My homebrewing misadventures

A long, cool project

After 13 months of fits and starts, finishing the kegerator I always wanted

Shortly after I began kegging my beer instead of bottling, I realized that I was going to want a kegerator. But it wasn't until I saw the one that my friend John built that I got inspired to try to make one myself.

It started in December of 2014, when I found a good Black Friday deal on this 9.05 cubic foot Frigidaire chest freezer. I managed to just barely fit it into the side door of my house and down the stairs to my basement, with barely a millimeter to spare. I knew I wanted to follow the steps for converting a freezer to a kegerator laid out by the good folks at Northern Brewer.

Still, it took a few months for me to get around to the project. When my father-in-law, who is an exceptionally handy craftsman, was visiting last winter, we finally took a crack at it. Here are a few photos documenting the process.

From Carboy

We first unscrewed the lid from the freezer and built a rectangular wooden collar out of 2-by-6 boards. We carefully drilled three holes in the front of the collar. This allowed us to put the beer shanks for the taps through the wood so we wouldn't have to drill through the lid for a tower.

From Carboy

Then, we carefully glued the the collar to the rim of the freezer, using an epoxy suitable for all-weather use.

From Carboy

To get the glue to set, we put the lid back on and piled a lot of heavy items on top of it overnight.

From Carboy

Once the glue set, I sealed all the corners with silicone. Then, it was time to stain the wood and varnish it. I put down three coats of varnish over several days. One unpleasant side effect was it made the basement stink of varnish, so we kept the children upstairs for a while.

From Carboy

After the varnish dried, I screwed the lid back onto the collar, installed the taps and connected all the tubing. It has room for a 5-lb CO2 canister and at least three, 5-gallon ball lock kegs. (I think it might actually fit a fourth keg. When I get one, if it fits, it will be easy to add a fourth tap.

I ran some line cleaner through the taps and rinsed them with a few gallons of water. After one small mishap, I had no problems dispensing beer over the summer.

And that's where I left it. But the white lid that came with the freezer never did a lot for me, especially after I managed to dent it a bit when I was rolling it down my basement stairs.

From Carboy

So over the Christmas holidays, with my father-in-law once again in town, we went back to make the finishing touch, a proper wooden lid. We nailed three 1-by-4 wooden boards to a pre-cut piece of half-inch plywood. It fit perfectly over the stock freezer lid. We stained and varnished the cover and then glued it down.

From Carboy

It took 13 months from start to finish to build my perfect kegerator. Of that time, there was maybe 2 days of work with another 3 or 4 days in between for glue, silicone, stain and varnish to dry. Now that it's done, it's time to get back to the important job of filling it with homebrew beer.

By Tom on 01/23/2016

Stage: Thirsty

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