From any homebrew store or
8+ feet of thick-walled beer tubing
6" inner ×
outer diameter; about 50¢/foot
Barbed ball-lock coupler aka disconnect This fits
the 5-gallon ball-lock soda kegs used by home
brewers, or you can substitute different hardware
to fit standard “D” system commercial kegs. $5
Picnic faucet $4
Mini-keg tap hand pump Mini-keg taps are as cheap
as $15; I had a Philtap, which uses CO2 cartridges
and costs about $60 from
Draft coil I used a 50' coil of
2" stainless steel,
available for $75 from
morebeer.com (item #H680)
From a hardware store:
¼" × 2" brass pipe nipples ( 2) About $1 each
¼" × ¼" barbed hose adapter fittings, hose barb to
pipe thread ( 5) About $1 each
Hose clamps To fit the
8" OD beer tubing ( 10)
¼" air compressor hose couplers ( 2) and plugs ( 3)
I bought two Husky brand coupler and plug sets
for about $5 each
Drill and drill bits
Hot water From kettle
Keg of beer With CO2 dispensing system
(or 5-liter mini-keg)
5. Next, cut about 4" of the tubing and attach
one end to the inside barbed end of the beer-out
fitting. Take off one of the compressor couplings,
then screw in another barbed fitting and attach it
to the other end of the 4" tubing.
6. For the beer-in line, attach a section of tubing
(I used about 3') to the beer-in barbed fitting on
the outside of the cooler. On the other end of the
tubing, attach the coupler for your keg.
7. Cut 2 pieces of beer tubing, about 8" each. Use
hose clamps to attach one piece to each end of
the draft coil, and insert barbed fittings into the
other ends, also securing them with hose clamps.
Screw a compressor coupling onto the fitting at
one end of the coil (the beer-in) and screw a male
compressor plug into the other end (beer-out).
8. The system is now ready to be used in jockey-box mode. Put the coil into the cooler, and hook
up the keg and CO2. Attach the coil’s coupling
to the plug on the beer-in side, and attach the
beer-out coupling to the plug on the other end of
Fill the cooler with ice, and enjoy your cold draft
beer. But remember: You’re dealing with pressurized
gases and liquids, so exercise due caution.
To convert it into a mini-keg dispenser, remove
the picnic faucet from the end of the mini-keg
tap. In its place, attach about 6" of beer tubing.
Connect a barbed fitting on the other end, screw
on a compressor plug, and secure both ends with
Now, all you have to do is uncouple and lift out
the coil, tap the mini-keg, put it in the cooler, and
plug the coupling into the beer-out port. Cover
the keg with ice, and enjoy another cold one.
to 1 part hydrogen peroxide for 15 minutes.
2. Drill 2 holes in the side of the cooler, about
6" apart, below the level of the inside of the lid.
2" bit, move the drill around to make the
holes big enough to snugly accommodate the
3. Stick the nipples through the 2 holes, using a
rubber mallet if necessary. Designate one nipple
as the beer-in port for jockey-box mode, and the
other as the beer-out. Attach a barbed fitting
to the beer-in nipple on the outside and a male
compressor plug on the inside. Attach barbed
fittings to the beer-out on both sides.
Now it’s time for fun with beer tubing. Before
each connection, soak the end of the tubing in
hot water from your kettle to make it more pliable
and easy to get on the barbed fitting. After it’s on,
secure each connection with a hose clamp.
4. First, make your dispenser by cutting about 18"
of tubing, attaching one end to the barbed fitting Carlo Longino is the publisher of
on the beer-out side, and attaching the other end executive editor of
TheFeature.com. He can be found in
to the picnic faucet. Austin, barbecuing in the dark with a miner’s headlamp.