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How to Refill Tap King with Home Brew

Refill tap king with home brew
The second pour, in the front, is always better than the first.

The moment I saw Lionel Ritchie singing ‘Hello, is it me you’re looking for?’ I said “Yes, Yes, Yes oh great Lionel, that is what I’m looking for, something to put my home brew in.”

So off we went to the bottle-o and purchased two bottles of the James Squire’s Chancer’s Golden Ale and one of the dispensers. Beer heaven. Then I bought two TEDs and two Boag’s because as soon as I’d finished the first one and tore of the lid, I knew I was going to refill Tap King  with home brew.

For a standard home brew of 25 litres you’ll need six of them which will leave you with enough to fill six or so bottles for taking away.

Before you do any brewing you’ll need to get some 12gm CO2 canisters that are used in food preparation. Apparently the paintball cylinders have a lubricant in them and it’s not real good for you. You can get some from food grade ones from Ezychargers.

Of course you’ll need a batch of home brew all ready to go and I suggest you either draught it into another keg to lessen the sediment, or do what I do and pour in some gelatine the day before it’s ready. Also choose a brew, like the Cooper’s Pale Ale that I used, that’s ready to drink two weeks after bottling.

Once you open your Tap King you’ll find that the cunning folk at Lion Nathan knew we’d be wanting to refill Tap King with home brew, so they’ve made it as difficult as they can. To dissemble the dispensing head you’ll need to do one of two things. Either you grind down an Allen key into the shape of a triangle like I did, or you nick into Jaycar or Dick Smith’s and get a multi-tool set for mobile phones etc and buy a set for around $35.

Refill tap king with home brew
Like a true Tap King, the first glass is mainly head.

Once you’ve unscrewed the four screws you’ll notice two springs and two plastic cylinders that are pressed down to empty the beer out of the keg. Keep all the parts you find including the thin faint white washers.

 Once it’s open pull out the CO2 cylinder. You’ll find the metal spear is still stuck in it like a bee sting, so you’ll need to remove and keep it.

Once you’ve done that you’ll have to re-assemble them with your new gas cylinders. CLEAN everything as you would with your normal brewing cleanser and put everything back as it came out. Take care with the spear as it’s probably the trickiest part of the whole deal.

The cylinder is not there to carbonate the keg, it’s there to stop the keg from collapsing in on itself. The beer needs to be primed otherwise it’s going to be a very dull old beer. I used 25 grams of dextrose in each keg and it worked fine.

That’s pretty much it folks. Let the kegs mature and then refrigerate for the required 9 hours.

Refill tap king with home brewDID IT WORK? Well yes, and no. When you watch the video you’ll find that the beer poured forth good and true and merriment abounds. Somewhat later though, about one third through, the beer just came out as foam and the cylinder completely emptied itself.

‘Maybe it was just the one’ we thought, so I grabbed the back up keg and it did it as well. Then we had two really large bottles of home brew to drink. Someone has to make these sacrifices I suppose. *

WOULD I DO IT AGAIN? No. Why? Because the entire process of unscrewing, cleaning, refitting etc takes almost as long as cleaning 30 bottles and filling them. Plus the fact I’m not a heavy beer drinker means that the chance of the beer being wasted is fairly high. I also like to mix my brews up, a lager one day, a dark the next and then maybe a draught. You can’t do this with a Tap King, or indeed any home kegging system.

IN CONCLUSION. If you’re up for a challenge, like the technology involved and want to give it to the man, go for it. If all fails, at least you’ll still have beer.

 

* A few helpful brewers have noted that by rubbing some olive oil around the o-ring at the top of the gas cylinder stops it from fully discharging. I’m yet to try it but I can’t see why it wouldn’t. Thanks for that input folks.

Category: Drink

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9 comments

  1. How did you insert the metal spear into the gold top when re-assembling the unit i.e. from top or bottom.

  2. I used the 8g soda bulb and put 5 5cent coins under the bulb to space it out. I still have to wait for two week to use but I will get back if it is good.

  3. G’day. Great vid. I’ve been doing this for awhile & found my CO2 bulbs from the paintball shop. I read you need to lubricate the large o-ring with some olive oil to ensure a good seal, otherwise it does all leak straight out sometimes. I always second ferment in the tap-king bottle as this ensures the beer is carbonated. I use the CO2 bulb really for dispensing & to ensure the bottle doesn’t collapse on itself (as you have mentioned). Once the CO2 bulb has fully discharged, the beer is still very consumable by pouring it out of the bottle – same as what you would do with a growler. If you’re going to drink all of the beer at once – there is no issue either way. Even if you didn’t use a new CO2 bulb, using the bottle as a growler to take to a party & pour the contents out – still works just fine!

  4. Hey Mark,
    Handy write up here, got another quick question..
    If i already carbonate via keg and then move into a tap king unit for transportation, i will still need to use a CO2 cylinder wont i?
    Im guessing it would work for a bit while it uses up the pressure stored from the pre carbonated beer, but then it would be difficult to get a good pour and could take a while?
    Cheers
    James

    1. Hi James,

      The purpose of the cylinder is to help keep the bottle inflated, it doesn’t actually carbonate the beer. I reckon you’d be okay though as long as that time between re-filling the Tap King and emptying is only short AND you plan on drinking it all in one go. Once it slows down just undo the top and pour it out, that’s what I’ve had to do with the ones that lost all their gas.

  5. Hello Beer lovers! Matt here from Tap King Hacked!

    Great Job Guys! I seems the potential of the Tap King unit was evident to you guys as well. Love it!

    We have 2 EXTERNAL CO2 Hacks for your Tap King unit so you can Cold Crash your Home Brew and Force carbonate WITHOUT PRIMING! 😀

    Please come and visit us at

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    for all the details including our full video instructional series, Tap King Esky so you can take your tap King anywhere and more!

    Cheers Kings! and keep brewing 😀

    King Matt

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Article by: Mark Logan

Former photojournalist at the CWD, Mark Logan has mixed together his love of technology with his years of experience as a journalist and photographer to develop the Orange Post. The Orange Post is his baby. A baby whose gestation involved countless ideas, numerous bouts of indecision, an infinite number of hours cursing free software and more than one bottle of wine. Whilst he's not trying to cajole people into writing for the Orange Post, he's attempting to sharpen his vegetable gardening skills. He lives in a strangely shaped house in Millthorpe, loves ignoring recipe directions, dabbles in web design for fun, frustration and profit and is constantly in a battle of the wills with his dog Fergus