Help Support Aussie Homebrewer by donating using the link above.

Matt's DIY Keezer build

Discussion in 'DIY Projects' started by Matto-FNQ, 2/2/18.

 

  1. Matto-FNQ

    Active Member

    Joined:
    8/1/18
    Messages:
    25
    Likes Received:
    26
    Gender:
    Male
    Posted 2/2/18
    Hi team,

    It's time to document the start of my keezer build project for internet posterity.

    Thanks to everyone who gave advice in my previous thread (https://aussiehomebrewer.com/threads/advice-on-beginners-ikegger-system.97510/) . I've listened to most of it and stubbornly ignored some - we'll see how badly that comes back to bite me.

    To recap:
    • Initial plan was to buy some iKegger mini kegs and use them in the drinks fridge that we already had. But that was expensive (I thought at the time - HA!), and not great bang-for-buck. Also, with friends living close who all run proper keg systems, I could see the attraction of staying with a similar system so we can all help each other, swap gear, etc. Mini keg plan got the boot.
    • Next idea was to buy a bar fridge and make a mini kegerator. But that plan got squashed when my refurbed 19L kegs arrived and wouldn't fit in the fridge that I'd bought via Facebook. There was discussion about whether a font would be a smart idea, with the majority of people believe it would be quite dumb given the climate here. I really wanted to be able to have 2 beers on tap, and keep at least one spare keg cold and ready to swap in. So the bar fridge got sold.

    ...and this brings us to the latest plan. I'm going to shamlessly copy Batz' bar build here:
    https://aussiehomebrewer.com/threads/fitting-a-font-to-a-chesty.64398/

    I've bought a freezer (brand new GVA 199L from The Good Guys), and ordered a bunch more stuff from CheekyPeak, Clever Brewing and other places. My credit card is suffering, and the wife is getting concerned. Any hope that this is a cheap project to make cheap beer has long since faded.

    Plan is:
    • Freezer can fit 3 x 19L kegs and 1 x 9L, with the gas bottle hopefully fitting inside. No light or anything in the lid.
    • Wife doesn't like the collar style with the taps protruding - prefers the font. So against all good advice, we're going with a font and two taps. Small price to pay to get some form of spousal buy-in. We'll see how much of a heat penalty we pay.
    • Font is just your standard single stainless vertical tube with the 2 taps offset. Would have loved a Cobra, but budget already stupidly blown. Maybe down the track.
    • Taps are 2 x Intertap SS FC
    • Stainless shanks for the font.
    • 8m of gas / beer line should be enough
    • 3 x pairs of both gas and beer disconnects
    • Converted CO2 fire extinguisher - hopefully picking it up this weekend. Have a brew that's been cold-crashing and is ready to keg once I can get the gas.
    • Keg-king regulator
    • 2 x second-hand 19L cornies currently, will probably buy another 2 shortly.
    • Another Inkbird coming to control the temp. Even with the freezer turned to it's warmest setting, it's freezing water quite easily.
    • Starsan to sanitise the kegs, lines, taps, etc.

    Still need:
    • To build the bar surround for the keezer to slide into. Will be L-shaped, with the hinged top like Batz' design.
    • To install all the gear into the freezer, cut the big font hole, etc.
    • Need to sort out something for a drip-tray.

    Still waiting on the last shipments to arrive, but will hopefully get cracking on the bar "shell" build this weekend.

    Photos:
    [​IMG]

    [​IMG]

    As always, any advice is most welcome - this is my first time building a keezer, and first time with anything to do with kegs.

    Cheers,
    Matt
     
    Aletheist, Ronix81, Chap and 2 others like this.
  2. Matto-FNQ

    Active Member

    Joined:
    8/1/18
    Messages:
    25
    Likes Received:
    26
    Gender:
    Male
    Posted 4/2/18
    Made some progress on the keezer bar this weekend. Hit up Bunnings and spent a fortune on treated pine and castors. Also found a neat pre-fabbed shelf panel/board to serve as the bar top - saves me making my own.

    First order of business was to build a sled/frame for the freezer. I wanted it on castors so that it could be easily moved around. Also, means I can continue to hose out the patio without worry about getting anything too wet. Frame was made out of 90x45mm treated pine with galvanised roofing screws (since that's what I had.

