Saturday, June 25, 2011

Keggle (not kegel) Workout...

Worked my second job, drivin' the Zamboni (the novelty wears off, trust...) at the local rink. Things are pretty slow this time of year, so I spent 80% of the day on the social networks and the other 20% staring out the window thinking of brewing.

I fully planned on epic brewday after getting out of work early in the afternoon. Firstly, was going to work on keggle, then on to 60minute IPA brewday. That was the plan anyway... What really happened: Tween birthday party at public skate and the stayed until the bitter end, then longer, then I got bitter, then I started to hint that it was time to go... they weren't really getting it... total obliv... Then when I finally got out, a few errands to get stuff together for keggle (not kegel (lolz)) project. By the time I got home the afternoon was half gone. But... I started the keggle (not kegel (getting old? sry, too bad, makes me lol every time...)) project. 

Old, dented, dirty, beat ass keg about to get a new lease on life...

Everything I needed... Left to Right... Angle grinder with cutting and grinding wheels. Drill. Cutting fluid. Kick-ass sized (3/32) drill bits for pilot holes. Step bits. Hammer. Nail. String. Safety googles. Extra drill battery, Sharpie. And of course, most important, beer.

 Listen up! This part's super important! You gotta (GOTTA) release the pressure before compromising the structure of the keg. The super easy way is to lay the keg on it's side (unless you want a face full of really old, really gross beer) and gently tap a nail between the ball bearing and the plastic seat, preventing it from sealing. When rank old beer smell stops blowing out, you're all set to proceed.

Now the super high tech, precision method of drawing a circle to cut the top off the keg. String tied around bung (snicker) and around sharpie. I made the circle as big as I could without the grinder hitting the rim/handles. Just to let you know, there is another method. Building a jig to hold the grinder, and cut a perfect circle as you spin it around the bung (snicker). I'm not going to say that's not how I roll, but this keg is so beat, I said screw it and decided to freehand...

The trick with the grinder, is not to try and plunge in and do the whole cut in one pass. It won't work... well... it will, but it will look like dogcrap. Full disclosure, totally used safety googles, you would be a total moron to use a grinder without. Red hot sparks fly directly into your eyeballs. Srsly. Wear 'em! I did a light pass, following the sharpie line just trying to score it. Then I kept going around making the groove deeper until it started to break through. Then I got srs and dug in.

About halfway through, I totally took a beer break, as seen here. Here, I have cut through about halfway around. It probably took my 45 minutes total running the grinder. My neighbors were full annoyed I assume, they slammed their back door shut as soon as I turned on the grinder. I'll offer a pint and a sorry next time I see them, who could stay mad at that?

 Success! Top is off. The diptube keeps the whole thing from falling in, had total duh moment bc I was expecting the top to fall in and it didn't... If you look close, you can see what I can only assume is delicious, stale, bacteria filled, 20(?) year old beer...

 So... after chugging the beer (total joking) and ditching the top, you can see the pretty inside of my new brew kettle! I used a grinding wheel to clean up the edges. Not bad for freehand?

Now to drill the holes... I am planning on having two couplings welded near the bottom. One will be for a drain valve with a pick-up tub that will reach to the very bottom of the curved bottom... (...bottom... also, bottom.) The other will be for a combination thermometer and sightglass. I may just plug this one for now, but I want to be able to add them later

This stuff... is critical. Well, is doesn't have to be that particular stuff... but you have to use cutting fluid. Stainless is a PITA... use it. use it often. I drilled a pilot hole with a 3/32 bit, I find this to be the perfect size for pilot holes in any metal work. Tip for drilling stainless... go slow, push hard. It's more like cutting than drilling. If you go fast, you are going to smoke the cutting fluid and dull the bit. The pilot hole goes quick, then I moved up to the step bits. I cheaped out and picked up a new set of the Harbor Freight specials... They are full garbage (I knew they would be) but they got the job done. If I were going to be doing anymore than two holes I would def get the quality step bits.

 After all the grinding, the drilling really kicked my ass. Total workout. After finishing off the first hole, I said, "do I really need a sightglass?" But I toughed it out and drilled the second hole.

So... two perfectly uneven holes... What has two thumbs and doesn't care (not even a little bit)? 

This guy...

After cleaning up, the next step is welding the 1/2 inch stainless couplings into the holes. I don't weld (wish I did) But I know a guy who knows a guy... but that will have to wait for another weekend. Besides, I'm total wiped. Sweaty, greasy, probs smelly, covered in grinding dust and stainless shavings... beer, shower, couch, blog... in that order. Brewday postponed until tomorrow... too tired to even go to the town fireworks tonight. Oh hey! Netflix, what's up?? Later.


  1. Neat to see the steps! Keep posting the progress!

  2. Thanks, welding is planned for next weekend. After that, cleaning and fitting the trim and I'll be brewing ten gallon batches! Also, really nicely done interview with DFH! What a great opportunity!