kegging question

Discussions about packaging and dispensing beer. Anything from kegging and draft equipment to questions about bottling.

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kegging question

Postby mr.gbu » Tue Feb 18, 2014 1:19 am

sup guys
new to this part of the forum and also the kegging process i'm currently bottling my beer and so far its gone well. I'm looking into kegging, trying to find out what parts are needed for this process, basically trying to put together my own kit. i currently have a 15 gallon keg from Budweiser that my uncle gave to me he use to work for them a long time ago and happen to have a keg laying around. I was wondering is that usable despite that we are only brewing 5 gallons? or would i have to buy the 5 gallon soda keg? also what exactly would i need to put this kit together?? and as co2 tank wise what size would you recommend for someone who starting ? looking forward for your input thank you
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Re: kegging question

Postby pclemon » Tue Feb 18, 2014 6:10 am

The budweiser keg you have isn't easily usable for home kegging. They're not easy to clean or fill and like you said, if you're just filling it with 5 gallons at a time, it doesn't make sense.

What you need:

Kegs - two types, pin lock or ball lock. Most people pick one type and stay with it. Ball lock, for a long time, was the most popular for people to go into - but recently they're the more expensive style and can be more difficult to find. Pin lock kegs are a little squatter (shorter and wider) than ball lock's but the only other difference to concern yourself with are the connections.

Connections - somewhat obvious but I'll say it anyhow. If you're buying pin-lock kegs you want pin-lock connections. If you're buying ball lock, you want ball lock connections. You'll want at least one In (gas) and one Out (beer).

Lines - you can make your CO2 line as long or short as seems to make sense given where your tank is going to be relative to your keg. You'll want your beverage line to be a specific length based on balancing your system - which I'll get into below.

Faucet - You can go with a cheap/simple cobra faucet or a more elaborate/costly SS Perlick faucet or a couple of options in-between.

CO2 - Most common options are 5#, 10# or 20# tanks. The larger they are the more costly they are to purchase but cost less per pound of CO2 to have re-filled. If you ever see yourself traveling with a keg and want to push it using the same tank, go with the 5#. If you're set-up is going to get parked in one spot and stay there, go with the 10# or 20#.

Regulator - You only NEED a single gauge regulator, but IMO, for the small up-charge, a dual gauge regulator is worth the money.

That's pretty much all that's needed - oh, and someplace to keep the keg cold. The CO2 tank can either be inside or outside the fridge. If it's inside be aware that the gauges can take some time to respond to adjustments in pressure (you'll think you adjusted it to 12PSI only to come back 2 hours later and it's at 15PSI). If you put it outside the fridge you'll need to drill a hole somewhere to run the CO2 line.

Kegging - transfer the beer from your carboy to the clean keg. Close the lid and put it under CO2 pressure to make sure it's sealed. Pull the pressure relief valve and relieve the pressure a couple of times over the next 5-10 minutes. You're trying to purge the headspace of the keg with CO2 and get any oxygen out.

http://www.kegerators.com/articles/carb ... -chart.php

Go to that link and figure out how much carbonation you want in your beer as well as what temperature your refrigerator is running at. So say you're running at 40 degrees and want 2.5 volumes of CO2, then you'll want your CO2 regulator turned to 12PSI.

Put the keg in the fridge and keep it under that pressure for 7-10 days and the keg will carbonate. This is considered the "set and forget" method. There are ways to carbonate more quickly but generally lead to more variable results.

With 12PSI I find that a 3/16" beverage serving line, the length of line from the pin lock out to the faucet, of 8-10 feet balances out well. I would recommend starting with 12' and then cutting it down 6-12" at a time until you get the flow from the faucet that you're comfortable with. It's a lot easier to cut a couple of feet off than it is to add it on.
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Re: kegging question

Postby mr.gbu » Wed Feb 19, 2014 11:33 pm

pclemon wrote:The budweiser keg you have isn't easily usable for home kegging. They're not easy to clean or fill and like you said, if you're just filling it with 5 gallons at a time, it doesn't make sense.

What you need:

Kegs - two types, pin lock or ball lock. Most people pick one type and stay with it. Ball lock, for a long time, was the most popular for people to go into - but recently they're the more expensive style and can be more difficult to find. Pin lock kegs are a little squatter (shorter and wider) than ball lock's but the only other difference to concern yourself with are the connections.

Connections - somewhat obvious but I'll say it anyhow. If you're buying pin-lock kegs you want pin-lock connections. If you're buying ball lock, you want ball lock connections. You'll want at least one In (gas) and one Out (beer).

