Instead of performing the arduous task of placing the 1″ dowel rod into the Keggle that is used as the HLT, I decided that a Sight Glass was needed. Why, exactly? Why not. It seems the best answer I can give and a sight glass allows for a quick glance to determine the amount of strike/sparge water being transferred.
As you may recall from the Keggle Build post, I have a Coors Keg which has a unique barrel shape. This can make things….interesting when adding a Sight Glass. Instead of a relatively flat side on the keg to mount the Sight Glass, I have a convex side.
To mitigate this, I bought some extra parts – just in case. Heading over to bargainfittings.com, I selected the Weldless Sight Gauge Kit
WELDLESS KEG / KETTLE SIGHT GAUGE KIT – $18.99
Then, I chose to add the following items to ensure a straight sight glass:
1/2″ NPT HALF COUPLING STAINLESS – $2.50
1/2″ NPT COUPLING STAINLESS – $2.99
3 INCH LONG STAINLESS EYEBOLT COOLER – $2.50
I got the two couplings as a failsafe. I believe the half coupling will work, but if it doesn’t, then I can still complete the build with the full coupling. Same with the 3 inch eyebolt.
And, of course, BargainFittings has a flat rate $5.00 shipping, bringing the total cost of this build to $31.98, with the extra parts calculated in.
After a short wait, my Priority Mail package arrived! Yay for fast shipping!
Now the plan is to use one of the couplings so attach the base to the keg. This will extend the Sight Glass to where I need it. To allow for this, I need to use a short nipple. Some loyal readers might recall that I purchased a pack of 10 such nipples for a steal:
Merit Brass 4008-001-10 Stainless Steel 304/304L Pipe Fitting, Close Nipple, Schedule 40 Welded, 1/2″ NPT Male, 1-1/8″ Length (Pack of 10)
At the time I ordered them, it cost $9.00 with Prime Shipping, so it pays to keep checking.
I’d like to believe that the half coupling would work
But if not, I’ll use the full coupling
According to the instructions found HERE, the compression ferrules (circled below) are not used, so just put them into your parts box for another project.
Now the work begins. Drilling the hole for the Sight Glass. I start small and move up with regular drill bits. I move all the way up to 1/2″ before using the step bit. Remember to keep that cutting oil and to let the bit do the work.
Once the hole is the correct size, grab your Dremel and stone to clean all the burrs.
Then I threaded the nut and orange o-ring onto the nipple and inserted it into the hole from the inside. I tried with the full coupling and the half coupling to see which would work best.
This is the full coupling:
And this is the half:
As you can see, the full coupling clears the ‘hump’ in the middle of the keg, while the half does not. I screwed the elbow into position to see if I’d have enough clearance, but there weren’t enough threads making contact with the half coupling to make me trust it as a solution.
So, I’m using the full coupling with 6 wraps of PTFE Tape.
Wrap the threads on the elbow with PTFE and attach. Tighten the connections.
At this point, I decided to do a leak test. The elbow on the coupler keeps the water level outside above the hole in the keg, so if I keep the water to just above the nut on the inside, I should stay dry.
I let this sit for fifteen minutes and had no leaks, so SUCCESS!
Next step was to align the tube for the eye bolt at the top. I used a level for this step.
I then marked the spot to drill for the eye bolt in the top skirt of the keg and drilled a hole with my 1/4″ bit.
One nut on the outside, one on the inside. I threaded the nut on the inside of the skirt to just cover the threads, then using two 7/16″ combination wrenches, tightened them.
I then unscrewed the compression cap from the elbow, and wrapped the threads in PTFE.
I slid the two small o-rings onto the tube and then the compression cap and tightened.
The fact that the compression cap and the elbow lined up so perfectly when tightened makes my heart happy. Here’s the Sight Glass installed.
I then filled the keg and let it sit for twenty minutes.
After emptying the keg, I brought it inside for the next step. One gallon at a time, I filled it and marked the levels. I used clear tape in my label maker and UNDERLINE text. The underline is my volume marking.
I marked it from three gallons to 15 gallons and added 15.5 at the very top. Note that due to the shape of the keg, the volume markings in the middle of the keg are closer than the top and bottom.
And now, the HLT in its first use since the Sight Glass addition:
The sight glass worked great and was an easy, inexpensive upgrade. Yes, it actually made the brew day a bit easier, as I did not have to go around the back of the Mash Tun to be able to reach into the HLT with the dowel and hold it there wile transferring water. I could see the amounts beig transferred from the from of the brewhouse with easy access to the pump controller.