    [​IMG]

    [​IMG]

    The sled is a bit longer than the freezer, because I wanted to ensure sufficient air space around the compressor motor (on the right side of the freezer). Also, if I end up having the gas bottle outside, this will be a good spot for it and easy to get to.

    Next up was the bar surround. Also on castors so I can easily slide it out of the way to open the freezer lid without hitting the font on it. Lots of clearance around the freezer for air space so it can keep cold without stressing the motor.

    [​IMG]

    And in position:

    [​IMG]

    [​IMG]

    Hardest part of this was sectioning out the big corner posts so that the cross-bars were rebated in. Turns out the blade on my circular saw is VERY dull. Will need to pick up a new one for the next project.

    Final job was to bolt the new top board through the freezer lid. Slightly nervous about drilling through the lid on a brand new freezer - no turning back now.

    [​IMG]

    Now we're getting a good feel for how it will all work together.

    Next is to put an L-shaped top on the bar section, and clad the frame. Probably going with everyone's favourite mini-orb at this stage, although I did toss up both stained ply or reclaimed pallet slats.

    First unexpected problem:

    [​IMG]

    The bolts that hold the top board on currently go right through the freezer lid, and hold on the inside with a big washer and nut. As you can see, the cold is travelling right up the metal bolt and we're getting a lot of condensation on the bolt heads. Not good for the board, and not good for the efficiency of the freezer. Still trying to work out what I do about this. One potential solution is to use nylon bolts, but they'll look pretty terrible on the top. I'm thinking a better way might be to cut out the inside of the freezer lid and shorten the bolts, then re-pack the insides of the lid with insulation. It's more work, but I think it'll give a better result.

    Aside - it does make me very nervous about installing the font, since I expect this same problem at a larger scale with it. I might actually take the opposite approach to what most people do, and try and insulate the font from the freezer. I realise I'll be at risk of having the beer foam, but I'm hoping that if I pour the first cup really slowly, the chilled beer will cool the lines and tap and subsequent pours will be good. Dunno. Play it by ear. Always knew this would be a risk.

    That's where we're up to now. Hopefully sort out the top and cladding this week, and I'm expecting my font and the rest of my gear any day now. Exciting times.

    Cheers,
    Matt
     
    Killer Brew, homebrewnewb and Chap like this.
  3. Brewno Marz

    Well-Known Member

    Joined:
    21/3/17
    Messages:
    148
    Likes Received:
    73
    Gender:
    Male
    Posted 5/2/18
    Great start. I'm looking forward to tracking progress
    Maybe you could seal the top board all round and in the bolt holes and any other penetrations with a durable clear varnish, such as a marine varnish. You'll get a shiny, more durable top. Maybe even seal over the bolts too.
     
    Matto-FNQ likes this.
  4. Matto-FNQ

    Active Member

    Joined:
    8/1/18
    Messages:
    25
    Likes Received:
    26
    Gender:
    Male
    Posted 12/2/18
    More updates!

    I've got the mini orb on the frame:

    [​IMG]

    ...and trimmed down to the right height:

    [​IMG]

    Next job was to varnish the top as suggested by Brewno - cheers!

    [​IMG]

    I replaced the gal cup head bolts with countersunk stainless bolts, and cut the insulation out on the inside of the freezer lid with a hole saw. Instead of going through the timber, steel lid and the insulation (as the gal bolts did), the new ones only go through the timber top and steel freezer lid, with big washers on the inside. I then siliconed the insulation "plugs" back in the holes. Happy to report the bolt heads aren't cold at all any more. What I should have done right from the start if I wasn't being so lazy. The bolts also look a lot better being countersunk and stainless.

    The varnishing is going terribly. That photo above makes it look a lot better than it is. That was the first coat, and the best of all. I've done 4 coats now, and my technique has become worse each time. I've sanded it mostly back now, and have started again with VERY thin coats, having thinned the varnish down ~50% with turps. So far so good, hopefully we can get it back to a decent finish. It's just been too hot here, and the thick coats haven't been drying evenly.

    Over the weekend I picked up the boards for the top of the bar section, just need to cut them to size and attach them (and varnish them... :( ), and we'll be getting close.

