Building a Kegerator

Getting tired of bottling your beer?  All that sanitizing getting to be a pain?  Then why not start to keg your beer.  Your beer is ready faster, clearer, and it is pretty cool to have your own draft beer at home.  How do you start you may ask?  Well here are step by step instructions to build your own kegerator. 

 
Parts List:

1.      Chest Freezer/ Fridge

2.      Temperature Controller

3.      5 Gallon Cornelius Keg

4.      CO2 Tank
5.      Regulator

6.      Gas and Beverage Tubing

7.      Faucet
8.      Shank Setup
9.      Clamps

10. Keg Disconnects

11. Quick Disconnects

Additional Parts (May or May Not be Necessary):
1.      Gas Manifold
2.      Wood
3.      Insulation

4.      Fancy Tap Handle

 
Step One:

Decide what you want you kegerator to look like and which style you want to go with. I prefer the chest freezer option because it allows for more freedom in your design. You always want to over-buy in this area because you may not want to expand now but believe me you will eventually once you figure out how easy it all is to keg and what a joy it is to pour your own beer. So a chest freezer in the 13+ cubic foot range would be plenty. For this setup I am going to talk about using a chest freezer since that is the type that we have made multiple times. 

 

Buy everything else from a reputable dealer. Once you buy the gas tank, manifold and regulator (about 175-200) basically you are looking at 100 dollars a keg setup. The keg costs about 40 and then the tubing and faucet/shank setup covers the other 60. Combine that with the freezer cost and you are looking at something that is not a cheap setup. But in my opinion if you are serious about brewing beer it is well worth the price. 

 
Step Two:

Design a wooden collar to fit on the kegerator so that you can expand the interior space and have a spot to attach your faucets. Remove the lid from the freezer by unbolting it from the back, save the screws because you will attach the lid to the collar. Essentially you are going to build a wooden frame that fits on top of the base of the freezer. So measure and cut your wood accordingly to your freezer and either silicon it to the freezer or attach it with metal “clamps”. I used these metal clamps that I suppose you use to build a child’s club house. They are flat and thin with screw holes drilled in already. I just lined up the existing holes in the base from where the lid attached and then attached it to the wood. This keeps the wood collar in place. Then attach the lid to the collar as well. Voila, you now have expanded your freezer to allow more head space. If you want to put insulation on the inside of the collar to help out with energy efficiency now would be the time. I just used the thin pink sheets from Lowes.

 
Step Three:

Determine how many kegs you are going to have in your freezer and then place the faucets on the collar evenly spaced out. This part you want to get right because you will notice the difference spacing every time you look at it. So mark your drill holes in their proper place. IMPORTANT: Make sure that if you have specialty tap handles, which you should, that they do not get in the way of the lid from opening. Test this out before you drill the holes. 

 
 

To drill the wholes you need a drill bit that is in the 7/8” or 1” range. Depending on the shank that you have just measure that with the bit and see what size you need. All you need to do now is drill your holes. The shanks should fit snuggly in the hole and may require some elbow grease to get it in. (Let’s try to stay away from the dirty jokes)  

 

Attach the beer nut that came with your shank on the inside and tighten securely. Then attach the faucet to the outside of the shank. 

 
Step Four:

Interior setup begins by deciding where to put your gas manifold. Do a dry run of where all of your kegs are going to fit into your freezer to make sure that everything is laid out well. Then attach the manifold to the collar so as to not damage the inside of the freezer. Connect your manifold to the regulator tube that is connected to your gas tank. From there you can connect your gas lines to the individual manifold valves and then to the correct gas keg disconnects (gray ones). 

 

For the beverage lines connect one end to the black beverage keg disconnects and then the other end to the inside of the shank. 

 

IMPORTANT: Make sure that everything is tightened and secured. There is no worse feeling than finding your gas tank empty and having to go refill it. 

 
Step Five:

Customize your kegerator to whatever design you desire. As you can see by the pictures I decided to cover the front in stickers and use the chalk board spray paint to turn the top into the beer menu. Now it is time to enjoy your beer. Kegging your beer will be in an additional how to blog. 

 

Congrats! You have made your first kegerator. Relax and have a HomeBrew.