A blog about beer, food, cooking and good times...

"I love hoppy things... I love things with hops in them... Like little bags and towels... Hops rule foreva."

Sunday, August 14, 2011

It's not "The Fall Guy" This Sh*t is 100% MacGyver

The final product.

About a year ago I set out to install a tap system in my house. It's been a labor of love and with some fine tuning, it's finally finished. I could have went the traditional route and bought everything "legit" and spent a fortune but that's just not my style. With a little know how and a few freebies, I was off to the races.  The first thing I bought was a second-hand draft system which included a keg coupler, tap head, and Co2 tank for about $75. Big savings here,  as you can get everything brand new for about $150. I lucked out, the stuff this guy had was in really excellent shape. If you can spring for new equipment I suggest you do so. If your tank is out of date or the hoses are dirty, etc you could easily spend what you were initially going to save. Check out Micromatic.com they'll hook you up! Next, I picked up a fridge from a friend for free! A point of interest here, make sure you get one that has a flat bottom or you will only be able to tap sixtels and skinny quarter barrels. The real trick as it turns out, was going to be running the lines and keeping them cold all the way to the tap head in my dining room closet. "That's right draft beer in the closet." The pic to your upper left says it all. The total length of the run is about 9' and the refrigerator is in my basement just below the closet where the bar now exists. I first thought about air cooling the lines but it seemed like a big head-ache and an even bigger expense. The only other option I could figure was to install a glycol system. Also very costly, so I had a cold one and thought about it for a while. Then it hit me, like Richard Dean Anderson in the hit show MacGyver, why not make my own system? So, that's what I did and you can do it too. All you need is some 3" PCV, flexible tubing, spray foam insulation, a small pump, and a tub to
Gathering the lines.
Loosely zip tie them together.

hold your cooling liquid ( I used water with bleach and isopropyl alcohol).  The idea is simple; create a circuit of
continually pumping cold water that runs parallel to your beer line, insulate all three lines, run them through 3" PVC pipe seal it up and your done. "It may not be perfect but it works." Essentially you are creating your own trunk line traditionally used in commercial grade systems using glycol to refrigerate the lines. A glycol system is a closed system where none of your refrigerant evaporates. In my system, every few weeks or so you will need to add more water to your reservoir. Not a bad trade off considering the price of a glycol system.  After you gather and zip tie your lines wrap them in foil insulation and then in foam pipe insulation. You will then feed the entire thing through your 3" PVC. This will keep you lines cold and virtually eliminate any condensation from forming on the outside of the lines, which was a huge problem I had in an earlier version of this system. I fished the whole thing off with some custom concrete counter tops and a natural stone back splash. Check out the pick above for the full effect. I didn't use any duct tape but i'm sure MacGyver would have been proud! -Shorty aka (the Gnome)

Wednesday, August 10, 2011

"I'm the king of hops! There is none Higher! Sucka craft beers should call me sire!"

Fresh and delicious!
Latest brew review: Boulder Brewing's Hoopla Pale Ale. This is not the "king of hops!" but it's one drinkable Pale Ale. This beer has a nice floral nose to it, perfect frothy head, and a beautiful amber color. It lacked the strong citrus notes that I have come to love about the super hopped IPA's. Clean finish, crisp and not real bitter. You could easily session this beer. So folks not alot to say about this one. That's all for now.. check the vids below for some viewing pleasure! -Shorty, aka "The Beer Gnome"

Hops: Nugget, Glacier, Centennial
Grains: Pale Malt, CaraRed Malt, Melanoidin Malt, Chocolate Malt
IBU: 35
ABV: 5.7%

Listen and watch as the brewers from B&B create this delicious libation!

The inspiration for the title of this post.