Industrial-style Pedestal Tower: Building a tap tower with black pipe

Photos by JS Bull

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My beer brewing started in 2002 with a Mr. Beer kit. While the Mr. Beer plastic bottles were handy, they weren’t glamorous. So, I added some bottling equipment and bottled a few batches in glass bottles. Unfortunately, the collecting of bottles, multi-step cleaning, and two-week wait for bottles to carbonate were more than I wanted to deal with. I began researching home draft systems. I decided the convenience was worth the investment and bought a nice stainless mini fridge that would fit two corny kegs. I drilled a hole in the top and installed a two-tap tower.

Fast forward about 15 years to 2016. I had slowed my brewing to about twice a year, mostly based on my lack of ability to drink five gallons (19 L) of beer a month by myself. Then I read about the PicoBrew Zymatic®. Fully automated all-grain brewing of 2.5 gallons (9.5 L) at a time. I could get creative again without risking the time and money of brewing five gallons (19 L) of bad beer. This got me into kettle sours, mixed fermentation, oak-aged beers, Brett-only fermentation, and unique styles that I hadn’t tried to brew previously. This sparked a renewed love of brewing and I quickly upgraded to a 20-gallon (76-L) Spike Brewing System. Before I knew it, I was brewing 15 gallons (57 L) every few weekends, splitting the batches into multiple experiments and variations. That old trusty dual tap kegerator just wasn’t cutting it with my new brewing schedule, so I had to go back to bottling. Even with new technology like my Last Straw® Bottle Filler, I still disliked every minute of it. I started looking again at draft ideas and came across the keezer concept. A keezer is a kegerator built out of a chest freezer with an external thermostat to control the temperature.

That old trusty dual tap kegerator just wasn’t cutting it with my new brewing schedule, so I had to go back to bottling.

A quick Google image search will return a massive variety of keezer styles. Those with collars, those with tile towers, those built into bars or walls, and many other varieties. After a bit of planning, I sketched out my concept: A keezer that would hold six 5-gallon (19-L) corny kegs and a 5-lb. (2.3-kg) CO2 tank. The beer lines would go through the top, into both legs of a 3 in. (7.6 cm) black pipe pass-through tap tower that would support six taps. The only minor problem was that I had never done a single wood or metalworking project in my life. Despite this, my lovely wife gave me the thumbs-up. The following is a tutorial of my tower build and some advice to make it easy for you to replicate.

Tools & Materials

  • 24 in. (61 cm) of 3-in. (7.6-cm) diameter schedule 40 black pipe (MNPT x MNPT)
  • (2) 12 in. (30 cm) of 3-in. (7.6-cm) black pipe (MNPT x MNPT)
  • (2) 3-in. (7.6-cm) black pipe elbows (FNPT x FNPT)
  • (2) 3-in. (7.6-cm) black pipe flanges (FNPT)
  • (8) 3⁄4-in. x 3-in. hex bolts, nuts, and washers
  • Custom-rolled sheet metal
  • 6-ft. (1.8 m) of 1-in. diameter rubber pipe insulation
  • (6) faucets and appropriate draft hardware and beer lines
  • (4) mounting bolts (cover plate)
  • (2) 1⁄4-in. x 1⁄2-in. thumb screws
  • Rope loop and short wood screws
  • 5⁄16-in. turnbuckle with eye
  • 5⁄16-in. zinc threaded rod, cut to size (mine is 24 in./61 cm long).
  • Grinder to cut the black pipe
  • Drill and tap kit
  • 2 1⁄2–3 in. (6.4–7.6 cm) hole saw
  • 1-in. drill bit for the faucets
  • Angle grinder
  • Drill with 7⁄8-in. drill bit