My trip to alcoholism is nearly complete! Behold The Kegerator!
This is a Sanyo 4910 compact refrigerator from Best Buy and a dual faucet draft tower from Beverage Factory and several hours of my life. It will hold 2 5 gallon “Corney” kegs, which are the kinda you used to see soda being delivered in and a 5lb CO2 bottle, which is perfect. Eventually I will hopefully have two kegs of my very own homebrewed beer in there. Since I only have a single batch ready to keg now I have a keg of Boulevard Unfiltered Wheat being delivered on Friday. That should hold me over for a while!
My cider is about ready to go to the keg so I’ll be sampling that this weekend. I made it very strong, probably too strong, by adding a lot of white and brown sugar. This was probably a bad idea as the result is a very “raw” tasting drink. I’ve just finished adding some stabilizers to it which will need about 8 hours to do their magic and tomorrow I am going to cut the cider about 60/40 with fresh apple juice. Right now the cider is super dry, and about 11% ABV so adding that juice will sweeten it up and drop the alcohol content some.
More about the kegerator:
In case you want to do this yourself, here is what I did, or actually, what I would have done had I not made all the mistakes I did.
Obtain a Sanyo 4910 fridge.
Obtain a 3″ PVC draft tower.
Obtain a 3″ hole cutter that will go through thin metal. I bought mine, and the thing that it mounts to to use in a drill at Home Depot for about $25.
Obtain some large outside diameter washers with small inner diameters. The washers that come with the tower are too small.
Obtain a piece of 5-3/4″ square by 1/2″ plywood.
Obtain a tube of hand squeeze silicone sealant.
Take the lid off the top of the fridge. This is a plastic facade that can be removed by taking out 7 obvious screws. Look at the underside of the plastic top and you will see a diamondish shape in the plastic. Dead center of that is where you want the center of your draft tower. Drill a small pilot hole right in the middle all the way through the plastic. Use a dremel or razor or anything to remove the plasic fins that are inside that diamond. What you will end up with is a 1/2″ by 5-3/4″ by 5-3/4″ depression. Your piece of plywood should fit in this perfectly and flush. Make this happen.
Use some double sided tape, or tack or something to stick that wood inside the lid so you can put the lid back on without the wood falling out. Screw the lid back down nice and tight and make sure it’s aligned properly.
Now the fun part! Take your 3″ hole cutter, put the pilot bit in the pilot hole you made earlier and go to town. Slow and steady wins the race. They recommend you use cutting oil during this but I didn’t bother. Use a nice powerful drill and take it slow and keep it straight. Go all the way through the lid, the wood, the metal top of the fridge, the foam insulation of the fridge and the plastic interior of the fridge.
Now, take the template that came with your tower, or use the tower itself to mark the spots and drill the 4 mounting holes. Drill them slightly larger than your bolts cause those bolts are going to have to go through a lot of material and it’s a pain in the ass.
Take that top back off and take the piece of wood out. Use your sealant to make a ring or two around the outside of the holes. Hell, put some wherever you like. We just want a nice airtight seal between the wood and the top of the fridge and the wood and the inside of the plastic. Put it all backtogether, put your rubber gasket on top the plastic, bolt down the tower and take pictures!
You’ll note that I left out the parts where I had to redrill everything three times, cut the wood 4 times, make a big mess of the plastic top, spill my beer, kick the dog, scream at the neighbors and give up in disgust. I took the fall for you. I hope you appreciate it.
It was all worth it. I got a dual faucer kegerator that will hold 2 Corney kegs for about $300 total. A similar “real” kegerator would have run me about $1500. Mine isn’t as nice, and it’s not all stainless steel but it looks fine and it works great. One thing I intend to add is a 120v axial/biscuit/muffin fan wired into the lamp assembly that will force air up into the tower. One of the major complaints about making your own kegerator is that the first pint of the day will foam a lot because the cold beer hits a warm faucet or warm tubes. My brother has a real kegerator and the way they do it is by having a 1″ wide flexible tube running inside the tower to the top so that cold air is being blown up and out of the tower. I think a small fan will do the same trick nicely.