The idea of enjoying their favorite beer on tap at home is a dream come true for beer enthusiasts. Once you enjoy the fresh taste of brew on tap, you’ll never settle for less. A keezer build is a fun way to create a unique keg refrigerator or keezer to enjoy your favorite brews with ease. Most people may think of it as a clunky, old-fashioned appliance that serves a valuable purpose, though without the esthetics.
Creating a keg refrigerator (kegerator) or keezer is also an excellent opportunity to enhance your home with bumper stickers, quotes, and décor to personalize your space. It’s also a fantastic conversation piece and a great way to enjoy a delicious beer with friends and family.
How to Build a Keezer
Before you begin your project, you’ll need a list of the equipment to get started. Though it is a simple design, this part of the process may seem complicated at first, though you’ll find most supplies are inexpensive and easy to order online. The equipment and supplies can be divided into two main sections: parts for the gas section and parts for the beer section. On the gas side, you’ll need the following items to begin your build:
- Lightweight––up to 40 percent lighter than comparable steel cylinders.
- Thick, consistent walls resist damage.
- Brushed external surface provides a low-maintenance finish.
At first glance, you’ll notice a wide range of CO2 cylinders, tanks, and canisters available to purchase for your keezer. The 5 lb CO2 tank is perfect due to its lightweight, damage-resistant construction. In addition, it’s durable and can handle 2.5 times service pressure with consistent success.
This tank option is ideal, esthetically, for any plan.
You’ll also need to purchase a 4-way CO2 Manifold, hose clamps, and a flare nut and barb. These items are available through a local homebrew supplier or online store.
- MULTI-PURPOSE. Proper Pour PVC tubes are ideal for general use such as homebrew and beer line, kegerator, wine making, milk and food handling and processing, air hose for fish tanks and aquarium, aquaponics, hydroponic, ponds, indoor water garden, drip irrigation, drain, water line, pumps, vacuum, siphon, filters, air conditioning, humidifiers, other home uses, props, plumbing, refrigeration, dental, industrial, medical, surgical, laboratory applications for transferring liquid and gas.
- BPA FREE AND NON-TOXIC. Proper Pour polyvinyl tubings are safe to use and well suited for beverage and brewing, in the kitchen, some solid materials, as well as handling and dispensing foods. Can be used with most commercial barbed fittings and connectors. Make sure to always wash before use!
- DURABLE AND KINK PROOF. Made of high quality material with smooth interior and exterior that prevents sediment accumulation and allows easy flow and flushing. Its walls are thick enough to prevent kinks but are lightweight and flexible and can withstand rough handling and multiple usage while maintaining dimensional stability. Our plastic tubes are easy to use, shape, and bend and can be easily cut by any cutting tool. Generally resistant to most alkali, alcohol, and mild acids and chemicals.
You’ll need a minimum of ten feet of 5/16″ width gas tubing to construct your homebrew system or beer line. It’s inexpensive, multi-purpose, and made of non-toxic materials. If you have experience with soda making or creating a unique kombucha brand, you may have spare tubing already available.
- Packing:Ball Lock Disconnect Black for Beer Out, Ball Lock Gas Disconnect for Gas In;
- Material: PBT Material for Ball Lock Quick Disconnect, Ball Lock MFL can connect Swivel Nut and Beer Faucet for Homebrewing system;
- Use: The Gray Gas Coupler is for most Cornelius Keg, Pepsi Keg, and 7-UP tanks;
Gas ball locks provide a secure connection between lines and are easy to disassemble for cleaning. They are made of food-grade materials and easy to locate online or with your purchase of gas tubing.
- HEAVY DUTY WITH DUAL GAUGES ✔ Heavy duty unit made with dual gauges to accurately measure working pressure in the system and CO2 tank pressure. Great for kegs, brew setups, kombucha etc.
- PROFESSIONAL GRADE ✔ Our CO2 Regulator fits all standard CO2 tanks with CGA-320 outlets. You can adjust the working pressure in your system via a control knob in the front. Gas Shut Off Valve for easy keg/tank swaps. Safety pressure relief valve + chrome shut off valve to prevent beer or anything else from backing up into the gas lines.
- EASY INSTALLATION ✔ All you need to install this CO2 Pressure Regulator is an adjustable wrench. Each unit is supplied with 2 O-ring washers. Always place a washer between the lock-down nut and the tank to ensure a tight seal. Replace washers as needed.
