Home > Brew gear > Five Years of Funk

Five Years of Funk

After 5 years of use and despite many cleanings with Beer Line Cleaner, I finally decided that it was time to overhaul the kegerator and replace all the liquid lines. It’s not that I noticed off flavors in the beers, or that some other problem necessitated the deep cleaning… but it was definitely time.

I wish I could say that the process was easy and painless, and took me just 30 minutes to complete… alas that is not the case. It was a frustrating four hours of effort, and taxed me mentally and physically significantly more than I would have guessed. About half way through I realized that not only was it alot more effort than I had anticipated, but I lacked some pretty necessary tools to get the job done as well.

The trials began when I pulled out the faucet wrench to remove the ventmatic faucets… one of the three was so thoroughly stuck on there with hardened beer that I couldn’t actually get it loose. After trying for about 5 minutes and taking chunks out of my knuckles, I finally decided I’d wait until I got the whole faucet out, soak it, and I’d take it to the garage where I could get some more leverage.

Disassembling the faucet tower was not an easy task – I lacked a wrench that long and skinny enough to really get inside the narrow 3″ tower and loosen the nuts that hold the shanks in. After running all over the house and getting everything from channel locks to needle nose pliers, I finally found a couple of tools that gave me just enough grip to work them loose… after boogering up the relatively soft brass nuts pretty good in the process. Once the faucets were out, I realized the oetiker clamps holding the tubing on were not going to be salvageable after I disconnected them… I would have to try to use regular tubing clamps since I don’t have the oetiker ones or the crimping tool. A little prying with a screwdriver later (and after nearly impaling my palm a couple times), The tubing fell loose and I disassembled the faucets & shanks the rest of the way.

I completely scrubbed and bleached the inside of the kegerator. I disassembled all of the beverage quick disconnects and soaked them in PBW. The shanks and faucets also got a good soaking in PBW. The old lines and their funkiness went straight into the garbage. And after about 2 1/2 hours of work, it was time to put everything back together.

Long story short, the hardest part of the reassembly was connecting the shanks to the tubing, securing the lines with a clamp, and not losing the nut and plastic piece it sits against down the inside of the tower while you’re tightening… Times three. I had to re-do the first faucet several times because I realized a little too late that the standard tubing clamps do not fit through the brass nut openings – You actually have to slide everything on the tubing ahead of time to get it to work (Note to self: Get oetiker clamps and crimper for next time). Each successive shank that went in was a little easier due to the prior experience and the installed ones also kept pieces from sliding down inside the tower quite as easily, but it was also harder because there was less room to maneuver around. By the time everything was back together, I was in a full sweat.

Everything is back in and working well now – I noticed it might be time to replace the CO2 lines also, but I’ll wait a few months before tackling that significantly less difficult job. And before I take this on again, I will definitely try to track down a wrench for removing the shanks – what I have was not optimal, for certain.

Now on tap: Top Notch Hefeweizen, Sumbra Pale Ale, and Nasty Habit Abbey 1.5.

Categories: Brew gear
  1. April 19, 2010 at 10:54 am

    So how much to hire your services, sounds like a pain in the balls!

    Sounds like some good beers on tap too, nice!

  2. brewznet
    April 19, 2010 at 2:10 pm

    I’d gladly help out when it comes time for you to do yours, man… by that time I might even have the tower nut wrench, oetiker clamps & crimper, and other stuff that will help it be a little easier…. I think a big part of my pain was just inexperience and no one to show me how.

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