My first kegerator was a 2 tap tower getup in a small "dorm" style refrigerator- I bought it March 2011 and decided to build a larger kegerator by December. I found a nice full-size refrigerator on Craigslist with a freezer on top and, after selling the other kegerator, built this bad boy:
This kegerator worked great, but 3 kegs just wasn't cutting it. So I decided to sell it and build a larger keezer style kegerator. Within a week or so, it was sold- to a really cool dude, I might add, who let me hold onto it after paying
so my full keg wouldn't go bad. The next day, my amazing wife spent a few hours looking for the best deal on a new 14.8 cu. ft. chest freezer. She eventually settled on THIS
freezer. The following 2 nights, Thursday and Friday, my wife and kids accompanied me to Home Depot to gather all the materials we would need to complete the keezer that weekend. I decided to base my build roughly on Billy's build
, with the stained facade and all except I would use less expensive pine 1x8 rather than oak... meh. Since I don't have a good electric saw, I had the guy at HD cut the wood for me, which was my first mistake. I was going off of the freezer measurements from the Lowes website... I hadn't even unpacked the freezer yet. Needless to say, things were all off. I returned to HD early Saturday morning and fed them a sob story. They cut new wood for me to the exact specs for free. Whew. The official building began as soon as I got home. Unfortunately, I failed to inform my photographer (wife) that I was home, hence there are no photos of the actual coller build. Here's what it looked like right after I finished:
When removing the lid, be sure to either hold the hinges in place or stick a small nail or drill bit in the little hole on the hinge, or you may end up with a busted face. With the lid removed and the coller complete, it came time to see if everything fit right... and thankfully, it was spot on!
Now came the time to drill the holes for the 5 faucet shanks. After accurately measuring and marking the spots I wanted the faucets mounted (2.75" apart), I drilled 3/4" holes using a spade bit.
This was my second mistake. Since my faucets and shanks had yet to arrive, I didn't realize this mess-up until the coller was stained and the keezer put together. I'll get back to this, but just to cover my as*, the proper bit size in 15/16". Okay. So the next step was staining the wood, which my wife enthusiastically offerred to do.
Did I mention she can't stand beer? Seriously, I'm a lucky feller. We decided to use Minwax's Red Mahogany stain. After 3 applications over the next 24 hours, I sprayed it down with a semi-gloss poly varnish. We did not use a wood conditioner, mainly because we went so cheap on the facade's wood. Sure, there's some unevenness, but I figure it just adds some character... yeah
. The last real mistake I made was attempting to fill in the small gaps in the facade with wood filler. If you decide to mitre your edges, this won't be an issue. I didn't. Oh well. As you can see in the pic below, it did not take the stain anywhere near as well as I thought it would.
I wasn't too upset about this since, for starters, it is impossible to find a straight piece of the cheap wood I chose for the facade, and second, the sides of my keezer are basically hidden. After letting the coller dry for 24+ hours, it was time to put it in its place.
I read a few ways to go about reattaching the lid. I chose to screw it to both the coller and the back of the freezer, just for security. Wood screws worked fine for the upper holes on the hinge. For the lower holes, those that would go into the actual freezer, I used the original bolts and added a washer to each one (4 altogether) just so the hinge wouldn't bend. With the hinges secured, it was time to see if everything worked properly. Again, it did!
I filled the gaps between the coller and the facade with clear silicone, just to make it look nice and potentially provide a tad more insulation. My faucets arrived the next day... which is when I realized my shank size mistake. To be honest I sort of panicked a bit, as I couldn't figure out a good way to enlarge the holes. As I was lying next to my 2 year-old son putting him to bed, it came to me- drill the right size hole (15/16") in a scrap piece of plywood, secure that over each hole using clamps, and use that larger hole as a guide to increase the size of the smaller holes. This worked like a freaking charm! Once all that was done, I installed my shanks and faucets. What a sight!
I completely forgot that they didn't ship with tap handles, so that night I ordered 5 of the cheap plastic dealies from MoreBeer. That next week, I spent about 15 minutes every morning putting together the CO2 system, attaching beer lines, and mounting my fan. Prior to brewing yesterday (Saturday, September 1), I moved the keezer in place, plugged everything in (it all worked great), and put my full kegs in there. I also attached a bottle opener to the coller, just in case.
Did you notice the beautiful artwork, particularly the one of the face? That's my 3 y/o daughter's version of me. She's pretty great. Here's a shot of the inside:
I have plenty of room. In fact, I could fit up to 7 kegs in this puppy if ever I want to add a couple more faucets. My current plan is to maintain 5 on tap with the ability to cold-condition and carbonate a couple more, hence the 2 secondary regulators in addition to the manifold. Luckily, I still have some of my first lagered beer, a German Pils, left. It pours beautifully!
Just for kicks, here's a close-up of the beer:
If anyone has any questions, please feel free to ask! This was a fun and relatively easy project, one I believe most folks who can use a drill could accomplish successfully.
Cheers and happy brewing!