Category Archives: Tips

How to Fix a Keg That Leaks – 5 Things to Check

New 5 Gallon Corny Keg Ball Lock

Adventures in Homebrewing has a nice step by step write up on fixing keg leaks.  I particularly like #5 “Post O-Rings”.  I find that to be a particularly pesky leak.  I’ve lost at least one full tank of CO2 to a bad oring that cost pennies – See: Checking for Gas QD CO2 Leaks for more on that.

Check out the Step by Step Guide

AIH also has a number of keg sales going on right now…

Related: Bulk Keg Orings and Keg Repair Part Numbers

Also Consider: All Current Sale Items

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Update: Bulk Keg Orings and Keg Repair Part Numbers

You can save a bunch by buying keg o-rings in bulk.  Here are some part numbers, background and tips on keg gaskets along with some part numbers and sources for additional keg repair parts.

Ball and Pin Lock Orings and Repair Parts

Silicone vs Buna-N
Silicone is softer than Buna-N.  Silicone also remains softer at cool temperatures.  Because of this, silicone is supposed to provide a better seal.

I use use Buna-N on my liquid posts because they are cheaper and I figure a leak is going to be very evident – Beer is… visible.  I use silicone on my gas posts because they seal better.  You cannot see leaking CO2, so I want these to seal as well as possible.  This also color codes posts for easy identification.  Black o-rings are liquid and orange o-rings are gas.

A Note on Gas O-rings I am quick to replace gas o-rings.  This leak is difficult to test for.  I lost an entire CO2 tank because of a bad gas o-ring.  In bulk, these are cheap, replace them liberally.

Dip Tube O-rings
Buna-N: 109 Buna-N O-Ring, 70A Durometer, Black, 5/16″ ID, 1/2″ OD, 3/32″ Width (Pack of 100)

Silicone: 109 Silicone O-Ring, 70A Durometer, Red, 5/16″ ID, 1/2″ OD, 3/32″ Width (Pack of 100)

Post O-Rings
Buna-N: 111 Buna-N O-Ring, 70A Durometer, Black, 7/16″ ID, 5/8″ OD, 3/32″ Width (Pack of 100)

Silicone: 111 Silicone O-Ring, 70A Durometer, Red, 7/16″ ID, 5/8″ OD, 3/32″ Width (Pack of 100) – use silicone for pin lock kegs

Lid O-Ring
Buna-N: 417 Buna-N O-Ring, 70A Durometer, Round, Black, 3-1/2″ ID, 4″ OD, 1/4″ Width (Pack of 10)

Silicone: 417 O-Ring, Silicone, 70A Durometer, 3-1/2″ ID, 4″ OD, 1/4″ Width, Red (Pack of 5)

Internal Ball Lock Quick Disconnect O-Rings
Silicone: 013 Silicone O-Ring, 70A Durometer, Red, 7/16″ ID, 9/16″ OD, 1/16″ Width (Pack of 100)

Theses o-rings aren’t exactly the same as the standard square sided o-ring that comes in quick disconnects, but they do work well for me and this is certainly more economical than buying a whole new quick disconnect.  Here is an exact replacement for CM Becker Ball Lock Quick Disconnects.

Pin and Ball Lock
I only use ball lock kegs, but it’s my understanding that pin locks and ball locks use the same o-rings.  On the post o-rings, the silicone seems to be the best choice.  The flexibility of silicone makes them work better than the Buna-N version on pin lock kegs.

Other Keg Rebuild and Replacement Parts

McMaster Carr is also a good source for bulk o-rings.  McMaster does charge an additional shipping fee.  Their website does not show that.  It’s added on after you place your order.  To get exact shipping charges you need to call or email McMaster for a quote.

