This was my covid shut down (part 1) project. Looks like we’re headed back to another shelter in place… time to start brainstorming for shut down part 2 projects!
I had a 3 tap keezer, and with one tap always dedicated to a hazy IPA, one to a kettle sour for my wife, and one for a nitro stout… I didn’t have much room to brew much outside the realm of our 3 favorite styles.
Here’s the old guy, who was sold off a while ago. Just your standard keezer.
So, wanting to brew lagers, pilsners, west coast IPAs, have sparkling water and soda… I decided to upgrade.
Here’s the build!
First, acquire the thing that you’re gonna put your kegs in. You can do a freezer or a fridge, either works. Just need a temp controller if you go freezer route, like I did.
I found this beauty on Craigslist locally. I spent about a month scouring the internet looking for a deal, and eventually found this for $200. It was in pristine shape, the old owner told me it was only ever used to store vacuum sealed fish – he was a fisherman and would go on a few trips per year, and use it store his haul. Nothing fishy about that!
But for real, I did a sniff test when they told me… no smell.
This is a early 2010s Frigidaire upright freezer, about 20 cubic feet.
You can go the upright route like I did, or go chest freezer like many others you’ll see on the internet. I went upright because as we all know, chest freezers were 6 months backordered and price gouged during the early days of Covid.
Next up, build a shelf and start lining up where the taps will go.
From left to right:
- Sizing up two of the kegs I have to guestimate how much I can fit.
- Built a shelf for top and bottom levels.
- Measured up where the holes will go, evenly space, and the big rectangle to accomodate for my larger tap handle clearance.
Next up, drill your holes. But be careful! Very glad I took my time doing this.
If you look at the front of the fridge, you see the control panel at the top middle. Gotta have wires somewhere right? Looking at the bottom of the door, it enters from the base, just next to the hinge. My hope was that it went vertical all the way, then horizontal across to the panel… But I found out it didn’t do as I hoped.
Pro tip: Chip away at the insulation with a screw driver very gently, and make sure you get clearance all the way to the metal fridge door before you take your hole saw to it.
The wires came up directly in the path of one of my tap holes. If you look at the yellow wire, I actually hit the insulation and chipped into the wire. As far as I could tell, the copper was still good.
Nothing a little liquid electrical tape couldn’t fix! I lathered it up, then filled the hole back in with spray insulation.
Course Correction: Shift the holes 1″ to the side!
You can see the actual holes compared to the planned. All clear!
As I moved forward with the holes, I waited for all the extra faucets, fittings, hardware to show up.
At first, I had a piece of pink insulation on the back of the faucets, but after the hardware arrive I found out that it wasn’t sturdy enough to keep everything snug.
Fast Forward A Little
I know I’ve skipped a little, but didn’t get many pics of the install between these two points. From left to right:
- I shoved a vertical 2×4 snug between the top of the shelf and the ceiling of the inside. This allowed me drill and mount stuff on the wood without drilling the inside of the freezer. You can see my beergas tank for my stout which goes to the far right faucet, and my old 5lb co2 tank, which is now a 20lb tank. I i have a 6 way gas distribution manifold, and 5 of them go down to the bottom, and one stays at the top. The regulator has two gauges, one feeds the manifold, and the other feeds a single keg for either high pressure soda/water or force carbing.
- You can see I’ve replaced the pink stuff with a piece of wood. Much better. Gas lines fed. Highly recommend EVABarrier lines with duotight fitting. Made life EASY. Cleaning is also a breeze.
- 7/8 faucets installed. Last one got delayed for some reason.
All said on done!
A final pic from the front, and inside when it’s fully loaded with kegs. I was able to keep some of the shelving with is jam packed with hops and yeast currently.
6 months later, I’ve still not gotten all 8 taps flowing at once. I’ve been close with 6 of 8, but at least it allows me to put new kegs in and leave kicked kegs for a little while until I get around to cleaning them.
Parts List & Cost
Just a quick note: I re-used some things from the older Keezer build, like my stout faucet, shank, a few tap handles, a couple of kegs, and misc. hardware. What I’ll do is list everything as if it was basic faucets and pretend like you’re going to build an 8 tap with no Nitro tap. That really ups the price. So let’s pretend its 8 regular co2 taps.
|Intertap Bottle Filler||$7||1||$7||Brewhardware.com|
|Gas Line/Fittings Kit||$10||8||$80||Brewhardware.com|
|Beer Line/Fittings Kit||$12||8||$96||Brewhardware.com|
|6 way manifold||$62||1||$62||Brewhardware.com|
|Jumper (from regulator to manifold)||$6||1||$6||Brewhardware.com|
|CPU Fan-Air Circulation||$14||1||$14||Amazon|
The only discrepency between the parts list and my build like I mentioned – No Nitro tap. So this means you need a 7 way manifold, or a 2nd manifold that was a 2 way split for the force carb/soda pressures.
Also, this is a lot of money, but in reality, I had a lot of this stuff already. I had 5 kegs before this project. I had a bunch of gas and beer line fittings and hardware too. I’d say I was just around $900 at time of build if you count the stuff I reused.
Also, can’t speak enough to the simplicity of the EVABarrier kits offered by bobby at brewhardware. Takes all the complexity of figuring out the hardware you need to figure out – Disconnects, tubing, beer nuts, connectors, scotchlocks, couplings, etc. Kidding about a few of those things.
Hope this gives some inspiration on building your kegerator!