UPDATED 2015-05-23 / check bottom
I’ve come to the conclusion that the only way my home brewing hobby will keep me interested is if I solve the dispensing problem. Here’s some background for y’all. I brew at my mom and dads place. They have a big house and a garage where all the stuff fits very well. Since I live in a small apartment brewing at home is not worth the hassle since my parents only live 15-20 minutes away. See this intro as the reality for people with a brew club with their own brew house.
Even though it’s very nice to have a place to brew it comes with some problems:
- I can never monitor the yeast activity as detailed as I want. I have to disturb my dad whenever I wanna check fermentation status. I’m lucky he is very ambitious and committed to home brewing.
- Spontaneous brew session seldom happens. I know would happen if I still lived at home, since that was what I did when I lived there.
- The third big down side is what this post is all about. Since we don’t bottle much these days I have to bring home keg to enjoy beer. This is not a big problem during late fall and early spring since I can keep the beer cool on my balcony. But during winter and summer it’s either too cold or too hot to keep the kegs outside. Therefore even when I have finished beer I sometimes can’t enjoy it.
The solution to all this is a new way of dispensing. A kegerator! I have a great girlfriend who have a high tolerance for my crazy ideas. I live in her apartment which makes me not wanna modify stuff too much since. Even though I want, it doesn’t feel right to tear down walls and install fossball tables (all original ideas of mine). But one thing we’ve decided on is to install another fridge where I can store and dispense my beer from.
About two weeks ago I order a beer tower from aliexpress.com and it arrived today. Pretty nice since I was expecting it to be way longer delivery time. Here’s a series of unboxing photos:
Chinese package, a bit rough upped. (compulsory unboxing knife pic)
Lots of bubble wrap.
4 pieces. The bubble wrap between the two white boxes was just filling.
Two taps with springs. There were no instructions so I haven’t got the faintest idea what to do with the springs. For now I put them into the taps…that was the only place they fit.
Gasket, bolts and tool for tightening. The tool is ”ikea-tool”-quality so for more then installation a new tap wrench is probably necessary.
PVC tubing pre-installed.
Lot’s of tubing. Smells very plasticy…
Insulation inside the tower.
Pic 1 inside the tower from the top.
Pic 2 of the inside of the tower from the top.
Top lid and insulation.
The Styrofoam piece inside the top lid.
Short about the first impression. The first thing I notices was how the tap handles didn’t fit very snug. The threads on one of the handles was way to big, i fixed it with some regular office tape. The second thing was that the taps didn’t open and close very smooth, this was not a big surprise. I did not expect Perlick-quality from a cheap chinese product. The rest seemed ok, I guess the threads on shanks will wear down if one would work on them too much.
The cost of this was about half of what I would have to pay for it in the home brew store. I don’t know about the quality difference with the ones you buy from Swedish retailers. What I know is that when I got the money I will invest in a Perlick tower, for now this is good!
I’ll link to the aliexpress-seller on request.
Ps. if it breaks down I’ll rant about it so you wont need to!
UPDATE! Today I connected the ball lock disconnects to the PVC-tubing that came with the tap tower. For a while I was thinking of using the harder tubing made of LDPE more commonly used by Swedish home brewers. But I decided to try the PVC tubing and see if it works.
Here’s some pictures and comments on how I went by doing this.
First of I cleaned the disconnects in a chlorine batch to make sure they weren’t infested with spoiling bugs. Be sure to rinse well afterwards.
I bought these hose clamps (ss w4 10-12mm) at Clas Ohlson for 19 sek. I also bought a pack of smaller ones just in case, they didn’t fit. For a more permanent and more solid installation there is a clamp called Oetiker. They make a better seal and are more compact. They are also more expensive and you need a special tool to tighten them.
To get the PVC over the barb on the disconnects I used a hair drier and heated the tubing for about 20 seconds. It didn’t take much but made it a bit easier.
After I heated the tubing it was a easy install, just tighten the hose clamps using a flat screwdriver.
Tomorrow I’m going to buy a fridge. EXCITED!!!!