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Home Brew Forums > Home Brewing Beer > Equipment/Sanitation > Wanting to Keg
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Old 03-16-2011, 10:55 PM   #1
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Default Wanting to Keg

I'm planning on making some beer for a party we're going to in about 7 weeks and to make it easier to transport, I'd like to keg it.

The problem is, I don't know where to begin when it comes to kegging, and I don't have much money.

It looks like I can get a 5 gallon corny for around $40, but what else do I need? I'm fine with getting a hand pump for the party and upgrading it sometime in the future -- is that what a picnic tap is?

Also, I don't have a fridge big enough to hold the keg to cool it down. Can I stick it in a cooler with some ice?

Surely someone has been in this position before -- any advice you can share?

Thanks!

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Old 03-16-2011, 11:04 PM   #2
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I would go with one of the starter kegging setups that many vendors offer... One or two kegs, hoses to connect up one, a 5# CO2 tank, regulator, etc... You could go really cheap and do the tap a draft method for the first keg. But if you prime with sugar, you'll have more trub on the bottom to get rid of with the first pull or two (maybe three)...

For keeping it cool, at the party, you could use a round cooler and ice. You'll want some way to cool it down while carbonating it though.

Is the party going to be at someone's house?

Personally, I'd rather get the right setup the first time. Or at least get hardware you'll be able to use for the long term. If you have room to chill either a 2.5 gal or 3 gal corny keg (in a fridge) then you could just do that. You'll want to be sure to keep putting them on the gas while carbonating, in the fridge for 2 weeks.

If it's more than you're comfortable with right now, then just bottle up the batch and be done with it. Without knowing what you'll be brewing for the party 7 weeks could be a bit of a tight schedule. Although if it's a moderate OG ale, it could be plenty of time to brew, keg, slow carbonate in the keg, as well as get the hardware all lined up and tested. While the brew is fermenting, you can do some test runs with the keg(s) to make sure you work out any logistics...

If there's a good LHBS near you, talk with them... If not, call up places like Keg Connection and tell them what you're looking to do and see how they can help out... I suspect it will be a lot easier than you're thinking.

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Old 03-16-2011, 11:06 PM   #3
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Putting the keg in a cooler or garbage can of ice works well.

I have not seen a hand pump for a corny, but I am sure they are available. The picnic tap is just a tap. I have seen air gun type co2 containers that are designed for picnic use, but I do not know how much they cost.

Visit the local LHBS or search the keg component retailers on the web.

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Old 03-16-2011, 11:32 PM   #4
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hand held CO2 charger for $20 plus a keg also works, but you still have to get it cold, and carbed FIRST before you can dispense it.

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Old 03-16-2011, 11:41 PM   #5
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Quote:
Originally Posted by malkore View Post
hand held CO2 charger for $20 plus a keg also works, but you still have to get it cold, and carbed FIRST before you can dispense it.
Is that the "tap a draft" setup?? Trying to remember what it's called, but it's eluding me...

If he has a fridge that's got the room, the smaller kegs could be a viable option. That would resolve the chilling part of the equation... Still need to carbonate them though. My vote is for a standard style CO2 setup there. Means he'll be that much closer to being ready when he builds a keezer...

To the OP... Check Craigslist for your area for people selling/giving away old chest freezers. Those are converted, all the time, into keezers (to hold kegs)... You could get a good sized one for $50-$100... That would solve the issue for cooling it down (get either a Johnson control box, or Love controller for it though)... Any decent LHBS should be able to get you up and running in that scenario quickly.
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Old 03-16-2011, 11:56 PM   #6
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I'm planning on doing an extract version of the Cream of Three Crops recipe, so I think I could have it ready in time.

I didn't think about having to keep the keg cold while carbonating it. I haven't read up on kegging yet like I have other things, since I'm just find with my bottles for now (and I wasn't sure if I could talk my wife into letting me spend the money on it), but she mentioned it tonight and it would definitely make things a lot easier.

I'm all for getting the right equipment from the beginning, too. I guess I'm just wondering what the bare minimum I need is, and about how much that would run.

I'll definitely check out craigslist for an old fridge. But if I can't find something in time, is there any way to keg without being able to cool it? We have a regular size side by side fridge which can hold a couple of 30 packs of cans on the bottom shelf... is that enough space? If so, how long would it need to be in there? (I could probably do a few days, but a couple of weeks wouldn't work)

If it doesn't work, I have some pint and quart ez cap bottles that I can use instead. I was mostly concerned about people trashing my bottles.

Thanks for the quick feedback. I've got a good LHBS, so I'll ask him to see what he has available.

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Old 03-17-2011, 12:02 AM   #7
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Bare minimum would be the keg, a quick disconnect, beer line, a picnic tap and one of those co2 charger guns. You could prime the keg with corn sugar, and use the co2 chargers to push the beer.

Better would be the keg, the beerline set up, and a co2 tank with regulator and some gasline. You could force carbonate at room temperature and still serve with the co2 tank.

A keg might be $40 or so. The co2 tank might be $80 or so, the regulator $40, and the various lines and quick disconnects probably another $25 or so.

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Old 03-17-2011, 12:19 AM   #8
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One of the 'issues' with carbonating (with gas) at room temp is you'll end up needing to use higher pressures to get the same carbonation amount...

Yooper does list great options for you, so it's really a matter of what you'll be comfortable with...

For getting the fridge/freezer from CL... You usually just need to be able to act fairly fast. Or watch the ads often enough to catch the good one before someone else snags it...

If your current fridge is large enough, you could use the smaller kegs... Just keep in mind, the best price I've seen 3 gallon kegs for is about $90 each... That amount, BTW, is less than I usually see them listed for used. If I was working right now, I'd be ordering about 6-10 of those right now...

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Fermenting
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