How to Convert a Kegerator to Dispense Home Brew from Corny Kegs

Working at Keg & Barrel Homebrew Supply, I have many people inquire about the next step in home brew bottling…Kegging.  Fed up with the constant sanitizing, bottling, capping, and waiting the two-three weeks it takes to “bottle-condition” (aka carbonate), many homebrewers turn to Kegging their beer.

And why wouldn’t we?  You have exactly one container to clean and sanitize instead of scores, one lid to put on, only a few hours, instead of weeks, before you can enjoy a carbonated beer (more on that in another column), and possibly the most bad-ass aspect… home brew on tap in your bar.  (When liquor is the center of attention instead of the TV, it’s no longer a Family Room)

Kegging is great, but a traditional Kegerator comes with the type of coupler to tap a standard, domestic, “D” style keg.  How can you convert your system to accommodate your new “Corny Keg” system?  Well, quite easily, and cheaply, in fact. Here’s what you’ll need

Pliers

Scissors

Flat head screwdriver

2x swivel set (either two 3/16″ inch, or one 3/16″ & one 5/16″)

2x tail piece to Male thread adapters

Yep! If you already own a Corny Keg and the taps that fit on the posts, this is literally all you need to convert your kegging system into a dual purpose server. Mind you, you’ll need the Corny taps( whether your keg is pin-lock or ball-lock) that have a MPT (male pipe threaded) tip, not a barbed tip, so make sure you ask for that at your Homebrew Store.

Your Kegerator “coupler” probably looks similar to this. The air line comes in from the side, and the beer is dispensed from the top. The lines on this one are clamped with screw clamps. Even if yours has crimp clamps, no worries. You won’t have to pry them with pliers.

Simply take your scissors and cut the lines near the coupler. Before cutting your air supply line, make sure your regulator is shut off, and the CO2 tank is closed. If you have screw clamps, remove them and save for later.

Now, unscrew the two nuts holding the old tail pieces to the coupler. Under the beer supply at the top, you’ll find a rubber gasket, and under the air supply, you’ll find a check valve. Keep both of those, as well as the nuts. The tubing and the old tail pieces you can either throw out, or slice off the tubing and save for spare parts. You won’t need them anymore for this tutorial.

You’ll now have two open tubes going to your CO2 tank, and your tower and faucet. Insert the swivel set through it’s corresponding nut and into the tubing. Remember to slide the screw clamp over the tubing first so that you can tighten it onto the barb once inserted into the tubing.

Make sure you leave a little space between the tubing and the nut on the swivel set. This is what allows you to be able to tighten the nut without twisting the hose. It’s called “swivel” for a reason.

With those secured in place, simply screw them tight to the taps on your Corny keg and you’re ready to dispense your favorite beverage.

Replace the check valve and gasket on the coupler, and attach the new MPT tailpieces to the coupler. You’re now ready to switch back to the old, traditional coupler when you run out of home brew and want to drink a Miller Lite.

Simply unscrew the air and beer lines from the Corny taps and attach them to the “D” coupler. Tap your favorite brew!

UPDATE!!!  Here's another way to do it, if your homebrew store carries the parts.  You can get tailpieces that fit onto "D" sanke couplers that are Cornelius/homebrew keg posts.

UPDATE!!! Here’s another way to do it, if your home brew store carries the parts. You can get tailpieces that fit onto “D” Sanke couplers that are Cornelius/home brew keg posts.

once screwed on, you'd be able to simply leave your corny disconnects permanently attached to the beer and CO2 lines, and either connect them to a corny keg system, or right onto a regular keg coupler.

Once screwed on, you’d be able to simply leave your corny disconnects permanently attached to the beer and CO2 lines, and either connect them to a corny keg system, or right onto a regular keg coupler.

these posts cost around 40 bucks a set, not including the disconnects seen in this picture, but they save you from having to find a wrench when you want to convert back and forth, and save you a bunch of time as well.  The only advice I can give here is this:  I would still reccoment that you have threaded swivel sets on the beer  line, instead of a barb and clamp.  That way, when in come times to clean out the beer lines, you can simply unscrew the disconnect from the swivel set and run BLC through the lines.

these posts cost around 40 bucks a set, not including the disconnects seen in this picture, but they save you from having to find a wrench when you want to convert back and forth, and save you a bunch of time as well. The only advice I can give here is this: I would still recommend that you have threaded swivel sets on the beer line, instead of a barb and clamp. That way, when in come times to clean out the beer lines, you can simply unscrew the disconnect from the swivel set and run BLC through the lines.

THIS POST HAS BEEN, BY FAR, THE MOST READ POST ON MY BLOG.  PLEASE LEAVE A COMMENT TO LET ME KNOW IF MY ADVICE WORKED FOR YOU, AND IF IT WAS HELPFUL.  THANKS AND CHEERS!

10 Responses to “How to Convert a Kegerator to Dispense Home Brew from Corny Kegs”

  1. Great information and very informative series of pictures!

    Shortly after you made this post, I invented The Kegging Part. It is the easiest way to convert any keg coupler thread to a ball lock connection. While a little more expensive than your method, having quick connection ability is great.

    You can read an article I wrote about homebrew in commercial kegs here: http://www.thekeggingpart.com/index.php?route=information/information&information_id=7

  2. Yo man how do I get the parts for this?

  3. Great write up on the subject of home brew kegerator conversion. I just built my own out of an old fridge and a conversion kit. I’ve been dabbling with some home brewing and was wondering I would be able to use my own kegerator and this answered my question. Thanks for the info. Keep up the good work!

  4. Hey I am so delighted I found your web site, I really found you by error, while I was searching on Google for something else, Anyhow I am here now and would just like to say cheers for a
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  5. Terry O'Shea Says:

    Where can I buy the 2x swivel sets and the 2x tail piece to male thread adapters?

  6. Dan Mitchell Says:

    I’m renting a place on the outer banks, and want to bring my homebrew in corny kegs and dispense it from the house’s Sanke keg system. Since I don’t own the place, I don’t want to make a permanent modification to the house keg system. I don’t mind doing a little work, it just has to be reversible. Will this work? Does the beer flow from my Corny keg through the Sanke coupler and then out to the tap?

    • okay Dan, in your situation, this is pretty simple. If you have a corny keg with barbed couplers, all you should have to do is cut the lines from the sanke coupler in the kegerator and connect and clamp them to your corny keg. when you leave, just plug them back onto the sanke coupler and re-clamp. Only issue I can see is that that the lines are connected to the D coupler with crimp clamps, not worm clamps, which is a pain in the ass to get off, but persistence pays off! In the end, the kegerator will be just as good as new, but will be missing about an inch of air and beer line on each tube.

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