Friday, April 20, 2012

Keggle Sight Glass Improved

I created my own homemade keggle sight glass a few years back. Since then it has performed pretty good with the exception of a single flaw. There is a plastic compression washer installed that forms a water tight seal around the ridged plastic tubing that you can see in the pics here.
The original gauge that broke under pressure

Because this area of the sight gauge is heated to sparge water temperatures (170f) and then cooled to room temperatures, the washer gets soft and a small leak (drip) occurs during my brew session. Not enough to be a problem but enough to annoy me. After multiple brew session, I end up over tightening the compression nut to solved the leak and as you can see in the picture, this practice eventually ended up breaking the tubing.

I came up with a solution to this problem while I was in Mexico this year. The fact is, I was trying to come up with an alternative to the ridged plastic tubing since I couldn't locate any in San Miguel. What I could find was the flexible tubing and so improvise a new gauge that could utilize this new material. It turned out to be a much simpler design but I had one big question, would it leak under brewing conditions? That I couldn't answer until I got back to Santa Cruz and tried it out on my brew sculpture.

New gauge assembled
New gauge with copper sleeve
You can see from the image on the right that I'm using the same copper sleeve, (the one I made a video of here) to hold the tubing in place. It slips nicely over the tubing and is held upright with the eye-bolt located above. This new design has a slight change to incorporate flex tubing rather than ridged. The tubing is forced onto a barbed fitting that is connected to the elbow. The elbow is connected to the keggle as before with a compression nut. That's it, simple. So, I did a test run today after installing this new sight glass. I added enough water to the keggle to rise above the gauge and then heated the water to 180f.

Tubing forced onto barbed fitting

It worked great. Water line is still very visible and although the tubing got soft in this high heat, it didn't leak at all and stayed securely in place on the barbed fitting.

If you've followed me in making my original sight glass and you're experiencing the same problem, an easy fix is making the adaptions to yours with a barbed fitting and flexible tubing that fits tightly. during assembly, I heated the tubing I used to soften it enough to make it easier to secure to the barbed fitting as it was very tight.

All of the parts shown are 3/8" including the barbed fitting. If you make one of these, let me know how the results were for you.

All parts are all 3/8" & washer should be semi-hard

 If you have any questions, feel free to email me. I also appreciate all comments. Cheers!


Julius said...
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Riddei said...

What type of tubing did you use? Was it similar to Watts flexible tubing, the type typically used for transfers? I've used that for boiling wort transfer, but it gets very squishy.

mark said...

The tubing I used is the food grade clear plastic tubing like you use for transfers. It doesn't get squishy but you will need the copper sleeve to keep it from bending over from the heated water. Cheers

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