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Old 02-01-2013, 04:31 PM   #1
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Default How long can i keep a keg on tap?

Hello fellow brewers,

I recently started kegging my home brew, I have a wheat beer on tap, with a nu t brown ale going to keg soon. I realize that I can store the nut brown in keg at room temps for up to 3, maybe 4 months prior to force carbonating, and putting on tap. My question is how long can I keep a keg on tap once it's being served? The reason for asking is that I'm brewing faster than I can drink it, should drink it or want to drink it. I would like to have at least two selections on tap, but that would have to then be served over the course of two months, is that too long? Should I clean the liquid lines every couple weeks to keep the line as sanitary as possible? Any advice will be greatly appreciated

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Old 02-01-2013, 04:58 PM   #2
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You can keep them on as long as you want, and as long as they are still tasting good. It really doesn't matter. A nice clean pilsner will only last a couple months before it starts to go downhill, but many other beers are fine for years. You are only limited by how good you are at preventing staling factors.

I clean my lines every couple of weeks on my keezer.

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Old 02-01-2013, 05:01 PM   #3
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Til you kick it. A keg is really an ideal environment to extend the life of a beer. It's air and light tight, which means no risk of skuning or oxidation, and if sanitization is good infection as well and it's at a temp that will help prevent degradation of the beer.

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Old 02-01-2013, 05:03 PM   #4
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All depends on the profile of the beer, pilsner(see above), wheat, APA or IPA not long before the beer starts to loose favor, but it is not the keg it is the beer. I have a Goose Island Matilda cone that could set in a keg for 5 years and get better every year.

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Old 02-01-2013, 05:38 PM   #5
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Thanks for the replies, I was thinking it should last a long time in the keg, but i was unsure. I was also remembering way back to my high school, and college years how once a keg was tapped in a barrel of ice it only went down hill from there, but i guess thats from not having co2 to keep it fizzy. i have also been served many a poorly carbonated draft beer at various bars and eateries, shame on them for serving me that pooh. I never want to serve my home brew like that. Thanks again, this thread has helped to allay my fear of tapping multiple kegs at once.

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Old 02-01-2013, 05:46 PM   #6
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Quote:
Originally Posted by BrewMasta View Post
Thanks for the replies, I was thinking it should last a long time in the keg, but i was unsure. I was also remembering way back to my high school, and college years how once a keg was tapped in a barrel of ice it only went down hill from there, but i guess thats from not having co2 to keep it fizzy. i have also been served many a poorly carbonated draft beer at various bars and eateries, shame on them for serving me that pooh. I never want to serve my home brew like that. Thanks again, this thread has helped to allay my fear of tapping multiple kegs at once.
It's not really from not having CO2 so much as it is from having O2. Hand-pumped college beers get air introduced and the oxygen oxidizes it into garbage pretty quickly.
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Old 02-01-2013, 05:53 PM   #7
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Quote:
Originally Posted by BrewMasta View Post
Thanks for the replies, I was thinking it should last a long time in the keg, but i was unsure. I was also remembering way back to my high school, and college years how once a keg was tapped in a barrel of ice it only went down hill from there, but i guess thats from not having co2 to keep it fizzy. i have also been served many a poorly carbonated draft beer at various bars and eateries, shame on them for serving me that pooh. I never want to serve my home brew like that. Thanks again, this thread has helped to allay my fear of tapping multiple kegs at once.
It's not so much the CO2 keeping it fizzy, although that's part of it, it's the party tap that's the problem. It pushes ambient air into the keg, which will oxidize the beer and cause it to taste like wet cardboard in less than a day.

I've had way too many nasty beers tainted by dirty lines at bars. Commercial systems require a lot more cleaning and maintenance than home systems. A lot of that is due to poor sanitation when it comes to pouring beers and tapping kegs, and also the volume of beer being poured. If your sanitation is good, and you don't let the faucet touch the beer when pouring, etc, you should be able to go many months without cleaning the lines with no ill effects.
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Old 02-01-2013, 09:08 PM   #8
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Cool, I'm learning something new every day here on this forum, thanks for the input everyone. I'm almost OCD like with my sanitation processes. I don't ever, emphasis on "ever" want to lose a batch of my beer to lack of sanitation. So I will likely sanitize my lines from time to time.

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- Belgian Wheat IPA in primary #3
- White IPA on deck
- ESB on deck

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