Cleaning liquid lines without CO2

I could easily clean the liquid lines in my keezer with a push of CO2 and a keg, but I didn’t want to waste even the slightest amount of CO2 pushing sanitizer through the lines, and I didn’t want to have an extra keg just for line cleaning.

Solution? I’ve heard of hand pumpers that can send sanitizer through the lines. While it sounded good, I found that most of the hand pumpers have a MFL tail piece and a beer shank wing nut attached to it, like the ones seen here and here. (click links).

Solution to the solution? I use daily at work these HDX 1 gallon hand pump sprayers. I went on a hunch that they would have 1/4″ tubing for the sprayer, and I was right. I spent about $10 on the sprayer itself, and a few extra dollars on the parts needed to covert it to attach to the liquid lines. The sprayer part was easier than I thought to unscrew and pull off the hose. I replaced it with a stainless 1/4″ barb to 1/4 MFL threaded piece.

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From here, I mixed up 4 liters of water to 2oz of BLC in my pumper, affixed the pumper portion back on. To attach the pumper line to the liquid line is as easy as screwing in the black beer connector. I made sure to tighten the hex nut to prevent leaks. See the picture below, I tried to get as much all in the shot as possible.

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After setting up the equipment, I placed a bucket under the tap, then opened the tap. It only takes a few pumps to get the pressure running. The pumper holds 4 liters of liquid, I pumped 1 liter of cleaner solution through each of my taps, and then pumped flushed each tap with the same amount of clean water. Clean lines! Easy to do, didn’t need a keg, didn’t need any CO2. Tah freaking dah.

 

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Keezer build

I’m moving towards kegging, and quickly decided I didn’t want to fuck around with picnic taps. So I thought I’d go all out and convert a chest freezer into a 4 tap keezer. This process took some time, and was a serious labor to do. However, the end result is excellent, and it was 100% worth building.

I found a Magic Chef 6.9 cubic feet chest freezer at Home Depot over Labor Day. It was on sale for $160. Brought it home and gave it some measurements.

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I watched a number of tutorials online and found out it had to have the lid removed, and a wood collar attached to it, so that the lid could be screwed back into the collar. I chose 45º angle cuts on four pieces of 2x4s, and right angle braces with wood screws to attach them together. Here’s the rough blueprints on what I wanted the collar to look like.

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Back to Home Depot, picked up a 12 foot piece of 2×4 and brought it to a buddy’s house to help me cut it.

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With the angles cut, we set it together to see how it would look. My buddy did a kick ass job of slicing the wood down to the 32nd.

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Right angle brace placed in…

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Next we chose the front facing board, and measured out four 1 inch holes. They were then cut using a 1 inch spayed bit.

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I gave the wood a good sanding so that it would better accept some paint and took it home to see how it fit on the freezer.

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Like a glove.

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Next I needed to add some sealant paint on the wood. I chose white instead of wood stain, just to make it easy. And to make it even easier, I chose a timeless classic, Kilz spray paint.

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I painted all the boards and let them dry for a good 24 hours.

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The next step required another pair of hands, as we had to hold the boards together while adjoining them with the right angle joint.

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The boards fit together nicely, but still left a small gap. I knew this wasn’t going to be a huge issue because I was going to caulk and paint everything again.

I placed the newly formed collar on the freezer one more time to see how it fit… pretty good.

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I then caulked up all my edges and smoothed them out.

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After this it got another round of Kilz paint job.

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While the paint was drying I started assembling my parts, starting with the liquid side. I got some nice Krome passthroughs (as seen below) that had built in barbed nipples and faucet adapters, or whatever they’re called. This was more convenient than buying the passthrough, MFL tail piece, beer washer, and wing nut… and the faucet connector part. Whatever, this was convenient and worked super well. See picture below.

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I easily assembled the faucet to the passthrough, and the tap handle to the faucet. The faucet went on better with the help of a faucet wrench.

Next I assembled my beer line to the black beer connectors via swivel barbs and clamps. The beer line is a real bitch to get onto the barb, so soaking it in some hot water helped cram it onto the barb, where it was then clamped on.

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I put these aside for now to focus on my newly dried collar, and attaching it to the freezer. I used the same Gorilla Glue caulk that I used earlier to seal the collar to the freezer.

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I placed the lid on, adjusted it into place, and then added some full kegs, water jugs, and a full CO2 tank for weight.

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I patiently let this set up for about 24 hours. In the meantime, I gave the outside edges another round of caulking.

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Sloppy paint job, right?

After this had dried, I opened up the keezer again, removed the lid, and added a round of caulk to the inside edges, plus caulked my 6-way manifold onto the lip of the freezer.

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Now it’s time to assemble the keezer with all the parts. The passthroughs go through the 1 inch holes, and the brass nuts were tightened in with a wrench.

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IMG_2382Then I brought in my CO2 tank and hooked up the regulator to the manifold.

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No pictures, but I added my gas lines to the manifold, clamped them down, and added gray gas connectors on the other ends with swivel barbs and clamps.

I added my liquid lines onto the passthroughs, and hooked those up to swivel barbs and black beer connectors as well.

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Now it’s time to test the system. I filled a keg with star san and water to test for leaks and to sanitize the lines, serving this sanitizer keg with a small amount of CO2 pressure.

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Hooray! It works!

It’s time for the lid to be attached back to the unit, and I screwed it in to the keezer’s collar. It works perfectly.

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Tah-freaking-dah. I hooked it up to my Inkbird temperature controller and set it to cool. Here’s what the final build looks like.

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There are two things that still need to be added, but are minor cosmetic issues.

  1. I need some drip trays for the front. I’ve got some ideas on how to do it, but I’ll explore a bunch of options on how to get the right look and ease of use.
  2. I want some custom tap handles, so that I can slide in and out my own labels.