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Old 07-30-2011, 06:05 AM   #1
tmains
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Default Kegging for the first time

So I've decided to make the jump into kegging, and I know there are plenty of threads here on HBT about this. I've done a lot of research on the topic and I think I've found a pretty good deal.

I just want the bare necessities for a 5 gallon batch. No need for a kegerator or anything like that. (yet)

I thought about piecing together a set from used parts... but then I found this.

http://morebeer.com/view_product/120...tem_-_Pin_Lock

That looks like a steal! Is it too good to be true? I also checked out KegConnection but couldn't find a 'kit' so to speak. Could just be my haziness so late in the night.

Any input is appreciated
Thanks!

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Old 07-30-2011, 12:25 PM   #2
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I would go for the ball lock keg instead. They are more popular for many reasons. Also check to see if the place you'll get you tank filled will actually fill your tank or if they only do the exchange program.

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Old 07-30-2011, 12:59 PM   #3
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I also prefer ball lock kegs for the following reasons:

They are taller and thinner, meaning you can fit more side-by-side inside a kegerator.
Their lids have a manual pressure relief valve. A replacement to switch out your pin lock lid for a ball lock lid costs $20 a piece.
The pin lock posts aren't easy to remove unless you buy a special deep socket wrench adapter or (at least I think) you pull the pins out.

However, pin lock kegs are cheaper and a lot easier to find these days.

I would suggest getting at least a 10 pound CO2 tank. It saves money in the long run, and means you have to get it filled/exchanged less often.

Make sure the system you get has a check valve somewhere on the gas line, or you may ruin your regulator.

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Old 07-30-2011, 01:01 PM   #4
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Check out the kit from Rebel Brewer. It's a good starter kit and it's where I got mine from.

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Old 07-30-2011, 03:33 PM   #5
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I see no problems with pinlock kegs, they're just a different design. I've replaced all the rubber seals on my pinlocks and they work just fine. The lack of a manual pressure relief is a little annoying but you can just press in on the gas side poppet to release pressure. Regulators last a long time, and I think you can repair them if necessary. Micromatic sells parts for all their regulators.

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Old 07-30-2011, 04:12 PM   #6
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I've officially been swayed from pin to ball.

So that leads me down another road, Keg Connection seems to sell at some pretty decent prices. Only problem is I don't really know much about hoses and miscellaneous accessories. I see they sell a reconditioned 5 gall ball lock keg for $50 and a 5 lb c02 tank for for $60. Bringing to the total up to $120 already.

I also found this ball lock set for $160 + shipping. http://www.bvrgelements.com/keg_kit_basic.htmlSame set is around 100 without the c02 tank. And I can get a 7 lb recondition steel tank here: http://www.bvrgelements.com/cyl_products.html for 25 bucks! Anything wrong with that sort of tank?

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Old 07-30-2011, 04:23 PM   #7
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Then there is this... http://www.homebrewing.org/Homebrew-...OCK-_p_69.html

So many options.

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Old 07-30-2011, 04:56 PM   #8
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If you're strong, and don't mind lugging around an anchor of a CO2 tank, you could go with a steel one... I had a chance to compare two 5# tanks a few weekends ago. One steel the other aluminum, both full... The steel tank was easily twice the weight. If you eventually want to fill up the CO2 tank less often, or have more kegs (don't we all?) then you'll want an aluminum 10# or 20# tank (or one of each)...

Keg Connection has good people working there, that will help you out. Although they have yet to ship me a replacement swivel nut (they sent me a 5/16" barb, but nut for 1/4", I wanted the 5/16" setup)...

I like their red gas line (5/16" ID) since it's double-wall. FAR better than using the PVC reinforced stuff (PITA)... If you decide to get a manifold from them, you can get them to replace the barb with another MFL connection, so that everything is threaded (only way to go IMO)...

A 5# CO2 tank is fine to start with, since you should be able to carbonate, and serve, several kegs (5 gallon) before needing to get it refilled. Just be sure to pressure test ALL the connections before you start using it. This includes the keg seals. Last thing you want/need is to think everything is good, walk away, come back a day later and the CO2 tank is empty. When I installed the bulkhead in my fridge, and connected everything up (CO2 tank outside, to make more room for kegs) I tested it under pressure for about three days (different things on/off to ensure no leaks). You simply turn on the tank, regulator, fill the system with CO2/pressure then turn off the tank and check the gauges X hours later (12-24) to see if you still have pressure. If it remains within a small margin (offset for temperature changes) then you're good. Otherwise, start checking for where it's leaking from. The more complicated the system (more connections on it) the more difficult it could be to check. I do like how Keg Connection puts shutoff valves on their manifolds, and regulators. Makes it easier to hunt down the leaking connection/node...

BTW, don't be too surprised if the kegging hardware list grows to more than you expected. I figured one 5# tank and a pocket charger would be a good start... That lasted maybe a week. I now have one 5# tank, two 2.5# tanks, two 20oz tanks (paintball style, with a regulator from Keg Connection), and one 20# tank... All, except the paintball style, are aluminum. I have a 3 port manifold inside the fridge, so I can carbonate/serve three kegs at the same time. I'm using 2.5 and 3 gallon kegs right now. Once I move, I plan to get/build a keezer and also use 5 gallon kegs. I have one empty keg right now (three are in the fridge, full) and another on it's way (both are 3 gallon) so that I can completely keg the next batch when it's ready (3 weeks in primary as of tomorrow).

I would advise having a spare set of O-rings on hand, as well as some keg lube. Always plan on having at least one O-ring set on hand. That way when you need to change them, you can do so right away and not need to get to the LHBS, or order them...

I would also advise hunting for a fire extinguisher repair/reconditioning company in your area. There's one near where I'm working (in Quincy, MA) that charges very little to fill up tanks. $10 for a 5# tank, $18 for a 20#... Most welding gas places will want to charge you ~$20 to swap out a 5# tank. If you have a new tank, why swap it with an older one? If you go in with an aluminum tank, there's no guarantee you'll walk out with an aluminum tank. You have 5 years before it needs to be certified/stamped again. If you have a spare (you should by then) it's not an issue to get it done. If you decide to get some paintball gun style tanks, you can get those filled at most paintball stores for about $5 (the one in Framingham,MA charges that much). If they also have a compressor, you could get them to fill your larger tanks.

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Old 07-30-2011, 07:08 PM   #9
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$50 (plus shipping) for 1 reconditioned keg is pretty expensive. If youre willing to do a little work ,replacing gaskets and such, wait until you find a keg on HBT Classifieds or Craigslist (I just recently found 3 ball locks for $60 total on the east side of Cleve). They were pretty gross inside but nothing a little Bar Keepers Friend and muscle couldnt fix. If you go that route you could always pick up the rest of it with a kit like this from Keg Cowboy http://kegcowboy.com/index.php?dispa...product_id=133

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Old 08-01-2011, 08:35 PM   #10
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I just started kegging about a month ago. My only advice I can offer you is to start with at least 10' of beverage line per keg. If you order the kit from kegconnection they only give you a 4-5' line, which i later found out will do nothing but make foam. Now I am waiting for my new line to come in the mail.

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