|Money shot. At the beginning, nonetheless.|
Now, a kegerator is typically a beer lover's dream come true. Draft beer at your fingertips. Ready to go at a moment's notice. Unfortunately, buying a pre-made kegerator can be expensive and you usually can't get exactly what you want. So, many homebrewers and beer lovers have converted an old fridge to serve such a purpose.
Some people use chest freezers (and convert them to "keezers") and build a collar around the top to give some extra head space for kegs, as well as giving a convenient place to put faucets without worrying about knicking a coolant line and turning a perfectly nice freezer into a giant, heavy, white box that does nothing. Others use a regular refrigerator. And some use a small dorm fridge. That is the route I went. Your decision depends on space and how much beer/how many taps you want to have.
There are plenty of fridges which can easily be converted. A simple search of homebrewtalk.com will bring up hundreds (yes, hundreds. No hyperbole there.) of people converting a dorm fridge. So, if you are looking at this blog and thinking, "Hey, I would like to do that!," make sure you check that site first. You will probably get more help there than here, especially if you buy a dorm fridge new. This isn't quite a "how you can" but a "how I did" kind of post. I didn't have enough foresight to take pictures of each step of the way, so you will just have to use some imagination.
I guess we will start with the inside. That is the most important part, right?
I added some adhesive insulation (the black stuff in the picture) to make a better seal. I placed it so it covers the crack between the seal and the door so no cold air can escape that way. We'll get to the shanks and the block of wood in a minute.
Now, the fridge part.
Some fridges have coolant lines that run all around the box and cool from all directions. Some, especially dorm fridges, have a freezer compartment that gets really, really cold and that is what cools the inside of the fridge. Some have both. My fridge was the really-cold-freezer type. Leaving the freezer in place also takes up a lot of room, so what we have to do is remove - or at least move - it. Since it was my cooling source, my only option was to move it.
|Coolant line is the white tube in the back.|
To start the process, I just ripped off the freezer door (don't need that junk anymore!). There were screws to the top of the fridge holding the freezer in place. I couldn't get a screwdriver in there so I ended up using a large pair of bolt cutters we have. Ok, they are actually heavy-duty tree branch shears, but it worked like a charm. Once the freezer tray was free, I just ever so slowly, gently, easily bent the tray down.
There also bricks in my kegerator. Why, you ask? You may notice the back of the fridge slants up to a second level so the entire floor of the fridge is not available for me to use. Two kegs will not fit in the area on the lowest level. The bricks allow me to move the left keg back farther up the slope, so I get more area and I can fit two kegs. Kind of ghetto, but it works. And if that made no sense to you, don't worry about it. Forget this entire paragraph and move on.
So, there is my kegerator build. I use it for homebrew and commercial kegs. I have fittings for both. I can fit two homebrew kegs or one homebrew and one commercial. Two commercial kegs are just too big to fit in my fridge. And that is fine by me. Keeps me homebrewing. Can't let a kegerator sit empty for too long!
|Breakdown of costs and where I purchased from.|