Help Me Kegerate This Puppy!

I enjoy brewing beer, but I’ve been procrastinating lately because I DETEST bottling.

After having a Northern Brewer kit on the dining room table for a few months, I realize that I’m not going to get any closer to brewing without coming up with a bottling solution. So my solution is to NOT bottle, but to keg.  And in order to keg, I need someplace cold to put said keg and extract the beer out of it. I need a kegerator. 

The good news is that I already have a beer fridge (that handsome fella above), so I just need the keggy parts.  But here’s where I get stuck.  I’ve done some scanning online, but I have no idea exactly what to buy or where to buy it.  You guys and gals were so helpful when I started brewing, I thought I’d go back to the well and tap (get it, “tap”?) into your knowledge on the subject.

Here’s how I’d like it to turn out, with a corny keg on one side and some shelves on the other (I have two half-shelves for the fridge).  I’d also like to save the shelves on the door as we tend to use them for soda and such.

Now I know this isn’t exactly to scale, but do you think it’s doable?

Is there a conversion kit you recommend or anything I should steer clear of?

Is there an online retailer I can trust?

All in all, I want to do this right, but as cost-effectively as possible.  You might recall that I blew too much money buying my brewing gear, and I don’t want to do that again.

I wonder how long until I start buying corny kegs already full of goodies to put in this thing.  I could see us going through a sixtel of Storm King or Dale’s quickly enough!

Let me know below if you have any guidance to share.  Thanks!

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Categories: Beer, Home Brew, Home Brewing

Author:Jim

Craft beer nerd, frequent beer blogger and occasional home brewer.

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25 Comments on “Help Me Kegerate This Puppy!”

  1. Chris Hillman
    September 30, 2010 at 11:23 am #

    I’d pick up a 5# CO2 tank from a local gas supplier. If you buy one online, you’ll need to pay to have it purged/filled anyhow.

    Here’s a nice kit from Midwest Supplies:

    http://www.midwestsupplies.com/cornelius-keg-system-with-5-lb-co2-tank-comes-empty.html

    That would give you everything you need with a picnic tap. If you want to later mount a tap in the door it would be pretty easy to do 🙂

    • September 30, 2010 at 11:32 am #

      I intend to do the door-mount out of the gate, Chris, as it’s waay cool. If you’re gonna kegerate, you need that cool tap!

      Besides, this way when my wife yells at me, I can say “but wait – it magically dispenses beer, honey!” I think she’ll be jazzed by the tap.

  2. Rob Crozier
    September 30, 2010 at 11:27 am #

    I have absolutely no experience with brewing or a kegerator but I did notice that Northern Brewer offers the components in their catalog to keg your beer and to kegerate any fridge.

    I’m sure you know this info already…

    • September 30, 2010 at 11:34 am #

      I got all of my homebrew stuff from them Rob, and so far they’ve been great. I know I can trust them, which is good, but I have no idea about pricing, etc.

      All things being equal, I’ll definitely go the NB route.

  3. September 30, 2010 at 11:35 am #

    kegconnection.com is a good place to check out if you’re looking for a one-stop shop. I bought my keg kit from them and had a good experience. You might also want to check craigslist for your corny keg. I’ve commonly seen them there for as low as $25. I would highly recommend getting a forward-sealing faucet like the Perlick 525SS. I’ve had problems with gunk buildup on my cheapo rear-sealing faucets (although, to be fair, I don’t go through a keg very quickly). You’ll spend a little more money, but it’s worth it. Good luck and happy brewing!

    • September 30, 2010 at 11:39 am #

      I’ll check out keg connection, Michael, thanks.

      I have no idea what a faucet is (yes, this is what you’re dealing with!) but as someone who will sip his way through a keg, it sounds like your reco is one I should follow. Thanks again!

  4. September 30, 2010 at 11:50 am #

    here you go Jim:

    http://www.simplybeer.com/blog/the-kegorator-project/

    all you need in one spot!

