Oh the thought of having beer on tap at home. Beer that I made nonetheless. I have been daydreaming about this for a long time.
There were basically three ways I considered to make this happen — purchase a kegerator, convert a refrigerator, or convert a chest freezer into a “keezer.”
Kegerators, although awesome, are pretty steep in price and don’t offer much in the way of storage for lagering, etc.
I tried looking on Craigslist for a refrigerator to convert but wasn’t satisfied with anything I was finding. Knowing Mrs. Marvin doesn’t love our refrigerator in the kitchen, I started hinting that maybe we could get a new one. All seemed great until she did the Jedi mind trick on me and said we should probably update the stove and microwave as well. I definitely didn’t want to go down that road.
So I decided on a chest freezer — a GE 7.0 cu. ft. Chest Freezer from Home Depot.
I picked it up for $170 on sale with free shipping. For me, it made the most sense given all the circumstances. I wanted to install two taps and still have room to lager beer and have another on deck to be tapped.
With this model I knew I could fit four cornelius, or corney, soda kegs on the floor, more if I made the collar large enough and put kegs on the inside hump. But, for now, four is enough, and I’ll store some special beers on the hump.
One thing to make note of is that Sam’s Club sells the same size freezer by GE that is 7 cu ft but the model numbers are different and the inside layout is different, so four kegs won’t fit on the floor. A big mistake I almost made until I checked the dedicated sizing your chest freezer page on homebrewtalk .com.
The day it came I double-checked that four corney kegs would fit on the floor of the freezer. I need to send a big thanks to JL for hooking me up with some used kegs at a great price.
The first step in the conversion from chest freezer to keezer requires you to unscrew the lid from the hinges. Seems simple enough until I spaced out and unscrewed the hinges from the body of the freezer. Once I figured out it would be a lot easier to work with the lid without the hinges hanging off it, I reattached the hinges to the body and unscrewed them from the lid.
Soon the wooden collar would be attached to the underside of the lid. So, next, I cut off the piece of weather stripping that currently rimmed the bottom of the lid. I probably could have done this more precisely, but I was overly excited to be finally working on this project and I rushed it.
If I was to do it again, I would try and slide the razor under the metal it is latched under. That way when you go to glue it to the bottom of the collar you have some extra plastic to work with. In my case, I might have stapled the strip to the collar in addition to gluing it, if I had that extra flap of stripping.
Coming up next in Part 2: How to build a keezer with no skills or tools.