    Once the varnishing on the top is done I'll be able to bolt on the font and then we can sort the plumbing. It's taken me longer than I have wanted, but we're moving in the right direction.

    Put down a new brew over the weekend, hopefully I'll have this finished before it's ready to drink in ~2 week's time.

    Have to order my gas bottle this week too. That *should* be the last hardware that I need, fingers crossed.

    Cheers,
    Matt
     
    Brewno Marz and HamoAus like this.
  5. Aussieemu87

    New Member

    Joined:
    10/2/18
    Messages:
    3
    Likes Received:
    0
    Gender:
    Male
    Location:
    Perth
    Posted 12/2/18
    Been following ur post mate looks sick gonna be doing the same with mine looking forward to seeing it finished
     
  6. Aussieemu87

    New Member

    Joined:
    10/2/18
    Messages:
    3
    Likes Received:
    0
    Gender:
    Male
    Location:
    Perth
    Posted 12/2/18
  7. Matto-FNQ

    Active Member

    Joined:
    8/1/18
    Messages:
    25
    Likes Received:
    26
    Gender:
    Male
    Posted 13/2/18
    Thanks Aussieemu - it's slowly coming together. Costing a lot more than I had originally anticipated, and taking a lot longer too. But I prefer to build things the once and use quality gear - then enjoy (hopefully) years and years of trouble-free service.

    That's the story I tell myself so I can sleep at night, anyway.

    Those flintlocks look like they'd make an awesome talking point as tap handles! Cut a thread into the barrel end and screw them on. Awesome idea.

    As far as updates go, I ordered my gas bottle today. Originally I was planning on using a CO2 fire extinguisher that a mate was going to convert for me (he runs a fire service business here in town). Fortunately for him / unfortunately for me, he's super busy. We first talked about it in early Jan and I dropped my regulator off to him. But he's still not had time to get to it for me, and I don't want to keep harassing him about it. I'd rather buy a proper cylinder and still be mates, vs nagging him to death. So there's a 6KG cylinder from KegLand on it's way to me as we speak. Very cheap - hopefully good enough quality.

    Going with the 6KG cylinder has forced the issue of where the gas bottle will sit - it's too tall to fit inside the freezer! I could have gone the 2.6Kg bottle, but it was basically the same price as the 6KG one and more gas is better, right? I prefer the idea of having the gas outside - easier to access the valve to turn it on and off, not taking up space inside, not kept cold, etc. But the obvious problem then becomes "how to get the gas lines into the freezer without drilling through a cooling line?". Taking more inspiration from Batz' build, I've decided to mount my 2-way manifold on the top of the lid, and take the gas lines down through the lid like he's done. No chance of breaking anything then, and easy access to the manifold valves.

    What I will need to do is sort out the gas & beer line that I need, and the right fittings. I've got 8m of 4mm ID/8mm OD vinyl tubing here, but the manifold has two different sizes of barb fitted (of course), and the ball-lock disconnects for the kegs have a different sized barb again. I'm not game to look at the tap shanks yet. It never ends!

    Cheers,
    Matt
     
  8. Aussieemu87

    New Member

    Joined:
    10/2/18
    Messages:
    3
    Likes Received:
    0
    Gender:
    Male
    Location:
    Perth
    Posted 13/2/18
     
  9. Matto-FNQ

    Active Member

    Joined:
    8/1/18
    Messages:
    25
    Likes Received:
    26
    Gender:
    Male
    Posted 23/2/18
    Update time! It's finished (almost)!!!

    It's been a hive of activity over the past few weeks, but happy to say that the main build is now complete and I pulled my first beers last night. I've got a Pacific Ale on the left tap, and a white IPA on the right.

