Tony's Keezer Build
It's time for me to go from Lurking & Learning to Building & Sharing. What follows is Who, What, Why, and How of my Keezer Build. I'm very excited about this project for many reasons, and hopefully you will follow and guide me along the way. I've not given a proper introduction, so I'll do that now.
Once upon a time, I like many received a home brewing kit as a gift. It was actually regifted to me, unused but no longer in it's orgional packaging. At the time, I wasn't very excited by the kit. I'm sure that it was because I ignoantly figured that no good beer worth making/tasting could not come from a pile of plastic containers. I don't even remember if it had a booklet of instructions. So onto the garage shelf it went, soon to be followed by a trip to Goodwill. In hindsight, an opportunity missed. I'm sure that I had received the kit because it was a well know fact that I enjoyed beer. At the time, I had a converted refrigerator in the garage that always had two of the local microbrew kegs on tap. As I like to say, "It didn't suck."
Fast forward 8 or 9 years; in that time I moved from California to Georgia, married, and started a family. Driven by our growing family, my SWMBO and I moved into a new home last year. The moment I toured the house, I knew that there was plenty of space for future projects and lots of them. The house also has a full basement, including a workshop and a separate dedicated store room (brewery). Like many I also immediately envisioned my own home bar in the basement, but we'll save that build for another day.
I play adult ice hockey once a week here in Atlanta (no Thrashers jokes, I'm a diehard Sharks fan). It was after one of my games that I learned a couple of the guys in the league were home brewers. One of the guys was sharing a few bottles of his home brew, which naturally led to questions from me and discussions about the beer making process. This is when the seed was planted. My wife and I were in the planning stages of our housewarming party. I pitched the idea of having my buddy brew some beer as entertainment for the guests, and a How To for me.
The night of the party, he came over with a Milk Stout BIAB kit under his arm, and a bunch of plastic containers. For the rest of the night, we drank beer, and made beer. It was 3am before we finally transfered our wort to the fermenting bucket. :drunk:
The seed had been planted, I can now say that I've been enjoying the craft of home brewed beer for a little over 9 months now. Every drop of it crafted from a pile of plastic (glass, and aluminum) containers. My first lesson learned, what can be achived using a much of plastic.
I'm guiltly of reading hundreds if not thousands of post here on HBT. I've learned techniques and lessons. graduated from the BIAB to All Grain. built the 10 gallon HD Mash Tun Cooler, a copper immerssion chiller, and my own variant of the Mother of a Fermentation Chiller. Now I'm starting a Keezer build. I would say, at this point, I've jumped in with both feet.
In an effort to reduce the required reading, here are the rest of the details in list form.
Mission / Goals
- More space. I've outgrown our extra side by side basement fridge (limited to 2 corneys)
- A perfect tap pour (NO FOAM)
- Appealing / good looking (fine woodworking)
- Balanced system
How will the Keezer / Basement be used?
- SWMBO and I like to entertain
- Home Brew served at Home
- Our new bigger basement is my main TV area, as well as in kid mode so the real bar is a ways off
- Low energy usage / High efficency / Dependable Freezer
- 4+ Corney Kegs (Immediate demand for 3)
- Room for a regular Half Keg for parties
- Multiple presures (two or three)
- Drip tray
- Reuse existing equipment
- Quality build
- Appropreate bar height. I'm 6'3", so 42"+ a little is ok.
- Moveable, but doesn't have to be portable
Nice to Have
- Room for growth (possible addition of Nitrogen draft / Cask)
- Build to eliminate need for external cooling fan
- Drink trough like a bar for making mixed drinks
- Glass Storage **
- Retain access to drain port
- On demand, shared cooling with Fermenter (have existing Coolerguys thermostat
- Reasonable Costs
- LED Lighting optional, but would be fun
- Integrate into future bar
Rediculous over the top ideas
- Cold Glass storage **
- Beer bottle access
- Built in glass Washer ($$$'s). Haven't seen one in a Keezer yet, but I need to build and name it to get onto the Wall of Fame here at HBT. Would that be a Weezer? or a Keezer with a Blast? :D
- Learn from those who've gone before me (Jester, tip of the hat to you)
- Best coffin cooling method. Good cool air ducting. NO FOAM!
- Limited drilling/mounting into the freezer itself
- No collar
- Sturdy base
- Don't overbuild
I think that about covers it.
If you've hung in there this far, it's a good chance you can handle the rest.
Building the Base
Let me start by saying that I skipped right past the 7,10,and 13 cu ft sizes. I figure if I'm going to put the effort into this that I think I will, I don't want to out grow it or wish I had gone bigger down the road.
For this build, I'm uisng a new 15 cu ft Frigidaire that I bought at discount ($315+tax) from a local Ding and Dent appliance store. energy Guide estimated yearly opertaing cost for this unit as a freezer $38.
Considerations for building the base
- Sized to allow for cooling gaps all around the front and sides
- Larger wheels (roll-ability on carpet)
- Impact on overall height (targeting 42")
- Flat solid base for cabinet and skirt mounting
- Rear lip for wall standoff and electrical mounting options
- Drain access
- Torsional effect of supporting the lid resting on the surround
- Keep the weight down. Don't over build it
I thought about the framing for a long time, probably too long. Because of the 48" width of the freezer, I was concerned about the span and support of the freezer and additional weight of the build. I also wanted to proved more support than just the 4 bottom feet would provide alone.
