How to Build a Kegerator Collar



Update: I put all of the keezer build posts in one place. There you will find pictures, parts lists, and links to all of my posts on building the keezer. Start there if you’re interested in building your own (and you should be…it’s sweet).

She’s done. Sorta.

There are still some finishing touches to be made on my new kegerator but the collar build was a success and beer is flowing. If you missed it, you can read about my kegerator plan here.

Since the kegerator is made from a chest freezer, most people would call it a keezer. The main part of building the keezer was building the keezer collar. I spent hours looking at examples all over the internet. There are tons of designs out there and from those I conceptualized what I wanted mine to look like.

With a plan and place and anxious to get started, I told my Dad what I wanted to accomplish. He hopped a flight from Virginia to Denver to help with the build. This wasn’t something he was going to miss. I’m good with a boil kettle, but he’s better with a hammer and I couldn’t have made something this beautiful without him.

Without further ado, here are the instructions that go with the video for building the keezer collar. I hope it helps homebrewers who want to build their own.

How it Works

A keezer collar gives you a way to build a kegerator without drilling through the freezer. Some of the benefits are:

  • It gives you a place to mount your taps without drilling through the freezer.
  • It gives you more room. With the collar, I can fit an extra corny keg on the inside shelf which I couldn’t fit before.
  • If you keep your CO2 tank outside the freezer, you can drill holes in the collar to run your gas lines.
  • You can mount other accessories like C02 manifolds, drip trays, and bottle openers. You could also put chalk paint on it to display your tap list.
  • It looks badass.

There is an inner collar and an outer collar. The inner collar rests on the ledge of the freezer. The freezer’s lid is removed and reattached to the inner collar. The outer collar bolts to the inner collar. It is a couple inches taller than the inner collar, so it hangs down lower over the outside of the freezer.

Although no part of the collar is physically attached to the chest freezer, the outer collar hangs down low so it essentially locks the whole thing in place. If you tried to pull it off, the outer collar would bump into the freezer.

Type of wood for the collar

A trip through the lumber section at Home Depot may overwhelm you with all of the varieties of wood to choose from. Key things to consider are appearance, cost, and durability.

For the inner collar we went with untreated pine. It’s cheap, and since it’s on the inside appearance isn’t as much of an issue. For the outer collar we went with oak. Although much more expensive, oak looks simply fantastic. For all the work we’re putting into this thing I didn’t want it to look cheap. Plus, oak is much harder and more durable than pine. That’s important since it’s on the outside (this is a kegerator which means stumbling drunk people will be around it).

Attach the collar to the freezer or lid?

We rested it on the freezer as opposed to attaching it to the lid. Some people attach it to the lid because:

  1. They don’t want to whack (and possibly break) a shank or faucet with a full keg when lifting it over the collar. Attaching the collar to the lid gets everything out of the way when the freezer is open.
  2. They don’t want to lift kegs the extra distance over the collar.

It’s personal preference, but to me those reasons weren’t worth the extra effort it takes to attach it to the lid. To avoid #1, I just load from the side and am careful. As for #2, if I can’t lift a keg an extra 6 inches then I shouldn’t be lifting it at all.

Besides, the collar with all the attachments is pretty heavy and I don’t want to put the extra strain on the hinges which weren’t meant to bear the weight.

Kegerator Collar Parts

  • 12 feet of 1×8 red oak – $45
  • 14 feet of 2×6 pine – $9
  • Red Mahogany Stain (1 jar) – $6
  • Minwax Semi-Gloss Spar Varnish (1 spay can) – $8
  • Minwax Pre-Stain Wood Conditioner (1 jar) – $6
  • Sponge Rubber Weatherstrip – $4
  • Brass Bolts (12 total) – $10
  • Gusset Angle Brackets (4 total) -$4
  • Wood Screws – $8
  • Washers – $3
  • Nuts – $3
  • Total – $106

