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Home Brew Forums > Home Brewing Beer > DIY Projects > I want to build a Keezer with a tap tower
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Old 10-26-2011, 01:01 AM   #1
Tat2nBrew
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Default I want to build a Keezer with a tap tower

I started reading through a bunch of the keezer threads and plan on "borrowing" a whole lot of ideas from you guys when the time comes. I think this should make a great winter project but I am trying to figure out where to start. I have a few questions:

I was wondering if anyone has compiled a list of required parts needed?

I am not talking about wood and such because that is all dependent on personal tastes. The mechanical items needed to get the keezer functioning properly.

Would it be better to shop for each item individually to ensure quality?
I am completely new to kegging and do not want to go and buy a kit only to find out that half the items in it are sub par and have to replace them again later at an additional cost.

Is there a web site that has the best pricing and service?
I have looked at a number of suppliers and most of the pricing seems to fall within a certain range but where are you getting the best value and or service?

Should I have everything on hand before I start so that I know the exact dimensions that I am dealing with? Or is it best to order as you go to get the parts in the dimensions that are needed as you build?


If you have built a keezer, what would you warn me about up front or do differently if you were to build another?


I can handle most any basic woodwork tile and electrical so I am not too worried about that stuff. I may need some help figuring out the electrical layout but not worried about doing the work once I know it is laid out correctly.

Thanks for posting so much useful information for everyone and I will do my best to try and give back what as can as my project moves along.

Marc
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Old 10-26-2011, 06:48 PM   #2
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Originally Posted by Tat2nBrew View Post
I started reading through a bunch of the keezer threads and plan on "borrowing" a whole lot of ideas from you guys when the time comes. I think this should make a great winter project but I am trying to figure out where to start. I have a few questions:

I was wondering if anyone has compiled a list of required parts needed?
Looking at the kits should tell you this.
Quote:
Would it be better to shop for each item individually to ensure quality?[
Not in my opinion.
Quote:
Is there a web site that has the best pricing and service?
Several. I used Keg Connection to get started kegging and never regretted it.
Quote:
Should I have everything on hand before I start so that I know the exact dimensions that I am dealing with? Or is it best to order as you go to get the parts in the dimensions that are needed as you build?
I would think common sense would dictate having the kit on hand and dictating your measurements to the kit is the most logical way to do things.
Quote:
If you have built a keezer, what would you warn me about up front or do differently if you were to build another?
Haven't built mine yet, but when I do, I'll use Keg Connection again.
Quote:
I can handle most any basic woodwork tile and electrical so I am not too worried about that stuff. I may need some help figuring out the electrical layout but not worried about doing the work once I know it is laid out correctly.
Other than wiring the controller, there's not much to do. If you want to add in extra stuff, like adding a thermometer, etc, then that would be handy, but the electrical stuff is very simple in making kegerators/keezers.
[quote]

Take my answers with a grain of salt... I haven't built my kegerator yet. SWMBO is balking at the price of it.
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Old 10-26-2011, 08:19 PM   #3
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im in the process of doing this myself. i priced out four individual taps and supporting hardware at around $280 (perlick, stainless, not including tap towers or drip tray) depending on where you get it from. if you want stainless steel towers, add $70 for each one. i decided to skip the towers and make it out of wood. the box itself is made out of oak with 2" insulation inside, and cost me right around $200 in materials.

this is not including the glycol chiller that will power it, or any of the electronics i use for that, which i already have and was made from a $20 A/C unit. if you need a compressor/evaporator unit from a mini fridge, add that cost as well.

for each tap you need
-the faucet itself
-faucet handle
-the shank (threaded section that attaches the faucet to the wall, and which beer flows thru, availble in various legnths)
-a tailpiece (which is pretty much a hose barb to connect your beer line to, this is screwd onto the shank with a beer nut and washer)
-the nut and washer for above
-faucet wrench is handy

everything else is up to you. to determine shank legnth- about 1.5 to 1-5/8" of the shank will be used by the beer nut and faucet. meaning- if you have a 1/2" thick piece of wood to mount the faucet to, you take 1-5/8" and add 1/2" and you get a required legnth of 2-1/8". if you are going thru a 3" thick wall, then get a 4-5/8" shank.

i chose to buy all parts individually, as no kit i found had everything i wanted and also nothing i didnt need. you can email a list of your parts to some websites and request a quote. sometimes they will give you a small amount off if you are buying lots of stuff at once.

you dont need to have everything on hand before you start building if you are sure about what you are building. sometimes it does help if you cant visuallize everything without having it in your hands.