    How it stands:
    [​IMG]

    [​IMG]

    [​IMG]

    [​IMG]

    [​IMG]

    There's a few things I need to finish off to get it properly "done".
    • As you can see, I picked up a couple of beer tap logo holders from AliExpress. I want to make some discs for the front and the back and cover them in chalkboard paint. That way I can write the beer on each tap. But I want to make them easily removable, and I can't quite figure it out yet.
    • The bar top needs a couple more coats of varnish to get it nice. Once done, I'll find a couple of bar runners to protect the finish.
    • I need to get the Inkbird's electrical plug changed over to a side-entry plug so it doesn't keep catching on the top when I open the lid.
    • I need to build a better base for the gas bottle, vs just wedging an offcut of checkerplate under it.
    • I need to add on another gas disconnect to the manifold outside. I'll use this one for force-carbing a keg before it goes in the keezer.
    • Maybe build a front door so you can't see the freezer. Honestly don't know that I can be bothered though.
    All in all, I'm very happy with how it's turned out.

    Now I can buy a couple more kegs and just focus on starting to brew more beer!

    Of course, in the back of my mind I'm already thinking how good it would look with a 4-tap font, since I've got the room inside for 3.5 kegs...

    Thanks to everyone for your help and advice, and generally to all on this great forum for the massive amount of knowledge here around both setting up a keezer and also about getting into kegging in general.

    As for me - I'm off to have a beer and jump in the pool.

    [​IMG]
    Cheers,
    Matt
     
  10. Aletheist

    Member

    Joined:
    22/2/18
    Messages:
    12
    Likes Received:
    1
    Gender:
    Male
    Location:
    Brisbane
    Posted 23/2/18
    Looks great Matt! I've been contemplating the 199L GVA also, with the same keg setup (3x19L + 1 (or 2) x9L).

    I'm assuming there's enough room on the compressor shelf for the height of a 9L? Also by looking at the photos, I'm assuming the gas wouldn't fit in? Is that a 6kg bottle?
     
  11. Matto-FNQ

    Active Member

    Joined:
    8/1/18
    Messages:
    25
    Likes Received:
    26
    Gender:
    Male
    Posted 25/2/18
    Hi Aletheist,

    I love the 199L GVA - it's the perfect size for me. And the fact that it can take 3 x 19L kegs without a collar is the icing on the cake.

    I don't have a 9L keg yet, but I'm confident it'll fit on the hump. I just measured the hump space now, and it's 21cm x 40cm (base) x 45cm (high). You might *just* squeeze two 9.5L on there if you could offset the top one slightly. I think it'd work. I'm going off the Keg-King 9.5L dimensions, which they publish as 21cm diameter x 37cm tall.

    My bottle is a 6kg bottle - spot on. There's no way it would fit inside - far too tall. If you had a collar you could get it inside. Alternatively, the smaller 2.6kg bottle should fit. If you're lucky, you'll be able to squeeze it in the space between the bottles.

    Good luck with your build - I look forward to seeing the photos!

    Cheers,
    Matt
     
  12. Aletheist

    Member

    Joined:
    22/2/18
    Messages:
    12
    Likes Received:
    1
    Gender:
    Male
    Location:
    Brisbane
    Posted 26/2/18
    Thanks for the info mate.. much appreciated. I may go with one 9.5L to start with and see how I go.
    This is what I was hoping for. Ideally I was thinking 3 x 19L in the deep recess, with a 6kg bottle amongst them if it fits (I'll be installing a collar), with one 9.5L on the shelf. If I couldn't fit a 6kg between the 3 x 19L's I may use my 2.6kg on the shelf.

    It'd be chock-a-block (and I'd have to get creative with airflow) but it would be epic to have 5 Taps (3x19L, 2x9.5L) on a compact unit like this, with a 6kg squeezed in also!
     
  13. Matto-FNQ

    Active Member

    Joined:
    8/1/18
    Messages:
    25
    Likes Received:
    26
    Gender:
    Male
    Posted 6/3/18
    Update:

    Tap labels done:

    [​IMG]

    Pieces of ply with green chalkboard paint on them. Magnets screwed to the back make them stick together on the taps whilst also being simple to remove.

    Not the fanciest setup, but I've come around to the green colour.

    Alethiest - I've just remembered that I owe you some dimension measurements. Sorry about that. Will grab them for you tonight.

    Cheers,
    Matt
     
  14. Aletheist

    Member

    Joined:
    22/2/18
    Messages:
    12
    Likes Received:
    1
    Gender:
    Male
    Location:
    Brisbane
    Posted 6/3/18
    Cheers Matt.. Crafty looking logo plates.. Won't pass judgement on the handwriting :D

    How are the intertaps travelling?
     
