A kegerator, if you have the space, is a must have for keeping your kegs of beer at the right temperature for drinking and can be done for a reasonable price.
I obtained a second hand chest freezer and it’s just big enough to hold 3 cornelius style kegs and the Co2 cylinder.
I started by removing the lid and then built a wooden frame made from 3″ x 1½” timber to go around the freezer top. This was held in place to the top of the freezer by using a grab adhesive. Three 22mm holes were drilled in the front of the frame to accommodate the taps after the adhesive had set (should have maybe done this before fixing, but all went well).
Next came re-fitting the lid which became a little more fiddly as the plastic liner of the lid would not sit in the frame aperture so out came the router with a slot cutting bit with which I made 2 passes around the frame at different heights until I had a rebate that would then accommodate the lid properly. The hinges were then screwed to the frame and all was good, with the lid sitting flush.Further holes were then drilled in the back of the frame so the wires for the temperature probe and the heater could be passed through. My homemade temperature controller sits outside the kegerator as it’s too big to go inside. If you buy a ready made temperature controller, these are very compact and would fit inside the kegerator easier, minimising the amount of wires on the outside. I keep mine in the garage so this wasn’t an issue.
Next came the “plumbing” which was pretty straight forward. I used a short length of tube from the Co2 regulator into a John Guest 3-way splitter and just 3 lengths of tube from the splitter to the grey disconnects on the kegs, this took care of the gas lines. 3 lines were then fitted between the black disconnects on the kegs to the back of the taps.
I then turned on the gas, setting the pressure to between 5 – 10psi and checked for gas leaks using a StarSan solution sprayed onto all the gas connections and then pulled a small amount of beer through the taps to make sure all the connections were also good (drank the beer of course, couldn’t waste it!!)
Finally, I switched the power on and left it to get down to temperature.
All this work happened about a week before I wrote this and I have to say it’s great having this kegerator and being able to keep the beer at a good temperature without having to think about it.
Using a chest freezer for this kind of project is, economically, the best way forward I
think, as you don’t lose all the cold air when you open the lid to change kegs or clean the beer lines. An upright fridge does exactly that when you have the door open and then the motor has to work again to get the temperature back down during the summer months or the heater comes on in winter. I did compromise on the temperature as I have different styles of beer in the kegerator and settled for 8°, maybe a tad cold for ales and not cold enough for the lager but that’s the compromise.
One word of warning, never drill holes or screw anything to the insides of the freezer as you could possibly damage the cooling circuitry within, only ever drill into the wooden framework.
If you’re serious about your hobby and you have the space, DO IT!!!