Building the Kegerator Collar

  1. Remove the freezer lid by unscrewing the hinges. Put a long nail or drill bit through the hole so the spring doesn’t let the hinge whack you in the face.
  2. Measure the front, back, and sides of the top of the freezer. These will be the dimensions for the pine inner collar.
  3. Using the measurements from step #2, measure and cut the pine.
  4. Attach the pine pieces together using the angle brackets and wood screws, creating butt joints. You’ll now have the fame of the collar.
  5. Measure the cuts for the oak. You can make butt joints like you did with the pine, or make 45° miter joints like we did. The miters look nicer but they are tougher to make. You’ll want to use a miter saw for these. Measure the oak so that it fits snug around the pine.
  6. Cut the oak.
  7. Clamp the oak to the pine, making sure the tops are flush. The oak is taller so it will hang ~ 2 inches below the pine. We put the oak on the front and the sides. Since it’s pretty expensive we didn’t bother with the back where no one will see it.
  8. Mark where you want the bolts to go that will attach the oak to the pine. We put 2 bolts about five inches from each end and a couple of inches apart, in the upper area of the oak. With 2 bolts on each end of the oak boards, and 3 boards total, we used 12 bolts.
  9. Drill the holes and insert the bolts. Secure them with the washers and nuts.
  10. Put the freezer lid on top of the collar, position it so it’s centered, then reattached the hinges using the wood screws. This time the hinges will be connected to the collar, not the freezer.
  11. Measure and mark the holes for the taps. This one is going to vary depending on the size of your freezer, number of taps, and preference. We used my 19″ drip tray as a guide and kept the outer taps within that length. We spaced them 4 1/2 inches from each other and positioned them slightly above the midline on the front oak board.
  12. Drill the holes for the taps. This was tough because we were drilling through an inch of oak which is hardwood, plus 2 inches of pine. We used a Forstner drill bit for this. You could also use a spade bit. Make sure you’re drilling the correct size hole for the shank you’re using. We drilled 3/4 inch holes.
  13. Insert the shanks to make sure they fit. Ours didn’t quite fit at first so we had to loosen them up a little with the drill.
  14. The drilling, cutting, and bolting of the collar is done at this point. Remove the lid and get the collar ready to stain.
  15. Stain the wood. We used the Minwax conditioner to make sure everything spread and absorbed evenly. That dried quickly, then we applied the red mahagony stain. That was left to dry for 24 hrs, then we applied a semi-gloss spar varnish for a little shine.
  16. When the semi-gloss dries (a few hours), put the weatherstripping on the bottom of the pine. This will ensure a good seal between the collar and the freezer.
  17. Place the collar on the freezer and inject clear silicone caulk into the gaps between the inside and outside collars. This will insulate the unit and also makes it looks nicer. Wait for the silicone to dry.
  18. Reattach the lid.
  19. Attach the shanks and faucets.
  20. Attach any other accessories. I added a 4-way CO2 manifold to the back of the collar on the inside. I’m going to attach my drip tray soon.

For photos of the build, click here.

If you’re wondering about the rest of the keezer – the taps, gas lines, shanks, drip tray etc…..don’t worry, I’m going to do a post on that eventually. Because it’s not entirely done I am going to hold off, but since the collar is such a major portion of it I thought it’d be best to do a dedicated post.

When the entire thing is done I’ll post about it and include the total cost.

Definitely let me know if you have questions. There were a lot of little steps and I’m sure I missed something. Cheers.

FAQ’s

There are a lot of questions that I answer in the comments but with 140 of them (and counting) and I know it’s a pain in the ass to wade through them all. So here are the most frequent questions I get and their answers. If these still don’t answer your questions, leave a comment and I’ll to get to it. If I don’t, bug me until I do!

Is the collar secured to the freezer? Do you worry about it falling off?
No and hell no.

What did you do about the cord that turns on the light inside the lid?
The cord is stays plugged in. It’s long enough that it can reach from the lid to the bottom of the chest freezer, even with the collar installed. See the picture.

What model chest freezer do you have?
It’s am 8.8 cu. ft. Kenmore Model #: 16949. I paid $347.92 at Sears in 2011.

How many kegs can you fit in it?
I can fit 5 5-gallon cornies plus a 3 gallon corny & CO2 tank on the compressor hump.

Why didn’t you insulate it?
I finally did! See here: http://homebrewacademy.com/insulating-the-keezer-collar

Does the fan run constantly?
Yes. Here’s that blog post for reference: http://homebrewacademy.com/keezer-updates

Where did you get those metal caps for the holes in the collar?
Ace Hardware. They are called metal hole plugs. I have a picture of the box on my keezer build page.

What about the alarm on the freezer?
Mine has an On/Off switch so I just turned it off. Not sure about other models.

About Billy Broas


He is the founder of The Homebrew Academy, a BJCP beer judge, and the homebrewing expert on the Rocky Mountain PBS television show Colorado Brews. He lives in the fine beer town of Denver, Colorado.

Comments

  1. Great video…

    I’ve been wanting to build one myself for a while, but I’m going to be moving to Spain in Dec/Jan so I haven’t acquired any bulky equipment lately…

    Thanks for sharing

  2. Well, looks like i need to build myself a fancy Kegerator now. looks great dude!

  3. That Looks Awesome! I’ve been waiting for your build ever since you posted about your plans for a kreezer. The oak trim looks great with the dark stain. I bought an old refrigerator from our neighbors for $40 and hope to make a decent kegerator out of it in the future.

    Thanks for sharing!

    NWBB

    • Billy Broas says:

      Hey Stan, hope I didn’t make you wait to long! Things definitely got delayed a bit. That’s a great deal you got on the fridge. I went a similar route (Craigslist) for my fermentation freezer but didn’t feel like waiting for a deal for the freezer. Glad you liked the post!

  4. Excellent presentation for step by step process. If you have this in an unfinished basement, can rig a pulley/hoist to lift and put kegs/carboys in/out of the kegerator. I have a converted over freezer / under refrigerator. Problem is I am limited to a tighter fit for 4 cornies, and the faucets through the front door are not as sharp looking. But easier for an older broken down homebrewer like me to get the kegs in & out and I don’t use a thermostat controller. Just keep a thermometer in and adjust built in thermostat (I like that part, freezer still good for storing hops, etc.). For a chest kegerator, this is the way to go for sure, nice work. Mine is regulated to the basement; this one would look good in any room.

