Now that JenEric brewing capacity has increased from 5 gallons to 10 gallons per batch, we needed increased capacity to carbonate and serve our precious product. So the time has come to build a new kegerator, which is great because we plan to convert our old kegerator to a fermentation fridge. (more on that later)
On one of our regular trips to home depot we found a 14.8 cu foot Maytag chest freezer. When we took a look inside we bought it right away because the footprint of the compressor. The area for the compressor was really small which will conveniently fit our CO2 tank on top leaving more room for beer. YAY!
Since we plan on using the kegerator for both carbonating and serving beer we first needed to build a collar so we had somewhere to put our taps. This eliminates the need to drill through the wall of the freezer preventing the accidental breakage of the tubes containing freon, and also allows us to remove the collar and turn the kegerator back into a freezer if we wanted to.
Next we used our orbital sander and sanded down all sides of the wood. Every piece was first sanded with 100 grit sandpaper to smooth down all the edges and get rid of any splinters. We followed that up with a very fine 220 grit sandpaper to give it a smooth and polished finish. Super smooooth.
The next step was to drill the holes for the taps. Our current kegerator has three taps so we decided we would just drill three holes now, and then if we decided to add more taps in the future, we would just drill some more holes later.
After we dusted off all the sawdust we then applied two coats of Minwax PolyShades American Chestnut stain. This stuff is really great it is a one step stain and finish, so it contains polyurethane so you don’t have to sand and poly it later. We put two coats of stain on the back side of the wood, let it sit overnight, and then stained the front sides. Isn’t it pretty?
The next step was to screw the collar together, after we let the stain dry overnight. Be careful when you screw the boards together so you don’t split the wood like we did. Next time we make a collar we are going to drill in some pilot holes first so we don’t have that problem again.
Once the collar was ready, we mounted it onto the freezer using clear silicone. First ran a fat bead of silicone around the entire freezer. Then carefully placed the collar on the bead and pushed down making sure that the collar was centered properly. Then we ran another bead of silicone so that we had a good seal between the freezer and the collar. We also ran a bead of silicone to close the gaps between the pieces of wood in the corners. Finally with a clean towel, we wiped off the excess silicone and let it cure overnight.
The next step was to attach the lid. In this case we were lucky because we were still able to use one set of holes that were already drilled into the freezer. The top holes were drilled into the collar itself. For the previous kegerator we made this was not the case, so we fashioned a bracket that we could use so that the lid was attached to both the collar and the bottom portion of the freezer.