Hello SCB friends, Andrew here, I'm writing about a recent DIY homebrew project to help save you loads of time cleaning kegs and carboys. If you're anything like me, you can relate that cleaning carboys is one of the most tedious and tiresome tasks of home brewing. In fact there have been quite a few times where I've just let dirty carboys sit for weeks at a time then desperately try to clean them before a brew day. I finally got fed up with soaking them for days at a time trying to get them clean.
Fortunately, there is a better way to get these dirty carboys clean. A DIY keg or carboy washer is easy to build and doesn't cost all that much when compared to some commercially avaialble washers.
- 1 - 600 gallon per hour pond pump
- 1 - 2 ft section of 3/4" PVC
- 1 - 2 ft section of 1/2" PVC
- 1 - 3/4" PVC T-Fitting
- 1 - 3/4" to 1/2" threaded PVC elbow
- 1 - 3/4" to 1/2" PVC reducer
- 2 - 3/4" PVC caps
- 1 - Male 1/2" threaded to 3/8" PVC barb
- 1 - 3/8" barbed PVC T fitting
- 2 - 3/8" barbed swivel nuts
- 6 - worm clamps
- 1 - CO2 Keg Disconnect
- 1 - Liquid Keg Disconnect
- 2 - 5-gallon buckets
- 1 - 5-gallon bucket lid
- 7 - feet of 3/8" I.D. vinyl tubing
|Cut From 3/4" PVC|
|Cut From 1/2" PVC|
|Cut From 3/8" I.D. Vinyl Tubing|
This is a pretty easy build. When you are done you will be sitting back, relaxing and drinking a homebrew while power washing your kegs and carboys asking your shelf why you ever cleaned them the hard way! Let's get started!
Buckets & Pump
First, draw a 6" diameter circle in the center of the bucket lid. I used a quart can of paint as a template. Using a utility knife carefully cut out the 6" hole in the center of the lid. This is the base where your carboy sits during cleaning. Next, you will need to cut a small slot on the side of each bucket, near the top. A hacksaw works very well for this, but if you have a Dremel, it would make this step easier.
The slot is to allow the pumps cord to exit the bucket. Now that the buckets have been modified let's take a moment to modify the pump. The pump you buy may be different than the one I purchased, so you may have to alter this step slightly. From the cut list attach part 1A to the pumps output port. You might have to remove a bit of material from the inside of part 1A in order to make it fit on the pump's outlet.
To assemble the sprayer arm attach parts 1B (2) to both sides of the 3/4" cross fitting. Attach the 3/4" caps on the exposed ends of both 1B parts. Attach part 1C to the top of the tee fitting and then attach the 3/4" to 1/2" reducer to part 1C. Lastly, attach part 1D to the 3/4" to 1/2" reducer. I know this sounds confusing, so reference the below diagram. The sprayer arm is now complete.
Here is what the assembled sprayer arm looks like.
Keg Washer Adapter
To build the keg washer attach parts 1B (2) to the top and front of the Tee-Fitting. Next, attach the 3/4" to 1/2" threaded PVC elbow to part 1B on the front of the Tee-Fitting. Thread the male 1/2" threaded to 3/8" PVC barb to the PVC elbow. Attach part 1E to the PVC barb and secure it with a worm clamp. Attach the other end of part 1E to the side barb on the 3/8" barbed PVC T-Fitting and secure it with a worm clamp. Attach parts 1F (2) to the top and bottom of the 3/8" barbed PVC T-Fitting and secure with a worm clamp. Now attach your keg disconnects to the ends of parts 1E and secure with worm clamps. This can also be confusing so please reference the diagram below.
Now that the buckets are modified, the sprayer arm is built and the keg washer adapter is assembled, you can finally start washing kegs and carboys. The process is slightly different between the two so continue reading so you can begin washing your dirty carboys and kegs.
Whether you are washing a keg or a carboy you need to mix up a batch of PBW and hot water in one of the buckets.
To wash a carboy:
Attach the sprayer arm to the pump by slipping the bottom opening over the PVC on the pump. Place the pump and sprayer arm in the bucket of PBW solution and put the lid on the bucket. Put your carboy on the bucket with the sprayer arm inserted into the carboy. Plug your pump in and you are on your way to a clean carboy!
To wash a keg:
Attach the sprayer arm to the keg adapter and then connect the adapter to the pump. Place the assembly in the bucket of PBW solution and then place your keg in the bucket with the sprayer arm in the keg. Plug your pump in and you are on your way to a clean keg.
I hope this post has been helpful, now get out there and brew some beer!