How to Build a Keezer For Serving Ice-Cold Beer at Home

Embarking on a journey to build a keezer is an exciting venture that combines the joy of homebrewing with a bit of DIY spirit. A keezer, in essence, is a modified chest freezer crafted to serve kegged beer at a controlled temperature—perfect for any enthusiast looking to tap their own brews at home. Carefully choosing the right freezer is the first step; consider how much space you’re willing to allot and how many kegs you plan to serve.

Safety is a top priority, so when you’re ready to get started, don’t go at it alone—enlist a buddy to help with tasks like safely dismantling the freezer hinges. Constructing a wooden collar is the next major step, which allows easy installation of taps without damaging the freezer’s vital components. This becomes your portal to pour perfect pints from your very own keezer.

Key Takeaways

  • Selecting a chest freezer that fits your space and capacity needs is crucial.
  • Enlist a friend to assist with the keezer construction for safety and efficiency.
  • Building a collar is key to avoid drilling into the freezer and ensuring proper tap installation.

Defining a Keezer

A keezer is an adapted chest freezer made for dispensing kegged beer. It’s a straightforward project if you’ve got a little expertise and the necessary equipment. Remember that there are many ways to approach this craft, and I’ll be guiding you through one effective strategy.

When choosing a chest freezer for your keezer, think about these three factors: the space you have available, the quantity of beer you want to serve, and whether you’ll store the CO2 tank inside or outside. Find a chest freezer that fits your needs at a local appliance store or secondhand from places like eBay or Craigslist. To start, safely remove the door hinges of the freezer, preferably with somebody’s assistance to avoid any accidents from the spring mechanism inside.

Constructing a collar for your keezer is your next step. Measure the top of your chest freezer and cut two-by-fours to fit those measurements, bearing in mind the additional width added by the collar. Before assembling the collar, position and drill the holes for your tap faucets in what will be the front board—space them at least three inches apart. Once the collar is created, it should sit flush with the freezer’s perimeter.

For a secure fit, apply sealant to the freezer’s top edge and attach the collar, cleaning off any overflow. The collar should sit under pressure, using weights, to ensure a strong bond, generally taking a few days to cure completely. While that dries, you can assemble both the gas and liquid lines that will connect to your CO2 tank and kegs. Make sure to use Oetiker clamps for tight seals on the tubing, and if you encounter any stubborn pieces, dip them in hot water to make the assembly easier.

Remember, whether it’s enjoying an icy cold beer or the pride of crafting your keezer, the end reward is well worth the effort put into this DIY project. Cheers to your success!

Essential Considerations for Freezer Selection

Allocating Space

Before bringing a keezer into your home, consider the area you can spare. Whether it’s a corner in the basement or a spot in the living room, you need to ensure it fits. Remember, bigger freezers can house more kegs but will require more space.

Keg Storage Potential

Think about your beer needs. Hosting a big party? Plan for more kegs. A five-keg keezer suits occasional gatherings, while a twelve-keg system caters to more frequent use. Choose based on how much beer you’ll serve regularly.

CO2 Tank Positioning

Decide if your CO2 tank will sit inside the keezer or stay outside. Inside saves space around the freezer but takes up room that could fit another keg or two. External placement is handy if you prefer easy access to the tank for adjustments or refills.

Building the Keezer Overview

You’ve picked out the perfect chest freezer from an appliance store or perhaps scored a deal on eBay or Craigslist. Now, it’s time to transform it into a keezer for serving your homebrewed keg beer. First thing’s first: how much room are you okay with the keezer taking up, how many kegs do you want it to serve, and where’s the CO2 tank going to live, inside or out?

Begin by unhinging the freezer’s lid—get a friend to help out, as those springs can be tricky and you’ll want to avoid any accidents. Once those hinges are safely removed, it’s time to talk about the collar. It’s not just a wooden frame; it’s the future home of your tap faucets, serving as a secure spacer that doesn’t risk drilling into the freezer’s guts and causing a frosty disaster.

Measure the top rim of your freezer to get the exact size for your collar; our example uses a 48 by 27-inch top. Use sturdy two-by-fours cut to spec, ensuring a snug, gap-free fit around the cooler. Next, choose your front board—the star of the show—mark where you want those taps, and drill the holes, keeping a generous three inches between them.

Fasten your boards into a reliable rectangle, and then whip out the sealant. Apply it liberally across the freezer’s lip, then set down your collar, ensuring it’s perfectly aligned. Wipe any excess sealant, be patient, and let it cure as directed. While waiting, use this break to get your gas and liquid lines ready; making sure they’re a breeze to install when the collar is set.

Prioritize Security: Unhinging the Freezer Lid

When setting up your keezer, the first job is to remove the freezer’s lid cautiously. Before you get started, the best way to ensure a safe process is by working with someone else. Having an extra pair of hands is invaluable, especially at this point, because the springs in the hinges can be under tension.