    • Billy Broas says:

      Thanks Ted. A pulley system is a good idea. I may use that in my basement where my fermentation freezer is. It’s not a “looker” like this keezer and it was only a matter of time before Sarah demanded I move it out of the living room. Its replacement had to be worthy of the upstairs. My Dad and I breathed a sigh of relief when she came home and approved.

  5. Way cool… Can’t wait to get started on my own.. Aloha, Rod

  6. The collar looks great, and if I ever find myself with a need for more than the 3 kegs my current setup can hold, this looks like a great design to try and mimic. Well done, and thanks for laying such fantastic groundwork for the DIY types reading this!

    I do have one glaring issue, but maybe I’m just missing something in the design. You said that because no one will see it, and because it’s expensive, you left off the oak outer collar on the back, right? Without the outer collar on the back, aren’t you leaving yourself open to the chance that someone could conceivably pull the entire collar straight off the front of the freezer? Admittedly, with the weight of the collar/lid and the friction of the weather strip, this would take a considerable amount of force, but it seems like it’s in the realm of possibility. Did you add something to the back to combat this unlikely scenario, or is it just a risk you’re willing to take?

    • Billy Broas says:

      Ben you win the prize for being the most observant one in the bunch. You’re right, it could be pulled off from the front. You’re also right that this thing is heavy and it would take a good amount of force (and a knucklehead) to pull it off. We thought about this and if it ever becomes an issue I’m going to take a small piece of the scrap wood and screw it to the back so that it locks the whole thing in place. I doubt it will come to that, but that’s the plan if needed. Great comment!

  7. Billy this is really excellent. I wish you posted it a few weeks back when i had built my own collar. This method is LOADS simpler than what i hacked together.

    One thing folks should keep in mind, those pine boards for the inner collar here, if they are like the ones i picked up, tend to be kind of warpy. Buy the best ones you can afford and give them a good looking over. I went through 2 good size boards before i got it “right” (read: the collar’s on, but ugly). Lucky for me, i’m building a full-size shell to resemble a Doctor Who Tardis.

    Great video man. Really stellar stuff!

    • Billy Broas says:

      Hey John, good tips for everyone. Hopefully warping isn’t an issue. The wood treatment should protect it and so far moisture hasn’t been an issue. Thanks for the compliment on the post. Even if yours isn’t as pretty as you hoped for as long as beer flows that’s what matters!

  8. Billy,
    Great job with the video and instructions! I just bought 14.8 cu. ft. freezer today for fermenting/kegging and wasn’t sure what a collar was until I found your site on google. I like the idea of using oak for its shear weight, but may use a cheaper piece of plywood for the back to secure the collar. The black freezer also looks much better than white, so I may need to paint mine. Nice work!

    • Billy Broas says:

      Hey Derek, happy to have you visit the blog. 14.8 cu. ft. <—- nice! Any idea how many cornies you can fit in that thing? Can’t wait to see it. Take pictures!

  9. Great video Billy. Great website too by the way.
    I recently built a collar for my keezer too. I used 2x4s so as to not increase the difficulty of lifting full kegs and fermenters in and out. In order to sort of lock the collar on, I used 1.5 inch trim around the bottom. I painted mine a glossy black rather than staining it. Turned out great and man is kegging fantastic!!! Keep up the good work!!!

  10. Forrest says:

    That thing is even sweeter in person. I think it makes the beer taste better when it comes out of that beautiful collar. Must be something about the oak.

  11. You may want to add some insulation to the inside of that collar.

  12. Billy,

    What a fantastic job. I am going to do my best to replicate this thing next week. I had two questions for you. What size chest freezer did you use, and did your’s have a internal temperature alarm? I am considering a 8.8 cubic foot kenmore in black but it has a temperature alarm that sounds if the internal temperature exceeds freezing. Not sure how that will work when cooling beer.

    Ryan

    • Billy Broas says:

      Thanks Ryan. I’m pretty fond of her myself. The 8.8 black Kenmore is the exact same one that I have. It’ a great freezer. As for the alarm, I halfway remember coming across that and think there is an option to turn it off. I know it never goes off, but let me check it and get back to you.

  13. Nice instructions! Where did you get the metal caps though?

    • Billy Broas says:

      Hey Dom, I found them in one of those specialty drawers at Ace Hardware. It was a lucky find – they work perfectly.

  14. Sgraham602 says:

    excellent video. I’m working on the same type of collar. I’m debating whether to construct the entire collar…then stain it…or just stain the front boards and attach them.

    looks like you stained over the brass bolts when you were staining…how did you get them nice and shiny again…does the stain just not take to the bolts at all??

    thanks!

    • Billy Broas says:

      I like the look of having the inside stained when the kegerator is open so that’s why I did it that way. Correct – the stain doesn’t take to the boils very well and after we stained I just wiped them with a paper towel to lean them up. Good luck with your project!

