Kegerator build: The tap

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:

  1. 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.
  2. 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.
  3. 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)

Chinese package, a bit rough upped. (compulsory unboxing knife pic)

Lots of bubble wrap.

Lots of bubble wrap.

4 pieces. The bubble wrap between the two white boxes was just filling.

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.

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.

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.

PVC tubing pre-installed.

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Lot's of tubing. Smells very plasticy...

Lot’s of tubing. Smells very plasticy…

Insulation inside the tower.

Insulation inside the tower.

Pic 1 inside the tower from the top.

Pic 1 inside the tower from the top.

Pic 2 of the inside of the tower from the top.

Pic 2 of the inside of the tower from the top.

Top lid and insulation.

Top lid and insulation.

Taps installed.

The Styrofoam piece inside the top lid.

The Styrofoam piece inside the top lid.

Taps installed.

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.

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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.

DSC07595-3

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.

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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!!!!

En reaktion på “Kegerator build: The tap

  1. Hi, nice building 🙂
    What was the artnr on the things you buy on Aliexpress and what did they cost (whitout delivery cost) ?
    Was the quality good and did you buy anything more to build ?
    BR
    Leif

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