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-   -   How to tell a quality keg? (http://www.homebrewtalk.com/f35/how-tell-quality-keg-373921/)

BobTheAverage 12-13-2012 12:59 PM

How to tell a quality keg?
So i've been idly shopping for a keg and just kicking thoughts around. I know I want one. I know its a good investment, but which one. I also know I want to have the potential to hook two kegs to one CO2 cylinder.

How do you tell a good quality keg from a poor quality one?
Kegs seem like very sturdy things that could be reconditioned and resold. What makes the difference between a quality reconditioned keg and a keg that simply asks for future problems?
What are the most important parts of a keg system to be high quality? What are the most likely to break?

two_hearted 12-13-2012 01:07 PM

It needs to hold a seal... A couple of my cornies look beat to hell, but they hold a seal. One of them had a lid that was obviously banged repeatedly with a hammer. So I bought an extra thick o-ring and some keg lube and it works great now.

Seriously, as long as it holds a seal and you replace the o-rings on it, you should be fine regardless of how many dents and dings are on it.

As for the rest of the system, I would say the regulator is the most 'fragile' piece. The CO2 cylinders are usually ugly steel and work just as good as a shiny new aluminum one. The most important part of the whole shebang is going to be secure connections with all of your tubing to ensure there are no leaks. Don't over-tighten the regulator on the cylinder or you'll crack the plastic washer and have a slow leak.

Keep your beer lines clean and clean regularly. I replace mine once a year too.

It all seems complicated, but really its pretty easy once you understand how it works as a whole.

AndrewD 12-13-2012 01:12 PM

Look inside. A lot of kegs will have some pretty big dents around the bottom. That doesn't mean problems, but I always look at the inside of these dents and see if any go beyond the "dent" category and into the "crease" category, which I feel like could lead to a leak. The lid and posts are sort of pricey to replace, so those need to be in decent shape. I have one post that has a tiny ding on the upper surface that has bent down the rim just a little bit, but it makes seating the gas line on it a bitch.

DrunkleJon 12-17-2012 06:21 PM

Also, look for signs of welds, and interior scratching. You want the inside as shiny and clean is possible. No places for nasties to hide.

BobTheAverage 12-19-2012 01:31 PM

Thanks for the advice everyone. To summarize what I just read, the structure of a good heavy keg is indestructible, but the inside can get scratches and dings that will make it unusable. A "reconditioned" keg shouldn't have any of these, but if they cut corners with reconditioning, it might.

zachattack 12-19-2012 03:02 PM


Originally Posted by BobTheAverage (Post 4697500)
A "reconditioned" keg shouldn't have any of these, but if they cut corners with reconditioning, it might.

Reconditioned generally means they've cleaned it (sometimes) or replaced the o-rings (sometimes). Either way I'd plan on cleaning it, and unless the seals look brand new swapping those out as well.

DrunkleJon 12-19-2012 03:50 PM

Well, just like your fermenters, you dont want deep scratches because nasties hide in them. If you have them you need to clean the He** out of it and may be ok. For the most part there shouldnt be scratches inside. Welds, well. If it is a clean unoxidized weld on the inside you could be ok, but the same conditions apply. Clean well.

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