If you know me, then you know I have the attention span of a small squirrel and am easily distracted by shiny things. Wait…..what? Sorry, I just saw something shiny.
It was only natural that I bring my attention grabbing obsession to my homebrew setup. Now, I know that at long as it makes beer one should not be concerned with how it looks. But, I say if it makes good beer and can look good while doing it, why not? This is why I decided that polishing my keggles was my next step in my brewery set up. While the polish does not add efficiency points or shorten my brew day…the neighbors are always intrigued when I roll the beasts out.
I first saw polished keggles online via the homebrew talk forum. Bobby M of brewhardware.com is a consistent presence on the forum and did a great job of documenting the process. You can find a great write up and some brew eye candy here on the thread. I followed his process and I ended up with this. Homebrewing is a labor of love…and so is polishing stainless steel. Instruction on the labor part is below.
First, I am in no way a professional at this. Additionally, I cannot be held responsible for any injury or occurrence during this process. Please take time to wear protective clothing, eye wear and a proper respirator. Polish your keg at your own risk.
Building A Keggle
- Find a keg. Cut a 12-12.5 inch hold up top and drill any additional holes you need for your various components such as ball valve, thermometer, return port, etc. You can actually get these things looking like a craft brewery mash tun if you wanted.
- Get the necessary equipment.
- 4.5 inch angle grinder. Either fish your one out of the garage or go pick one up at your local DIY shop. I found a great deal at Harbor Fright on a grinder. It cost me roughly 20 bucks.
- A plastic backing plate. I use 4.5 inch quick change backing pad by Gator Grit.
- A good number of fine grit abrasive pads. I use the ones by Gator Grit.
- A good number of polishing pads. Again, I use the ones by Gator Grit.
- Some polish. I use both a fine polish and a high gloss polish. You can find these at any local hardware store.
- Depending on the state of your keg…which likely has a ridiculous amount of sticker residue, scratches and is in an unappealing state, you will need to decide on the grit to tackle the initial stage of polishing. I have found that Gator Grit Fine Grit pads do plenty to remove the nasties. You will likely want to avoid an heavy or abrasive pads as removing the deep scratches you made will make more work for you. Lightly passing over the keg with the fine girt pad will give you some initial shine. I encourage you to do it lightly, again, because polishing out heavy handed sanding will be difficult and time consuming. You will not have a mirror finish after the first pass, but you are getting there.
- Give your back a break, have a beer and stare at your keg imagining seeing your beautiful reflection.
- After you have gotten the keg down to a solid base in which to polish (likely having worked through 2-6 fine sanding pads) it is time to get polishing.
- Start by getting your polishing pad on your grinder. Apply some polish directly to the pad by spinning the grinder on the polish. Work the pad on the keg in little circles. Take time to inspect your work in between each pass. It is important to note if you need more or less pressure. Taking time to inspect will ensure you end up with a consistently polished keg.
- After you are done with the first passing of the fine polish, wipe down the keg with some mineral spirits. Inspect it again to notice any trouble areas.
- Take a break, drink a beer and look at your ugly mug in your almost mirror like keg.
- Put a new polishing pad on your grinder and apply the high gloss polish. Lightly and gently make your way all around the keg. Do this as long as it takes to get the shine that you so desire. Remember….you can do this. If you are like me, it felt that I wouldn’t be able to stand straight again due to my aching back…but power through.
- Wipe it down with mineral spirits and inspect. Re-hit any areas that need some additional polishing. Then…you are done!
- Take a break, have a beer and bask in all your glory as an owner of a beautiful, shiny, bling keg.
- Have another beer, because you will likely need it after this day long process. As you may have noticed, a minimum of 4 beers are needed for this project because it will take you an entire day (6-8 hours) if not broken into smaller projects.
Install all your additional pieces and you are done! This is not a project for the light hearted but is one that will make you proud every time you brew….while making you look good.
So, like I was saying…..ohhhhhhh shiny thing keg. Sorry, I got distracted.