I love DIY projects, and I’ve really been wanting to make some tap handles for my kegerator. I was considering making some ones out of wood, or possibly buying some of the beautiful wooden, hand-turned handles, but I couldn’t really justify the price. Recently while cruising the web, I saw someone make tap handles from used White Labs yeast vials. Brilliant! So I stole the idea, and took some pictures of the process.
Most home brewers shouldn’t have any problem acquiring a used White Labs yeast vial. The tricky part though, is removing the label. They use some sort of industrial strength adhesive to hold that bad boy on, lord knows why. I’ve found the best method to remove the labels is steam + WD40. First heat up a tea kettle or a pot on the stove with water. Once the water is boiling and pumping out steam, (carefully) hold the vial over the steam until you can slowly peal the label off. You’ll need to peel a little bit, then steam, then peel some more, then steam some more, but the label should come off as well as most of the adhesive. Now use WD40 or Goo-Gone to wipe off the remaining adhesive until it’s shiny. Then just clean with soap and water.
Now we need to turn it into a tap handle. Most home brew shops carry these little brass tap handle adapters. They can be threaded or glued into about anything to make a tap handle. So either cut or drill a hole in the cap of the vial so that the first step of the brass fitting fits. It should fit like the picture below. Then use a two-part epoxy, and apply a very small amount where the brass and plastic meet on the inside. Don’t smear so much epoxy in there that you can’t screw the lid back on; you only need a few drops.
Once the epoxy dries (consult the instructions for curing time), fill the vial with whatever you like, screw the cap on, and you’re done! All in all, a very easy project that looks pretty cool. The two I made are filled with 2-row and whole hops, but I’m going to make another with layers of different specialty grains.