The Kegerator: To Buy or DIY?
Is there anything better than sharing a freshly home brewed craft beer with your friends and family? Any real brewer will tell you straight to your face that their favorite beer is the one they’re sharing with their friends. Us home brewers aren’t in it for ourselves, we’re here to share our beer and have a good time! One of the best feelings for a home brewer is watching that frothy brew pour out smooth and cool into a pint glass from your very own kegerator. So, where do we begin when thinking about upgrading our home with a kegerator?
Depending on how many home brews you want to have on tap and chilled at one time, you’ll need to know what dimension kegs you’re working with, to choose the right kegerator for you. Here is a quick breakdown of your most common kegs and their dimensions:
# of Cans/Bottles
|Corny Keg||23″x9″||5 gal||53 12oz beers|
|Sixth Barrel||23-3/8″x9-1/4″||5.16 gal||56 12oz beers|
|Quarter Barrel (Pony Keg)||13-7/8″x16-1/8″||7.75 gal||82 12oz beers|
|Slim Quarter Keg||23-3/8″x11-1/8″||7.75 gal||82 12oz beers|
|Full Size Keg||23-3/8″x16-1/8″||15.5 gal||165 12oz beers|
When you try to force a square peg into a round hole, problems arise. Is there room enough for the system to fit snuggly and still have full door movement? Is there enough space for the fan for the cooling unit and does it have access to fresh air or will it be trapped below a counter top? Is that spot in your garage accessible, or is it a pain to get to when both your vehicles are garaged? These are all common pitfalls that people figure out too late to do anything about. So, planning your kegerator’s size, space requirements, and accessibility are crucial steps before you purchase or build your own kegerator. The general rule is, if your short on space, you might try to buy… If you have plenty of room then DIY.
Now that we have those steps out of the way, it’s time to get down to business! To Buy or DIY? Are you handy with tools or not? Do you prefer shiny brushed aluminum or do you take pride in seeing the scratches and gouges of a project finished by your own hand? Do you have a budget figured out or is this a seat of your pants decision?
this comes down to time and budget. Honestly so does the DIY, but we’ll get to that in a second. If you’re short on time and don’t care about the budget, then “To Buy” is the route for you. There are a host of companies pumping out pre-fabbed kegerators for all sorts of applications. Kegerator.com and beveragefactory.com both have a wide selection of pre-fabbed kegerators for sale: Under-counter, free standing, or in-line with your existing counter tops or bar. Obviously choosing to purchase your kegerator comes with a bit more financial burden than a DIY option, but if you don’t have the necessary tools, time and handy-dandy-ness, then a pre-fab kegerator is right up your alley. I really like the form factor Edgestar Ultra Low Temp Home Brew Dual Tap… It even comes with 2 Sixth Barrel kegs, and a pricetag of $749.00
Again this decision ultimately comes down to time and budget, only reversed from your “To Buy” reasons. If you have plenty of time, a small budget and some basic tools and knowledge, then building your own kegerator is the way to go. Really all you need to do is: Find a functioning refrigerator that fits your needs and space restrictions, purchase a conversion kit ($150-$300), remove some panels and locate your cooling lines so you don’t cut into them, sawzall some ports for your equipment, Install the kit’s pieces and voila! It really is that simple. My friends and I recently DIY’d a kegerator for our friends wedding gift out of a full size refrigerator at a total cost of $300.00
Now that we’ve figured out which way we want to go, all that’s left is to get your kegerator, start home brewing some new beer recipes and filling those kegs!
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Synergy Brewing Systems, “Where the best beer is the beer you brew.”