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Old 10-26-2011, 09:39 PM   #4
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Originally Posted by Tat2nBrew View Post
I was wondering if anyone has compiled a list of required parts needed?
Kits are a good place to start, so is the post above. Beyond that, a great deal of what you need for your build will be dependent upon your personal tastes.

I suggest finding an example build of the type you are most interested, and either looking for what they have, or asking outright in their thread.


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Originally Posted by Tat2nBrew View Post
Would it be better to shop for each item individually to ensure quality?
I prefer shopping for individual items. Depending on your time frame and your commitment to saving money, you can find great deals on nearly everything. It's hard to find a single vendor that will have the absolute lowest price on every component.

Again, if you do a few searches on the forum you will find some reviews of common vendors. If you were to use one of the more popular vendors on this board I would be surprised if any of your components were so cheap that they would require replacement.

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Is there a web site that has the best pricing and service?
There are many reputable vendors - I have purchased equipment from nearly 10 different companies and have had very few problems. None that weren't remedied immediately. Local homebrew supplies are also often great options.


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Should I have everything on hand before I start so that I know the exact dimensions that I am dealing with? Or is it best to order as you go to get the parts in the dimensions that are needed as you build?
I prefer to plan extensively, buy all my parts, and the build "from the pile." If you don't have the knowledge or tools to plan extensively, it might be smart to section your project into manageable sub-components and integrate as you go.


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Originally Posted by Tat2nBrew View Post
If you have built a keezer, what would you warn me about up front or do differently if you were to build another?
I've built two, and a lot of what I changed the first time was based on personal preference. My first keezer was a modified chest freezer with a collar. It held 4 corny kegs, and I mounted a 5lb CO2 canister externally. I controlled it using a simple single stage analogue controller. I installed four taps through the collar, and never fiddled with the freezer structure outside of moving the lid.

When it's compressor died (it was an very old freezer), I opted to build my second keezer out of an upright. I found a used upright freezer that was a sleek, piano black color for a good price on craigslist. I chose an upright because I was tired lifting my kegs to load them, and I wanted a little more vertical space for storage. I also had some condensation problems in my old keezer (I should have installed a fan for circulation).

My upright can also hold 4 kegs. It didn't require a collar, but it did require other modifications such as shelf removal. It was a relatively simple task, but a task all the same. It's a little more convoluted as far as internals go, but it's clean because I took the time to do it right. Installing the hardware in the door of this freezer was a breeze, but the changes I made are permanent. I use the same analogue controller, and I'm pleased with the freezers ability to keep air moving.

I've never used a tower, and I'm not crazy about them personally, but I understand their allure and wish you the best. Make sure your new toy has good circulation!
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Old 10-26-2011, 09:57 PM   #5
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Would it be better to shop for each item individually to ensure quality?
I bought the parts for my keezer individually, so that I could have the exact pieces I wanted - not something similar just because it's from the same shop.

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Originally Posted by Tat2nBrew View Post
Is there a web site that has the best pricing and service?
I don't think there is one single place that is the very best to buy from. Do your research and buy from places you are comfortable with, don't settle for something that's too expensive for your budget, just keep looking around.

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Originally Posted by Tat2nBrew View Post
Should I have everything on hand before I start so that I know the exact dimensions that I am dealing with? Or is it best to order as you go to get the parts in the dimensions that are needed as you build?
I built my keezer in stages and bought the right stuff as I went. Got the freezer first and determined how many kegs it could fit. Then I bought a keg kit that would fit my freezer. Once I determined how my freezer would be situated in my kitchen, I bought a temp controller that I had my eye on.

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If you have built a keezer, what would you warn me about up front or do differently if you were to build another?
When I bought my draft tower, I bought the cheap chrome taps and quickly realized what a pain they are when they stick. After a few months, I upgraded to Perlicks.

When I mounted my draft tower to the top of the freezer, I didn't take into account leaving space for a drip tray. By mounting the tower too close to the front, I limited my options. I eventually picked up a flushmount tray, and had to slide the back lip under the edge of the tower so the tray fit.
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Old 10-27-2011, 03:15 AM   #6
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I just finished mine. I bought a two-tap tower kit from kegconnection with the Perlick upgrade ($270?), a 5.0 cf holiday chest freezer (~$150), a love TS2 temp controller (~$70), and a 12v DC computer fan from Radio Shack with an aluminum housing (~$15). Plus the extension cord to splice the wiring, spray paint, wood for the base and lid, and casters (~$125). And tools, which I don't include.

