and the lip of the kegerator.
No matter which design you choose to make a kegerator out of, be sure to keep your lines clean and cold to ensure the continued good taste of your home brewed beer – and enjoy!
Published On: Thursday, April 10, 2008
For additional information on kegerators or draft beer topics please visit our kegerator article center.