Glass Rinser – A portable cup rinsing station

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
Hose clamps
Keg connections: Gas & beer lines
Foot pump (We used a marine boat baby foot pump)
Plumber’s tape
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
Crescent wrench

1. Prepare The Sink

Place the washer head and drain in the pan and mark for placement. Use a punch to start your hole. Using the step bit, drill the holes in the pan for the washer head and the drain. Be sure to use oil while drilling! You may also need to file the edges of the hole a little to remove any burrs.

2. Secure Spray Head And Drain

Place the washer head into the hole, add the washers, nut and tighten. Place the drain in the hole, add the washers, nut, and tighten. After the nuts are tightened, wrap a little plumber’s tape on each piece. Then add a 3⁄8” barb to each piece.

3. Water Line In & Out

Assemble a piece of tubing for the beer out line. Attach it to the sprayer side using the hose clamps to hold it in place. Cut a second piece of tubing long enough to reach into your waste container, such as a bucket. Build a gas-in line long enough to reach your pump from the top of the keg. Attach it to the pump, use a hose clamp if needed.

4. Build the Stand

To build the stand that will hold the sprayer basin, cut (4) 12” (30 cm) pieces, (2) 5.5” (14 cm) pieces, (4) 6” (15 cm) pieces of PVC pipe. Take (2) 6” (15 cm) pieces, the (2) 5.5” (14 cm) pieces and the (4) 90° elbows with side outlets to make a rectangle to fit the pan. Be sure that the outlets are facing down because that’s where the legs will attach. Each leg consists of (1) 6” (15 cm) piece and (2) 12” (30 cm) pieces with (2) 90° elbows to make a “U”. You should have enough material to make (2) “U”s (4a). Attach the U-shapes to the square top piece by inserting the tops of the pipes into the empty outlets on the rectangle. (4b and 4c). Putting the legs on the 6” (15 cm) side of the rectangle gives a better fit to the top of the keg.

5. Putting It All Together

Assembly time! Fill your keg with water. Set the stand on top of the keg. We use a couple of clamps to help hold it to the keg. Place the pan through the top portion of the stand. Connect beer line side to the keg. Be sure to put the drain tube into your waste container. Remember, this project is to help you not make a mess while rinsing! Connect the gas-in line from the pump to the keg.

6. Check & Use

Once everything is connected, pump it! Check for any leaks while pumping to ensure the keg is being pressurized; make any necessary adjustments. Once you’ve pressurized the keg, gently press a glass down onto the washer head. Presto! A freshly-rinsed glass, ready to be filled with the next brew.

Issue: September 2018