Since going to college, I have been an on-and-off homebrewer. The last ten years I've been living mostly overseas, so in some cases I am forced to brew good beer or suffer drinking local beers that I really do not enjoy. While I've always enjoyed a good brew day, I always hated bottling. The idea of spending hours cleaning bottles and caps, transferring beer into bottles and then eventually cleaning and saving those bottles after drinking was getting old. So for that reason I decided to move into kegging.
The basic idea behind kegging is you need a keg (to store beer), CO2 ( to carbonate), a cold environment (fridge) and a way to dispense (tap). Of all the components above, the only big decision is going to be how to refrigerate. Using my existing fridge to store and dispense beer was not an option, since I wanted to have multiple beers available at any given time. I also want to move into brewing lagers, which require temperatures between 35 and 55 degrees.
After researching all over the web, I learned the two major options for storing/dispensing beer is a kegerator or keezer. The kegerator typically is a smaller fridge that has the capacity to hold one to three kegs and has a tower style tap on the top for dispensing beer. The keezer is a chest freezer converted into a refrigerator using a analog or digital temperature controller. The benefits to the keezer are that it can store much more than your average kegerator, allowing for dispensing of beer and fermentation of beers at low temperatures. The disadvantages to the keezer are its size, weight, cost and difficulty to construct.
In the end I decided to go with the keezer design, since I really want to start creating lagers. keezer designs vary from just a freezer with temperature controller, to converted freezers that rest inside beautifully built custom designed bars. Since I have a willing friend who is an expert carpenter, we decided to create one where the freezer rests inside a wooden frame on casters, finished with wood.
The name Cougarator was given to our design because I went to Washington State University and wanted place the school logo on the front of the keezer. I have to give credit to HomeBrewTalk.com, where almost all our research was done. I recommend anyone who is thinking about brewing or building a kegerator/keezer to go to that website.