Lines - you can make your CO2 line as long or short as seems to make sense given where your tank is going to be relative to your keg. You'll want your beverage line to be a specific length based on balancing your system - which I'll get into below.

Faucet - You can go with a cheap/simple cobra faucet or a more elaborate/costly SS Perlick faucet or a couple of options in-between.

CO2 - Most common options are 5#, 10# or 20# tanks. The larger they are the more costly they are to purchase but cost less per pound of CO2 to have re-filled. If you ever see yourself traveling with a keg and want to push it using the same tank, go with the 5#. If you're set-up is going to get parked in one spot and stay there, go with the 10# or 20#.

Regulator - You only NEED a single gauge regulator, but IMO, for the small up-charge, a dual gauge regulator is worth the money.

That's pretty much all that's needed - oh, and someplace to keep the keg cold. The CO2 tank can either be inside or outside the fridge. If it's inside be aware that the gauges can take some time to respond to adjustments in pressure (you'll think you adjusted it to 12PSI only to come back 2 hours later and it's at 15PSI). If you put it outside the fridge you'll need to drill a hole somewhere to run the CO2 line.

Kegging - transfer the beer from your carboy to the clean keg. Close the lid and put it under CO2 pressure to make sure it's sealed. Pull the pressure relief valve and relieve the pressure a couple of times over the next 5-10 minutes. You're trying to purge the headspace of the keg with CO2 and get any oxygen out.

http://www.kegerators.com/articles/carb ... -chart.php

Go to that link and figure out how much carbonation you want in your beer as well as what temperature your refrigerator is running at. So say you're running at 40 degrees and want 2.5 volumes of CO2, then you'll want your CO2 regulator turned to 12PSI.

Put the keg in the fridge and keep it under that pressure for 7-10 days and the keg will carbonate. This is considered the "set and forget" method. There are ways to carbonate more quickly but generally lead to more variable results.

With 12PSI I find that a 3/16" beverage serving line, the length of line from the pin lock out to the faucet, of 8-10 feet balances out well. I would recommend starting with 12' and then cutting it down 6-12" at a time until you get the flow from the faucet that you're comfortable with. It's a lot easier to cut a couple of feet off than it is to add it on.

wow thank you very informative hope this can be a sticky for other beginner brewers
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Re: kegging question

Postby mr.gbu » Fri Mar 28, 2014 10:02 am

reviving this thread with my noob questions lol


so I'm currently in the process of piecing my keg kit together it hit me that I still want to bottle my beers and have the option to be mobile and not have to drag a keg around how do I go about that? Do I let the beer carbonate in the keg then pour it into the bottle cap it and call it a day? to me that seems the most logical thing to do or is there a process to it?
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Re: kegging question

Postby Bgrant » Fri Mar 28, 2014 10:39 am

Pretty much, do a search for Beer Gun, Counter Pressure filler and cobra tap bottling wand, those three should get you more info than you probably want :shock:

Other thoughts, depending on how much you want to take with, you can use a growler or multiple growlers, or get a smaller keg, (2.5 ~ 3 gallons) or you could take one of your kegs, get a jockey box and serve it that way as well.

I guess it all boils down to how much you want to take with you and how long you want it to last, if it is just taking a few beers to a friends place to drink that day, then a growler (@64oz = 5 beers) is a lot quicker than messing with bottles. The beer should remain carbed at least overnight assuming a decent seal on the growler. A 2.5 gallon keg will give you ~ 26 beers, there are some really cool examples of folks making portable beer dispensers from coolers using 2.5 or 3 gallon kegs.
Regards
Bruce.
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Re: kegging question

Postby pclemon » Fri Mar 28, 2014 10:54 am

Start kegging first. I lied to myself when I switched too and said "yeah, I'll probably continue to bottle some of this too". I switched over six or seven year ago and have put less than 20 beers in bottles in that whole time.

If you want to enter competitions and stuff or bottle for gifts for people that's one thing.... but I don't do any of those things and if I'm traveling or going to a party I just bring a keg.
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Re: kegging question

Postby centennialtap » Fri Jan 16, 2015 11:50 pm

I found this link about kegerator kits, hope it can help.
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Re: kegging question

Postby MaltnHopsrGood » Sat Jan 17, 2015 7:59 am

Bottled: Nothing
Keg #1: Dark Chocolate Stout
Keg #2: Bourbon Barrel Stout
Keg #3: Nothing
Keg #4: Nothing
Fermenting: Pale Ale
Next On Deck: India Pale Ale
Brewed in 2017: 50 gallons
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