I built a base with 2 1/2" casters and completely removed the original lid. I built a new lid with cabinet-grade 3/4" plywood. I wasn't really planning out the lid very well as I built it (I was in a hurry to get beer flowing). I tiled the top and, honestly, probably won't do so again. In fact, because of some design flaws and not-so-square edges, I'm probably going to rebuild the top this winter (all I'll have to do is yank the love controller and tower and put them in the new lid).

There is some condensation in the bottom after about two weeks (the fan kicks on when the freezer kicks on) so I'll probably add an evadry unit soon. But other than that, it's been smooth sailing and the novelty of draft homebrew hasn't worn off yet, I can't pass that thing without pulling a pint.

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Old 10-27-2011, 04:04 AM   #7
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Wow, thanks for all the fast feedback guys. I did not mean tower like the chrome tower, after looking around more I guess I meant coffin. Is that what they call the box on top of the lid that holds the faucets?

I am thinking about starting with something like Beeboy's build


Looking into a Frigidaire 7.2cf chest freezer. I will probably build the rolling base with a nice looking baseboard skirt. Most likely no collar and making the top large enough so that if I do decide to enclose the entire freezer it will still have a decent lip and not end up looking like a box. Most likely some simple led lighting above the faucets and a simple but stylish tile with a raised wood edge. The coffin will be insulated and I was thinking about a small cpu fan to push the air down into the chest from one hole which would essentially force air back up through the second hole of the "U". Please tell me if my theory is wrong or has been tried and failed. That's about it at this point. I was thinking that the DC adapter can run the fan and the lights and be concealed in the coffin.

Does anyone know how many corny kegs will fit in the 7.2cf Frigidaire?

I like the idea of the digital thermostat but do not know what my option are in that area so any help would be great.

Do I need more than one regulator or just a splitter that accommodates each keg?

Thanks again,
Marc

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Old 10-27-2011, 11:43 AM   #8
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Do I need more than one regulator or just a splitter that accommodates each keg?
This is definitely a want-versus-need thing. If all your beers will be at the same PSI, then a splitter is fine. Considering the price difference, you could start with a splitter and then pick up more regulators later on.
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Old 10-27-2011, 12:24 PM   #9
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Originally Posted by Tat2nBrew View Post
Wow, thanks for all the fast feedback guys. I did not mean tower like the chrome tower, after looking around more I guess I meant coffin. Is that what they call the box on top of the lid that holds the faucets?
Yup, those are generally referred to as coffins. Lots of people just put the taps right in the collar too.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Tat2nBrew View Post
Looking into a Frigidaire 7.2cf chest freezer. I will probably build the rolling base with a nice looking baseboard skirt. Most likely no collar and making the top large enough so that if I do decide to enclose the entire freezer it will still have a decent lip and not end up looking like a box. Most likely some simple led lighting above the faucets and a simple but stylish tile with a raised wood edge. The coffin will be insulated and I was thinking about a small cpu fan to push the air down into the chest from one hole which would essentially force air back up through the second hole of the "U". Please tell me if my theory is wrong or has been tried and failed. That's about it at this point. I was thinking that the DC adapter can run the fan and the lights and be concealed in the coffin.
That looks like a good plan. You'll find a ton of variations on those themes around these parts.

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Does anyone know how many corny kegs will fit in the 7.2cf Frigidaire?
Check the "Size your chest freezer thread" for any specifics about the Frigidaire.


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I like the idea of the digital thermostat but do not know what my option are in that area so any help would be great.
You can use Love controllers, aquarium temp controllers, or Johnson/Ranco controllers. Others have also used PIDs and more advanced relays. You'll want to decide if you need/want dual stage control (hot and cold) versus just cooling, and then go from there.

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Do I need more than one regulator or just a splitter that accommodates each keg?
Like Justibone said, it's not necessary to have multiple regulators in a lot of cases, but if you think that you are going to want different pressures in different brews you'll need a second... or third, or fourth. It's pretty easy to scale it up down the line too.
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Old 10-27-2011, 01:40 PM   #10
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You should just save yourself the hassle and buy mine

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