  15. Amazing looking keezer. My husband and I are starting our build today. I’ve taken a lot of inspiration from your design. Where did you get the parts for your manifold? Our freezer will hold 6 cornies, but we’re starting with 2. All of the manifolds that I have researched so far do not seem to be expandable without buing a new unit. Yours looks to be made of brass fittings which hopefully can be tracked down. Any suggestions on places to start? Are your fittings 1/4 inch?

  16. Jeremy Robinson says:

    Hey, thanks for the great step-by-step instructions. I’m about to take on a project like this and I’ve found a few places online with similar setups, but this is definitely the best I’ve seen. I’ll probably tackle mine within the next month or so, and I’ll let you know how it turns out.

    • Billy Broas says:

      Hey Jeremy, thanks for the kind words on the kegerator. Hope your build goes well and I’d love to hear how it turns out. Let me know if you have any questions at all.

      • Jeremy Robinson says:

        Just ran into my first issue. I was planning to build my outer collar all the way around rather than just on three sides like yours. Unfortunately, this means I’m going to have issues attaching the freezer lid to the collar. Your 2×6 was at the same basic level as the outside of the freezer itself, so the lid could just attach directly into it with no problem, but if I have an extra 1×8 of thickness to worry about, I’m going to have to rethink the collar design. Maybe a couple of notches in the outer collar to accommodate the hinges? Luckily I thought of this before putting the whole damned thing together. Anyway, I’ll let you know what I come up with.

  17. Just a quick question. Any reason you chose to secure the inner and outer collar via screws instead of an adhesive?

  18. my roommate and I had plans to build a collar and stumbled across your plans about halfway through our own planning, and boy did they help! We ended up almost following it exactly, but using a lighter stain since we started with a white chest freezer. It has turned out beautiful, thanks a ton for putting this together!

  19. blackbear says:

    Hey Billy. Great video, great looking keezer. I’m curious, did you ever end up insulating the inside of the collar other than the silicone caulk? It seems like most people end up putting some board insulation around the inside, but I honestly think that looks pretty ugly. I know no one ever really sees the inside but I’d still love to be able to keep the wood grain showing in there. Ultimately, I am going to try it without the insulation and see how often it kicks on and what my temp differential is from top to bottom and add insulation later if I need it…but curious what your experience was with this issue? Thanks!

    • Billy Broas says:

      Hey there. Nope I never did insulate the inside of the collar. I feel the same way that it wouldn’t look good and I really don’t think the efficiency savings would be substantial. With the 2 layers of wood and caulk it is pretty well insulated, plus cold air sinks so I’d be much more worried about weak insulation at the bottom. I measured the temperature swings with a thermocouple + data logger and it kicks on about once per hour. I should really do a post on the results….Anyways, hope that helps.

  20. I cannot thank you enough for your post… I just used it to build a collar for my 14.5 cu ft freezer! I used the same wood an stain in the back room of my house, and it’s gonna be sharp w/ 8 on tap. I will post pics!

    Also, I took a slightly different turn with the outer collar; I sank 2 inch screws (about a bajillion) from the inside collar, and it eliminates the need to bolt through. It turned out super clean.

    Keep up the good work! Hope to swap beers with you sometime! : )

    • Billy Broas says:

      Daryll, it’s so great to hear this helped you build your own collar. Putting the screws though the inside collar was a great idea. Yes, please post pics!

  21. Great build Billy. I got some 525SS faucets in the mail, you certainly convinced me on how to go about my 5.0 Cu/Ft GE keezer build. I’ll shoot some pics over when its done. Great info.

    Cheers,

    MS

    • Billy Broas says:

      I would love to see pictures. Have fun with the build & drink plenty of homebrew during it, except when you’re using the power saw.

  22. Gabriel Hernandez says:

    I am the owner of a restaurant in Old San Juan PR and this videos is the best one step by step i have seen of a keezer. I always wanted to put a tap sistem in my restaurant but it cost prohibited for me at this time but this I can afford and probably made more than four taps something that with a normal kegerator would cost me thousandsplus i can decorated like i want, what I like about your system is that is not invasive to the freezer so it is a very interchangable. I have a question how condesation works with the wood since you did not put an insulation between the wood and the freezer.

    Best regards,

    Gabriel

  23. Thanks so much for this awesome post! This is my project for the upcoming weekend…Pretty much planning to follow it exactly. Will let you know how it goes and post pics!

  24. Billy Broas says:

    Ben, I haven’t attached the trip tray and probably won’t. It’s on the floor below the taps and I’m pretty happy with it where it is. If I were going to attach it I’d probably glue some brackets to the front of the freezer. Check out the pictures in this thread: http://www.homebrewtalk.com/f35/how-do-you-attach-drip-tray-keezer-w-out-using-collar-79553/index2.html

    • I saw a post where someone used magnets for their drip tray but used double sided tape on the magnets so they didnt slide.

      • Jeremy Robinson says:

        I had planned to use magnets for the drip tray, but didn’t even thnk about the fact that the drip tray is made of non-magnetic material. So I first super-glued the magnets to the tray and stuck it to the kegerator. It worked alright but couldn’t support much more weight than a full pint glass so I was always nervous about it falling off. Now I use self-ashesive industrial Velcro and like it a lot better.

