How to Build a Kegerator Tower Draft Beer Dispense System

A Kegerator can be made from many different types of refrigerators and freezers.  With a draft beer kegerator you can enjoy cold, fresh draft beer at home while saving money too! Draft beer is about halfthe cost of cans or bottles. Our Kegerator Conversion Kits are perfect for any home bar, patio, or college activities. All you need to do is make sure your kegs will fit inside the refrigerator or freezer.  A standard Cornelius Home Brew Ball Keg stands 26 inches high and is 8.5 inches in diameter.  You will want to use a refrigerator that will hold this size of keg for home brewing.

Commercial Kegs vary in size, but approximate the following measurements:

½ BBL Keg (15.5 gallons) Height = 23.5 inches Diameter = 17 inches

¼ BBL Keg (7.75 gallons) Height = 15 inches Diameter = 17 inches

1/6 BBL Keg (5.23 gallons) Height = 23.5 inches Diameter = 9.5 inches

With the proper construction and installation, a kegerator will work for years with little to no maintenance. 

This is a how to guide to demonstrate how to build a tower kegerator.  It is easy enough to convert a refrigerator or a freezer to a kegerator in one day’s time.  The process outlined in these instructions can be used on many different styles of refrigerator and freezers.  A similar conversion can be made with a door mount conversion kit to dispense the beer through the door of refrigerator or freezer.

Items Needed for a Home Brew Tower Conversion Kit

1 – Chrome or Brass Beer Tower with beer lines
1 – Ball lock liquid disconnect
1 – New or reconditioned 5 gallon ball lock keg
1 – Ball lock gas disconnect
5 feet – Carbon Dioxide (CO2) line
4 – Hose clamps
1 – CO2 regulator
1 – 5 pound CO2 tank
1 – refrigerator sized to hold kegs

Required Tools:
  • Drill – used to drill hole for tower and beer lines
  • 2.5" -  3" hole saw
  • Small hand saw or sharp box knife
  • Screwdriver
  • Scotch Tape Sharpie Marker

Instructions:

First you will need to place your keg and CO2 tank with the regulator attached to the CO2 tank in the refrigerator to make sure the door will close and seal properly.  If the door will not close properly, then remove the CO2 Tank and see if the door will close.  If so, you may want to design the kegerator so that the CO2 Tank is outside of the refrigerator.  If the door almost closes and is being block by the bottom lip of the door or any door trays, you may be able to easily remove the trays or the bottom lip. 

Before you cut into the door trays or the bottom lip, make sure you can’t first remove them without cutting.  If the trays or lip are permanently in place, carefully draw out the area that you need cut out so that the door will shut.  Use a sharpie to do this.  Next, carefully use a sharp utility knife or small hand saw to cut out the area previously marked with the sharpie.  Once the cuts are made, check to make sure the door will properly close. 

If you have to place your CO2 outside of the refrigerator, you will need to make a small hole the size of the tubing on the side of the refrigerator.  Do not immediately make a hole as you will run a good chance of breaking a refrigeration line and will ruin the refrigerator.  The first step for drilling through the side of the refrigerator is to check the refrigerators’ manual to see if the lines are diagramed in the manual.  If the refrigeration lines are not marked or you do not have a manual, you will need plug in the refrigerator and let it run for approximately 5 –10 minutes with the door open.  Doing this will cause the lines to heat up and you should be able to find the lines by touching the sides of the refrigerator on the outside.  Use some tape to mark where the lines are located.

Next, you need to mark an “X” at the spot where you want the CO2 line to enter the refrigerator.  Keep in mind this needs to be away from the refrigeration lines.  Carefully use a small nail and puncture a small hole in the outside shell of the refrigerator in the middle of the “X”.  Punching a small hole in just the outer shell will help keep you from hitting a refrigeration line.  Next, use the nail and carefully push the nail through the insulation behind the outer shell.   You do this to see if you can reach the inside shell without hitting any refrigeration lines.  Once you are certain you are not going to hit a refrigeration line, use a drill and drill bit the size of the outer diameter of the CO2 vinyl tubing and carefully drill a hole where you have placed the “X”.  Feed the CO2 line through the drilled hole.  If you have space around the line, purchase some insulation foam spray and carefully insulate the area around the tubing. You do not want a leak in your refrigerator where the cold air can escape.  Now that the CO2 tank is installed and the beer keg fits in the refrigerator and the door properly closes and seals, it is time to install the dispense tower.

