Author Topic: anybody make your own kegerator?  (Read 6228 times)

frompa

  • Bristles
  • ***
  • Posts: 407
  • Location: Pennsylvania
anybody make your own kegerator?
« on: October 27, 2012, 04:34:02 PM »
Hi, all.  We have been brewing our beer for a few years, and we switched from bottles to kegs a couple of years ago.  This has worked great for parties, where we stick the keg in a can full of ice, but we'd like to have an easy way to have a little beer at a time, in between parties.  The prices for the kegerators are really high.  Any of you have experience with making your own kegerator?  Thanks for any help you can offer!

destron

  • Bristles
  • ***
  • Posts: 377
  • Age: 39
  • Location: Seattle
    • Mustachian Financial Calculators
Re: anybody make your own kegerator?
« Reply #1 on: October 28, 2012, 09:59:07 AM »
BEEEEER!

I, too, love brewing. I bottle my beer still (I have been brewing for about 2 years), but I plan on going to kegging at some point in the future. I cannot yet, though, as my plan is to move cross country in the near future.

Anyhow, there is a great resource on http://homebrewtalk.com where many, many people have made keezers (a kegerator made out of a top-open freezer). Essentially, you take the lid off the freezer and add a collar so the kegs can stand up, then use a temperature controller. Since freezers also have excellent insulation and cold air doesn't escape in a top-open freezer, this is also a very energy efficient way to go.

Another thing you can try is, instead of cooling off the beer in the keg, use a device similar to a wort chiller in-between your keg and the tap. As the beer passes through the beer chiller it cools to close to icy temperatures (perhaps too cold). Added bonus -- you don't have to cool down and then heat up your beer again.

keg --> copper tubing that is submerged in icy salt water --> tap = cold beer.

My buddy uses this method for parties.
Mustachian Financial Calculators at http://mustachecalc.com

Last Read: The Elements of Scrum by Chris Sims
Currently Reading: Lord of the North by Bernard Cromwell

pac_NW

  • Stubble
  • **
  • Posts: 155
  • Have the stamina to work on it until it's right
    • Take Next Steps
Re: anybody make your own kegerator?
« Reply #2 on: October 28, 2012, 11:33:17 AM »
You might check out: http://classickegerators.com/.  While my woman cave did not need a keg :-), this guy redid an early 1900's antique ice box for me, and it was amazing.  He gets very good reviews and was very helpful - might be able to give you some advice on making your own kegerator.

grantmeaname

  • Magnum Stache
  • ******
  • Posts: 4551
  • Age: 25
  • Location: NYC
  • Cast me away from yesterday's things
Re: anybody make your own kegerator?
« Reply #3 on: October 28, 2012, 01:38:57 PM »
Last year I helped my roommate build a kegerator following the aforementioned homebrewtalk method. It was pretty simple and straightforward. It was pretty expensive between the freezer, lumber, fittings, CO2 tank, and corny kegs, so unless you have a really compelling reason why you need it the frugal thing is just to bottle your beer instead.

frompa

  • Bristles
  • ***
  • Posts: 407
  • Location: Pennsylvania
Re: anybody make your own kegerator?
« Reply #4 on: October 28, 2012, 04:20:30 PM »
Thanks for the references, all.  As a matter of fact, I currently have one non-working 'fridge and one really ancient chest freezer in my basement, and both of the sites you provided have my wheels turning for which would be better to use for this purpose.  I bottled my beer for the first eight years I brewed, and finally decided that with some rare exceptions (mostly weirdo rare beers that I wanted to keep on hand for some time,) the time and labor savings in kegging vs. bottling was significant enough that I switched to kegging.  I got the equipment used, for the most part, and as I've already made that investment, and I'm content with it, I'm looking forward to taking this next step.  I will keep you posted on my progress.  (Hell, if you were in my neighborhood, I'd invite you over for a beer!)  Thanks again.

destron

  • Bristles
  • ***
  • Posts: 377
  • Age: 39
  • Location: Seattle
    • Mustachian Financial Calculators
Re: anybody make your own kegerator?
« Reply #5 on: October 29, 2012, 10:06:15 AM »
...I currently have one non-working 'fridge and one really ancient chest freezer in my basement, and both of the sites you provided have my wheels turning for which would be better to use for this purpose.

