The Big Gasser
The Big Gasser? Sounds like someone I knew in high school. Hmmm...
I travel with my corny kegs a good deal. At least a couple times a summer, I bring kegs to parties. Also, at my home, I keep my freezerator at 40F, which is too cold for stouts and barley wines. I keep them in my fermentation fridge, which is in the high-50's F when I'm not fermenting ales.
Up until this little gadget, I pushed the beer from the kegs with my CO2 Beer Pusher that uses 12g gas bulbs. It takes 3-5 of them to empty a whole keg. The 12g bulbs run from $0.50 to $0.75 or more a piece. That can start getting expensive real fast.
I have started paintballing with my youngest son, and I noticed that the canisters that hold the CO2 used to shoot the "markers" (not guns, markers... gimme a break) came in 9, 12 and 20 oz sizes. I decided to try and adapt these canisters to work with pushing the beer from cornies. At only $2 or less to fill one of the 9 oz tanks, it was worth the effort.
Click on the images for a larger view.
To start off, the canisters have a needle valve in the top. When this is depressed, the gas will flow. Obviously, the same connection that is used to attach the regulator to a normal full-sized CO2 tank wouldn't work.
I noticed that when the paintball canisters were filled, they used something called a Universal Fill Adapter. It screws onto the top of the canister and has a knurled knob at the top that, when spun, depresses the needle valve and dispenses the gas.
Here's a close-up of the business end of this system.
I got all of the paintball stuff from www.paintballgear.com . I'm sure you can get it at any paintball retailer. The items needed are:
The Fill Adapter has a 1/8" threaded hole in the side. Tape up one end of the 2" fitting, and screw it in. Tape up the other end, then connect it to the 1/8 x 1/4 fitting. Finally, tape up the 1/4" end of the fitting and screw it into the regulator.
Your regulator should come with a back-flow preventer on the "out" side. If it doesn't, make sure you get one. You can easily wreck your regulator if liquid were to enter the casing. If the liquid were to make it to the canister itself, the results could be disastrous. Just like with your regular corny keg set-up, be careful.
If I've done my math right, since it takes approximately 50 grams of CO2 (between 36 and 60 in my experience) to push one keg, and since 9 ounces is approximately 252 grams, you could push 5 full kegs with a single $2 fill of the canister. Not bad!
You could easily have a small manifold or "T" splitter added to the gas line, and run a couple of kegs at the same time.
I did have one problem with this project. The regulator I bought seemed to have the fittings welded to the body. No matter what I tried, I could not budge them off.
I called the shop that sold it to me, and he said that the manufacturer said it used left-handed threads. Bull. Some idiot at the manufacturer had simply WAY over-tightened the fittings. I took it to a specialty shop and, with the promise of some homebrew, got them removed.
If possible, get a regulator that either has the fittings already removed, or one that has been taped. This will help a lot with adapting your gasser.
I plan on putting together a little cage to hang off the side of the corny to hold the Big Gasser. It has worked fine so far by nestling it on the foam in my keg cooler.
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