Monthly Archives: July 2010

Converting A B/M/C Home Draft System

Well, after catching sight of a BIG bottle of Miller (6 liters actually, 1.5 gallons) at the local grocery, I immediately thought of the homebrew version, which is “tap a draft” (TAD).  I have been eyeballing TAD for a while as I know I will not lay down the fixed cost and space of korny kegs anytime soon.  I’ve used them before, before I went into semi-homebrew retirement and don’t see myself kegging in the next few years.

So, back to the story.

I went online to check some regular homebrew forums to see if anyone had tried using these things, or reusing these things for their homebrew.  I didn’t see much out there, and what little was being referenced had so little information.  I couldn’t tell if they could be re-used or not.

Well, I just had to try.  $20 later I was a proud owner of 1.5 gallons of Miller Light…and oh let me tell you.  I tasted it.

Ok, to use the ML home draft system, you simply pull a safety tab above the CO2 cartridge holder, twist it to puncture the cartridge, push down the ‘drunk proof’ safety latch and that lets you then pull down the tap.  Open it fully to prevent a glass of foam, and you have draft ML.

Tastes as dry and bland as I remember.  It is so lifeless and dry I get a ‘burn’ on my tongue from the carbonation.

Alright, thats not what this story is about.

I dumped the ML out in my sink as I don’t know the neighbors well, and they are likely not worthy of free beer..ha ha.  Seriously, I was starting a project and I had no time to round up a bunch of BMC drinkers, so I dumped.

After getting rid of the godforesaken “light American lager” I unscrewed the CO2 cartridge holder with a pair of pliers, breaking the plastic stops designed to prevent the drunk BMC drinker from doing this when there is still a half full CO2 cartridge.  No problem here though.  The first hurdle was made, as I was concerned this piece would not survive the pliers, but it easily did.  The cartridge holder will screw back into the tap handle.

Next it was ordering some 16Co2 cartridges online.  One of the pieces of information I did gather online was that these cartridges would work for my “cheap ass tap a draft” (CATAD) system.

I now plunked down another $13 for 10 16g cartridges from Midwest Supplies.  I also picked up 4, 38mm caps, as these are what go over the 6L, 3L and gallon jugs.  I would need these caps to condition my homebrew if this experiment worked.

Well, the cartridges made it in under 1 week.

Filling up the 6L bottle almost full with water for the test run, and success!!

Not only did the slightly smaller necked CO2 cartridge work, it didn’t leak and I had success pressing up the bottle.  I did get a slight leak it seemed from the over pressure port while filling, but it seems I still have CO2 pressure to fill the bottle.

Pictures below.  This project takes no talent, no brains, and about $33.  If you have access to any BMC drinkers who buy this thing, then you are home free!  I am now going to scrounge around and see if I can get some ‘used’ 6L bottles from the BMC crowd.  I’m sure they are plentiful, and will be cheap!

Update:  Having an issue with the CO2 leaking out of the relief valve when I first insert the CO2 cartridge.

Relief Valve I’m having some issues with…

First Brewday- Pale Ale

Off to a new start, first brew day in about 3 years.

Went over well, mashed in my grains and hit within 0.5F of my 152F target.  The temp did drop 5F over the hour though, I’ll have to work on that a bit.  Also I ended up with a 1.060 gravity and had expected 1.045!  I am not sure of my final volume, and I can see now why that is fairly important in all grain brewing.  Using 4.75 lbs of grain, and shooting for 2.5 gallons, I may have ended up with just 2 gallons, hence the higher reading?  Also, I cannot calculate my efficiency now since I don’t know that final volume.  I will fix that on my next batch.

1/2 ounce of Cascades

Ended at 147.2F...too low

Ready to boil the Pale Ale

Post boil - OG gravity reading

Yeast Pitched-ready to ferment