Tuesday, July 27, 2010

Cleaning the Soda Fountain

In yesterday's post you could tell that this old dispenser was in need of some TLC.  To get it ready for my hand crafted concoctions I need it to be up to the task and as we all know sanitation is the utmost importance.  In a machine like this it means disassembly and attention to detail.  So here is my Day Two with the soda fountain.

First you will notice that these taps are a bit different from the ones brewers usually see.  The screw on the right side of each tap is an adjustment, it increases a gap inside.    

Pardon the picture, it shows some residue from the NeverDull that I hadn't wiped off yet.  That is good stuff for cleaning chrome surfaces.

Breaking down the tap we see a spring.  This is nice because it puts the tap back into the closed posistion when you let go of the handle.  Several times I have cause a little mess when cleaning lines due to leaving a tap partly open.  That shouldn't be a worry with this unit.

The spring is held in place by the cups and the screw clamps it all into the valve.

On the left side you see the adjustment screw.  The right tap has it comepletely removed.

There are two types of plastic grommets.  The white ones are used for the final short line between the metal fitting on the coils from the ice water tank and the back side of the taps.

The red grommet is slightly larger and goes on the liquid out side of the keg.

Notice how that nasty soda had stained the plastic over the years.  I had never heard of Teem soda until seeing this fountain.  There are removable badges like this on the customer facing side of the unit to show what is being served.

From this top down shot you can see the coils in the ice water tank.  It looks like there are more than 12 feet of tube for each tap.

I filled the tank with water and about 1/2 cup of bleach and let it sit for a few hours.  That took care of most cleaning, I still had to scrub the top edges due to the overflow port.  Obviously the overflow port keeps you from filling all the way to the top.

After all the cleaning was done it was time to get the system back together.  Here you can see I've replaced the short lines with new tubes (thanks to the guys at Rebel Brewer).  Doesn't that front look nice now.  ;)

I'll say at this point that the Cornelius company made this gear very easy to take apart.  It looks like I could have just removed a couple more screws and been able to take the coils out of the tank.  Every surface seems to drain in a logical way.  Notice the tube in the lower left - that will drain the water tank.  Anything that leaks in the area shown here will drain through the short pipe poking out from the middle behind the taps in this picture.  When it's all together that pipe is poking through the drip tray.  So the drip tray is really draining any area you can expect liquids to be.

Next I fliped the taps up and remounted them.  Only two screws and presto.  The dispenser is ready to fill with water and connect the lines to my kegs!

Notice that shiny surface now.

Sunday, July 25, 2010

Soda Fountain

It must be good Karma to share your homebrew!

Yesterday an acquaintance called me up.  He had inherited these soda fountains from his parent's skating rink.  He just wanted someone to use them and remembered sharing a beer after work one day.  Apparently they are pre-1985 Cornelius brand soda fountains and even came with a few kegs that still had pressure in them.

After doing a little research I found that other people have used these "pre-mix" machines for serving beer.  The more modern "post-mix" machines blend carbonated water at the tap with syrup from a box.  The syrup in a box is popular now and that's why we find so many used kegs!  The post-mix machines do not lend well for serving beer.  So here is my Pre-Mix Bonanza Beer Cooler experiment.

Rick is an appliance repairman so he showed me how simple these machines break down.  Noting that the cover grill has to face the correct way for the fan to push air correctly.  It looks like the fridge unit can be installed either way by just moving it's plug from one side to the other.

I'll be replacing these little hoses between the cooling lines and taps. 

This part is filled with water.  Each tap has it's own tube that you see running up and down through the ice water.  That is the only thing between the kegs and taps.  Pre-mix units are cool like that.

The first thing I did was fill the tank with water and bleach.  I used a cloth to scrub the upper part because the overflow hole won't allow water to go all the way to the top.

The refrigerator coil shown here sits down in the water and cools it.  There is a paddle which stirs the water.  I believe it's purpose is to keep the tank from freezing up, I'll check the water temp after I get one running.

Fountains and tanks arrive at the Bonnie Brewery.  Soon to serve a more important role!


The Cornelius company - making kegs and equipment for many refreshing beverages!

Sunday, June 27, 2010

Notes on Gravity

Always read the Original Gravity (OG) before pitching the yeast. Measure the Final Gravity (FG) before bottling. After you bottle it the priming sugar will throw off the measurement and beyond that the carbonation would probably make it hard to read in addition to also having changed the density of the beer.

To calculate the approximate alcohol by volume (ABV) of the beer:
OG - FG * 129 = approximate alcohol by volume%
example: 1.045 - 1.015 = .030, .030 * 129 = 3.9%

Hydrometers tend to be manufactured for 60 degrees Fahrenheit (I wish I could find one that was designed to be read at room temperature!). So when reading the OG and FG some adjustment is usually required:

wort is 60F-No adjustment needed
70F-add 1 point
77F-add 2 points
84F-add 3 points
95F-add 5 points
105F-add 7 points

Sunday, June 6, 2010

Fort Collins Retro Red

 My pal Ted brought me a 6-pack of Retro Red the other week for my birthday.  THANKS Ted!

It has a great malty taste and the nose reminds me of a good boil session going on in the kitchen of brews past.  Just the hint of Tettnang hops in there, the Retro Red seems to fit well with the 9D Irish Red Ale guidelines.  Now to find a local retailer!

 Bottoms Up to the Fort Collins Brewery

Monday, January 11, 2010

Bass clone

January 10, 2010


1.5 teaspoons of Burton water salts
.5 lb Muntons Light DME
3.3 lbs Muntons Light LME
1 lb 2 row pale ale malt
1 lb 6 oz. corn sugar
1 lb crystal malt 60L
.75 oz. roasted barley
1 oz. of Northern Brewer hops at 8% alpha acids at the beginning of boil
  15 minutes left:
.25 oz. of the same hops
 1 teaspoon of Irish moss
1/8th teaspoon of yeast nutrients

WLP023 Burton Ale Yeast from White Labs


secondary fermentation:





Another go with Tom's "Better than Fat Tire" kit from Rebel Brewer

January 10, 2010



secondary fermentation:





1 can of Munton's Extra Light Liquid Malt Extract
Light Dry Malt Extract
Victory Malt and two others.
Wyeast 3787 Trappist

Grains steeped in at 155 degrees and cooled for 35 minutes.
Bring to boil and remove grains.
Put in the first hops, about .5 ounces.
Add half of the DME and LME.
Then brought up to a boil and started the timer for 60 minutes.

With 10 minutes left add the next hops, about .75 ounce.

The last hops go in at 3 minutes left, about .75 ounce. These are for flavor.
Turned off the heat and added the last of the malts (Dry and Liquid). Cooled outside on the snowy deck then pitched the yeast the next morning.

Notes:This time we're using the Wyeast instead of White labs.  I wish I had a batch of the other around to compare with this yeast when it's done.