To get started, support the hinge firmly while taking out the top and bottom screws. As you do so, be mindful of the force from the spring—ease it out gently to prevent it from snapping back. You’ll want to repeat these steps for the removal of the opposite hinge, ensuring no one gets hurt. Keep those screws safe; we’ll need them again later.

Make sure you inspect your hinges before running out to grab materials for the collar. This planned peek at the hinges will inform you of the specific dimensions and styles of lumber you’ll need to pick up. Remember, checking this detail upfront can save you time and trouble down the road.

Collar Assembly

Sizing Your Collar

First things first, get the exact measurement of your chest freezer’s top edge. Your measurements might read something like 48 inches by 27 inches, but be sure to check yours. You’re going to need some lumber; two-by-fours are recommended. Measure and cut the wood according to the size of your freezer, and keep the thickness of your lumber in mind as it will influence the length of the pieces you’ll need.

Choosing Wood and Making Cuts

Head to the store with the dimensions you’ve measured, and pick up some lumber. Your freezer’s hinges will guide you on the dimensions needed for your collar, so factor that in. Either get to cutting the wood yourself or have it cut at the store. Verify that each piece is the right length: no unsightly overhangs or gaps when they sit atop your freezer.

Checking for the Right Fit

Place the cut lumber on top of the freezer to ensure a snug fit. The boards should line up nicely with the freezer’s perimeter, with no gaps or excess. This is to make sure everything looks good before you move on to drilling and assembly.

Arranging for Faucet Installation

Before piecing the collar together, decide where your tap handles will go on the front board. Remember to leave sufficient space between the faucet holes—about three inches should do the trick. Use a spade bit to drill these holes and test that your shanks will slide through.

Building the Collar

Now, take wood screws, at least eight of them—1 and 3/4-inch should work—and a drill. Have someone help you hold the boards steady as you pre-drill pilot holes and join the corners with screws. Should the wood split slightly in this process, no need to worry; it’s fixable. Continue until you have a solid frame that fits your freezer perfectly.

Sealing and Setting Collar

The last step is sealing. Choose a sealant that’s wood to plastic-friendly and can handle the temperature. Apply it generously to the freezer’s edge where the collar will sit. Together with someone, place the collar carefully, ensuring it lines up with the freezer’s edge. Wipe any excess sealant and let it settle for a few days per the product instructions. To help the sealant cure, gently place some weight on the collar, like keg weights or whatever heavy items you have handy.

Securing the Spacer

Adding the Adhesive

After measuring the top of your chest freezer, you’ll grab some boards to match the dimensions. For our example, a couple of two-by-fours will do the trick. Cut them precisely, accounting for the collar’s build. Now, before attaching anything, spread a hearty amount of adhesive on the freezer’s top lip, picking a type that bonds wood to plastic and is suitable for the temperature it will endure. Ensure the bead of sealant is thick enough for a solid bond but not so much that it oozes everywhere.

Placing and Pressurizing

It’s important that the spacer sits evenly; align it so it mirrors the freezer’s outer edges. Once set, any overflowing sealant should be wiped clean to maintain a neat appearance. Allow this arrangement to solidify over the next 48 to 72 hours, as the sealant cures according to its specific directions. To encourage a strong seal, weigh down the spacer — a freezer lid and a few kegs will suffice, or improvisation with any weighty household items can also do the trick. During this waiting period, keep yourself busy by prepping your tubing; that way, it’s ready to go when the seal is set.

Gas Component Assembly

Necessary Implements and Components

For a smooth keezer build, gather a CO2 tank, a dual-gauge CO2 regulator, several oetiker clamps, 1/4″ barbed swivel nuts, and about 4 feet of 1/4″ ID beverage tubing. You’ll also need a CO2 distributor with 1/4″ MFL shut-offs and gas ball lock disconnects. Having these items handy will simplify the process.

Regulator and Distributor Connection

Start by measuring the distance from your CO2 canister to the distributor to determine the length of 1/4″ ID gas tubing needed. Slide an oetiker clamp onto the tubing first, followed by a 1/4″ swivel nut, and then secure the clamp. You’ll connect one end to the regulator and the other to your distributor’s gas inlet.

Tube Preparation and Attachment

Heat some water and soak the ends of your tubing briefly to make it more pliable. This will make the attachment of smaller pieces easier. After this, measure and cut your tubing to span from the distributor to your kegs, and repeat the earlier steps to attach the oetiker clamps and swivel nuts to each end.

Securing with Oetiker Clamps

To properly secure connections, an oetiker clamp tool is required to tightly squeeze the clamps shut. Once these clamps are in place, they’re not easily removed, so ensure everything is positioned correctly before securing.

Tips for Tubing

When working with tubing, keep in mind that heat can be your ally. Warming the ends in hot water makes them more flexible, easing the process of connecting to various parts. This can save time and reduce the risk of damaging the tubing or fittings.

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