When it comes to getting draft beer at home, it is often in the form of a keg in a bucket of ice. Reserved for special gatherings, renting a keg does the trick for one-off occasions. For those beer enthusiasts who want the benefits of draft beer in their home on a regular basis, a kegerator is the answer. Converting a refrigerator into a kegerator will bring the bar to your own home, without all the sticky floors or fraternity brothers.
- Skill level:
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Things you need
- Tape measure
- Pen or marker
- Power drill
- 1/4-inch bit
- 1 1/8-inch hole saw bit
- Draft shank, faucet and knob (assembled)
- Pour tray and screws
- Beer hose, measuring 5 feet long by 3/16 inch, with fittings and hex nut washer
- Beer hose snap clamp
- Carbon dioxide hose, measuring 4 feet by 5/16 inch
- Two gas hose snap clamps
- Carbon dioxide regulator
- Carbon dioxide tank with a minimum capacity of 2.27kg.
- Keg coupler
- Screwdrivers, flathead and Phillips
- Crescent wrench
Measure approximately 43 inches up from the floor and mark the spot. Locate the centre point of the refrigerator door by measuring the width of the door, dividing in half and marking the centre point at the 43 inch mark.
Start a guide hole at the measured mark on the door with the 1/4-inch bit. Holding the drill level to the ground will ensure a straight guide hole all the way through to the inside of the refrigerator.
Exchange the 1/4-inch bit with the 1 1/8-inch hole saw bit and drill into the door at the guide hole, stopping before you reach the liner within the door.
Complete the shank hole by drilling from the guide hole on the inside of the door outward, connecting the hole through the entire door.
Make a mark 12 inches down from the centre of the shank hole on the front of the door, drawing a line for the pour tray at the 12 inch mark parallel with the floor.
Position the pour tray's mounting holes over the pour tray line, aligning the tray with the centre of the shank hole.
Fasten the pour tray in place with the appropriate screwdriver after starting guide holes for each screw.
Insert the shank/faucet unit into the shank hole, making certain the faucet end is on the outside of the door.
Verify the shank/faucet unit fits properly through the entire shank hole.
Confirm the shank/faucet unit is in the appropriate pour position. Holding the unit in place, screw the hex nut onto the end of the unit on the inside the door until it is snug.
Attach the end of the beer hose designated for the shank, securing the connection with a snap clamp.
Connect the keg coupler to the valve at the top of the keg.
Clamp the remaining end of the beer hose to the output of the keg coupler.
Secure the carbon dioxide tank's regulator to the valve of the carbon dioxide tank after making certain that all valves are in the "Off" position.
Join the regulator output port and the input of the keg coupler with the carbon dioxide hose.
Fasten carbon dioxide hose connections with snap clamps at each end and inspect hose connections to avoid loose fittings or kinked lines.
Open the carbon dioxide tank completely and slowly adjust the regulator's dial from the "Off" position to reach the correct output pressure.
Switch the keg coupler from the "Off" position to "Open," pressurising the keg.
Position the tank toward the back corner of refrigerator, placing the keg toward the centre.
Examine the seal of the refrigerator door, ensuring that no hoses are interfering with the seal.
Draw slowly on the knob of the faucet with a receptacle in place to catch the initial foam from the keg. Once the keg has settled, the beer should pour just like the tavern down the street.
Tips and warnings
- Avoid cutting or shortening any of the hoses. While you may see an excess amount for the short distance the beer is travelling, it is the recommended length for working with a pressurised tap.
- Standard refrigerators have the ability to hold several kegs. The option to install multiple taps is possible by repeating the steps above. You will need a carbon dioxide regulator with multiple outputs in order to accomplish this.
- Safety is critical when dealing with carbon dioxide tanks and pressurised components. Do not let the regulator release more than 18.1kg. per square inch, or psi. At 50 psi, the keg's pressure-relief valve will trigger, sealing the keg and its contents.
- Be sure that your hoses are properly sterilised. Surgical or food-grade tubing is ideal.
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