Pimp My System: Keezer Build

Imagine having a personalized bar at home complete with draft system, LED lights, a chalk board, stained wood and a tiled counter top. People will be begging to come to your house not just because you make great beer, but you offer an experience few have in the luxury of their own homes. Sounds impossible right? Not at all!

Brandon Kelly from Abbotsford, BC, has been brewing for about a year and agreed to share his keezer design with us, which not only serves as a functioning bar but has the stellar looks to boot. Here’s what Brandon has to say… 

Inspiration

I was thinking about taking the plunge into kegging my beer for quite some time. I knew I didn’t want a fridge with a picnic tap, or a bootleg kegging system that I’d want to upgrade in a year or two. So, I looked around at other homebrewers’ projects and found the coffin-style keezer very appealing with its attractive design. However, I was worried I didn’t have the woodworking skills or the proper tools to complete the project, but I went for it anyway.  I used the Lousy Smarch Keezer as my guide during the project’s preparation and construction.

I took my time planning out the project. I bought some graph paper and drew out the frame from all perspectives including the finished wood. I knew I had to ensure everything would line up correctly with the lid. Drawing out to scale really helped me make sure that happened.

Construction

keezer buildI first built the base of the keezer with castors (wheels). It’s a relatively simple design with four boards attached to castors in each corner. I’d really recommend doing this first because I was easily able to move around the freezer while working on other parts. Note: at the end of the project I finished the keezer with stained pine on the outside.

Next, I built the frame for the freezer. I allowed a few inches of space around the outside to ensure efficient air flow. The frame section isn’t actually connected to the freezer itself or the base. I did add corner brackets that gave me the ability to attach the frame to the base but I didn’t find it necessary.

I used the table saw whenever I needed to do an angled cutAgain, I finished the frame with stained pine.

I removed the lid from the freezer and attached a piece of plywood in place of the lid with four bolts. Make sure you have a drill bit appropriate for metal so your bolts stay in the freezer. Otherwise, this is a pretty simple step. Also, I had to cut out the insulation from the freezer around the bolt ports so I could attach the nuts. The plywood overhung on all sides except the back end of the freezer. On the three overhanging sides, I attached 2×3’s appropriate with the length. Again, I finished with stained pine around the outside and on top. I then laid tile on top.

I built the coffin (tap section) as a basic box. I used a hole saw to drill through the lid of the freezer to run beer and electrical lines. I drilled three holes with the intentions of adding computer fans spinning in opposite directions to draw in cold air and then push it back out. The third hole was for the lines. If you choose to not install fans, your lines will warm up and your beer will foam.

keezer build

Tools: 

  • Mitre saw
  • Table saw
  • Tile saw
  • Drill
  • Hammer

Materials:

1 Varnish – Satin 2 River Crystal Random Strips Lava 1 Bucket of Spanish Oak Stain
Dual Tap Kegerator Complete Kit Chalk Board Paint for Panels 2 5″ Zinc Medning Plate
Omni Grip for Tile Adhesive 2 Panel boards (1/8″ x 24″ x 28″) 1 Box of Screws
Chest Freezer 1 2″ Zinc corner brace (4 pack) 1 2″ Galvanized Corner Brace (4 pack)
1 LED Strip Light 1 3″ Zinc Heavy Duty Corner Brace (2 pack) Wood Filler
1 Knob for back of coffin 1 Box of 8×3 Deck Screws 2 pieces of 2″x6″x96″ Spruce
1 box of nails 1 2″x3″x8″ SPF 6 pieces of 2″x8″x8″ SPF
Grout 6 1″x6″x8″ Knotty Pine 4 Casters
1 pack of hinges for back of coffin 4 1″x6″x6″ Knotty Pine Plywood standard
1 Formboard Adhesive (PL300) Wood Glue 9 Soho 2×2 Balck Matte Proc on 12×12 Sheet

The total cost of all my materials was $961.68 (CAD).

Function

keezer buildThe functionality is simple. There’s a 10 lb CO2 tank inside the freezer with a dual-gauge regulator, this is connected to a two way splitter, which then feeds to the two corny kegs.

I don’t have a dual product regulator so I only set one pressure at a time. When I’m force carbonating, I turn off the flow to the unused keg and then turn up the pressure to the keg I’m carbonating. Note: I balance the keg on the edge of the frame while force carbonating. I find this easier than reaching down inside the keezer. Just be careful it doesn’t fall!

There are two beverage lines that run up from the kegs through a hole in the freezer lid. These feed into the coffin where they attach to the taps. The coffin is insulated which helps keep the lines relatively cool, but having fans draw in cold air from the keezer is more efficient.

Access to the inside of the keezer is simple and easy because everything is on castors. I pull it out from the wall and open the lid like you would with any other freezer. The lid is very heavy because of all the wood and tile, so I use a board to prop up the lid. I have seen some designs that use air shocks from cars, which I’m hoping will be a future add-on.

keezer build
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