Just be careful that you are not spending more money on electricity than you are saving by using an old, inefficient and possibly damaged appliance. I see many people on the forums turning old refrigerators into kegerators. They are very happy with how much money they have saved, but I just think to myself, "The electric bill for that fridge in your garage is going to be ridiculous!"
Mustachian Financial Calculators at http://mustachecalc.com

Last Read: The Elements of Scrum by Chris Sims
Currently Reading: Lord of the North by Bernard Cromwell

tfordon

  • 5 O'Clock Shadow
  • *
  • Posts: 60
Re: anybody make your own kegerator?
« Reply #6 on: October 31, 2012, 12:54:35 PM »
I did the Kegerator from a Freezer with an electronic regulator.  I built a collar similar to this site: http://www.mikebeer.net/chestfreezer.htm (not as fancy though).  The construction was fairly straightforward, I just had a buddy come over and we screwed together a collar without even referencing an online plan.  The electricity spike was negligible based on utility bills of past years.

My Kegerator is currently broken though.  I moved the Kegerator into the backyard for a bonfire party.  Apparently, you can break your compressor if you turn your freezer on immediately after moving it.  If you do need to move your Kegerator let it rest for at least 4 hours before turning it on.

Once I get it up and running again I'll have to plug the Kill-a-watt to see the actual energy consumption.

khammes

  • 5 O'Clock Shadow
  • *
  • Posts: 2
Re: anybody make your own kegerator?
« Reply #7 on: November 03, 2012, 05:25:53 AM »
Just be careful that you are not spending more money on electricity than you are saving by using an old, inefficient and possibly damaged appliance.

I made my husband a kegzer (I'd like to promote this as the official word combination, instead of "keezer," which is an awful word) out of a small, old chest freezer for Christmas a few years ago. Anyway, we recently started monitoring our electricity usage and the kegzer was the first thing on the proverbial chopping block.  We monitored it for a few weeks and it worked out to about 45 kWh per month, or a little over $5 at 11 cents per kWh.  Because you're using a temp regulator, and the freezer holds cold well, the unit only runs rarely.  A full size chest freezer or upright fridge would probably use more...your call if that's worth it.

destron

  • Bristles
  • ***
  • Posts: 377
  • Age: 39
  • Location: Seattle
    • Mustachian Financial Calculators
Re: anybody make your own kegerator?
« Reply #8 on: November 03, 2012, 07:42:35 AM »
Just be careful that you are not spending more money on electricity than you are saving by using an old, inefficient and possibly damaged appliance.

I made my husband a kegzer (I'd like to promote this as the official word combination, instead of "keezer," which is an awful word) out of a small, old chest freezer for Christmas a few years ago. Anyway, we recently started monitoring our electricity usage and the kegzer was the first thing on the proverbial chopping block.  We monitored it for a few weeks and it worked out to about 45 kWh per month, or a little over $5 at 11 cents per kWh.  Because you're using a temp regulator, and the freezer holds cold well, the unit only runs rarely.  A full size chest freezer or upright fridge would probably use more...your call if that's worth it.

Thanks for the input. I think any chest freezer should do pretty well. It is really more the old refrigerators people use that I think may not be worth their cost -- but without testing, you can never know!

Btw awesome gift.
Mustachian Financial Calculators at http://mustachecalc.com

Last Read: The Elements of Scrum by Chris Sims
Currently Reading: Lord of the North by Bernard Cromwell

Ottawa

  • Pencil Stache
  • ****
  • Posts: 967
Re: anybody make your own kegerator?
« Reply #9 on: January 27, 2013, 12:19:14 PM »
I've built a couple in my time.  The first one I made was using an old full size fridge/freezer which was a total power hog.

The latest one was in a quest to be more Mustachian about power consumption.   Since I don't have a vehicle capable of transporting a big-ass fridge myself...I was able to find someone on Kijiji to pick the old one up for free (he probably gets $50 for recycling it). 

Today I just drilled through the door of my mini fridge to install the recycled taps (2) from the power hog version.  I also transferred two brews to my 19L cornelius kegs, which fit perfectly in the 4.4 cubic foot Danby fridge I bought on Kijiji for $80 - almost new!  My setup also has the 10lb CO2 bottle in the fridge.  I just need to make a drip tray for each of the taps on the front.  I haven't put much thought into making it yet; since I don't have welding skills yet - I will have to jury rig something, which I will ultimately fasten to the front of the fridge with rare earth magnets. 

If anyone is interested I can post more info and pictures...
Cheers!
Signing up for Tangerine Bank?  Let's both earn some cash!  Here is my Tangerine Key: 43684467S1  Cheers.

Cid47

  • 5 O'Clock Shadow
  • *
  • Posts: 15
Re: anybody make your own kegerator?
« Reply #10 on: February 23, 2013, 03:38:39 AM »
I know that I'm joining this conversation late, but I wanted to second the modified wort cooler idea proposed by destron. Its cheap, portable, and relatively easy to make yourself. Plus they run on a little bit of water and some rock salt - no electricity! What's more mustachian than that?

You can find the basic idea here http://www.kegerators.com/articles/modifying-beer-coolers.php (this shows a double-tap setup, but we've always used a single-tap from a modified portable work cooler)