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Old 10-04-2012, 08:30 PM   #1
Aug 2010
Beaufort, South Carolina
Posts: 13

Hello everyone.

I have been hanging around here for a while following several threads related to building kegerators, keezers, and fermentation chambers. I have been inspired by all of them to plan my own. I have a basic plan that I would like some feedback on before I go off spending money on materials and a lot of time putting it together. As we say in the Marine Corps, no plan will survive first contact (with the enemy). Here, the enemy is my lack of experience and Mr. Murphy. All that is to say that I hope I can learn from the collective knowledge here and make adjustments before getting into the build.

First, my goal is to create a nice looking piece that SWMBO will let me keep in the house since we don't have a garage or basement. That means she has to look at it approvingly and not be embarrassed when folks come over. I want to be able to control temperature for ale fermentation and also be able to store and serve two kegs.

My wife and I both love antique and rustic type furniture, so I thought about converting an antique icebox like one of these:

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After doing some research, I concluded that it was not feasible for me to go that route for several reasons. 1. Iceboxes are super expensive and hard to find; 2. The ones I could find are not great dimensions to work with; and 3. I would have to pour in lots of money and work to insulate it, tear apart old fridges, try to integrate the "guts" into the icebox, and surely screw it up.

So I decided to do what a lot of you have done with freezers and create a facade or box and put two mini fridges inside (one for fermenter and one for kegs). I thought I would plan it out on sketchup to try and get an idea of the finished product. Here is a view from the front:

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Basically it is a facade that looks like a vintage icebox. The tap will be in the top left cabinet door that will have glass instead of a panel, to accentuate the tap. It will actually be a two-tap tower, despite my drawing just showing one tap. The whole thing will be on casters to roll away and expose the rear which will look like this:

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You can see there is a backing on the top, but the bottom will be open to access the mini fridge doors.

Here is another view of the back with the panel removed to expose the interior of the upper half:

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So, like I said up top, I am pretty inexperienced with this stuff, so I want to throw my plans out here for critique before I rush off to invest a bunch of resources in this project. What do ya'll think? Ideas, questions, concerns?

Thanks in advance,

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Old 10-04-2012, 08:52 PM   #2
fall-line's Avatar
Mar 2011
Seattle, WA
Posts: 435
Liked 53 Times on 36 Posts

If you are going to go through the effort to make a custom cabinet, I'd really suggest giving yourself more usable cold space than you'd get with the above designs. There are lots of threads on here detailing projects similar to what you are talking about, where the whole cabinet is usable.

It looks like a great idea though, you'll have a blast!

"Brewing beer is a fun and rewarding hobby. When you do good, you get beer. When you do bad, you get beer. It's a lot like rec league softball"

Building a home brewery (and garage) from the ground up

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Old 10-04-2012, 09:02 PM   #3
Mar 2005
Posts: 172
Liked 23 Times on 17 Posts

My wife's a little more forgiving than yours sounds as far as decor goes. Maybe you could build me one first -- you know, to work out the kinks.

Seriously, the design looks great. I might suggest these modifications:

It looks like you only need to be able to open access to the tap and the glass storage from the front. You probably don't need a full length door on the right front, or a door on the bottom left. So, are you only putting them there for their decorative value?

I like the idea of having the business end hidden, but you will have easy access when you need to load/unload beer.

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Old 10-04-2012, 10:32 PM   #4
May 2012
Brighton, CO
Posts: 4

I like it as is, but I am new here.

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Old 10-04-2012, 10:44 PM   #5
Aug 2012
Fort Meade
Posts: 813
Liked 47 Times on 43 Posts

Hm that does look like an interesting project. I liked fall-line's comment basically saying you can never have too much cold fermentation/storage space, so I'd plan for any potential future capacity needs now.

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Old 10-04-2012, 11:51 PM   #6
Jan 2009
portland, me
Posts: 54

Originally Posted by fall-line View Post
If you are going to go through the effort to make a custom cabinet, I'd really suggest giving yourself more usable cold space than you'd get with the above designs.
Agreed, take the guts out of a good-size fridge/mini-fridge and use it to cool a larger portion of the space. Then you can have one of those shelves for bottles and more contiguous space on the bottom. If you take apart a cheap mini-fridge you'll see it's just basically spray-foam between plastic/metal walls.
Never trouble trouble till trouble troubles you.

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