I built the base with 4 inch swivel casters through bolted with T-Nuts onto 2x6 runners. The base is 3/4 cabinet grade ply (cheeper at HD than builder grade). I cut recessed holes for the freezer feet to provide full support for the floor of the freezer. the feet are directly supported by the 2x6's. I kept the 2x6's all the way to the sides to help support the surround, and I didn't want a smaller footprint for fear of it topling over. I decided against using a furniture dolly framing structure because that would have put me well above my 42" target.
I'm pretty happy with the base, I do have a little sag in the middle, but I don't know if that is a factor a warped 2x6, or lack of lateral support. I'm going to keep an eye on it for now. I expect that after adding the structure of the surround and the skirt combined with the weight of the top, it all might even out. I can always go back and add a cross member and even a middle caster.
Next step: The Top
I like that. I'd add 2 more 2 x 6 supports on the other side as well. The best part is that the warranty is still good.:mug:
Yes, the warranty was worth it's weight in gold. Which doesn't weigh much, but you get the point. :mug:
Beginning the Top
After building the base, I figured the Top would be a good next step as it will allow me to get the proper height figured out for the surround.
Considerations for building the Top
- Get it 100% Square because the whole top will be based on it
- Cutout to accommodate the existing lid handle
- Determine the size with a good overlap to fit over the surround
- Preserve the existing handle
- Retain access to the lock keyhole
The hardest part of building this portion of the top was cutting out a pocket for the existing handle. I started out with a router, but then shifted to a sanding drum attached to my electric drill. I was able to sand and shape the cutout to the countour of the handle. In the end it came out great, but there was a lot of test and reshaping along the way.
You can see the various layers in the plywood in the picture of the cutout.
It was a surprise to me that the 2" edging I added actually created a pocket that the lip of the factory handle went into perfectly. This means that lifting on the top is actually pulling on the handle itself. :rockin:
It is my plan to secure the top to the lid by putting wooden supports into the lid itself. These combined with the guide strips and the handle pocket should secure the top to the lid nicely.
Building the Coffin
Today was a day to make sawdust. After several hours of measuring which included adding and subtracting fractions, I finally made my first cuts to build the coffin. I was delayed when my best laid plans where off because I didn't leave enough room for the pipes, as they were too far aft. After moving everything forward, it all started to come together.
I'm pretty happy with the outcome. The cuts remained square, and the piece is quite strong. It will have to be to stand up to the thousands of tap handle pulls ahead.
I decided that the 30" drip tray was the right way to go. I'll be ordering one in the next couple of days. I'd be interested to know whether people buy trays with drains or no drains. I'm leaning towards one with a drain. I'll probably run it down to a gallon jug in the bottom of the freezer.
There is room for 2" foam insulation all around. I decided against the multiple boards bolted to the front. If I need additional bracing, I can easily add a piece of ply to the inside of the lower front wall. I'll just drill holes that will accept the ends of the shanks if required.
I'm still up in the air about how I want to close the top and rear panel. They are both set up with screws, everything else on the coffin is screwed and glued.
Now for the pictures!
Looks good... About to outgrow my four tap collar keezer...subscribed to see your progress for inspiration...keep it up!
Ports and Insulation
I would recommend that people draw their layout directly on the plywood top. This allowed me to visualize the drain pan (yet to be ordered), coffin layout, insulation thickness, and the ports. I had origionally placed everything too far to the rear when I laid things out.
After drawing things out, I realized that I needed at least an 8" offset from the rear edge of the ply. I have a 4" rear overhang, then another 2" to get inside the back freezer wall, and another 2" to the point I wanted to cut through the top itself. Things moved even farther forward because I want to use a piece of leftover 4" PVC Schedule 40 pipe for my risers. These will make large ports for good cool air flow. The pieces in these first two pictures are actually collars. I might use them on the top of the pipes to hold them in place. The other option I'm considering is to just use a couple of set screws drilled directly through into the ply since they fit so nicely.
I took my time with the jigsaw cuts, and the pipes fit tight. Almost too tight. Here are the real pipes in their down position.
I can now say I have pink fuzz all over the place, but I highly recommend using a table saw to cut the insulation board. I'm leaving the front tap face uninsultated for now. I'll come back and finish it off once the faucets are mounted and tested.
Nice and flush! I'm going to find a way to attach the top with hidden screws so I can remove it in the future should I need to access the faucets. You can see that the back wall is recessed. I figure the smaller the area inside of the coffin, the better the cooling of the lines will be. I have the option of mounting to the back panel, but I still want to being able to remove it for access.
P.S. - Tapped into a new batch of Sweetwater 420 Clone. Oh, man is it good!
Mutilated1's Coldwater 420 recipe
Only issue I have is the strength of the hinges with all that added weight.
Got any ideas?
I haven't seen the other Kezzer builds making modifications to their hinges.
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