McMaster Carr Part Numbers

  • Dip Tube O-rings Buna-N – 9452K172
  • Dip Tube O-rings Quad Sealing Buna-N – 90025K368
  • Post O-rings Buna-N- 9452K23
  • Post O-rings Silicone – 9396K24
  • Lid O-rings Buna-N – 9452K218
  • Lid O-rings Silicone – 9396K926
  • Internal Quick Disconnect O-rings Silicone – 9396K18

Tips and Gear for Your Kegerator:

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(10) 10 CC Syringes + Sanitizing for Pennies a Batch

10 CC Luer Lock Syringes

Why would these have anything to do with homebrewing, you ask?  Great question.  These are an easy way to measure 6 mL of Star San.  Put 6 mL of Star San in 1 gallon of distilled water and you’ve got sanitizing solution.  Fill up a spray bottle and you’re ready to sanitize for pennies a batch.  See: Tip: Using Star San In a Spray Bottle

Quantity 10 of 10 CC Syringes.  These do not have needles.  The do have Luer Lock Tips.  The syringes that I use for measuring Star San also have Luer Lock Tips.  There is no need to put anything on this connection.  You can draw Star San with the Luer Lock end.

10 cc/ml 10 pcs Syringe w/o Needles New Sterile Disposable Luer Lock Tip

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Brewery Organization: 12 Pack See Through Storage Boxes

Sterilite 16428012 6-Quart Storage Box, White Lid with See-Through Base, 12-Pack

12 Pack of Sterilite 16428012 6-Quart Storage Boxes, White Lid with See-Through Base

Clear storage features a see-through base allowing contents to be easily identified.  Secure fit lids feature comfortable grips and an indexed surface area for stability when stacking multiple units.  13-1/2-by-8-1/4-by-4-3/4-Inch.

I use a bunch of similar containers (maybe 30 or more?) for storage and organization of my brewing equipment.  I’ve tried several size storage containers (and still use a few larger ones) but I’ve found these to work the best for most things (at least in my situation).  I organize containers by either task (Examples: Brew Day and Yeast Starters: – Ove Glove, Foam Stoppers, Stir Bars, Yeast Nutrient, stir bar keeper magnet, StirStarter, etc) or similar items (Airlocks and stoppers).  Slap a label on the front and it makes it easy to find what you’re looking for.

Sterilite 16428012 6-Quart Storage Box, White Lid with See-Through Base, 12-Pack

Also Consider: Lightning Deals

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‘Ove Glove – for Minding Yeast Starters

The Oven Glove - Hot Surface Handler

The Ove Glove Hot Surface Handler from Ove Glove

  • 540 F – Flame Resistant
  • Made with Kevlar® & Nomex® by DuPont
  • For Left or Right Hand
  • 5-Finger Flexi Grip

I use an Ove Glove when I’m making yeast starters in an Erlenmeyer Flask.  It’s really handy (pun intended) to swirl around the flask or to quickly remove to keep the flask from boiling over.

These are also handy on brew day for handling hot (but not wet) ball valves and such.

These are not waterproof. Along those lines, I wouldn’t suggest that you stick your hand in hot wort with one of these on. Or, without one of these on for that matter. I guess the take away here is… don’t stick your hand in hot wort. :)

The Oven Glove – Hot Surface Handler

Related…

841256-2

841256 StirStarter Stir Plate

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XYZprinting Da Vinci 1 3D Printer – Tap Handles, Stir Plates and More + 3D Printing Tips

XYZprinting Da Vinci 1.0 3D Printer, Grey

I’ve had my XYZpringing Da Vinci 1 3D Printer since the end of 2014.  I’ve used it for a lot of projects including several homebrewing related prints.  A few of those… Pub Style Tap Handle6 ml Measuring Cup for Star SanMagnet Mounting Thingy – more projects are on the way including a completed 5L Capable Stir Plate using the Magnet Mounting Thingy + This Fan and These Magnets.  It’s relatively easy to design your own prints and pre-designed STL files abound on sites like thingiverse.

The Da Vinci 1,0 is 2014 CES Editors’ Choice Award Winner – Most Affordable 3D Printer.  It has a large 475 cubic inch build volume (7.8″ x 7.8″ x 7.8″).  It includes ABS filament.  User Manual, Printer Cleaning Guide and Load Filament Guide are all available as PDF files under the Product Information section.

XYZPrinting DaVinci 1 Purchase DateI’ve been very happy with this printer.  Check out a few tips below.

