So a couple of months ago I had the idea to buy myself a Kegerator. Originally I was looking at those mini fridge models but not to many of them could hold a standard 1/2 barrel keg (which was a requirement for me). After doing a lot of reading on how to convert a standard mini fridge into a kegerator I found that a lot of people were dealing with cooling issues in the draft tower. Now while there were a lot of ways to resolve it but between the challenge of drilling through a mini fridge without hitting a coil and also finding one that can hold a 1/2 barrel keg I decided to keep my eye’s open for a cheap used refrigerator on craigslist.
After about 2 weeks of constant CL searching (and a few false leads) I found what I considered to be a steal for a used garage fridge. $25 bucks later I had a very dirty but otherwise perfect start for building my own Kegerator.
Now all I had to do was find a place to buy all the stuff. The only thing I knew for sure was that I wanted to upgrade the faucet immediately to a Perlick stainless steel model. A lot of reading online said that they were the best because of the way they forward seal and that stainless steel was better than chrome plated brass for beer to touch.
After doing some reading in various forums I settled on ordering from kegconnection.com because they had a good presence on homebrewtalk.com, the price was right and they even offered upgrading the kit to a Perlick in the order process. Now I had one issue with ordering with them because I placed my order Monday but nothing shipped until Friday because they say they were waiting on a shipment of 5lb co2 tanks. My issue with that is that nobody told me that until Thursday. Of course I think my expectations might be a little unrealistic due to Amazon Prime spoiling me all these years but it was still kind of irking.
Anyways flash forward and my kegerator kit arrives and my wife and I had already moved the refrigerator down into the basement (after an initial temp test in the garage). So the first thing I do is hook up a permanent thermometer (that I had lying around since like forever) to ensure the fridge holds a good temp and in the right ranges.
I know having a thermometer is a little over kill but I really wanted one. To be honest I really wanted to buy this one because of it’s alarm or something cool like this that glowed but I digress. So with the thermometer done there’s really only one step left. Completely ruin your fridge forever by drilling a big ol’ hole through it.
After looking at my shank and the drill bits I had I decided on using a 7/8″ wood bit. Yes I know fridges are not made of wood but for a one time use this will be fine. Now a quick comment on placement. I put it where I did for two reasons. The first one was in case I ever wanted to expanded to a two tap kegerator. The second was as to not break all functionality of the door storage (there a clear plastic flip down thing on the other side. In hindsight there’s also a third reason. Being closer to the door lessens the amount of travel the tubing has to do which might help prevent fatigue….but that benefit is probably minimal.
Ok back to drilling…first I did a pilot hole centered by eyeball. Then next I drilled the inside first so that way I wouldn’t come crashing in from the outside and crack or break the plastic. Then I moved to the outside and took my sweet time drilling through the metal. Nothing to it really and next thing you know I had a 7/8″ hole in my fridge.
To be honest it was cake. This is really the hardest physical part and once you get over the mental hurdle of putting holes in your fridge then next thing you know your done. After the hole is done and you’ve cleaned up all you do is put stuff together:
Now as you can see by the first picture above the tubing is already connected. Kegconnection does all that for you so I really only had to installed the faucet shank, the faucet and connect the regulator to the CO2. Nothing to it in theory. But of course this is where things went pretty wrong for me actually. After turning on the CO2 and tapping the keg with the Sankey D coupler (most N. American brewery’s used this apparently) I was greated to the sound of beer pouring out the faucet. At first I thought I left it open but it was actually spraying out around the collar. I was convinced I just hadn’t put it on tight enough yet so I tightened it up and tried again. Beer fountain.
At this point I’m freaking out thinking I had just pissed away money on a keg and all I was doing was pouring the beer on the ground. So I get the faucet wrench that came with the perlick, grab the biggest crescent wrench I own and proceed to lever the living hell out of that mother f**ker. Doing some more research via google lead me to a lot of other people with the same problem. Now I was able to get my faucet to hold a seal but when this keg is done and I take it off to clean we’ll have to see what kind of damage occurred to the shank/faucet. The people at kegconnection have been pretty good working with me, offering to swap for another chrome plated perlick that seems to not have this issue (although it’s a cheaper model ) but for now we’re holding off to see what it looks like when I take it off. Time will tell.
Other than that it’s working like a champ. I still need to get a drip tray because no matter who you are you can’t catch all the beer. The only really hard part of the whole thing honestly was sourcing a local place to get CO2. I ended up using Rockford Welding in Crystal Lake but I will warn you that 9/10 times the place you find will only do tank swaps…not refills. So don’t get to attached to that pretty new CO2 tank you just popped $50 for. Or even better find one on craigslist used that you can use. It kind of sucks but nobody sees the tank anyways (at least not in my setup). Oh and while we’re talking about CO2 make sure you get a double gauge regulator. Single gauge ones (like the ones that come with store bought mini fridge style ones) are for chumps.