You’ll find dual gauge regulars are relatively inexpensive, made from durable brass, chrome plating, and materials that fit well within your keezer.
Constructing the Beer Section or Keg of your Keezer
When you construct the beer part of your keezer, you’ll find it’s easier than you think and requires just a few standard items to build. The central part of this section is the Cornelius keg or kegs that hold your favorite draught beer. Your ideal size is 2.5 to 5 lbs, and depending on how large your keezer is, you can safely fit more than one keg inside.
- Single metal strap handle style
- Set up for beer, soda or tea
- Item Package Dimension: 12.01" L x 12.01" W x 18.01" H
Generally, each keg doubles in weight once they are filled, and the main components include a draught-side post, a gas-side post, and a lid. Some kits may offer several parts of the keg for your homebrew project together, though it’s easy and relatively inexpensive to buy them separately.
- Stainless steel construction.
- Forward seat design to prevent lever from sticking.
- Ensures that your beer has no exposure to air, so there is no space for mold or bacteria to grow.
Keg faucets are stainless steel and resist wear and tear. The ideal faucet offers a vertical angle which provides a thorough draining process when you pour. Perlick is a good quality brand to consider for your choice of faucet.
- Chrome plated brass construction
- High polished chrome finish
- Standard threading compatible with most branded tap handles
You’ll need high-quality beer shanks that include a chrome finish and are wear-resistant. Most brands offer excellent grade brass and chrome, with two in a pack.
Additional items you’ll want to include are tap handles (usually available in sets of six or more) and a quarter-inch of barb to assemble your keg and prepare to enjoy your draft. Some people even go one step further and install a beer gun. Finally, you may consider a few accessories, such as a wireless dehumidifier, an external thermostat, and a chart to determine the carbonation level you’ll need.
Designing your Keezer
Now that you have all the supplies and equipment, the fun part begins! You may find the process a bit challenging at first, but it really is easy to assemble. Maintenance and cleaning are a bit more work. However, you’ll get used to it and establish a routine that works best for your operation.
When you initially set up your brew system, you’ll need to decide to build a keg refrigerator (kegerator) or a keezer (keg freezer). Overall, a keezer is ideal for saving space and gives you more options to design and personalize. A chest freezer is relatively inexpensive and only needs to be large enough to fit your equipment – 9 cubic feet should do the trick! You might want to consider keeping some space available for cooling a few beer glasses, as well.
Choose Your Kegs
The most popular keg for your keezer is the Cornelius or “Corny” keg we mentioned above. Back in the day, they were often used in restaurants to create soda and have since become the standard for brewing beer at home. There are several types of kegs available, which include the ball lock and the pin lock. Either type of Corny keg is ideal, and if you have a set at home, you can easily fit them into your keezer.
Setting up the Gas and Regulators
All you need is a 5 lb CO2 tank to get started. If you choose a larger tank, it will obviously cost more. Still, it may be worthwhile if you plan to pour beer often. A gas regulator offers you the option to set the gas pressure in each tank separately or keep them the same. If you customize the pressure, you’ll need to set a PSI of 35 for the first regulator and a setting between nine and thirteen for outgoing tanks.
Installing the Taps
In most cases, you’ll need to drill a hole in the freezer’s lid to install the taps through a beer faucet tower structure on top. If you’re concerned about the damage this will cause, you may want to consider using an older freezer that’s no longer under warranty. Another option to consider is building a wood collar around the perimeter of the freezer to dispense draft beer through faucets. This process will initially create more work for you, but building this collar-like structure will preserve the freezer’s integrity.
You can also extend your equipment outside the freezer if it doesn’t adequately fit inside. Keezer collars are typically built of wood and create a beautiful vintage or classic appearance. This box-like structure extends the top portion of the freezer and provides additional space to install all of your parts without impacting the overall structure.
Building Your Collar and Selecting the Materials
There are literally dozens of wooden collar designs, and finding the correct type of material for your build can be difficult. Keep your focus on durability. You can choose a cheaper wood for the interior, such as pine, and a more resilient option for the outside, such as oak. It’s also important to insulate the keezer collar and ensure there are no spaces between the edge of the freezer and the wood frame. This step is crucial if you entertain lots of guests and want to prevent damage.
After you’ve chosen your wood, you’ll need a jar of wood stain, wood conditioner, varnish, and weatherstripping. You’ll also need to purchase at least 14-15 feet of pine (for the interior) and another 14-15 feet of oak or other solid and durable wood for the exterior of the collar. Finally, you’ll need the “nuts and bolts” to assemble all the parts, including nuts, washers, wood screws, brass bolts, and gusset angle brackets.
