One of our biggest pet peeves at a brew fest is not being able to rinse the glass in between brews. We all know that tasting a stout right after an imperial IPA is not good form without rinsing first and yet it’s such a difficult thing at most tasting events. As a homebrewer at events, you want to put your best foot forward and don’t want the last beer’s flavors to clash with yours, but you never know if the event organizers will provide you with water pitchers and if they do, will it get refilled? I didn’t want to lug big water jugs with me, as those can be costly, take time and effort to maneuver & make a mess. We had been at a brewfest in Maine a few years ago that has glass-rinsing stations fashioned out of half kegs. It was brilliant and I’ve yet to see them at any other brewfest. It was something that I’ve never been able to get out of my head. Being a DIY guy, I wanted to figure out a way to be able to quickly and efficiently rinse glasses, like the brewfest in Maine had done so that my beers can shine.
I had made a foot-pump 5-gallon (19-L) bucket camping sink. It came in handy, but then I bought a camper and the bucket sink was relegated to the corner. It was the inspiration for this glass washer. I converted it into a glass rinser that when you stepped on the pump, it sprayed water into the glass. This worked well, but still was clunky to travel with and you had to pump each time you rinsed a glass. I knew I could do better.
After sitting in a bar that had a built-in glass rinser and actually paying attention to how it was built, I really started thinking about how it worked. I looked at the parts to build one in a home bar online forum. It wasn’t exactly what I was looking for, but it gave me a start and a partial parts list. I was struggling with the “sink” portion — the part where the rinser head and drain would be mounted. While talking through the ideas with my wife, she suggested “a little pan, like restaurants use in steam tables.” Final piece of the puzzle solved! I hopped on the Internet and started searching for one.
Most of the materials are things I already had laying around the garage brewhouse: Hose, keg, keg connectors, etc. The hose was left over from another project. My first thought had been to use CO2 for the pressure. After a little more thought on that, though, I remembered that I still had the foot pump from the bucket sink. Why waste CO2 on a rinser when I could just use the foot pump to pressurize the keg? I chose one of our older kegs that we didn’t want to use for beer anymore, so we wouldn’t tie up one of the “good” kegs with water. After some tinkering with the stand, it all came together with the help of a couple of pressure clamps. It’s a hit every time I use it and the beer-drinkers are happy to have a clean glass!
Material & Tools
5-gallon (19-L) corny keg
6.5-inch (16.5 cm) x 4-inch (10.2-cm) stainless steel steam pan
Sprayer replacement for a coffee bar (We used JZBRAIN brand)
(2) 3⁄8” barb x 1⁄2” NPT female pipe
Drain assembly for a drip tray
Keg connections: Gas & beer lines
Foot pump (We used a marine boat baby foot pump)
6 ft. (1.8 m) of ½” PVC pipe
(4) ½” PVC 90-degree elbows with side outlet
(4) ½” PVC 90-degree elbows
Drill with step drill bit
Hammer & punch