Draft Beer At Home – Keezer Build With CollarTuesday, October 16th, 2012
Close your eyes and imagine your personal in home bar, complete with a draft system, stocked full of home brew!…. Congratulations! You are thinking of a Keezer! Here’s how to build one:
What the heck is a keezer? Very simply, a keezer is a chest freezer that has been converted into the ultimate refrigerated beer serving chamber! Keg + Freezer = Keezer.
Why does it have to be “converted”? Chest freezers often lack the height inside to comfortably accommodate 5 gallon cornelius kegs and the associated draft plumbing. There is a hump inside for the compressor that eats up a good amount of floor space. Even more important to note is that these freezers have extensive plumbing running through the walls of the appliance. Do you REALLY want to drill through the wall of a freezer to install a shank and hope that you do not ruin your freezer? Probably not.
The basic process for building your Keezer is to install a wooden collar on top of the keezer (below the lid). That extends the Keezer’s internal height, allowing it to hold more corny kegs, and providing a place for all the taps to go.
This project is fairly easy to accomplish and requires few materials to complete. In one afternoon, you can easily convert an old chest freezer into a keezer, which will reliably cool and serve your homebrew for years to come.
What you will need:
- Tape measure (measure twice, cut once!)
- Circular saw (to cut your lumber to length)
- Lumber (this will vary on the height of the collar you wish to build, 2” x 6” is a good start)
- Power drill (for drilling pilot holes, shank holes and installing screws)
- Wood screws (for building the keezer collar)
- Construction adhesive (to seal the gap between the wooden collar and freezer lid, as well as attach the freezer lid gasket to the keezer collar)
- Hole saw (for drilling holes in collar for the shanks)
- If you don’t already have one, a temperature controller for your freezer chest to keep the beer at serving temperature (as opposed to freezing it).
- We highly recommend getting a moisture absorption product for placement inside your keezer to avoid condensation and eventual mold build up.
#1. Remove the lid from your freezer, this will make measuring and fitting the collar that you are about to build, much easier. You will also want to REMOVE the hinges from the lid, as soon they will be mounted to the collar, allowing the lid and collar to swing up and out of your way when you open the keezer.
#2. Remove the rubber gasket that seals the lid to the freezer when the lid is closed. You will not need it on the lid after building the collar, and you will want to use this on the base of the collar, or the ledge of the freezer, to properly seal the collar to the freezer when it is fully assembled.
You’ll want to re-use the gasket from the lid. Be sure to use the measurements of the gasket (perimeter) to determine the size of your collar (perimeter). This will assure that you can reuse the gasket, and assure that you will have a collar that is capable of providing a proper seal. In essence, build your collar so that the dimensions match that of the gasket you previously removed from the lid.
#3. Be sure to measure properly and take into consideration blade kerf when cutting your lumber to length. For a nice clean build, be sure to cut your (4) sides (8 ends) using 45 degree angles so that you have no end grain showing when the build is complete.
#4. Secure all four sides of your keezer collar by drilling pilot holes and installing two wood screws in each corner. For added strength, you can also opt to add corner gussets to strengthen the structure. Keep in mind that soon you will be attaching this collar directly to the underside of the freezer lid that you removed in Step #1 which will provide some inherent structural stability.
At this time, you can utilize a hole saw to drill the holes that will accommodate the shanks for your taps. This can also be reserved for later. You can also sand, stain, laquer or otherwise prepare and preserve the wooden collar. This will not only protect the wood, but it can also add an aesthetic dimension to the keezer as well.
#5. You must secure the collar to the underside of the lid of the freezer. This can be done with a combination of “L” brackets and construction adhesive. Both will provide excellent holding power, but the combination of the two will provide positive holding power as well as the ability to seal the area where the collar meets the lid with an air tight seal.
#6. Install the gasket that was removed from the lid in Step #2 to the bottom edge of the collar, or the ledge of the freezer. This can be accomplished with the use of a good construction adhesive.
#7. Finally, you will want to mount the hinges that you removed from the freezer/freezer lid, to the collar itself. This will now allow the collar (and taps) to swing up and out of the way when you open the keezer for routine maintenance and cleaning.
This post was originally written by The Pol from HBT (one of the Brewer’s Friend authors) way back in 2009! We were cleaning out the archive and realized it had not been published. Doh! The same facts hold true today about Keezers as they did in 2009.
Hope you enjoyed the article and are inspired to keg at home and build yourself one.