    • September 30, 2010 at 11:53 am #

      Thanks, Peter. Very helpful for sure.

      And now you have me thinking about going double-tap out of the gate – one fore homebrew and one for good stuff. Why do it twice, right?

  5. elena
    September 30, 2010 at 11:59 am #

    Also check out micromatic.com.

    • September 30, 2010 at 12:05 pm #

      Wow – they’re like the Sharper Image of kegeration!

    • September 30, 2010 at 12:06 pm #

      Yeah, they look nice, Brandon. Did you shop around? How are they on price versus quality?

      On Thu, Sep 30, 2010 at 12:05 PM, Jim Galligan wrote:

      > Wow – they’re like the Sharper Image of kegeration! > >

      • Brandon
        September 30, 2010 at 12:08 pm #

        I think they are good price-wise. I ended up replacing all the lame components of my pre-built kegerator with their stuff. I was having all kinds of foam issues and co2 leaks. No problems since I bought their stuff.

        • September 30, 2010 at 12:12 pm #

          Good to know. I only want to do this once!

      • Brandon
        September 30, 2010 at 12:12 pm #

        Oh! Don’t go all cheap on the Coupler. I had a cheapo and it was drama. Their $30 coupler has been great for me so far.

  6. Brandon
    September 30, 2010 at 12:05 pm #

    I’ve got a kegerator and have often bought parts for it @ micromatic.com – Appears beer dispensing is all they do. I just bought the keg for tossing some homebrew in. In a couple of weeks I’ll be sharing my homebrew kegging experience!

  7. mikemoriendi
    September 30, 2010 at 12:46 pm #

    Jim this is my problem too. I want to brew more but absolutely hate the bottling. You’re lucky to have a fridge as it is. I would need that too to get the kegging system started.

    • September 30, 2010 at 12:54 pm #

      Yeah, the fridge is from our first place. Whne we moved, the new place came with a fridge, and “presto” the beer fridge was born! I feel lucky to have one and don’t know what I’d do without it at this point – I usually have lots of beer around.

      The trick is gonna be to maximize the space inside so I can continue to keep it stocked with bottles AND a corny keg (or two).

  8. September 30, 2010 at 1:23 pm #

    Turning your fridge into a kegerator is easier than you think! Here’s a how-to video: Convert your fridge into a kegerator (video)

    Still don’t believe me? Check out this guy’s testimonial – he was super nervous about trying to convert his fridge but our video made it wicked easy! Read about his fridge conversion

    • September 30, 2010 at 1:33 pm #

      Thanks, Hannah.

      I watched that how-to video yesterday over at kegworks.com and it inspired me to take the plunge. It sure looks easy! 😉

      The link you shared with the two-keg setup has made me realize I want a one keg system, as I want to save half the fridge for bottles. It’s clear from the pics that it won’t be able to fit two kegs and the bottles.

  9. September 30, 2010 at 1:37 pm #

    Jim – good call! I wish you the best of luck in your endeavor and cannot wait to see pics of your first converted fridge! The guy with the 2-tap fridge only took 20 minutes to convert his fridge into a kegerator. He said he spent more time worrying about screwing up than actually doing the conversion 🙂

    • September 30, 2010 at 1:38 pm #

      That’s what brewing (and apparently kegerating) is all about: 80% worry, 20% work.

  10. October 1, 2010 at 7:25 am #

    talk to me before you get your co2, local place sells them cheaper than on-line.

    • October 1, 2010 at 10:01 am #

      Will do. I also need a hookup for idiot-proof (cleaned and revitalized) corny kegs if you have one.

  11. Seth
    October 1, 2010 at 11:33 am #

    I bought a large amount of supplies through kegworks.com They also offer complete kegerator kits. I ended up going the chest freezer route, but the principals are the same.

    • October 1, 2010 at 11:37 am #

      Their stuff looks good. Has it held up? I’m trying to do it right the first time if possible.

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