Category Archives: hardware

DIY Black Iron Pipe Draft Tower final build list

Final Update

As a second update to my first post on this draft tower, the iron pipe draft tower has been completed! There is a link below to an amazon cart if you just want to jump down and see the parts.

This tower is exactly what you need to turn a dorm fridge or a chest freezer into a stylish kegerator. It’s all built out of parts you can get from amazon, and it’s really easy to assemble.

Here’s the front view. The distance from the bottom of the faucet to the top of the counter is around 10″ If you want a taller tower, swap out the pipe nipple for a longer one.

front

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DIY $5 RIMS tube

The device above is part of what is called a “bubble pump” from a coffee maker. It is an aluminum tube with resistors wrapped around it. The resistors get current and heat up the fluid in the tube. In the coffee maker there is a one-way valve on one end of the tube. The water in the tube heats up and gets to the boiling point. When it boils it pushes out in both directions from the tube. The one way valve activates and then all of the boiling water is pushed out by its own pressure to the coffee. That is how 99% of home drip coffee makers work. Neat, isn’t it?

You can dig one of these out of almost any coffee maker you find in a thrift shop or on the side of the road. It will be in the base of the unit, under where the pot rests. There may be a lighted switch somewhere in the middle. Keep that – it may be useful when you build your enclosure.

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Black Iron Pipe Draft Tower UPDATE

Update

As an update to my first post in this draft tower, the iron pipe has arrived! As you can see in my rough test-fit in the kitchen this thing will look pretty badass when it is completed. I went for an 8″ pipe on the riser where the original seems to have a much larger one. I may end up swapping that out if I get a tall drip tray, but it’s pretty much perfect as-is.

Here are all of the pieces of the tower at amazon.

Faucets

As I expected, the long shank faucets didn’t work out very well. I have since bought two of these shorter shanks and we’ll see how they fit.
short shank draft tower
I’m planning on losing the chrome collar if possible. I love the idea of having the nice shiny chrome faucet coming right out of the black metal pipe. Nice contrast.

$20 false bottom

I use the very popular Winco 40qt aluminum kettle as my boil kettle, and I recently made an affordable false bottom.  It turns out that this pizza pan is a perfect fit inside of the kettle. Adding 3-4″ stainless steel bolts and 6 nuts for feet completes it! It’s honestly about a 5-minute project. There is about 1/16 of an inch of a gap between the false bottom and the kettle wall.

Even if you don’t have my specific pot, looking for a pizza pan can easily provide you with a simple base for a false bottom.

UPDATE

After I posted this it was pointed out that I was only looking at this as a false bottom for my personal brewing style – BIAB. This won’t work for people who want to mash solely with this as a filter (i.e mash tun / 3 vessel.) This is designed to keep the bag and grains off of my heating elements and allow me to adjust the mash temp easily mid-mash. I bet that there are actually pizza pans out there that have finer holes, or you could buy one with no holes and drill it yourself.

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Check your ball valve!

(^ gross, isn’t it?)

I’ve read a few things on reddit and homebrewtalk about brulosophers post. He had a friend who had a long series of bad batches and they ultimately pinned it down to a lot of gunk in his ball valve. There was even a few photos showing all of the gore.

Welp, it’s been a bit since I read that and I finally got around to checking my valve. Yep – mine was dirty.  I’ve removed it, boiled it, and it’s squeaky clean again. There are a lot of little bits and bobs that you need to sanitize in the brewing process. Finding and fixing process flaws like this are stuff that makes us all better, and ultimately makes our beer better.

In the future we need to recirc hot water more frequently, recirc some hot cleaner more frequently, and break down the valve and inspect it more often.

 

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DIY Black Iron Pipe Draft Tower

I saw this draught tower on pinterest and I knew I HAD to build one.

IronPipeTowerHI

It totally matches my style in almost every way. Black, industrial, rugged. Did I mention that BEER COMES OUT OF IT?!? They are selling them on etsy for $285 with faucets and glycol lines, but I’m the kind of guy who never wants to spend money buying something I could conceivably build it myself, so I started pricing out pieces from amazon. You can see on the tee that it’s a 2″ tee, so I designed everything else with 2″ black iron pipe.

I haven’t found prices to be significantly better at HD or Lowes vs amazon, and I like being able to get it all from one place as opposed to a bunch of different vendors so I spec’d out the first round at amazon
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DIY Spunding Valve – one-stop parts shopping on amazon

Spunding valves are an interesting little tool for brewers that let you control the pressure in your fermenting vessel (almost always a keg for homebrewers) They are an adjustable blow off valve that will release at or above a certain pressure point. The benefits of using one  are primarily that you can end up with carbonated beer straight out of the fermenter, and that they can allow increased fermentation temps (specifically in lagers) with fewer off-flavors. I don’t know if I have seen any proof of the second point, but I have certainly read it often.

The auxilliary thing I like about having a pressurized keg that is still fermenting is that it is VERY easy to take a sanitary sample using a picnic faucet, and there is essentially zero chance of O2 entering the keg, as the gas pressure is far more reliable than an airlock (that may require topping off.)

One down side to spunding valves is that some yeasts put out off-flavors in their gas, especially early into fermentation. If you’ve ever smelled cabbage or eggs coming out of a vigorous ferment you can see how disconcerting that could be coming off of a pint glass.  Most commercial breweries vent off any natural carbonation so that they can inject the beer with pure co2 at bottling, and some people say that this gives a cleaner taste.

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