XYZprinting Da Vinci 1.0 3D Printer

DIY Stir Plate3D Magnet Mount in Action

Some Da Vinci 1 Tips  -

  • I clean the printer bed with a cloth and warm water first (as suggested in the directions) but then go a step further by completing a final cleaning with rubbing alcohol.  I picked this up from Make Magazine.  It doesn’t take much.  Several drops along with a paper towel or clean cloth do the trick.  This cleans off any residual oil and helps the model stick to the platform.
  • The printer includes a glue stick for helping to affix prints to the bed.  These are just standard UHU Glue Sticks.  I’ve found a thin even coat of glue works the best.
  • A properly calibrated and leveled bed is a big part of getting a quality print.  If your first layer is getting spread out, your bed is too high.  If edges are lifting up, your bed is too low.  I’ve found the built in calibration routine on this printer to be difficult and time consuming.  I started using Gap Feeler Gauge to do a manual calibration.  Note that this is not the factory recommended method for calibration.  I picked up this set of feeler gauges to do this.  I use the .2 mm gauge.  It’s a quick and simple process.  I start one of the demo prints and wait for the printer to warm up and print the purge line on the right hand side of the bed.  As the print head moves toward the middle of the bed to start the demo item, I unplug the printer.  The printer head and bed are hot so be careful and cautious if you decide to do this.  I move the head above each of the adjustment screws and adjust until the .2 mm gap tool just starts to drag on the head.  Complete 3 times at each point and then go back around to double check and fine tune.  This process takes just a few minutes.  Again… this is not the factory recommended solution.  If you do it, do so at your own risk and be careful – the print head and bed are hot.  Also… I did not develop this technique.  I found it on a forum.  It seems to be pretty widely mentioned.  I think the factory solution could also produce good results.  I just didn’t put a lot of time into getting good at it.

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Tip: Checking for Gas QD CO2 Leaks

CO2 Pressure Gauge

For the most part, checking for keg Liquid and CO2 leaks is pretty straightforward.  Is beer leaking?  Then you’ve got a liquid leak.  That one’s really easy to spot.  If beer is shooting out like a geyser, you’ve got a… fast leak. :)  For gas, you spray the keg down with Star San or soapy water and check for bubbles.  Pretty easy.

One of the more difficult spots to check is an engaged gas QD.  Testing at this point using the spray bottle method is impossible (or at the very least difficult and messy).  Leaks will only surface here when a gas QD is connected.  The problem is, you can’t easily get to or see that area with a QD on.  I have had people suggest immersing the entire gas QD in Star San.  I’ve been told that leaks will produce bubbles and you will be able to see them.  That just doesn’t sound like much fun to me.  I don’t really want to soak my gas QD in Star San.  I’m also concerned that I won’t get enough Star San in the mix to create bubbles that I can see.

I use a pressure gauge to do this check.  I remove the gas line and put a pressure gauge on the keg.  Then I use a China Marker (easy to remove wax) to mark the pressure and wait overnight.  If the pressure doesn’t drop, the keg is leak free.  It’s worth noting that if the beer is still carbonating the pressure may drop as part of the carbonation process.  If that’s what’s going on with your beer, just leave the pressure gauge on the keg longer until it levels off.  If it keeps dropping, there is a leak.  If it levels off and stays, you’re leak free.

Another option is to attach only one keg to your regulator and turn of the the CO2 tank.  This allows you to use the low pressure gauge to monitor the keg.  The benefit of this method is that you’re testing everything – line, manifold, QD, o-ring and keg.  The downside is you’re taking other kegs offline.

I’m not suggesting this as a replacement for the Star San spray method.  I use it as a complement to that to check an otherwise difficult to check spot.  I use the spray method when I keg a beer and use the pressure gauge method periodically or if I otherwise suspect a problem.

I’m also quick to replace o-rings, especially on the gas side.  I have a couple full tanks of CO2 to a bad gas post oring.  These typically cost just pennies (See: Bulk Keg Orings and Keg Repair Part Numbers).  I would much rather be safe that sorry when it comes to the time, cost and inconvenience of replacing an empty CO2 tank.

Related:

Keg O-Rings: Dip Tube – Silicone · Post – Silicone · Lid – Silicone

Also: Keg Repair Part Numbers

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