The first time I thought about kegging beer, I had no idea how much more it takes to make that happen. I figured I could put the beer in the keg and keep it outside in the winter.
I brought up this idea to the guys are the brew supply store in town. They didn’t laugh, but immediately offered suggestions and advice, they said you need a keezer.
What is a beer keezer? It’s a chest freezer that is converted into a kegerator, and that gives you a keezer. In short, you use a thermostat that turns it on/off when the desired temperature is reached. You can modify your keezer with a collar and add beer tappers to pour straight from the front.
It’s the ultimate home brewers kegerator or (taproom). One of the many benefits of having a keezer is the number of beers you can have on “tap.” They’re easy to build and endless way’s to do it.
How Does A “keezer” Work?
It’s a chest freezer and it was originally built to freeze. How we convert the freezer to a refrigerator is really simple, we use a $30 dollar thermostat that controls the temperature inside.
The thermostat is a digitally controlled on-off switch, and you can easily set it to what you want your beer to be at. For example, you can set it to 36 degrees if it rises to 40 degrees the thermostat turns the freezer on and then shuts off when it gets back to 36.
It also has the opposite switch if it gets too cold. This sometimes happens when the temperature probe hits the bottom of the floor, which is really cold. The controller’s alarm will go off until it gets back to 36 degrees.
Not a bad DIY hack!
Will Converting It Hurt The Chest Freezer?
Not at all, I’ve been running my first keezer for 5 years now and everything is fine. Can you convert it back to a freezer, absolutely!
Here is the thing, it is always going to be chest freezer, there is no re-wiring the freezer. The temperature gauge is external and a probe is the only part that hangs in the side.
There is one issue, the collar. This is glued onto plastic and I haven’t tried it, but I would like if you removed that you might damage the lip of the freezer.
But I see no reason you would need to remove that if you decide to go back to a freezer. Look at it as an extra foot of space!
How Much Does It Cost?
There are three parts to the build, one being the chest freezer. These run from around $165 all the way up to $400 dollars. You can always find a used one on craigslist or at a garage sale.
And the second part is the materials to build it, like the wood, caulk, screws and maybe a drill bit for the shank holes. That is fairly cheap, around $25 should be all you need for the collar build.
The third part is the beer distribution setup. The kegerators are built with that in mind, but not a chest freezer. Here are some things you will need to achieve that.
- Co2 Tank with gas – $25-100
- Gas Regulator – $50-100
- Gas Distribution – $25-50
- Faucets – $25-75 each
- Beer Line – $20
- Gas Line – $20
- Coupler – $25-50 each
You could get a few of these items used, or if you buy them new plan about $150-200 to get up and going.
I guess there is a part four, BEER! Whether you buy it from the store in kegs or brew it yourself, it’s going to cost some more money.
A good estimate for how much a keezer (with beer) will cost you is around $500-600 dollars.
Can Anyone Build One?
This really is super simple. The skill level is a basic beginner. You are going to need a 4X8 piece of wood and a saw. Measure the inside of the chest freezer where the lid and gasket sit when closed. That’s where you will measure to.
Make those cuts and screw them together to form the collar.
Remove the lid of the freezer, unscrew the plate and set aside.
You’re going to glue the collar into the freezer now. Use construction glue, it’s super strong and the put the collar on the lid. You can place the lid on top and add some weight if you like. I recommend you do, it helps to set it. Don’t screw the lid into the freezer until it has hardened.
Then you can drill your holes for the faucets, put the lid on and plug it in.
It probably sounds difficult, but take your time and things will fall into place. If the collar doesn’t fit right, don’t glue it down like that, you might need to measure again and recut.
Where To Get Parts?
You can get a chest freezer at lots of places like home depot, Menards, etc.
If you’re lucky to live in a city that has a brew supply store that’s where you can get all the beer parts you need. But not to worry, you can get everything you need online.
Do You Drink More?
That depends on the person, for me, I like beer and am a fan of many kinds of beer. I like to have a variety in my keezer on tap. I plan ahead and adjust for the season, like a good pumpkin beer or Oktoberfest! But generally, I have an IPA on tap.
I drink moderately, no more than I would without a keezer at home.
But having a keezer has many benefits besides the variety. Some of the benefits of having a keezer are:
- Kegged beer is more affordable
- Uses only a small amount of electricity to run
- Unique, build a basic one or an over the top style
- Very quiet, you can barely notice when it turns on
If you’re wondering what the difference between a keezer and a kegerator, check out this article we wrote about that very topic.
Home Brewers Need This
Bottles are nice, they are good for traveling to a buddy’s house or camping up at the lake. And there is nothing wrong with that. But consider a keezer, you can always fill a growler for those occasions.
The thing about bottles, they sure are a pain in the but to clean, sanitize and refill.
Kegging is the best option for well-carbonated homebrew in my opinion, at some point in home brewing, you may see yourself investing in this amazingly fun project.
You Will Love It!
Having a keezer in the house is a great investment! Nothing beats having fresh draft beer on tap in your house!
A keezer is mostly for the home brewer but can be for anyone who wants to have a few good beers on tap. If you only need one keg on tap, I suggest getting a kegerator.
If you love beer as much as me, you know that some craft beers are kind of pricey. I suggest, buy a keg and cut the cost.
A normal 1/6 barrel of good beer cost around $65 dollars at the store and can last 2 months or 2 weeks, depending on how crazy you go.
If you’re a slow drinker a keg of beer that is on tap can last up to 6 months.
In the end, it’s worth the investment and will save money over time.