How to Make a Kegerator
A fridge is nice for preserving food, but in just an hour, you can turn it into
something really useful: a magical beer machine!
How it works
A bottle of CO2 pressurizes the keg. So
when you open the tap, beer flows out
and life is good. The regulator lets you
adjust the pressure and tells you when
the bottle needs a refill.
Start with the keg
The size of the keg determines the size of the fridge you’ll need. The most
common kegs (8 and 16 gallons) are about 16 in. in diameter and 14 or 23
in. tall. You might also find slimmer kegs with diameters of 9 to 12 in. and
heights about 12 in. Expect to spend at least $45 to $90 for an 8-gallon
keg. But don’t worry about money; good beer is priceless.
If you can get skinny kegs, you can use a mini fridge. But typical 8- or
16-gallon kegs require a full-size fridge. In most fridges, the back wall juts
in at the bottom, so you can’t set the keg on the fridge floor. It has to go
on the bottom shelf, which just isn’t strong enough. A slab of melamine
(plastic-coated particleboard) works well to support it.
Complete kits start at about $150. Depending on the kit you choose, you’ll
have to drill a hole in the fridge door, side or top. Boring the hole with a
hole saw and then making the plumbing connections can be done in just
a few minutes.
Where to get it
Tons of kegerator kits are available online. We bought ours from beveragefactory.com. Our kit
included the CO2 cylinder (many kits don’t). Filling costs about $20 at an
industrial gas supplier or a welding supplier.
No need to make your own!
Companies like Haier (haieramerica.com) make ready-to-use kegerators
complete with taps and built-in drip trays. Elmira (elmirastoveworks.com) offers a 1950s retro kegerator fridge that includes everything but the keg.