Bling Bling Sucka! Building My Keggle

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.

keg

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

  1. 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.
  2. 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.
  3. 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.
  4. Give your back a break, have a beer and stare at your keg imagining seeing your beautiful reflection.
  5. 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.
  6. 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.
  7. 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.
  8. Take a break, drink a beer and look at your ugly mug in your almost mirror like keg.
  9. 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.
  10. Wipe it down with mineral spirits and inspect.  Re-hit any areas that need some additional polishing.  Then…you are done!
  11. Take a break, have a beer and bask in all your glory as an owner of a beautiful, shiny, bling keg.
  12. 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.

Cheers!

About Hermen

Good Beer For All! Now is the time to kick the light fizzy stuff to the curb and embrace craft beer. A transplant to the Rocky Mountains (from Michigan aka the high five of america) and loving every moment....and the beer. I'm a HopHead but like to dabble in a little bit of everything. So let's drink and tell.

Favorite Beers: Founders Centennial IPA, Odell IPA and Myrcenary DIPA, Bell's Two Hearted Ale, Great Lakes Edmund Fitzgerald, Founders Breakfast Stout and of course my homebrews.
Favorite Style: IPA

Find me on Untappd.com

Comments

  1. George Daher says:

    so I followed your instructions, after the fine pad it left a lot of swirls on my keg so I put the polishing pad on my angle grinder and the minute I touch the keg they shred apart; the pads that is. I too am using the gator grip quick change pad and the gator polishing pad. Did you encounter this problem?

  2. Hermen Diaz says:

    Hey George,
    Glad you are polishing up your keggle! I know it is a painstaking process but trust me it will be worth it. I did go through a lot of polishing pads but did not have them shred apart as soon as I touched the keg. There are a couple of things to consider with the polishing pad.
    1. Pressure. I started with very heavy pressure and then realized that I just needed to back off a little even though I knew it meant it would take me longer. Gentle pressure with plenty of polish really helped with ensuring the pad lasted longer.
    2. Using both sides. I used both sides of the polishing pad. This ensured I got my moneys worth from the things. So, when one side gets real bad and frayed…flip and repeat.

    I hope this helps. Again, it is a time consuming process but worth it…at least to most. Let me know if you have any other questions.

    Cheers!

    Hermen

  3. George Daher says:

    Thanks for your reply Hermen, I really appreciate it. So I used the fine pads first and was able to use two twin packs of gator grit find to do three of my keggles but they are shiny but swirl marks all over them. So is that how they are supposed to look at this point? Also on the 2nd pad I applied little to n pressure with polishing pad and it shredded as well. I bought six twin packs of polishing pads from https://www.farmandfleet.com/ they are on clearance for .88 each. I really want my keggles to look like yours but don’t know what I am doing wrong. Whenn you were done with the fine pad what did yours look like. I can send you email pics of mine if you want email me at sgdaher at Hotmail.com and I will reply with pictures. thanks again for your great article and help
    Cheers
    GDaher

  4. George Daher says:

    so just made a discovery, when I try to polish near the top seam on the keg the weld is catching and shredding my pads.

  5. Hermen Diaz says:

    Hey George. Thanks for the response! I also bought my pads from the same place. .88 cents each is a steal! I do have some swirl marks in spots on my kegs. This really is just because I got to a point that I was tired and they didn’t bother me too much. One day I will bust out the angle grinder again to address these small areas. One thing I guess I should have asked is what kind of polish are you using? I bought two sticks of porter cable metal compound. I used a medium/light compound and then followed that up with an extra glossy compound. I would use a couple pads for all of the medium/light and then other pads for the extra glossy.

    Glad you found what was shredding your pads. The raised lettering on mine also destroyed my pads more quickly. Happy email if that would be helpful. We have to stick together in our pursuit for shiny keggles! ha. Let me know.

    Cheers!
    Hermen

  6. George Daher says:

    Hermen, thanks again for the reply. I found that my angle grinder was just too fast for these polishing pads so I am using my craftsman sander polisher with the pads and they stay together much better. I also bought a arbor extender so I could put a sisl wheel on it. makes polishing a breeze. I need to find the porter cable compound I am using some stuff I found at harbor freight not as good but my boil kettle looks awesome now. Still have my mash tun and hot liquor tank to shine now. I did not understand your cryptic email though
    thanks again

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