Kegerator for Homebrew

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Create a Kegerator to Serve Homebrew

A kegerator to help dispense your kegged homebrew beer is a must.  Here is a step-by-step DIY on how to build a dual tap kegerator for homebrew. It is totally possible to have access to two separate cold brews at the same time by creating your very own kegerator for under $200.

Purchase Equipment

1.  Used Old Refrigerator (craigslist.com) — $60
2.  2 Perlick Perl SS Faucets (amazon.com) — $65 shipped
3.  2  Beer Shanks – Chrome Plated 4″ 3/16″ bore — $35.00
4.  2 Tail Piece 3/16″ — $1.80
5.  2 Black Neoprene Beer Shank Washer — $1.00
6.  2 Beer Shank Hex Nut — $1.60
7.  2 Long Faucet Tap Handle — $4.50
8.   10 ft 3/16″ ID Beverage Tubing  — $13.89
9. Ball lock Liquid Disconnects -or- pin-lock(depends on your kegs) — $12.00
10. 4 Hose Clamps — $.40

Choose the best Refrigerator

The kind of refrigerator you select doesn’t really matter. Kenmore, Whirlpool, Samsung it’s all the same in this case. Your only requirements are really just A) does it work and B) will my kegs fit inside. In fact, it doesn’t even really have to be a refrigerator, I have friends that have created their kegerator from an old chest freezer and that worked out just fine too.

For me, the most important feature of my soon to be kegerator was size. I wanted it to be larger enough to fit my kegs but small enough that it didn’t take over valuable square footage in my garage. If you plan to use 5 gallon kegs like I do, then a smaller “European” style refrigerator is all you really need.

European style convert to homebrew kegerator

European style convert to homebrew kegerator

Transform your Refrigerator into a Kegerator

Assuming you decide to use a refrigerator like I did, the first step in transformation process is the actual transportation of the fridge from it’s current home to yours. The best way to transport a refrigerator is upright; if you have to lay it on its side make sure you stand it upright for at least 24 hours before powering it on.  This will allow for any possible leaked oil to drain back into the compressor. If you don’t follow this rule you will likely ruin the refrigerator and be left with a large load to take to the dump.

Next, you must drill holes. Drilling holes in a refrigerator can be dangerous and may result in ruining the entire refrigerator so be careful.  Some refrigerator models have coolant lines that run throughout the walls of the fridge.   With most refrigerators the door is a safe bet.  However, if you really want to place the faucets elsewhere, drill a small hole first to check for the lines then work your way to a bigger hole once you are certain you won’t compromise the coolant lines.  Once you have located where you want the faucets to be located, mark the positions with a pen.

Mark locations to drill

Mark locations to drill

Take a smaller sized drill bit and drill straight through to create a pilot hole.  Then take a appropriately sized hole saw drill bit and drill out the hole for the shank.

Drill out holes with small bit first, then use a larger hole saw bit

Drill out holes with small bit first, then use a larger hole saw bit

Assemble Shank, Tailpiece and Faucet

The shank is the stainless steel tube like piece that has threads on either end that ultimately used as the anchor for your tap. The tailpiece is a critical piece in this project because it connects to the back of the shank and is essentially the adapter for the 3/16 beverage tubing. Gather up the shank, shank washer and nut along with the tailpiece and assemble them using the directions they came with. Insert this framework through the newly drilled hole.

Shank, tailpiece and tail nut all assembled.

Shank, tailpiece and tail nut all assembled.

Before you screw on the faucet you might want to consider making a riser. For those of you who concerned with aesthetics like me, if your surface is not flat, a riser gives the shank and tailpiece a flat object to mount to so they don’t just protrude awkwardly. I came up with a riser for my faucets made out of stainless steel since my fridge did not have a flat front.

Once you have the shank, tailpiece and riser in place simply screw on the faucet (purchasing a faucet wrench can really help here).

Riser with shank assembly and riser in place

Riser with shank assembly and riser in place

Connect Beer Lines and Serving Beer

Once the shanks and faucets have been installed correctly attach the beer lines.  Getting the beer lines to fit on the tailpiece and on the ball lock liquid disconnect can be tricky.  To help with this, boil some water in a pot, hold one end of the beer /beverage tube in the water for a few seconds, remove and slide on to the tailpiece immediately.  Make sure to have the hose clamps already on the tube.

Beer line connected to tail piece and to ball lock adapter

Beer line connected to tail piece and to ball lock adapter

Once the beer lines are connected to the tailpiece, connect the lines to the kegs and turn on the CO2.  If you need more details on how to keg homebrew beer, see our article Kegging hombrew beer.  If you are ready to go; choose your brew, pull your tap, hold the glass slightly tilted, then slowly straighten it out as the glass gets full. Drink. Enjoy.


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