Here are some homebrew and craft related gear options that are Made in the USA. This is our understanding as of the time this post was published. Note some items may be made or assembled in the USA from internationally source components. Please check with manufacturers for detailed information and to confirm origin and assembly location information.
Keg Connection has a selection of CO2 tanks, drip trays and keg parts that are all made in the USA
About, from William’s: “Unlike standard lid O rings which have a .280″ cross section, our exclusive Oversize O Ring has a slightly larger (.310″) diameter, and is molded from softer rubber, for a more positive seal at low dispensing pressures. An ideal fix for an older keg with a leaky lid, or for any keg that needs to be pressurized before filling to achieve an airtight seal. Fits all brands of kegs, pin-lock or ball-lock, with a 3 by 3.5” clamp down oval lid. ”
As of this posting, this is selling for $3.99. Check William’s Brewing for up to the minute price and availability.
From HBF Reader David Says: “I have some of these for some Pin lock kegs that I used ball lock lids on that wouldn’t seal up. They are now some of my tightest lids and are great.”
Facebook Friend [Connect with HBF on Facebook] Gus Says: “These things are awesome. Fixed a keg that was headed for the scrap pile. All my kegs rock these.”
Jason’s technique for repairing loose handles on Cornelius kegs:
Use automotive brake cleaner to clean the metal and rubber.
Scuff both the metal and rubber with an emery cloth.
Get an appropriate adhesive that works with rubber and metal. Consider: 3M 08008 Black Super Weatherstrip Adhesive via Amazon. HBF Reader Scott says Gorilla Glue also works great for this: “Gorilla Glue works great for reattaching rubber keg parts. It’s an expanding polyurethane so it really gets in there and grabs.” Thanks Scott!
Reattach the handle using the adhesive. Follow the product specific instructions for application and curing.
Another option (again from Jason) is to do the prep work on the keg and ask your local windshield repair shop to apply their adhesive. They use a very strong urethane adhesive that should work great.
Note: Always read and follow manufacturer’s instructions.
Filling a growler or small draft dispenser from your draft setup is an easy and straightforward process. Here are some tips and tools for making this as easy and efficient as possible.
Start with a clean growler. Use some growler cleaning tabs, PBW or your favorite homebrewing cleanser. Refrain from using dish soaps and the like. Thoroughly rinse your growler after cleaning. If you’re not going to use it right away, let it air dry. I always store my growlers with the cap off. Starting with a clean growler is important for general cleanliness and food safety, but it also makes filling your growler easier. Spots and such can serve as nucleation points causing unnecessary foam during the fill.
A warm growler can lead to excessive foaming. Start with a cold growler. I suggest putting your growler directly in your kegerator so it’s the same temperature as your beer. This will help to reduce foaming.
Having a wet growler also helps reduce foam. Put properly mixed Star San solution in your growler prior to chilling, swirl it around to coat all surfaces and discard just prior to filling. If you’ll be drinking the growler right away, you can skip the Star San and just use fresh, cold tap water.
Turn down the pressure. Serving pressure is generally around 10 PSI, depending on how your system is tuned. That makes for too quick of a fill and too much foam. Turn down the pressure on your CO2 regulator to 3 or 4 psi to fill your growler slowly. Remember to purge keg headspace after decreasing your regulator’s PSI setting.
Affix a growler filler or length of tubing to your faucet. If you’re using picnic taps a 3/8″ ID section of tubing should fit nicely on the end of your taps. If you’re using a Perlick style faucet, a section of 1/2″ ID tubing should fit on your faucet. Make sure the tubing is long enough to hit the bottom of the growler. Filling from the bottom up should reduce oxygen pickup and foaming.
As your beer gets close to the top lower the growler to withdraw the tubing and top up.
A slight overfill can be a good thing. When you close or cap on foam the head space is purged with CO2. Have a clean towel or rag available to clean up the excess and any spills.
To purge or not to purge. Purging your growler with CO2 can be a good way to decrease oxidation and keep your beer tasting fresh longer. If your growler will be consumed right away (I’d say within a day or two), purging with CO2 probably won’t be worth it. If it will be a while before the growler is consumed purging with CO2 would be a good thing. If you’re going to do that I suggest doing it after you turn down your CO2 pressure. I use my CO2 utility line (link below) for purging growlers.
Growler Fillers:These allow you to easily attach a length of tubing to your faucet for the purpose of filling a growler. They can just as easily be used to fill a small kegging system or small keg. Just use a longer piece of tubing.
The first and most obvious use for these… use them in your cooler to keep your homebrew, favorite craft beer and more cold. I went to ice packs instead of ice after watching a segment on packing your cooler properly on “Good Eats”. Thanks to Alton Brown I have been ice free since and haven’t looked back.
Traveling someplace to brew – put your yeast and hops in a small cooler with an ice pack.
I like to keep an ice pack next to yeast in my fridge to help temp stabilize it.
If you’re using an ice bath to help keep fermentation temperatures down, use ice packs instead of ice. This method saves you needing to drain water from the bath like you would have if you had added more ice, adding more gel packs doesn’t add any additional water to the mix. If you’re in the practice of purchasing bags of ice for this, this method will also save you money in the long run.
If you have warm ground water temps, set up your system with a pre-chiller and use ice packs to help chill down your ground water.
Cooler Shock Gel Packs – via Amazon. In my opinion… these are amazing. The are made of thick mylar and come in several sizes and configurations. Some are pre-made and others are DIY. For the DIY versions you add the water to finish them off.
Frozen water in gallon jugs and 2L bottles can also be used for some of these tasks. Although their pound for pound performance may trail behind something like a Cooler Shock Ice Pack, they are an economical option. I would lean more toward using 2L bottles are they are generally more rugged than gallon jugs.