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DIY Tap Handles

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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.

DSC_4687.jpgMost 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.
DSC_4693.jpgNow 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.

DSC_4701.jpgOnce 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.

12 thoughts on “DIY Tap Handles”
  1. Olan 02.01.2012 on 8:54 PM Reply

    It took me about five seconds to figure out what those handles were made of… how completely freaking awesome! Props to you, man.

  2. Scott 02.01.2012 on 9:39 PM Reply

    Thanks!

  3. Wes 06.05.2012 on 4:17 PM Reply

    Very cool! Great use of all those White Lab's tubes, I was wondering what I should do with them!

  4. Scott 06.05.2012 on 4:36 PM Reply

    Thanks. One little tip I forgot in the post: Remove the little clear/white plastic thing from inside the cap before you glue the insert in. I don't really know how to describe it, but you'll see what I'm talking about.

  5. Jason Borgmann 05.15.2013 on 7:30 PM Reply

    Are your brass pieces hollow through the center? How do you keep the grains in the handle when you remove it to clean the tap? Do you plug it somehow or do you remove the tap and remove the handle when it's upside down?

  6. Scott 05.15.2013 on 8:56 PM Reply

    A little piece of foam, a dab of hot glue, or just about anything you can think of to seal the top of that hole.

  7. Travis Wilson 02.27.2015 on 5:42 PM Reply

    How do the whole cone hops hold up over time? Do they lose their vibrant color or turn brown or anything like that? Thanks!

  8. Tito Goldstein 04.11.2015 on 12:35 AM Reply

    How did you get the white insert out? It's giving me problems.

  9. JDF 09.10.2015 on 3:48 PM Reply

    I love this. Did the hops stay green in the vile or did they turn brown?

  10. -t0rX 09.15.2015 on 11:58 PM Reply

    these vials are also know as soda bottle preforms… 🙂

  11. -t0rX 09.15.2015 on 11:59 PM Reply

    This comment has been removed by the author.

  12. mjfuson 11.16.2015 on 7:02 PM Reply

    Thanks for the great post, gonna make one of these tonight!

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