  15. phildo

    Well-Known Member

    Joined:
    3/6/14
    Messages:
    88
    Likes Received:
    17
    Gender:
    Male
    Posted 6/3/18
    Those metal handles really set off the taps. I have those black plastic bulbs on mine :)
     
  16. Matto-FNQ

    Active Member

    Joined:
    8/1/18
    Messages:
    25
    Likes Received:
    26
    Gender:
    Male
    Posted 6/3/18
    My handwriting is terrible, isn't it! Always has been. Maybe I should get my daughter to write on them instead - I'm sure she'd be up for it. :D :D :D

    Intertaps are cool. Very happy with them. They're solid, and they work well. VERY happy I sprung the extra for the FC - I find myself fiddling with it every time I pour a beer to get a good setting between pour speed and head. But that might just be because I'm still fiddling with my carbonation levels. It is good not needing to worry about having metres of beer line coiled up in the keezer to get the right flow restriction though.

    The other thing that has surprised me about the taps - after pulling your first beer, they actually get quite a good amount of condensation on them. They don't frost-up as such, but it's a neat look. We've been pretty humid here lately, which I'm sure contributes. I've got a sprayer of starsan at the bar, and when we've finished for the night I simply squirt some up the end of the tap and push the caps back on.

    Thanks phildo - I'm pretty happy with the handles. They're not that expensive either - I think these were the ones I got:
    https://www.cleverbrewing.com.au/kegging/tap-handle-chrome.html

    Let's face it - the handles don't really matter so long as the beer is good!

    Cheers,
    Matt
     
    phildo likes this.
  17. phildo

    Well-Known Member

    Joined:
    3/6/14
    Messages:
    88
    Likes Received:
    17
    Gender:
    Male
    Posted 6/3/18
    Nice, I have a 23l keg that I got from them. I used to use a spray bottle on my intertaps but switched to using a wash bottle WashBottles_4.jpg
     
  18. Count

    Member

    Joined:
    26/10/15
    Messages:
    20
    Likes Received:
    5
    Gender:
    Male
    Posted 8/3/18
    Hey Matt,
    great build mate, just wondering what the approx total cost was for something like this... tossing up doing something similar or just getting a triple tap kegerator from HBS...
     
  19. Matto-FNQ

    Active Member

    Joined:
    8/1/18
    Messages:
    25
    Likes Received:
    26
    Gender:
    Male
    Posted 8/3/18
    Hey Phildo - what's the advantage of the washer bottles over the sprayer? Does it do a better job, or use less sanitiser? Very interested...


    Hey Count,

    All up cost? You don't want to know. *I* don't want to know.

    Triple-tap kegerator would be cheaper, and would definitely be quicker. This would be even cheaper again than from your local HBS : https://www.kegland.com.au/bar/disp...s/keg-master-series-4-triple-intertap-ss.html . A second-hand double-tap one the same as that recently sold on gumtree here for over $700 (I know, because my friend had bought it and was on his way to pick it up when the seller reneged and sold it to someone else who gazumped him with a higher offer). Brand new, they're well over $1k brand new from my LHBS. And the ones my LHBS sell have the cheap taps on them.

    OK - because I got curious, against my better judgement, I threw all the invoices into a spreadsheet just to see how bad my financial management really is. Also, seems I'm REALLY good at avoiding doing real, actual work today.

