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How To Install a Cold Draft Beer (and keep the water) System
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BellePlaine
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PostPosted: Sun Sep 02, 2012 1:06 pm    Post subject: How To Install a Cold Draft Beer (and keep the water) System Reply with quote

Iím to the point now with my 1975 Riviera with a late (1976) Westfalia interior that Iím ready to dream up projects that are not of the utmost urgency to the drivability of the vehicle. Of course, there are always systems to be maintained, but Iím ready to have some real modification fun. This summer I tackled such a project and installed a homebrewed beer draft system. Itís the perfect marriage of my two favorite hobbies: Volkswagens and brewing homebrew.

Given that this is a family vacation get-away vehicle and I didnít really want to have to explain myself to non-approving critics, it was a major goal of mine to make the draft system as inconspicuous as possible.

In fact here it is:
Image may have been reduced in size. Click image to view fullscreen.

I can serve both water and cold homebrewed beer out of the stock Westy sink faucet.
Itís done by using a 3-way ball valve at the faucet so if the handle is turned CCW, beer will flow. If the handle is turned CW, water flows. There is one fairly short common line going from the ball valve to the faucet and it just takes a second to clear.

See; thatís an Imperial Stout brewed with cold-press coffee and cocoa chocolate nibs:

Image may have been reduced in size. Click image to view fullscreen.

Image may have been reduced in size. Click image to view fullscreen.

Iíve widened the spare tire cabinet by a couple of inches which allowed me to fit two 5-gallon stainless steel Cornelius kegs. These ďCornyĒ kegs used to be used by the soda industry but homebrewers have adopted them as the vessel of choice for kegging purposes. One of the two kegs is for water and the other is for homebrew. Iíve removed the stock 7-gallon water tank.
A beverage tube, or line, goes from the water keg directly to the 3-way ball valve/faucet. Another beverage line, which Iíve insulated, goes from the beer keg and runs along behind the sink cabinet and then into the icebox. In the icebox it runs through 50-feet of stainless steel coil which is cold from ice and then through an insulated line to the 3-way ball valve/faucet.

The liquid is pushed pneumatically, that is to say via pressure. Iíve installed a keg pump which fits just perfectly through the hole where the water-fill tube used to be in the original water system. The keg pump provides air to the water tank, and to a gas distributor which Iíve reversed to allow air or CO2 to push the beer. Beer prefers and inert gas such as C02 otherwise it gets stale quickly. The C02 comes from a hand-held dispenser with a fitting attached to a gas line. It uses those small BB-gun cartages. So Iíve engineered the beer keg to get either CO2 or air in case I use all of the CO2 cartages while camping but might still have time and beer to kill.

Here is what it looks like inside:
Image may have been reduced in size. Click image to view fullscreen.
Underneath the sink, the 3-way ball valve:
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Above the sink, the handle and faucet:
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The spare tire cabinet/keg disconnects:
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The icebox/stainless steel coil.
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The water/beer keg air pump, and yes, that IS a Bay Window shifter knob:
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The beer CO2 dispenser:
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The beer CO2/Air distributor:
Image may have been reduced in size. Click image to view fullscreen.

The system is great and discreet but wasnít perfect. Getting a beer meant opening the slider door each time and disturbing my sleeping children. So I had a stainless steel box fabricated to fit nicely in the sink drain vent hole on the outside of the bus. Inside that box I had Corny keg threads welded so I could attach beer-out and CO2-in fittings which allows me to snap on a beer tapper and gas.

Here are some pics of the box:
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The schematic on the whole system:
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Most of the stuff needed for this modification can be bought at your well-stocked homebrew supply shop. The 3-way ball valve I found at McMaster Carr. And the stainless steel box I had fabricated by a friend using Corny keg threads salvaged from a destroyed keg.

I hope that you found my homebrew draft system to be well thought out. Cheers!
Image may have been reduced in size. Click image to view fullscreen.
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Last edited by BellePlaine on Sun Sep 02, 2012 8:01 pm; edited 1 time in total
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brookmp
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PostPosted: Sun Sep 02, 2012 1:23 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

You, Sir, are a genius! Very Happy. Incredible!
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WI sportmobile
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PostPosted: Sun Sep 02, 2012 2:17 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

You sir are awesome!!!! I had a dream about doing this at some point. Can you ditch out the water and have 2 kinds of beer? Does the water go through the chiller? Thank you so much for posting.
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PostPosted: Sun Sep 02, 2012 2:24 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

That is friggin' awesome! My only concern is if you get pulled over by Troopers and they ask to search the Bus, will they nail you for open tap?... Laughing
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raygreenwood
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PostPosted: Sun Sep 02, 2012 2:39 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Very nice work!....just get rid of that brass valve. Its "adequate" for water but not for beer which can have Ph problems with brass. There are plenty of 3 way valves made of stainless of polypropylene. Ray
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babysnakes
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PostPosted: Sun Sep 02, 2012 2:55 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

I love you! That is incredible. I used to home brew. Wow! Now you're making me think. Thinking is bad....I think. Very Happy
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mranker
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PostPosted: Sun Sep 02, 2012 3:05 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Applause Applause Applause
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TequilaSunSet Premium Member
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PostPosted: Sun Sep 02, 2012 3:53 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Very Happy Very Happy Very Happy Applause Applause Applause Applause Drool Drool Drool
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EZ Gruv
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PostPosted: Sun Sep 02, 2012 5:26 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Wow.
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akscooter
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PostPosted: Sun Sep 02, 2012 6:22 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

I Love it.... Applause but being a homebrewer myself the addition of a co2 tank would be the cats meow to the mix, and only use the pump system as a backup.... Wink
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david_594
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PostPosted: Sun Sep 02, 2012 6:26 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

That is really pretty impressive! How long do the 12gram CO2 cylinders last? I'm kind of surprised you didnt use a Paintball CO2 cylinder with your setup.
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PostPosted: Sun Sep 02, 2012 6:40 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Single best bay modification ever.
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PostPosted: Sun Sep 02, 2012 6:58 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Hahahaha
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PostPosted: Sun Sep 02, 2012 7:06 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Impressive!
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PostPosted: Sun Sep 02, 2012 8:41 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

It's already been said, but best mod ever!

I now believe in God.

Please take your ingenuity and turn it towards a fix for climate change. Very Happy

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PostPosted: Sun Sep 02, 2012 8:46 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Real men of genius:

Fat chick drivin, Orange color bus movin, sleeping and drinking camper beer keg guy.

We solute you! Image may have been reduced in size. Click image to view fullscreen.


Link


So when can I get my bus outfitted?
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PostPosted: Mon Sep 03, 2012 1:56 am    Post subject: You sir Reply with quote

Hats off too you. Wow. Very impressive.
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PostPosted: Mon Sep 03, 2012 3:44 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Sweet work, Chris! Applause

And I love the stout ring stain on the instructions! Wink

Come down and visit before fall ends!
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PostPosted: Mon Sep 03, 2012 6:02 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Applause Applause

I agree with EVERYONE above, that is a well thought out system and I love it!
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PostPosted: Mon Sep 03, 2012 7:10 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Extremely cool and I'm very jealous!! Applause Applause
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