Wednesday, October 10, 2012

Building a kegerator

There comes a time in every homebrewer's life when he gets sick of washing bottles, and he decides to start kegging his beer. I say "his," but let's face it, probably 95% of homebrewers are men. Which also leads to the fact that men want a "man cave," and man cave + beer keg = kegerator. And, we're not just talking about a refrigerator with a keg in it; we're talking about a tap in the door.

Of course, you could buy a kegerator, but what's the fun in that? Homebrewers are, by definition, DIY guys, and you can convert a refrigerator into a kegerator for less than $100 (soda kegs and CO2 tank not included, but those can be readily purchased on the cheap on eBay).

And so, a photo essay, as Your Author builds a kegerator!

Behold, a refrigerator, purchased for $100 off craigslist. Price did not include renting an appliance dolly to haul it 3 blocks, nor the cost in waking up Dr. P from her Saturday morning slumber to help me haul it...

The necessary hardware: food grade plastic tubing, tap, shank, nipple, hose clamps, keg connector, drill drip tray, measuring tape.
Measure twice, drill once. Because of the interior configuration of the door, the tap has to be a little off-center.
The sheet metal exterior of a most refrigerators is pretty thin; you can cut through it with a 12-volt cordless power drill and a 1" spade bit.
Beyond the sheet metal is foam, and then...
The plastic interior panel of the door.
A nice souvenir!
Now, we put the shank through the hole, and secure it with a big brass nut on the interior of the door. Not shown: me cursing when I realized that the 3" shank that I originally bought was too short, causing me to have to go back to the brew store to get a 5" shank...
Secure that shank!
Now we have to fit the hose on the nipple that will screw onto the end of the shank. The nipple is quite tight, so this actually required a goodly degree of force.
Securing the nipple with a hose clamp. Not shown on the other end is the connector that fits onto the keg, also secured with a clamp. Homebrewers typically use 5 gallon soda kegs, and there are two kinds: ball lock and pin lock. These are not interchangable, so you pretty much have to commit yourself to one kind or the other.
A nut fits over the nipple...
...and screws onto the end of the shank.
The interior hardware is now finished.
Now we attach the tap to the outside of the door. There's a little gasket that goes between them.

The tap has little teeth to help line it up...
And a special wrench to secure it. If you want to get fancy, the handle screws off and can be customized.
To keep the floor from getting sticky, we'll put a drip tray under the tap. Make sure a glass will fit under the tap!

Make sure it's level...
Screw in the screws...
And hang the tray. Finished! Now all we need is a keg of beer!

1 comment:

  1. Some of the main pieces of sports bar equipment that you will need include:
    under counter kegerator