A few weeks ago I bought some supplies to upgrade my kegerator from 1 tap to 2 taps. These are the kinds of home improvements I can get behind. I was planning on spending the morning working on our new sidewalk in the backyard, but it rained all night and the ground is a muddy mess. Maybe tomorrow. So instead I finally got to work on my kegerator upgrade.
The kegerator was designed to hold a commercial half-barrel Sankey keg which holds 15.5 gallons. The Cornelius ball-lock kegs I used for my home brew hold 5 gallons each. I can easily fit 2 of them in the kegerator, so it seems like a waste to have a 2 kegs cold in the fridge, but only one of them available on tap. My 5lb CO2 tank and regulator fit in behind the kegs with a little room left over for spare ingredient storage. It works out pretty nice.
Here’s how the kegerator looked this morning:
Note the lovely Koehler Beer tap handle I got off eBay. The tower is a 2.5″ diameter chrome tower with a single faucet. I replaced the original faucet with a Ventmatic faucet a few years ago just as the original Ventmatic company was spiraling into disaster. Google it if you are interested. It’s a really nice faucet. The Ventmatics are a forward sealing faucet which means the faucet seals in the front and that that the mechanism in the faucet stays wet with beer all the time. A traditional faucet which seals at the back of the faucet behind the mechanism. Traditional faucets tend to dry out and stick in the off position unless they are used very regularly and are prone to infections. All that sugary beer just sits there waiting for bacteria to grow and generally gumming up the works. Since the Koehler Brewery isn’t really a bar, we don’t pour beer all that often and the Ventmatics help keep the faucets unstuck and the beer flowing when the bar is open.
So here’s what I bought from Micromatic:
It’s a 3 inch stainless steel draft tower with 2 faucets. I’d already removed the faucets that came with the tower when I took the picture. Most towers are chrome. I hadn’t actually seen American style stainless steel tower before, though I’ve seen some German ones. I think I like the stainless steel better, and it was pretty much the same price. I removed the 2 connectors for commercial Sankey kegs that came with the tower that you can see in the picture. I replaced them with some barbed swivel nuts to connect to the beer line that will attach to the Corny keg quick disconnects I have.
The 3 inch tower is obviously larger than the 2.5 inch tower that came with my kegerator, so I had to drill 4 new holes in the top of the kegerator. The new tower came with a template to use for drilling the holes. Good thing I checked the template against the actual tower before I drilled the holes. They didn’t match up at all. Maybe the template is for some other 3 inch tower Micromatic sell, like the chrome one or something. Anyway, I’m glad I checked. I drilled 4 new holes without much difficultly. I poured some olive oil on the place I was drilling to help the drill bit or stainless steel kegerator top from getting too hot. I’m not sure it was really necessary as the stainless steel sheet metal was pretty thin and pretty easy to drill through, but I have read enough about drilling stainless steel on brewing forums and I figured it couldn’t hurt.
The new tower came with 4 3 inch bolts with washers and nuts to attached it to the top of the kegerator where my old tower had 4 3/4″ wood screws. The kegerator has a wood top under the stainless steel for the wood screws. The 3 inch bolts were not long enough to make in all the way into the inside of the kegerator and I really didn’t want to drill through the insulation and plastic liner if I it wasn’t necessary. So I decided to go with wood screws. The old tower had a decorative ring that covered the screws, so they had rather large pan heads. The new tower left the screws exposed. I was thinking of using the old wood screws but I ended up buying some 3/4″ stainless steel wood screws to attached the tower; they look much better and are flush with the tower’s lip.
I attached my 2 Ventmatic faucets (I bought 2 faucets way back when planning for this day – good thinking too) and my 2 tap handles. The glass lobster claw is from a Red Lobster that closed down in Toronto. I got it on eBay for $3. Who doesn’t love a lobster claw? Apparently most people as $3 is pretty cheap. So here are the results:
Looks pretty good. This is probably my most successful project to date. I usually do something to screw things up, especially if there is something like drilling metal involved.
So with 2 taps you need 2 regulators. I bought this from Micromatic as well:
Pretty swanky. The only problem I had was with the gas lines. They have a 5/16″ interior diameter and All Seasons didn’t have any 5/16″ swivel nuts in stock, only 1/4″. I ordered some from Northern Brewer along with some 8mm replacement spouts for the Ventmatics. I’ll explain that when they arrive; I’ve already talked too long. So for now I can really only dispense beer using the pressure in the kegs. Once that runs down, I’ll have to wait for the swivel nuts to arrive in the mail.
Here’s a parting shot of the interior of the kegerator with 2 kegs hooked up for dispensing. Note the lack of gas lines connected to the kegs. On tap: British Bitter and Milk Stout.