Make your own kegerator

DIY project is easy with a kit, old fridge

By Alison Highberger / For The Bulletin


Published Jun 10, 2014 at 12:11AM / Updated Jun 10, 2014 at 10:38AM

Editor’s note: Check back every other week for do-it-yourself projects.

Here’s a great do-it-yourself project for a beer lover: Make a kegerator for your house.

What’s a kegerator, you may ask? It’s what you get when you combine a “keg” with a “refrigerator” — it’s an appliance that can dispense fresh, inexpensive draft beer from your own chilled tap at home. Most people with kegerators keep them in the garage, although you can build one into a home bar as well.

All you have to do is buy a used refrigerator or a chest freezer, purchase the supplies or a conversion kit from a store like The Brew Shop in Bend (www.thebrewshopbend.com, 1203 N.E. Third St., 541-323-2318), and then buy a keg filled with your favorite beer. A home-sized kegerator usually holds a sixth-barrel or a Cornelius keg, which equals 40 pints of beer, so chill some glasses, and get the party started.

Jeff Hawes, owner of The Brew Shop along with Tom Gilles and Glen Samuel, told us that this is a DIY project that’s simple and easy. “The toughest part is drilling the hole through the refrigerator. As long as you have the right size bit, you can do it, and we’ll explain it all to you when you pick up a kegerator kit,” Hawes said.

There are two different kits at The Brew Shop. One is for the home brewer or kombucha maker (fermented, carbonated tea made with yeast and bacteria) that comes with a keg ($270). The other is a kit that allows you to dispense beer from a commercial keg ($240). Hawes said they would help you assemble most of the items before you leave the store, so your DIY part at home is easier.

Below you’ll find an abbreviated look at the steps you’ll need to complete if you’re going to tackle this DIY project. The Brew Shop is happy to answer questions and talk you through the process. The shop also serves beer and food in the Platypus Pub, which is below the store.

Time:

About one hour

Difficulty:

Easy

Cost:

Assuming you own a drill and a crescent wrench, the total cost will be about $300 to $350.

Supplies:

Used refrigerator or chest freezer. Measure carefully to make sure your keg will fit inside. (About $50 online)

Drill

7⁄8-inch hole saw bit ($9)

Crescent wrench

Kegerator kit ($240 for one that uses a commercial keg, and $270 for a home brew kit that includes a keg). The kit includes a tap, shank, faucet, handle, gas and beer hoses, full carbon dioxide tank and regulator. (Individuals can also look into ordering the parts separately.)

If using a chest freezer, you’ll need a thermostat (to regulate temperature), plus a single-to-triple faucet ($86 to $220)

Step 1: Drill a hole in the front center of the refrigerator.

Unplug the refrigerator and drill a hole in the front door. Once the hole is drilled, remove any dust and debris.

Step 2: Install the shank and faucet.

Put in the shank and faucet, and secure them with accompanying hardware.

Step 3: Connect the beer and gas hoses.

Connect the beer hose to the shank and the tap, which goes into the keg. Connect gas hose to the regulator and tap, clamping both ends.

Step 4: Put the keg in the kegerator and tap it.

Put the keg inside. Tap the keg by rotating the tap clockwise and pushing down on the tap handle to lock it in place and secure it to the keg. Learn about proper CO2 pressure for pouring (10 to 14 pounds on the regulator gauge). Pour a beer and enjoy!

Step 5: Plan to clean the kegerator.

Read up or ask about how to keep the beer hose and faucet clean by flushing them with cleanser occasionally.

DIY projects are about saving money and feeling good about accomplishing a task. Doing-it-yourself doesn’t get more fun that this, eh? Cheers!

— Reporter: ahighberger@mac.com