Installing the Faucets and Shanks
Perlick is one of the best brands of faucets for your keezer, as it’s less likely to get stuck like standard faucets made for beer. Even though they cost more, they’re a good investment because they last longer and offer a quality pour. Perlick faucets are also beautifully designed and accent wood collars exceptionally well. Four-inch shanks are installed on each faucet. They connect to each beer line, making them easy to access from all sides.
Putting it All Together with a Collar
Building your keezer will take a bit of time, so it’s best to set the schedule you need for every step of construction. Despite all the work involved, the process is exciting and gives you the satisfaction of creating a brewing machine that will pump out lots of delicious draft beer for your guests.
You’ll need to remove the lid from an old (or new) freezer to start the process. Ideally, an older freezer is best if you’re looking to avoid unnecessary costs and possibly an angry spouse. Measure the top of the freezer to determine the dimensions you’ll need to build the collar. Next, cut the pine or inner wood pieces and assemble them using the angle brackets and wood screws. These will act as butt joints and provide you with the basic frame of the collar.
Measure the oak to cut the outer wood pieces to fit closely to the pine. You’ll want to ensure the pieces are cut accurately so they clamp on well. The oak should be slightly higher than the pine and hang below the pine by about two inches. This placement doesn’t need to be consistent around the entire perimeter of the keezer, just the front and sides, as no one will likely use the back section.
Formatting the Collar to Fit the Keezer
Once you have the frame installed, you’ll want to mark where to drill the bolt holes to secure the collar pieces. Typically, twelve evenly spaced bolts are required. Once they are inserted, secure them with nuts and washers. Then, when you place the freezer lid on top, you can attach the hinges to the collar frame instead of the freezer, which effectively extends the entire unit.
Now that you have the bulk of the collar done, you can decide where to install the taps. It’s essential to know where all the equipment is located inside the freezer, as well as the number of taps you’ll use. Drill the shank holes for each tap with a heavy-duty drill, as the layers of wood can prove challenging. Each hole should be around ¾ inches wide. Test the shanks to ensure they fit, and if not, you can widen each hole to adjust.
Get Creative with Your Collar
Once all the drilling and cutting are done, you might want to take a break before you stain the wood. When you’re ready to stain, use a conditioner first, applying evenly, and allow enough time to dry – about 24 hours. Apply your choice of stain, which requires another 24 hours to thoroughly set, then add a semi-gloss coat to finish the surface.
When your frame is complete, attach the weatherstripping to the pine inside, then use clear silicone to seal any openings and fully insulate the collar. Allow everything to dry before you reattach the lid, then insert all the faucets, shanks, and accessories.
You’ll also want a temperature controller to regulate your keezer temperature. You have made significant changes to the structure and volume of your freezer, so its onboard thermostat may not be able to control the temperature as well as you think. You may also want to add a drip tray and CO2 manifold.
Enjoy Your Custom Keezer
Now that you’ve built your first keezer, you’ll want to enjoy it as much as possible! You may cringe at the idea of cleaning and maintaining the unit, though, in the long term, it’s worth the extra effort. A custom-built keezer is a fantastic investment that pays off substantially. You’ll offer the best homebrewed draft and a tremendous esthetic for every party or any guest you entertain.
Grab some chalkboard paint and make a square to write down what beer selections you have on tap. Install some LED lights under the edge of the collar to add a cool lighting effect. Attach a bottle opener to the side in case someone has the nerve to bring beer bottles to your party. There is literally no limit to your personal preference when designing your finished product.
Frequently Asked Questions
Once you begin to enjoy the benefits of a new keezer, you may have some questions about ongoing care and maintenance.
Do I need to add a dehumidifier?
Keeping a dehumidifier near the keezer is an excellent way to avoid excess moisture build-up. However, this option may not be required if your space is well ventilated.
Is a fan a necessary accessory?
No, but if you do decide to install a small fan, it should be attached to the collar, pointing downward, to keep the cool air circulating inside. You can either buy a small battery-operated fan or assemble the parts from an AC cooling fan, a corner brace, hinges, and screws to attach the device.
Is building a keezer expensive?
It’s an inexpensive project, especially if you already have some materials handy. Even if you have to buy everything, it’s not a significant investment. An old freezer, standard tools, kegs, or tanks from soda-making and other projects are perfect pieces for building a keezer.