  25. You are a beer god send! I have followed your video very closely and now have a bunch of very jealous beer drinking buddies. Not sure there is much cooler than having your homebrewed beer on tap. I was wondering what size holes you drilled for the shanks (have heard both 7/8’s and 1″) and what you used to cap the two center unused holes in the video. Thanks in advance!

    • Billy Broas says:

      Haha awesome Peter. Agreed, there really ISN’T anything cooler than having homebrew on tap. For the holes, we drilled 3/4 at first but it was a little tight so we did a swirl motion with the spade bit to give them more room. Better to start small and expand than the opposite.

      The caps I got at Ace Hardware in one of their specialty drawers. I forget what exactly they’re called, but they’re in the area with the grommets, bolts, etc. The workers could probably point you to ‘em.

  26. nowashburn says:

    I don’t see the point of having the outside collar?

    • Billy Broas says:

      The primary purpose of the outside collar is to secure it to the freezer. If bump into it, the outside collar will hit the freezer and prevent it from falling off because it hangs down lower.

      • nowashburn says:

        I see what your saying, and that does make sense. I guess I was just thinking that it may have been easier to build it with just one collar and have the bottom of that colar sealed to the freezer all around.

        • Billy Broas says:

          Yea the cool thing about this is that the collar isn’t actually attached to the freezer via adhesives or any other method. Plus it insulates better and I think looks better as well since you don’t see the lip of the freezer.

  27. Fauxsho says:

    I wish I would’ve thought about the collar idea on my first kegerator! This looks amazing! Great job, dude. I’m in the planning stage of building my second one, slightly smaller this time. I want to go with a digital temperature control unit in a collar this time just for looks. I haven’t really seen any documentation or photos of one installed into the collar before so as a precautionary measure I figured I’d get some feedback before I start ordering parts. I hate visible wires so I was wondering if anyone had any ideas or if this is even possible without complications?

    • Billy Broas says:

      I won’t be much help with installing a digital controller but I have seen pictures of installations. Go on a big forum like HomebrewTalk and search for “Love controller keezer collar” or something of the sorts and you may find some tips. Glad you enjoyed the video!

  28. Hey Billy, the completion of my second keezer (first with a collar) is drawing near. I decided to just go with an analog temperature controller instead of the un-wired digital mess so I don’t have to void the warranty of my freezer by cutting into the wires. (And to save some money so I can spring for those pretty perlicks!) By the way, I got the exact same weather stripping and that stuff seals better than the stripping that comes on the freezer! It fits like a glove.

    Anyway, Now that I have the collar finished and my controller installed, I have about a 7-10+ degree difference in temperature from bottom to top. I could’ve sworn I saw something on the site about the AC fan you installed in yours but I can’t find it anymore. (Maybe I’m just missing it)

    Did it help circulate the air and regulate the temperature? Also, what did you use to wire it as I have seen most of these computer fans do not come wired to plug into our regular wall outlets? I’ve seen some posts about a phone charger and I think Radioshack sells AC to DC converters or something of the like… I just don’t want to burn the house down because I want cold beer.

    Thanks in advance. I’ll post pictures of the finished project soon.

  29. Hi Billy, really great instructions all around. I’m getting ready to give this a go on my first keezer build, and really excited. One question I have. I understand not having the oak in the back where nobody will see anyway, but do you have problems then with the collar sliding forward or does the weight and the weather stripping hold in in place from the rear. I was thinking just attaching short pieces from the end up the the hinges to help secure it from the back. Just wondering how well yours works.

    • Billy Broas says:

      Hey Meg, the collar hasn’t budged since I installed it and I’ve even moved the freezer around a little. I really don’t think you’ll need anything on the back, but you could always add them after the fact if you find it shifting.

  30. Hi Billy,
    Thanks for this great tutorial! I based my keezer off from your design.
    http://chrisl.nefariousdevelopment.com/blog/home-brew/keezer-completed/

    • Billy Broas says:

      Nice job Chris! I really like the chalkboard on top. I’m pulling together a summary post of the build and am including other people’s keezers. Will definitely link to yours.

  31. Thanks for the cool video. I’m planning on building one of these in the future. Your video dispelled many worries I had about doing it. Your video makes it look easier than I thought.

  32. Billy, I am building a kegerator collar almost exactly like yours. Can you provide a list of the taps and connecting tubing? I am using the same type kegs with ball locks.

  33. Got the green light from the wife to do a keezer build. Your documentation is very helpful; thank you. I’ll probably post a couple more questions but my first pertains to getting the collar height correct.

    This keezer will go in a closet under our stairs and feed through a wall into the garage. The problem is I don’t want to take up too much room in that closet (we use it); if the collar is tall, I’ll have to pull the keezer farther into the closet (reducing storage space). I’d like to build a collar with a very low profile. I’ll measure from the compressor hump up to accomodate a corny but how much should be added for the tap and lines? Have you seen major differences in overall height requirements of a tapped keg?

    I guess I could just order up all the parts and check it out but I’m beyond motivated to start building it right now. Thanks for any help/insight you’re able to provide Billy and readers!

