Recentley, well I guess not too recently (early december), I decided to start kegging. Being it December I also decided to let everyone know about it and hope for the best come Christmas (nothing like brewing equip from friends and family). Well I searched for some good deals and dropped the appropriate hints. I found a keg at homebrewing.org (Adventures in Homebrewing) for $13, poppets and o-rings for $8 and dropped a giant hint to my girlfriend. Then dropped a hint to my dad that I was in need of a CO2 regulator.
I received both the keg et al for Christmas and have had nothing but trouble since.
The CO2 regulator was a flow not psi regulator so I had to return that. No big deal because they also carried a psi regulator. I'm a busy guy, I go to school (electrical engineering) from 9:30-4:00 then directly to work from 4:30 to midnight, rinse repeat. I dont have much free time and the company the regulator is from is only open on weekdays. So after a few weeks I finally find some time to take it back. I go into the store and try to find the psi regulator, but to no avail. I ask for help and the associate point me to the wrong product. I again explain what I need and he said that they dont carry anything like it all. When I tell them that I saw it on their website and have the item number, the guy gets an attitude and basically says that its a product that must only be available online and that I will need to go home and order it online. The guy never apologized once. They should have been able to order it in store for delivery for me, but thats fine, I will just order it else where.
I ended up ordering the Classic 2 product regulator from MicroMatic. The day after placing the order I received 2 confirmations (both different orders). I started thinking, great... another problem. So I emailed MicroMatic and explained what happened. They replied with a nice email that started off with "Please accept our apologies"... finally some manners and commen customer courtesy!!! They also said that they were testing the ordering system and that the test was supposed to be invisible to their customers and assured my that the second one is not going to processed or billed, they then apologized again. It was sent out once they opened (I ordered it late night) and is currently in transit with a 2 day delivery time.
The keg was from Adventures in Homebrewing (homebrewing.org). The keg itself was fine, exactly what I expected from a used keg. The o-ring set was fine also. However, the poppets are a whole different story.
I received a Firestone Challenger VI keg that included new poppets however received poppets for a Cornelius.
I called and explained the issue and was sent replacement poppets for the Firestone Challenger. I attempted to install the poppet but it didnt fit... it simply would not seal. When searching other supplier sites they recognized the difference between the two poppets and I noted pictures that matched mine.
I called back and explained the mix up, but was informed that the poppets for the Challenger would work in the Challenger VI and that there was only one type for the Challenger series and that possibly the posts were changed or something of that nature.
I emailed side and top profile pictures (below) of the poppets to help clear up the issue and received a response stating that the pictures dont help because they cant tell the size and that I will need to send all of my poppets. I wonder how it is not possible to tell the size when poppets of known size are right next to it. Now mind you, I had already racked my cider into the keg already and really dont want to let it sit open for a week while I wait for the correct poppets.
I have decided F-it. This is too much hassle for $2 parts... I will go elsewhere and keep the extra poppets (that way if this happens again I will already have 2 types).
Hoses, Connections, and etc.
I ordered from Homebrew Adventures (www.homebrewadventures.com) and received promptly with no problem.
Brand new filled from a local shop and at a price the online competitors couldnt touch!
All in all, I need a nice cold draft cider... however cant get my own yet . In retrospect I would have rather got the 3 keg setup from Alternative Beverage (ebrew.com) as it would have saved time and headache, however, I didnt know about it at the time.
homebrewadventures.com & micromatic.com