Trash Can Kegorator

The fall is the season for beer festivals.  And it seems that there are more and more homebrew festivals popping up in NC as well (Brew Durham and Homebrew for Hunger, to name a few).  And since I will be serving at 2 festivals as well as a couple of other special events over the next month or two, I needed a way to easily transport and serve my beer.

Jockey boxes are the typical solution, but jockey boxes are expensive.  Even if you build your own, you have to buy a cooler and lots of copper or stainless steel, or even a cold plate – not to mention the faucets and shanks. I also considered just bringing my kegorator or keezer, but that would be really heavy and hard to transport and would rely on all of the events having electrical outlets available, so this was really not a practical solution.

I had read about this trash can kegorator conversion in Brew Your Own magazine, as well as on the forum, and it seemed to be a viable solution.  It is light-weight, on wheels and doesn’t need to be plugged in (just add ice).  Also, a trash can is only about $20 (less than a cooler) and no coils are needed.  You still have to buy the shanks, faucets and drip tray, but there is really no avoiding that if you’re serving beer unless you just use picnic taps.  The only other needed parts were some 1″ foam insulation board ($9), a drain spigot ($3) and some scrap wood and wood stain.

Below is the photo run-down of the build.  One thing to note: I also bought a small CO2 tank from Lowe’s ($65), just because I didn’t want to deal with constantly dis-assembling and re-assembling my 5-pound tank that is being used in my keezer.  However, you could easily do this and save a little money.  I like having the smaller tank, but the added cost is definitely significant.

insullate walls1) Cut the foam board to fit.  This will help your ice last longer and it’s dirt cheap.  I used some clear tape around the edges (duct tape works too) to keep from having bits of foam everywhere.

insullate lid







2) Cut foam board to fit in lid.  I also used a couple of spare boards to create a flat floor for the kegs in the bottom of the trashcan.










3) Drill a hole and install a drain spigot at the bottom to drain water when the ice melts.  You may need to add on some liquid nails to ensure a tight fit that won’t leak.


4) Stain the wood any color you like, then drill holes for shanks in one and attach L-brackets to the other to hold the drip tray








5) Attach wood to trashcan with bolts and drill holes through trashcan and insulation for shanks.  Attach shanks and faucets (they sure do look pretty!)











6) Using Liquid Nails, attach 2 magnets to the bottom of the drip tray.  While that drys, you can go ahead and bolt the wood with the L-brackets onto the trash can.  Once dry, the drip try will magnet to the L-brackets.  This makes for easy removal for washing.








7) attach tailpieces and beer lines to the shanks and run some sanitizer through to make sure nothing leaks and get everything sanitized.  Better to find a leak now with water or sanitizer than later with your homebrew!











And there you have it.  A rolling, portable, 2-tap kegorator that is great for special events, festivals, weddings, etc.  I may set it up on some crates or a cooler to get the taps up to a little better serving level (or you could get a bigger trashcan (though you would need more ice to fill it).



That is one sweet setup you have and it makes for an easy cleanup.

One question on the cooler… are you running the draft hose coiled up through the ice in the ‘cooler’ or does the keg itself sit in the cooler?


Eric – great question! What makes the trashcan kegorator superior to a jockey box (in my opinion), other than the fact that it rolls, is that everything goes inside.

I have insulated it so it will work as a cooler, and put a flat floor on it for my 2 corny kegs to sit on. I then clipped a small CO2 tank & regulator to the inside wall (holding it near the top so it can be reached and not sit in the ice). Then, I just grab a few bags of ice and dump it in on the morning of the event, and close the lid.

The insulation keeps it cool in there, and I never have to open the lid. Everything is self-contained. And at the end of the day, I just open the spigot at the bottom to drain out the water.


Love it! It would also be easy and fun to paint the exterior of the trashcan.


Yes! That is one of my next projects, actually. Haven’t decided on how to paint it yet, and I needed to get it built for this weekend, so it is naked for now. But soon I’ll have something on there for sure!

Brew Durham Homebrew Festival 2012 | North Carolina Home Brewing

[…] We’ll also be bringing something a little crazy – a Peanut Butter Sour Ale.  This is five gallons of the peanut butter porter that helped bring in 3rd place at the Homebrew for Hunger event last fall…but with a twist!  This batch has been aging and fermenting with some Lactobiallisus as well as Brettenomices (lacto and brett for short), which has made it much dryer and lighter with a tart acidic bite.  Not as sour as a traditional sour ale, but it definitely brings a little funk!  As always, we’ll be serving this wild ale out of the DIY Trashcan Kegorator. […]

Eric Sheldon

Love the idea! I’m thinking up some ideas for the same type device.

Hypothetically speaking… what do you think of buying two identical trash cans (so they fit together), and filling the gap between them with some sort of foaming insulation?.. they make it in spray cans.


Eric – I’m not really sure what you’re going for…two trashcans side by side connected? That seems like it would be really big and bulky and would be a monster to push around when filled with beer kegs and ice. I have seen single trashcans that could do 3-4 taps, or do two trashcans that are separate, but I think trying to connect two of them together would cause a lot of issues in trying to move it around. Just getting it in and out of your truck would be difficult. But maybe I’m misunderstanding what you’re trying to do…

Eric Sheldon

no no, one inside the other. so that the foam is between them maybe an inch or more thick. just like they are stacked in the store to take up less space. just using the cap between them to contain the insulating foam.

basically, you stack the trashcans in the same way you stack two red solo cups together. and just sandwhich the foam between them. i think you could probably flip it upside down and drill small holes in the bottom of the outer can to pour/inject the foam into. and it would just fill the cavity.

also, i’m not a home brewer, (i have a buddy who is, and we might use this setup for his stuff too), but I am more thinking of using this for just the standard half barrel kegs. at the cost of a kegerator, (even makeing your own) i wouldn’t use it enough. im thinking just for parties and maybe occasionally keeping a keg for a few days if friends are in town or on trips.

Eric Sheldon

i searched and searched and finally found someone who had done what i was thinking! only think i would do different is make the larger (outer) can have something with wheels. or at least attach some. also, i’d try to get the co2 tank inside the cans somehow.


Ah, got it! Yes, that could definitely work. It would make it sturdier and more well insulated. That being siad, I don’t think it would be necessary unless you were going to be out in the hot sun for a while and wanted it to be better insulated so you don’t go through so much ice. Good luck!

Let's Talk Some Trash! |

[…] you can use old trash cans for some of these fun projects: Trash Can Keg-o-Rater, Trash Can Hamper, or Trash Can […]

bob r

Love the idea! What gallon size garbage can do you need to have enough room for insulation, ice and a half keg?



Thanks Bob. I think that the one I did was a 32-gallon can, but it may have been about 40, and it held two cornie kegs easily. It was a pretty typical trashcan size. Just eyeball it or measure first, but I imagine that for a 1/2 bbl keg, you’ll need bigger than a 32=gallon trash can.

Comments are closed.