When you receive your dispense tower, measure the inside column and make sure you do not cut a hole in the top of the refrigerator any larger than this measurement.  A well-designed and durable tower will have at least a 3” column and some will be larger when multiple taps are being dispensed from the tower.

Most towers will have a thickness of 1/16 inch.  Multiply the thickness of the metal on the tower by 2 and subtract this product from the diameter of the tower and this will equal the maximum size of the hole to be drilled.  For example, I have a 3 inch tower with 1/16 inch thick metal.  The hole I drill cannot be any larger than 2 7/8 inches [3” - (1/16” x 2)].

If you are able to find a hole saw that is approximately this size (2 7/8”) then use the hole saw to drill the tower hole.  If you are not able to access a hole saw, then trace a circle on the top of the refrigerator using a glass or can that has a diameter that is less than 2 7/8 inches.  Next, use a drill to cut small holes around the line you traced.  Next, carefully use wire cutters or sheet metal cutters to connect the dots you just drilled to cut out the large circle for the tower.  This process can basically be thought of as connecting the dots using a small drill bit and wire cutters.

Before you cut into the top of the refrigerator, you will need to find the center of the top and place an “X” at the center.  Next, you will need to use a small nail and puncture a hole in the outer shell of the top.  Carefully push the nail through the insulation and check to see if there are any refrigeration lines in the top of the refrigerator.  If you do not see any lines, then carefully proceed with cutting out the top for the dispense tower.  You will need to cut through both the outer shell and the inner shell so that the beer lines will reach inside the refrigerator and so cold air can travel into the tower. (You must make sure that you are not going to drill or cut through any refrigeration lines!)  Once you have a hole cut through the top of the refrigerator, you are ready to screw down the tower. 

Do not remove the insulation from the beer tower.  This insulation is needed to help maintain the cool temperature in the tower once it is installed.  The tower should have come with mounting screws and a drilled gasket.  The screws included with the tower are usually wood screws that are used to attach the tower to a bar top or tabletop.  Since we are attaching the tower to a refrigerator and not wood, you will need to purchase small screws and nuts that are the same size of screw as the wood screws.  Take the wood screws to a local hardware store and look for screws the same size and that have threads the full length of the screw.  (You should be able to find screws that are 2 ½” to 3” in length by  #20.  Make sure to purchase the matching washers and nuts for these screws.)  Most hardware stores carry stainless steel screws that work great with the kegerator draft towers. You are ready to attach the tower once you have the correct screws and nuts.

Feed the beer line through the rubber gasket and allow the beer lines to fully extend into the refrigerator through hole drilled in the top.  Next, align the tower over the center of the top of the refrigerator and use your sharpie to mark the four mounting holes.  Use your drill and drill four mounting holes through the top of the refrigerator.  Make sure you drill through the outer shell and the inner shell.  Next, align the tower with the mounting holes and mount the tower using your hardware.  Be sure to tighten the nuts on the tower, but not to over tighten as you can bend the top of the refrigerator if the nuts are over tightened.  You are now ready to attach the ball lock fittings for your home brew keg.

The black ball lock disconnect is the beer out line.  Cut the wing nut and tailpiece off of the beer line that came with your draft dispense tower.  Don’t cut any more length off the tubing than you need too.  Attach the black disconnect and use a clamp to hold the vinyl tubing to the disconnect. 

Next, attach your CO2 airline to the gray disconnect just as you connected the beer disconnect. 

You will need to keep the same temperature from the keg to the faucet and not allow the beer to warm up in the beer line before it is dispensed.  Do your best to keep the beer in the keg and in the line approximately 37°F for the beer dispensing experience.  Do not allow the beer to warm up until it is in the glass.  To help maintain the temperature on a refrigerator or a freezer, we recommend using a thermostat controler.  This will bypass the internal thermostat of the refrigerator or freezer and allow you to better control the kegerator's temperature.

That’s it; you are now ready to pour your home brewed beer using your new kegerator!


A drip tray is a nice addition to your kegerator.  The alternative is to use a towel as the top of the kegerator is easy to clean. 

Please email us at info@learntobrew.com if you have any questions and check out all of our draft beer kegerators and parts at www.learntobrew.com.

Cheers!