    This is everything I bought for the project. Keep in mind:
    • This includes the fermenting fridge and temp controller, but remember that only accounts for $130 of the total.
    • The Bunnings estimate is *VERY* conservative because I threw out those receipts. The 3 pieces of timber that I used for the bar top and counter top were $80, for instance. The framework is all H5 treated pine. There's $70 in the mini-orb. The castors were the better ones, with the higher load ratings. I already had the tools, the drill bits and holesaws, most of the stainless screws and bolts, and things like the cyclone strapping. I already had the varnish, thinners and paint brushes.
    • My Shipping and Handling might be higher than yours, since we're at the end of the earth here. Despite these additional costs, it was still cheaper to order online than buy locally. I like to support the local small businesses and I'll happily pay a percentage more to do so and for the convenience. I run my own small business, so I know the challenges. However, at the end of the day, some of their prices were double what I paid here, including the delivery. The gas bottle is an easy example. That would have made my total investment SIGNIFICANTLY more.
    • I didn't want to skimp on what I deemed the "important things". I was happy to pay for the expensive SS FC taps, because I see them as a lifetime investment. However the font is just a cheapie, because it does the job now and I can upgrade it later if I want. Likewise, the shanks are full stainless, not chrome-coated brass, because I don't want to think about them ever again. But the beer line is just basic, cheap stuff. I tried to trade off "what matters" against "what doesn't" or "what I can easily upgrade later". If you wanted to, you could do this cheaper. But all you might save is ~$200 if you're REALLY lucky.
    • This was all done using new gear. If you can keep an eye on gumtree and facebook and grab someone else's keg setup for cheap, then you might get a jump-start. I didn't want to buy someone else's problem and have to worry about overhauling taps, replacing seals or splitting line. I figured that it would be a steep enough learning curve getting into kegging without having that additional complication. I did buy the kegs as second-hand, refurbished units from CheekyPeak though - and I'm very happy with them. Well under half the price of new ones.
    Here's the BOM:

    Beer Tap - Intertap Flow Control Stainless $69.95
    Beer Tap Handle - Chrome $12.95
    Faucet Spout Plug $1.90
    Keg Connector - Beer $6.95
    Keg Connector - Gas $6.95
    CO2 Distributor - 2-Way $24.95
    Butterfly Hose Clamp-10-16mm $23.40
    Shipping & Handling $15.91
    Beer Tap Handle - Chrome $12.95
    Beer Tap - Intertap Flow Control Stainless $69.95
    Beer Tap Shank - 70mm $19.95
    Shipping & Handling $13.64
    Stainless steel premium range double font: 304 Stainless Steel Construction $34.50
    304 Stainless Steel Tower Tap Shank (economy) $29.90
    Shipping & Handling $19.95
    2 x 19ltr Second Hand Ball Lock Cornelius Keg $139.90
    4mm Inner Diameter & 8mm Outer Diameter Beer & Gas Line - Per Meter $13.60
    Gas Ball Lock Disconnect - STD $9.80
    Dual Gauge Premium Regulator $58.95
    Liquid Ball Lock Disconnect - STD $9.80
    Faucet Spout Plug $2.95
    Shipping & Handling $76.75
    drip tray $39.03
    faucet wrench $7.95
    starsan syringes $8.50
    inkbird - keezer $49.49
    starsan $33.40
    inkbird - Fermenting fridge $49.49
    fermenting fridge - second hand off Facebook $80.00
    GVA 199L Freezer $300.00
    CO2 Gas Cylinders 6kg (full) 173.5
    fittings from pirtek to make the gas manifold fit $38.19
    Materials from Bunnings to make the bar surround & top $300.00
    Beer tap decal holder (2) $15.44


    SO - where does that land us? At a dizzying $1,769.58. And I'm sure it's actually higher than that in reality. I honestly didn't think it was that large a figure. Makes me feel a little sick if I'm being truthful.

    That said, I'm very happy with the outcome of the project. It's exactly what I envisaged, and I'm confident it'll give me MANY years of reliable service and good quality, relatively cheap beer. It's a nice talking point on the patio, and it's already given us a couple of really good nights with friends kicking back and having a couple of brews. It's a big investment for sure, but I'm confident it'll pay off for a long time to come.

    And with that, I'd better go and do some billable work so that I can pay off the credit card from my irresponsible spending. I might even have a beer at lunch time just to make sure it's worth it.

    Cheers,
    Matt
     
    dperrett likes this.
  20. Yuz

    Well-Known Member

    Joined:
    4/8/17
    Messages:
    205
    Likes Received:
    61
    Gender:
    Male
    Location:
    Melb SE
    Posted 8/3/18
    I used to drink Coopers Sparkling, typically 8-10 stubbies a day, every day, bought as slabs at $56 (best price in Melb, I think these days they're $60+).
    That works out to $20 / day, +/-. You've made something awesome, to your design, that will serve you for a long time. For the same amount what I'd spend on the piss-off-the-shelf in about three (!) months.

    Just to cheer you up :) and well done!
     

Share This Page