Keezer Modifications: Giving your draft system polishing touches

When I started homebrewing, instead of beginning with extract kits and bottles, I jumped all-in opting for all-grain batches and kegging my beer. I like to brew all different styles of beer from hefeweizen to rye IPAs, from wee heavies to imperial stouts . . . and everything in between. Knowing how I started brewing is important because my personality is to jump into the deep-end no matter what I’m doing. Why do something small and simple when you can jack it up?! Realizing I needed cold storage and faucets, one of the first items on my list was a kegerator. I knew I wanted a keezer — a kegerator made from a chest freezer. I’m a construction/utility worker by trade and I’ve been mechanically inclined since I was a kid, so taking on a keezer build sits snugly in my wheelhouse.

My research on keezer builds started on Homebrew Talk and also Instagram. Who knew there was so much to consider? I have a small basement brewery and I wanted to maximize the available space. I also wanted to keg all the beers but still be able to bottle at times and, of course, it had to look professional. I took in as much information as I could to figure out what would be best for me. What size freezer? How many kegs do I want it to hold? Do I want a collar on my keezer? And so on.

So after a lot of time in research mode, it was time to design my blueprint. The first thing that became apparent was that I needed to build a collar . . . but what size? Again maximizing space and functionality was a must. A collar build would give enough clearance with the keg and have the necessary height inside the freezer for my modifications. My blueprint also included storing my CO2 tank on the compressor hump inside of the keezer so everything is nice and neat.

The chest freezer is a Fridgidaire 12.7-cu. ft. (0.36-m3) that I purchased at a home improvement center. This gives me room for six Corny kegs with room to spare. My blueprint called for the collar to be attached to the base freezer. Some keezers will attach the collar to the lid instead and there are pros and cons to each configuration.

I’m a construction/utility worker by trade and I’ve been mechanically inclined since I was a kid, so taking on a kegerator build sits snugly in my wheelhouse.

For additional modifications, first I decided to add a circulation system to the keezer to prevent thermal stratification, which will keep the taps colder. I added a handy CO2 port to the exterior of the keezer. I also added an LED lighting system to the underside of the lid that would illuminate when a magnetic sensor switch was triggered. The final touches were placed on my keezer by custom crafting my own tap handles and creating a digital taplist.

Tools and Materials

Chest freezer
16 ft. (5 m) 2×8 cedar lumber
Taprite 7-body, high-pressure, regulator manifold
(6) Stainless steel 4-in. (10-cm) beer shanks
(6) Perlick 680ss creamer faucets
4-in. (10-cm) jockey box coupler
Inkbird ITC-1000F
120V AC to 12V DC power converter
EP auto relay
RioRand PWM DC
Electrical wires and connectors
Magnetic door switch
John Guest flared fittings
10 ft. (3 m) of 2-in. (5-cm) PVC pipe
Atwood 3-in. (7.5-cm) bilge fan
3×2-in. (7.5×5-cm) rubber reducer
LED tape light roll and pin connector
(6) custom tap handles (optional)
32-in. TV with Taplist io app installed (optional)