    • Brulosopher says:

      Not to overstep my bounds by answering a question you asked Billy, but a lot of folks build keezers using just butt-jointed 2×4 pine as the collar, which is secured via liquid nails (or similar adhesive) to either the lid or top of the freezer. Cheap and easy. When conditioned, stained, and poly’d, the collars end up looking very nice. This would reduce the height a bit and still allow you enough room for your regulator and disconnects. With this method, you could still add a nice facade to the keezer using whatever wood you like without increasing the height, and it really wouldn’t even be necessary to wrap the entire keezer. Especially if you’re keeping it in a closet, you could easily get away with adding just a front facade. Cheers!

  34. Billy Broas says:

    Hey Sean, I think I know what you’re after but let me know if I’m off (happens a lot). So you basically want to minimize the height of the collar and thus the overall height of the freezer? I would factor in 3″ above the cornies to account for the ball/pin locks and lines. The overall height is going to depend on what type of kegs you have. The new ones are slightly different. You could certainly make the collar shorter because you only really need room for the bee line holes, but that will limit what you can fit on the hump.

    The best thing to do is get all the parts (freezer, kegs) and measure it out before starting on the collar. Building the collar first is too risky.

    Congrats on getting the green light and keep us posted!

  35. Brulosopher says:

    Billy,

    I am in the final stages of completing my keezer build, which was based largely on your very informative and concise instructions, though I used a 14.8 cu. ft. chest freezer. My collar is complete and installed. I used cheaper Douglas Fir as the facade not only to save some dough, but because I knew I’d be staining it (used the same Red Mahogany as you). It looks fine, but man is it difficult to get a truly straight piece of 1×8 DF! Oh well, the facade is a tad warped toward the bottom, but all-in-all, I can’t complain. I figure if ever I want to “upgrade” my facade, it shouldn’t be too difficult given the fact they’re simply bolted on. Everything seals and it looks pretty damn good. Now I’m just waiting on my fan and faucets to arrive- 5 Perlick 525SS to start, with room for a couple more should I decide to add them later on. Also, I’m considering adding some insulation, though reading your responses to prior comments about this, it sounds like it may not be worth it. I do keep my keezer in the garage… in Fresno, CA… which can get over 100F for a few hours a couple months out of the year. Do you think this might help restrain heat loss and conserve some energy? My current kegerator is built into a standard freezer-top refrigerator, and that thing never seems to turn off! It’s one of the reasons I decided to build the keezer. Also, have you data logged anything regarding your fan? If so, I’m interested!

    Thanks again for the great instructional, it was very helpful throughout my build. Cheers!

    • Billy Broas says:

      I hear ya. I think I looked at every piece of wood at Home Depot before finding one that was straight enough. The idea way to do it would be to square all of the pieces with a jointer and planer, but who has the time or tools for that? I just said “good enough”.

      As for the insulation, I don’t think it’s a bad idea, it’s just one of those things you might not need. I would build it without the extra insulation and then determine if you need it. It wouldn’t be hard to go back and add it. I do recommend the weatherstrip through.

      Haven’t actually logged anything with the fan, just noticed the big temperature change at the top mentioned in this post: http://billybrew.com/keezer-updates

      Let me know if you have any more questions. Enjoy the keezer!

      • Brulosopher says:

        Good point, I’ll see how things go with the fan sans insulation, then determine if it is really necessary from that point. I put the weatherstrip on the bottom of the collar, between it and the freezer. This created a great seal. What are your thoughts on replacing the rubber seal on the lid with some of the same weatherstrip? Might this be of any benefit?

        • Billy Broas says:

          I checked mine carefully and the rubber seals very well. I couldn’t find any gaps or feel any cold air coming through.

          • Brulosopher says:

            Mine has been up and running for a few days now… working beautifully! Even in my warm garage, the freezer only cycles on 1-2 times per hour, and only stays on for a few minutes. I couldn’t be happier with my build. The fan is a must and I just placed my order for a dehumidifier. Thanks for the inspiration, Billy.

  36. Billy, you have inspired me to build a collar. Something i would have never attempted until i saw you site. thanks. Question though.

    1. I noticed you have a gap on the sides of the collar between the pine and oak that you filled. Did you put those gaps there on purpose? why no gaps on the front. Why gaps?
    2. Without insulation it would seems that the wood not be well insulated and therefore lose some temperature. Noticed anything like that?

    Thanks again i cant wait to build

    • Billy Broas says:

      Hey Jeff, cool to hear you’re going to build one of these. You won’t regret it. As for your questions:

      1. The gaps aren’t intentional but aren’t really a mistake either. They’re just a result of how we lined the wood up, and the fact that the wood has imperfections (we didn’t square it beforehand). If you’re careful you can minimize or eliminate them, but it wasn’t a big deal for us since we could just inject caulk to fill them.

      2. This is a pretty common question. The short answer is that I just haven’t gotten around to it. I’m sure insulating would help, but I don’t think it loses that much temperature with the two layers of wood and caulk. By all means go for it though. It can only help.

  37. Billy, one followup question. Someone told me that i should be careful because the wood will root eventually because of the condensation. Any thoughts?

