Bottling vs Kegging
I know this topic has been done to death, but I'm considering investing in a keg system, but would like to know all the pros and cons of kegging and bottling.
This is what I've gathered so far, maybe you can tell me if I'm missing anything:
Easier. Faster. Convenient. Hard to transport. Expensive to start. Consistent Carbonation. Easy to adjust carbonation.
Easy to transport. Easy to gift to people. Good for storing for a long period of time to age a beer. Kind of cool. More work cleaning bottles and bottling. Takes longer to get your beer.
Additionally, I'm under the impression that that taste of the beer will be better when you bottle it, since you are letting it naturally carbonate, it gets to age 10-14 days in the bottle, and storing it in glass keeps it longer. Am I wrong on this one?
Right now kegging seems to be the quick and easy path of the dark side, where it doesn't taste quite as good and isn't as traditional, but you get to drink your beer faster. Bottling seem to be the good side of the force, where it takes longer, but in the end you get a better, more authentic beer than a kegged beer.
Thanks for any ideas or input you can give me :)
That's a crock that kegging tastes worse. I find that I can achieve better conditioning in a keg, and thus better beer. It can still age as long as you want, and, unless you sterile filter it, it still has live yeast and the flavor can grow and change. Storing in stainless steel is at least as good as storing in glass, since it's lightproof and perfectly stable. Ever see a brewery with a 10 barrel carboy?
I think your good side/dark side analogy is quite a bit overblown. It's just two containers for putting your beer in. Kegging is easier and much cooler, since you have taps that pour beer just like a pub. Also, if you want to bottle, you can bottle from a keg and drop in a carbonation drop or use a counterpressure filler. So, it's much more flexible too. Also, transporting it in kegs is easy enough. Throw a keg, a 5 lb CO2 tank and a jockey box in your car and you can bring draft beer to the picnic.
So, no, it is not the dark side that impatient brewers turn to because they can't wait long enough for quality beer...it's the solution almost all brewers eventually turn to because it's better in almost every way and still allows you to bottle if you want to. I'll put my keg beer up against anyone's bottles any day.
And "isn't as traditional"??? Virtually every brewery filters and force carbonates...they also put their beer in kegs, and I'm sure you've heard people say about a beer, "Oh, if you think that's good in bottles, you need to try it on tap!" I'm not sure where you got the impression that tap beer isn't as good, but I'll take a pint from the pub over a bottle from a six pack any day.
Gotta go with Janx here. Kegged beer tastes every bit as good or better than bottled beer. From a homebrew standpoint, you are more likely to get a consistent result from kegging. It's a lot easier to keg your beer than bottle it, cleaning is easier with a keg, and let's face it - kegs are really cool.
The ONLY downsides to kegging are the amount of equipment and the cost. If you have resigned yourself to a dedicated fridge and have saved up the money, the switch to kegging is an absolute no-brainer.
You can easily bottle beer from a keg, so you don't have to give up bottling completely (although long term storage of bottled beer from a keg is a lengthy topic all by itself). You don't have to transport your CO2 tank if you want to take your keg on the road. There are little gizmos that use the small finger sized CO2 cylinders to pressurize kegs. I've got a couple of these and they work great (check out http://www.morebeer.com/product.html?product_id=18306).
When you are ready to start kegging, read up on it and decide how you want to set things up. There are many options depending on what you have in mind. I've got a pretty good write up on Kegging on my website (http://sdcollins.home.mindspring.com/Kegging101-1.html). Give it a read.
The short version is that I'm with Janx. The long version is:
If kegging is the evil, dark side then might I quote Lord Helmet: "Evil will always win because good is dumb"
Not saying that bottling is dumb, but I am saying that kegging consumes less time, less space, and allows you to really refine the carbonation levels of your beer. Let's face it, if your beer in the bottle is undercarbonated or flat, well you're pretty much screwed. If it's overcarbonated, you can let it sit there and fizzle down, but that gets to be a pain. With kegging these adjustments can be made simply and easily.
Also, nobody ever said that going to kegs prevents you from ever bottling again. Use both, use neither. I really don't care what you want to do with your homebrew. Do what you are comfortable with and what you think will work best for you. If that means only putting every third or fourth batch in a keg, or only the cheaper beers you brew so that you don't "ruin" a good batch for lack of proper conditioning.
We can wax about this issue all day long, but what it comes down to is you and your perceived benefits and drawbacks to kegging and bottling.
That was a lot more energetic of a response than I expected :P
Ok, I'm sold. I guess I'll go buy a keg system for my next batch.
i do not desire atm to invest any more money in equipment till i get my rig all set up to just brew the all grain.
i hates bottling, but i sorta like having my own bottled beer in the basement, my daughter likes helping to fill the bottles, turning the little spigot and handing me bottles etc... plus, putting it in bottles sorta helps me cut down on intake. if i had it in kegs i'd be plowing through a keg a week.... :D
I like bottling (so far... stilll a noooob!)
then again, I don't have a bar in my apt, and if I did I would probably want to find a use for this fancy pub handle a friend gave me. Maybe when I buy a house i will have a bar. If I had a Bar, I would most certainly want to keg... Besides, it seems to me that to keg you don't have to abandon bottling?
Beer from here, beer from there....
Who cares.. as long as it is Yummy!!!
oh and BTW- props for quoting Dark Helmet, that was awesome.
So true...I prefer bottling because I can share my beer with relatives/other people and don't have to worry about getting the bottles back.
In my house there's only me and my wife. She doesn't drink. Therefore, I am the only drinker. I prefer not to invest $$$ into kegging because it's only me.
Kegs are fine if you have someone to share them with; i.e. father, mother, brother, etc. And we don't get very many visitors being 30 miles from the city and work. Then again, relatives only visit during holidays or cookouts.
For instance, I am driving to FL (where my born into family now lives) tomorrow from IL (my married into family). I will be taking several cases with me even though I have NO IDEA when I will be going back to FL.
If I never get the bottles back then there's no loss. I can't/won't do that with kegs...(and I bet you don't travel with them either). :D
I don't even tap a party keg when I am drinking alone...just my bottles (all 1/2 liters BTW). :D
I have a friend that kegs (he lives over 50 miles away and won't transport his kegs). And I can understand your points on kegging, but IMHO kegging is not for everyone.
Are your 1.5 Liter bottles glass? Where did you get them? The largest I have found is 33oz flip tops... or Larger (but Plastic).
Sorry, my bad...I meant 1/2 liter (corrected from 1/5).
I have a couple (4) of those decorative 2 liter bottles that originally had German beer in them, but I got them in Germany.
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