Dialing-In your Home Draft System: Modifying a Draft Tower
For kegerator owners, dialing in your draft system can mean being able to serve up to four different kegs of beer at once. The great thing about draft towers is that they are pretty much one size fits all. This means that changing out your old one draft spigot tower can be incredibly easy. You can also modify your draft tower with additional spigots, and with a fairly simple modification add some extra cooling power to your draft tower with a fan that pushes cold air directly into the tower. In most kegerators, the draft towers can be jam packed with more beer lines than you can fit kegs into the cooling chamber. This is good, because it is one place you won’t run out of room. Having that extra space will fit a cooling tube in the draft tower as well.
A few quick modifications on your draft tower can allow for additional faucets. Drilling directly into the tower or adding a top extension unit will add more taps with the same amount of fridge space.
Your average home draft system style kegerator can hold four soda kegs or pony kegs at once, but usually the draft tower has only one or two spigots. This can easily be turned into a more advanced draught dispensing system with a simple switch out of the draft tower to a two, three or four spigot tower, or you can up the game by fabricating your own tower out of copper pipe, plexiglass, or some other more interesting materials.
Keep in mind that modifying your kegerator’s draft tower will probably nullify your warranty, if you have one. If this does not scare you, read on….
In order to add an extra tap, or two, or three, you are going to need to split your CO2 line and get gas to all of your kegs. You will need the following hardware for each additional draft spigot that you want to modify your draft tower to accommodate:
1 CO2 disconnect fitting for each keg
1 CO2 air distributor/splitter with enough valves for the added kegs
5-foot lengths of 5/16” gas hose for each keg (size to match your CO2 system)
a Faucet, tower shank and a tap handle for each added line
a big enough drip tray to gather from all lines
The first thing to do is to disassemble the old draft tower. You may be able to modify the old draft tower to accommodate more beer lines, or you may choose to install a brand new one with the number of taps you want to see in action. If you choose to modify the old tower, I recommend going whole hog. This is a good point at which you can decide on a choice of draft tower modification that is pleasing aesthetically as well as functionally. You can, for instance, mount your draft spigots in a mailbox, an artillery box, a toolbox, or other such vessel that can be easily re-purposed for this end.
Once you’ve found something cute and/or poignant to mount your draft spigots into, take your old draft tower and cut the top off. This can be done a variety of ways, but the cheapest is probably with a hacksaw or an angle grinder with a cut off disk. You will need to then find a way to mount the spigot box on top of your draft tower (which now has the top cut off, making it more of a tube). If welding isn’t an option, you can always drill holes and mount brackets to hold up the top of the box with bolts or screws of the appropriate type (wood screws for wooden box, self-tapping metal screws for metal box).
Once you have attached your headpiece to your draft tower, you can drill holes and mount your faucet shanks into the crown of the cooling tower. After feeding the hoses down through the tubular part of the tower and into the cooling chamber, you can attach the keg fitting to the end of the CO2 line and mount the cooling tower onto the kegerator.
A co2 air line splitter will distribute gas to multiple kegs using a single air tank.
The last bit to do is to split your CO2 lines so that you can have as many inputs as you need in accordance with the number of kegs you want to serve from. CO2 and beer gas splitters are available and are easy to string together. Just make sure that you have enough hose clamps to go around.
There is another modification that I can recommend. First of all, it is very easy for the section of beer line in your draft tower to become slightly warmer than the line inside the cooling chamber of the kegerator. You can change this tendency by modifying your kegerator and installing a fan, which will funnel cold air up and into the draft tower via a cooling tube. For more information on this topic, please see my article entitled “Hacking Your Kegerator: Cool your Draft Tower with Parts from your Old Desktop Computer”. This article describes how to install a homemade cooling fan unit (made with a CPU fan) to cool the draft tower beer lines and reduce the initial foaming that can happen when the beer at the end of the beer lines is warmed past ideal serving temperatures.
Whether you decide to modify your kegerator with the CPU cooling unit or not, it is well advised to insulate your cooling tower and crown piece as best you can. This will add another factor to benefit you in serving beer at the ideal temperature and avoiding over foaming. You can use any number of insulative materials for this purpose. Insulation works whether on the inside or the outside of the unit to be insulated. This means that you can make a covering for your draft tower, knit a sock scarf for it, or dip it in liquid vinyl, and these will all help to keep the beer cold right until the last moment of being poured into a glass.
Related Kegerator Articles :
Hacking Your Kegerator: Adds and Mods Edition -- Modification projects for your kegerator including, computer fans, blowers, tower mods, rfi readers and open source technologies.
Eliminating Foamy Beer from your Kegerator -- Is your kegerator dispensing foamy beer?
Modification Project: Adding Double or Triple Tap Tower -- Learn how to add a double or triple tap tower to your kegerator.
Published On: Wednesday, May 2, 2012
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