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Old 05-24-2012, 02:33 AM   #1
PorterBoy
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Default Bottle vs. Keg?

Hello all, new guy here. Im trying to get all my ducks in a row before i start brewing so i know exactly what im doing so i have a question to ask. When starting out is it easier to keg your brews or bottle them? I see alot of people starting out and there bottles are so foamy and fizz over, and the figuring out how much priming sugar to use. What is required to keg beer? do you need some kind of priming sugar as like with the bottles? If not it seems like kegging would be the way to go if ya had a kegerator. Can i get some feedback on this? Thanks in advance

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Old 05-24-2012, 02:41 AM   #2
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Kegging is far easier. If you don't mind throwing money around, keg.

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Old 05-24-2012, 02:56 AM   #3
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hmmm...bottling vs kegging. i don't think this question has ever come up before.

read newbie, read. there are tons of threads that answer all of your questions and more. use the search function to find specific information and read, read, read.

oh, and welcome to HBT. it's a nice place, i think you'll like it here.

that is all.

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Old 05-24-2012, 03:21 AM   #4
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I hate bottling. I keg 3 out of every 4 beers. I leave bottling for the beers that need to mature, but i generally go from boil to drinking from keg in about 3 weeks. Mostly ipas here, cheers.

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Old 05-24-2012, 04:13 AM   #5
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Both. I do 6 gallon batches. Keg 5, bottle 1. That way I can taste it before it makes it onto a free tap.

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Old 05-24-2012, 04:20 AM   #6
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Kegging is definitely easier IMO. You only have one container to clean an sanitize as opposed to almost 50 for a 5 gallon batch. Plus, who doesn't want beer on tap at home??? AMIRITE?

Keep in mind you can also carbonate with priming sugar @ ~70*F for 2-3 weeks like you would with bottles and then use the CO2 to just to serve it, if you feel so inclined.

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Old 05-24-2012, 02:10 PM   #7
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Honestly, I would just start out bottling. You need a bottling bucket with spigot tap, a bottling wand (with little spring loaded tip), some bottles, and some bottle caps. Bottle bombs and foaming bottles (gushers) will not happen if:

A) You wait until fermentation is 100% complete
B) You boil your 4-5 oz of corn sugar in 2 cups of water, cool, and add to bottling bucket. Racking beer on top with some gentle swirling will ensure consistent sugar content/bottle. Put it somewhere warm for 2-3 weeks and enjoy!

Kegging takes me 20 minutes vs 1 hour 15 minutes for bottling. But I like the versatility of bottles and I can give them out to friends/family. I keg one batch, then bottle the next usually.

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Old 05-24-2012, 03:37 PM   #8
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Quote:
Originally Posted by solbes View Post
Honestly, I would just start out bottling. You need a bottling bucket with spigot tap, a bottling wand (with little spring loaded tip), some bottles, and some bottle caps. Bottle bombs and foaming bottles (gushers) will not happen if:

A) You wait until fermentation is 100% complete
B) You boil your 4-5 oz of corn sugar in 2 cups of water, cool, and add to bottling bucket. Racking beer on top with some gentle swirling will ensure consistent sugar content/bottle. Put it somewhere warm for 2-3 weeks and enjoy!

Kegging takes me 20 minutes vs 1 hour 15 minutes for bottling. But I like the versatility of bottles and I can give them out to friends/family. I keg one batch, then bottle the next usually.
You can bottle from the keg then and have the best of both worlds: versatility of bottled beer and perfect carbonation without yeast sediment in the bottle.

Kegging is super-easy. Jumping into kegging can be expensive, but it's easy to put together once you have the pieces.
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Old 05-24-2012, 03:47 PM   #9
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Good point. I have yet to perfect the bottling process from a keg. I know it can be done (and some accessories can be bought), but I've always made a mess. I am able to minimize foaming and carbonation loss when I fill a growler though, so that's usually how I mobilize my kegged beers.

If you never bottle though, you'll never appreciate how easy kegging is! Imagine never having the joy of sanitizing 50 bottles, a racking cane, a bottling bucket, a bottling wand, and bottle caps. And then spending 25 minutes on your kees. Ok, I'm starting to talk myself out of the bottling route. And yet it's part of brewing for me.

You can build your own kegerator for cheaper than buying one (and would still need new fittings for commercial kegerator). Fridge, Temp Controller (optional), CO2 tank, tank regulator(s), corny kegs (at least 2 for 1 tap), draft tower, Perlick SS tap (get one!), 10' of 3/16" beer line per tap, gas/liquid fittings, and probably a couple of other things I'm forgetting. If you do it yourself, you'll still eclipse $275 easy.

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Old 05-24-2012, 05:14 PM   #10
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There is nothing difficult about bottling.

Time consuming and sometimes tedious, yes.

It is FAR cheaper to bottle, though, and for most people there are foam and equipment problems with kegging when you start out. So there is a better chance of having carbonation problems getting started in kegging than there is in adding 3/4 cup of corn sugar to your bottling bucket before racking your beer into it...

Think about how kegging will work for YOU. You'll have to have a fridge or freezer of some kind. Your beer will need to be bottled from that if you want to give to friends (rather than simply grabbing a few bottles out of your stash). Plus you still have to clean lines and equipment and there is the price of CO2 (roughly $16 for 5 lbs which should last maybe 3-4 kegs if you don't have a leak...)

I usually keg now, but sometimes I feel the urge to bottle a batch, especially if it's a stronger beer. I got a mild on tap right now and it's great because I can pull a half-glass right after work and not worry about feeling effects. I can turn right around and pour whatever is on the other tap and not have to drink a full 12 ounces if I don't' want to. Or I can drink until I'm done and I don't have empty bottles staring me in the face accusingly...

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