I have become a more active member of my local homebrew club (Prairie Schooners) recently and the need to bottle beer suddenly came back around. I have been kegging for the last few years and it is far-and-away the better option if you can afford the cost and space. However, a resolution to share the beer I brew necessitated a change.

After first switching to kegging, I completely disregarded bottles for over a year. I was fed up with the tedious and somewhat messy process of bottling. Then I got a growler filler adapter for my Intertap faucets. It works OK for filling growlers, but its prone to oxidation and probably only good for taking beer somewhere and consuming it that day/night. I tried purging bottles with CO2 and using the growler filler for bottling, but its a mess and I dont feel like its a good option for preventing oxidation.

In comes the Tapcooler. I had looked at some other options and settled on trying this counter pressure bottle filler first. At $80 it is not a cheap buy, but my hope was that this would be all I needed. It seemed a much more simple design than other similar gadgets. It also seemed to be getting rave reviews. My hopes were high.

I ordered the Tapcooler from Great Fermentations as they seem to be the only place that sells these devices in the US. Apparently its made in Norway and been around a few years there. It arrived and I was surprised at how small it was.

About the size of two decks of cards, the Tapcooler is a compact package.

I cleaned it up with some soap and water, sanitized it, and gave it a test run. I bottled a 6 pack of beers for a buddy and it worked pretty well. Not too much of a mess and pretty easy to use with my setup. I have a dual regulator on my CO2 tank and the second regulator I use for miscellaneous tasks like purging and force carbonating. So I had a CO2 line ready for it.

When I went to clean it after, that is when I had a problem. There is a small plastic piece, that is a part of push to connect fitting for the CO2 line, which broke.

Thankfully, Great Fermentations is great and they stood by their product and sent me a replacement Tapcooler as they were not able to sell me the small part I needed for repair. I am still looking for the replacement plastic piece, but having a tough time finding something exactly right. It IS made in Norway and push to connect fittings widely available in the US are not compatible.

I think what would be neat is if the Tapcooler was threaded for a ball lock post. Its almost the right size and would be compatible with parts that are widely available in the target market. This may have been a cheaper engineering option as well.

In summary I think the Tapcooler is a nice little tool that I wont be replacing any time soon. It is not perfect but it fits my needs nicely, and I think it would work well for many other homebrewers out there with the need to bottle a few beers.