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That is just superb.
Brilliant! Will you be making the specs and code available for those of us less-skilled who might still want to build these?
There is a beer fest from the 25 to 27th May here in Gatineau. Would be awesome to have one of these there!
now my two favorite things are combined together, i wonder if they will ever make bacon-droid
there is way too much head on that beer!
otherwise a great idea
you might want to upgrade those taps to a 98% reduced beer waste type and the amount of foam will decrease significantly. I am not sure how you can implement the system on your current one but the best is yet to come. Great idea, I am just hoping kegdroids will not become your local bartender's new replacements...
Hope it will make it's way to good ol' bavaria...:-)
If you'd like a RateBeer API key, I'd be happy to send one!
brilliant! I would love to see one at UIUC!
Like someone else already pointed out, there could be some problems with CO2 pressure, probably as +Gabriel Jacobs said it is new keg.
It's a wonderful idea! I'd love to build one by myself.
I'm guessing that you could set this up to auto charge someone's tab/account and document how much they have had and set an max amount per night etc...? Would be great for those busy nights at the bar when your regulars can help themselves to specialty craft brews that you want to test if it's able to be monitored. Or if your regulars brew their own and would like to sell their craft at your place. Love the idea!!
One Question: Where can I get this?
I need to have this. Will you be making schematics or pre-made ones available?
do you have any writeups on parts used?, especially the flowrate sensors, as it is difficult to find ones that doesnt cost an bundle, and can be used for beer dispensing, those often gives you lot of foaming problem.
It isn't a pressure problem - unless the pressure is set wildly incorrect. Pressure should be set for the right PSIG to maintain the desired CO2 volume at the storage temperature. Pressure should never be adjusted to troubleshoot foam or pour speed issues.

Foam is a temperature problem - the entire inside of that tower either isn't cooled, isn't insulated, or isn't cooled/insulated enough.

If you leave it sitting for a long period of time - the first pour or 2 will be foam until cold beer cools the line. As the line warms back up between pours, it will get foamy again. Plus since the line isn't cold enough, its a magnet for flavor-destroying bacteria

Also the on/off action of the solenoid is going to create air gaps in the line, causing sputtery pours, which will worsen the foam problem. These air gaps are also bacteria magnets, in an already ripe environment for bacteria growth because of the temperture problem.

The solenoid should actuate the faucet itself at the point of dispense, you shouldn't have 2 cutoff points in the line.

Cool gadget no doubt. But I would focus on beer quality and integrity above all else.
temperature is an factor, all lines need to be cold, something like this can help keeping the beerline cold since it is outside of the fridge (I have mounted mine on the door for now, so the lines are inside)
The idea is to have cold air from the blowing up to the tower thus cooling the lines.

Beer line length and inner diameter is also important for anti-foaming, there are lot of calculations for this around, and with good lengt and small diameter, the co2 pressure is of no problem (you shouldnt have too litle or too much pressure, since you will carbonize the beer if it stands for a time, you might want to consider solenoids on the co2 line also)

But will the solenoids on the beerline give airgaps?,it will be beer on both sides of it at any time, but the flow rate sensors worries me more, there exists some that rotates when liquid flows, not so sure if that is good with beer.
Air will get in whenever the tap is open and the solenoid is closed.

Correct CO2 pressure is easily calculated by knownig the storage temp of the beer (you must accuratly measure this), the altitude, and the desired CO2 volume.

A tower that big is going to need more then a simple tower cooler - its going to need cooled conduits containing both lines all the way up to the point of dispense.

And yes - flow speed is adjsuted by changing beer line restriction. It looks like his flow speed is about right. 5 feet of 3/16 ID should do for that setup, maybe add 3ish more feet to slow down the flow to compensate for any turbulance introduced in the flowmeters.
with my 5foot, 3/16 ID, I haven't seen any air coming back into the line between pours.
Regarding the tower cooler, it's the idea behind it, not that actual product of course, you can easily make something like this, if your tubing is inside other pipe that allows the cold air flow going around it.
I'm in the process of doing it a bit differently though, not connecting things to the beer line, maybe I will put an solenoid on the gas line though.
But I'm trying with an weight sensor under the keg instead, to measure the weight of it (in multiple of pints, I don't think I can make it more accurate than that).
I'm just not sure how I'm going to get an weight sensor to work while the keg sits on it though..
A solenoid in the gas line wont work - remember, the beer is always under pressure. if you cut the gas line you can probably get 5-10 more glasses before it stops pouring, depending on the volume of co2 in the beer and how full the keg is.

I have a line going from my keg box in the garage, thru the wall into my kitchen. To keep it cool i have the beer line inside an inner conduit, with forced air going up it, contained within insualted PVC, and an exhaust fan to keep circulation. so air is continuously flowing from the bottom of the keg box, up around the line, back out down the outer PVC, and into the top of the keg box.

I can leave it for a week and my first pour is still perfect.
oh yes, I didn't want to put solenoid for pour control, only for stopping the co2, I use very long time to empty an keg (using 19L cornelius), the problem is more that I either overkarbonate a bit, or it will loose carbonation, the gas is going somewhere?, so it would only be for securing gas if there is any leaks or for stopping overkarbonating the beer over long time.

Wow, that's a long line :), but it proves that cooling the line is the solution. As I told, my line is only inside the keg, since I mountet mine taps on the door, but I soon are going to swap over to an freezer, and then I need other form of cooling. (even here in the cold Norway)
ooooh ok. You have a pressure problem. you should never need to cut off the CO2 - if your set correctly, it should achieve equilibrium and maintain correct carbonation no matter how long you leave it on.

Use teflon tape on the connections to the regulator to make sure there isn't a leak - but even if there is, if it was big enough to effect the carbonation in the keg, you would see the meter on the regulator drop.

First thing you need to do is find out what the exact temp of your beer is - using a calibrated thermometer (check it in a glass of icewater that it reads 32deg) - pour 2 full beers and measure the SECOND pour. This should get you your correct temp measurement.

Then find out the desired co2 volume for the beer. You should be able to get this from the brewer - most lagers are around 2.5 v/v.

Put the info in here:

to get your correct CO2 PSIG. You may be surprised what you come up with. Temperature makes a huge difference.

Also what is your altitude? you need to increase one PSIG for every 2000 foot elevation change above 1000 feet. Most people, this isn't a concern.
The way force carbonation works - is that the beer from the brewery has a set level of carbonation. as you use CO2 to push the beer out of the keg, the empty space in the keg is displaced by the applied CO2 pressure.

If that pressure is too low - the CO2 will leave the beer and escape into the empty space in the keg. if its too high, the co2 in the empty space of the keg will absorb into the beer (this is what is effected by temperature)

If you accurately measure your temp and calculate the right PSIG, you can balance your system to always have the right carbonation level in the beer - instead of pingponging back and forth by adjusting pressure and turning off and on CO2 constantly.
Yes, the brewery in this case is me.. :), but I adjust the co2 pressure kinda, on the fly.. I have an table to adjust based on beer style, with my stouts it works fine, proably because I use an stout tap.
My pale ales on the other hands, get flat after a while if I doesnt turn up the pressure more for that. It should have been in a way that I open for puring, and close after.. maybe.
Matt F
You know, I could see a use for this. Could you add into the back end a bar tab system. Maybe even hook into it a way to either charge per beer, or run the tab till you're done. You could even go so far as to limit a user to a certain amount of alcohol per hour, and cut a person off once they reach a set limit.
Cancel should suck beer back from the glass ;)
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