  38. All right Billy, i am getting close to a finished product. Varishing now. You mentioned adding a drip tray later but what did you have in mind? i certainly dont want to damage the freezer by drilling or screwing into it. i don’t think there is enough room to put the faucets in and have a drip tray under them connected to the collar. certainly wouldnt get a pitcher in there. Any thoughts?

    Thanks

    Jeff

    • Brulosopher says:

      This is an issue I’ve been dealing with too. The only decent solution I could come up with involves using my leftover silicone to adhere a leftover piece of 2×6 to the front of the freezer, attaching 4″ angle brackets to the wood, then attaching my 19″ x 4″ drip tray to the brackets using adhesive velcro. Hmm…

  39. Can you tell me what the length of your shanks is? I want a similar length so they don’t protrude into the keezer too much.

    • Tom, i used 4 1/8 for mine which is pretty much the exact as billy’s. my 4 1/8 shank hangs out about inch or so. perfect because far enough to hook up everything as needed but never in the way when adding or removing kegs.

    • Brulosopher says:

      4 1/8″ for me as well, works great with the 4×6 rim and 1×8 collar. Cheers!

  40. Great video! It’s a huge help.

    My question — any particular reason to keep the lid? It seems like it would be easy (easier?) to just put some plywood on the top. I’m thinking about doing that because I’m not thrilled with the look of it, and I could potentially get an extra 1/2 inch of space from where the lid would normally dip down in the center.

    • Billy Broas says:

      You could build your own lid if you wanted to. I think it would actually be more work because you would need to attach hinges and insulate it, things the existing lid already has. The existing lid also has a gasket around it, so make sure anything you add seals really well with the collar.

      • Brulosopher says:

        Another option you might consider is covering the freezer lid with plywoods, using liquid nails to secure it. I’m with Billy on this one, constructing a brand new lid seems like more work than it’s worth.

  41. Great plans as I am building mine now. Big question as I am in Wisconsin, cold weather and mine will be in the garage, (attached). Wondering if in the winter, temps do get down below freezing at times, will this be a problem? A bit too cold and too long. Thanks
    Jimbo

    • Billy Broas says:

      If the temperature stays below freezing for an extended period of time then there is a real risk of freezing your beer, unless you rigged up some kind of heater inside it that would trigger at a certain set point. Some people do this for chest freezer fermentation chambers.

  42. I am mimicking your idea but I do not see a listing for the metal caps for the holes. Can you supply a part no please.

  43. Billy – this has been extremely helpful, I am in the final stages of my keezer build. Similar to yours, but a few changes. Can’t wait to tap the corny keg :)

  44. Loved the video, and plan to reference it in spring when I do my collar. Like one of the other posters, I’ll go with a lighter stain that goes with my white freezer. Great video, and an even better keezer! Nice work!

  45. Thanks for all the information. I completed my keezer and I have a question. I am using an external thermostat, but there is a dial on the front of my freezer. It is set in the middle, but was wondering if I sure turn it up or down?

  46. Thank you for posting the great video and instructions. You have inspired me to add a collar to my kegerator!

  47. I just put this project together this weekend. Brilliant idea! I used one of the taps for nitrogen and put a 3 way CO2 manifold on instead. I also used a johnson digital controller of which I used to control the internal fan. Im extremely pleased and it was very fun to put together.

    Kudos

  48. Your keezer looks amazing!!! I have seen various posts and pictures on converting a freezer to a keezer. I have seen collars but no one has gone into such detail describing it like you have. This is just what I needed! By building a collar, my wife can’t get mad that I ruined the freezer. If for some reason (I don’t know why) I would have to use the freezer for something other than my keezer, I can remove the collar and put the top back on. Thanks for sharing with everyone. It’s even cooler that you were able to build it with your dad. I hope mine looks half as good as yours. Way to go!

    • Billy Broas says:

      Thanks for the comment John. Yes, my Dad never turns down a beer project and it was fun building it with him. Keep us posted on your build and feel free to ask any questions you have in the comments here. Cheers.

  49. Jim in Oregon says:

    Hi Billy, I plan to start the collar this weekend. I’d like to keep my CO2 cylinder outside of the keezer to allow for extra space. What kind of feed-thru do I need. It seems like I want a two-side Nipple shank to go from cylinder, through the wood, to the manifold. Any specific suggestions?
    Thanks!
    Jim

  50. Garage Brewing Company says:

    I built one yesterday and it was easier than I thought. The most challenging part was to keep the lid anchored the base, using the factory threads. To do so, I made an aluminum plate that spanned the distance from the hinges to the threads and hit the collar as well to keep everything together. I used 2×4, silver paint for reflection, poly pipe holders to isolate the probe. A clear adhesive holds it down and my unit works great. Mitering the wood and gluing made it stronger(a Norm maneuver).

  51. Hi Billy,
    Truly Awesome!! Thanks for posting the video. I plan to start the collar on my GE 7.0 keezer this weekend based on your build except I need a overall collar height of 8 inches on the inner and will have to go with a outer oak collar of 9-10 inches. Do you see any issues with the larger collars?

