Once I got my kegerator set up (will post pics soon) I discovered the hard way that filling bottles from the tap is a mess. I found BierMuncher’s “We don’t need no stinking beer gun” on homebrewtalk.com and this video from BobbyFromNH on youtube where you tap into the liquid-out post of your keg. However whenever I bled out the pressure by pushing on the stopper, it blasted beer all over me. I have Perlick 525’s so the growler filler from MDHB wouldn’t work but it gave me the idea to machine my own tap insert. I’m a do-it-yourselfer even if I end up spending 8x more than something would cost pre-built at a store so I set to tackle this problem. This post shows my tap-to-bottle setup (which as it turns out is almost exactly like bowiefan and Irrenarzt from homebrewtalk.com. Sigh…here I thought I was being original). If you like this and don’t own a lathe, I think buying from them is a better idea.
Here is an exploded view of the setup.
A 3/8″ pre-drilled stopper (part A) has an air-pump needle for soccer balls inserted down the side. This allows you to control the bottle pressure by putting your thumb on over the needle base. The idea is that when you start filling your bottle, close the adaptor and as the bottle pressurizes, the foam will die down. You can then let out a little air at a time and the bottle will fill under quasi-pressurized conditions.
I don’t like this since foam oozes out of the needle when it reaches the top, and it hurts my thumb after a bit. So I shoved some 3/16″ (ID) tubing over the needle, connected to a 1/4″ shut-off in-line ball valve (part D). I close the valve and start filling and the bottle pressurizes itself. I then open the valve a little and the beer flows into the bottle under constant pressure. By putting the other end of the tube in a cup, any foam that comes out through the needle goes into the cup, so everything stays clean. Only problem is that some air does leak out where the needle and tube are joined. My first “cave-man” solution so far is Part E, a 1/4 compression to 3/8″ FIP adaptor (compression tapped at 5/16-28) packed with an o-ring and screwed into a 3/8″ barb adaptor, shown below.
A slightly-more elegant solution is to do away with the “middle-man” and connect the pump needle directly to a 3/8″ barb adaptor. To do this, I bought a 3/8″ barb to 3/8″ male adaptor, drilled out the male part of the adaptor to 7/32″ and tapped it to 5/16-28. This way the needle screws right in (see below).
The bottle filler (Part B) is a length of stainless-steel 0.375″ x 0.065″ x 0.245″ T-304 seamless tube that I bought from onlinemetals.com. I machined the tip so 3/16″ ID tubing will fit snugly over it. Now for the faucet adaptor (Part C). The inner diameter of the Perlick 525 is 0.40″ so I machined a small length of the same stainless tube as shown below.
On the left is a 1/16″ deep groove cut 3/16″ wide, which holds two 11/32 x 7/32 x 1/16″ o-rings (#47 at Ace). That end is slipped up into the faucet to about the level of the 2nd groove. On the right, I machined a rounded tip to help the 3/16″ tube slide over, and a long channel in case I want to clamp the tube down.
So in summary, the faucet adaptor is put up into the Perlick and connects to the bottle filler by a 3/16″ tube. The bottle filler is put almost all the way into the bottle and the stopper closes the bottle. The ball valve assembly is attached to the air-pump adaptor, the valve is closed and I open the faucet. When the flow slows, it means the bottle is pressurized to the keg pressure (I use about 3-4 PSI) so I slowly open the ball valve. I let foam run out until the beer level is at the top of the bottle. Then close the faucet, remove the filler, and add a little more beer to foam up the head space. Cap, chill, and give to friends.
Total costs: $15 stainless tube (shipping was more than the tube!), $1 o-rings, $2 3/16″ tube, $15 ball valve, $1 air-pump needle, $1 stopper, $2 brass fittings. I already owned the lathe and borrowed bits from my machine shop at work but you can buy a cheap set for about $20. My next project might be to solder the barb adaptor right onto the pump needle, but I hate the permanence of it.