Let's face it. Regardless of how long you've been brewing, bottling your beer is a tedious process. Washing, filling, and capping dozens of bottles makes for a very long day.
That's why many of us eventually decide to start kegging our homebrew. Soda kegs are easy to clean and sanitize. Plus, they protect your beer from light and keep it fresh longer.
Kegs require a refrigerator though. Not everyone has the space for a dedicated fridge. But if you're already storing cases of bottles, a small fridge might be the answer. There are many commercial kegerators available that make that easy.
But where's the fun in that? You make your own beer. Surely you can make a custom kegerator!
One solution is a small dorm fridge. Using off-the-shelf parts and household tools, you can easily convert a 5 cubic foot fridge into a kegerator for a fraction of the cost of a commercial unit. This is a great solution for those who have limited space and only a couple of batches to serve at one time.
A small kegerator like this can fit just about anywhere. You could even build it directly into your home bar or brew cave. The customization options are endless. Besides, when you open up your homemade kegerator and reveal gleaming stainless-steel kegs of your own beer, your friends will know you're serious. They'll likely remember that beer and how you served it!
Here are a few tips that can help in your build.
- Use Keg Lube on all the keg seals. It will help prevent CO2 leaks and prolong the life of the o-rings, especially on the posts.
- Before you drill into a small refrigerator, locate the cooling lines. Not only for your own safety, but to keep from disabling the fridge permanently.
- Add an extra gas line. That way you have a spare CO2 supply for purging oxygen from carboys or kegs. And, you'll be able to attach a bottle filler when you need to.
- Full kegs are heavy. Make sure you can lift one into your chosen kegerator. If not, consider an upright model or 2.5 or 3 gallon kegs.
- A wireless weather thermometer is an easy way to monitor the inside temperature, even from a short distance away.