    Thanks,
    RJ

    • Billy Broas says:

      Besides having to lift the kegs a little higher there shouldn’t be any problem with that. Good luck!

  52. I really like the way you put this one together Billy. I do have a couple of extra challenges… no mitre saw so no lovely corners and it will be stored outdoors in my shed so the collar will sweat I am sure in summer so I need to think about the finish of the collar inner very carefully.

    But I will use your build as the base of what I need to get done.

  53. Billy,

    This is a beautiful keezer–I am going to attempt something very similar in the very near future. Your post has been invaluable in helping me plan mine.

    Quick question: Did you attach the collar to the freezer? Or did you just set it on top and let gravity (and the sponge weatherstrip) create a seal?

    Thanks,
    Chris

    • Jim in Oregon says:

      Hi Chris, I just made something similar to Billy’s collar. I used some caulking to hold things together. It really works great for me (in a house with kids and dogs who are apt to bump it).
      Jim

    • Billy Broas says:

      Hey Chris, thanks!

      Mine just sits on top. It’s heavy enough that it doesn’t budge. You could do as Jim did though and make it more secure if you wish.

  54. Thanks for all the details. I’m still at the beginning planning stages of my kreezer project and you saved me a lot of thinking. :) ,, and your cost break-out on the collar is much appreciated. I hope to have my project completed in two weeks. Thanks for the help

  55. Thanks for the inspiration Billy, I’m off to the hardware store to get started!

  56. robert gordon says:

    My kenmore chest freezer has a wire harness to the lid which serves a lid light. This wire harness has no slack. Did you encounter this with making your keezer? If so, how did you remove this wire harness? Were you able to find a longer wire harness that would accomodate your collar? If not, could you refer me to someone you know who has encountered this problem? Any advice would be appreciated.

    • Ryan Cates says:

      Hi,
      In the very early stages of my Keezer build and came across this same issue. Were you ever able to work around this issue? Saw this when I picked up my freezer but thought it could just be removed. Any info. is greatly appreciated. Thanks!

      • Hi,
        I was planning to buy this same freezer. What did you guys do about the wire harness on the lid? Did you just un-plug it all together? Is that just for a light? Anything else not function properly after unpluging?

  57. David Hodges says:

    Nice build, but havent you ever watched Norm? Safty first. You wernt wearing safty goggles! Going to be hard to find faults in clarity and color when your a blind BJCP judge.

  58. what the size of this chest freezer? im looking to making one of these myself, and i like the size of this one.

  59. Do you have to secure the collar to the freezer at all? does it try to flip up when you lift the lid or anything? I’m wanting to build something like this as a brew chamber.

  60. Nice build, really liked the video, explains everything clearly.

    My only question is, why did you not put insulation on the collar? does the wood not let the cold escape?

    I like your non destructive build, look forward to hearing about the insulation.

  61. Jarrod says:

    How many corny kegs can you fit I’m your freezer? It looks like the size I am looki g for as I dont have a whole lot of space. What is the make and model of your freezer and or how many cubic feet is it? Such an awesome project I need one!

    • Jarrod,

      I have a 14.8 cubic foot freezer, and I can easily get six corny kegs and a 20-lb CO2 tank inside.

  62. Nice build. For the two taps you did’t install immediately, what type of metal caps did you use? I’m looking to do the same but not sure where to get the caps.

  63. Hey Billy,

    With nothing securing the collar to the back, is there any risk of the entire collar sliding forward?

  64. Thanks so very much for the video and instruction! I just purchased the same Kenmore 8.8 black from Sears with your build in mind. Found a $50 off $300 or more coupon. Regular price on the freezer is $359.99. I wasn’t planning on purchasing but after coming across the coupon could not resist. Curious what you were able to find the freezer for. As I’m sure you found there are not a lot of black ones to be had. In looking at the specs, the freezer does have a light in the lid. I’m curious how you handled that? Does it still function? Were the wires long enough when lifting the lid the 6″? And finally how many of the cornys can you get in the chest? Is four the limit? With four in, is there any room left for bottles or can storage?
    Again thanks so very much for taking the time and effort to post your build. Really looking forward to this project and getting out of my current two keg refrigerator kegerator setup.
    -M

  65. Billy Broas says:

    Hey guys, I know I’ve been shitty about answering questions recently. Sorry! Just been slammed. However I just added an FAQ section at the bottom of the post which should answer the ones I missed. If not, definitely leave a comment and I’ll do my best to get to it quickly.

    Keep building keezers!

  66. Just built my keezer with the aid of this video, you are Ace. Thank so much for showing how simple it is while making it clear enough that even an idiot like myself could figure it out. And a special thanks for the trick with the bolt to hold the spring down. I would have walked right into that had you not given me warning.
    Many thanks!

  67. We need to build a collar because we’re in need of the extra space for the kegs, anyways, we’re already using the freezer for fermentation and conditioning, do we can do this without turning it off. I heard that the cold won’t the glue work. How true is that? Any suggestions to do this without having to have it off the whole process?

    Thanks in advance.

  68. Thanks so much for this post! Just what I needed to get me going. A lot of good information.

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