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Home Brew Forums > Home Brewing Beer > Bottling/Kegging > Providing homebrew at my wedding - unsure of best way to transport & serve
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Old 10-13-2009, 03:04 PM   #1
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Default Providing homebrew at my wedding - unsure of best way to transport & serve

Hi everybody, I had a question I'd like to ask all of you, and was hoping I could get some advice.

I recently got into home brewing, and my fiancee and I recently learned that we are providing the alcohol for our wedding reception. I thought it would be really fun and creative to be able to serve my home brew! After thinking, we decided on brewing 15 gallons of what my fiancee has titled: "nupti-ale", but we're stuck on how to serve it.

I wasn't keen on bottles, because I don't particularly want people stirring up all the sediment. Frankly, I also don't want to worry about all of the work that would come with bottling that amount of liquid. The next option is to keg, but this is where I get stuck because I simply don't know that much about them.

Preferrably, I'd like to use the 5 gallon corny kegs because I could use them after the wedding for myself. Aside from that, I'm not sure where to go from there. Do I buy/make a kegerator and lug that thing to the reception hall? I have been reading and trying to learn, and I recently learned about jockey boxes. What about that? Assuming a reception of about 300~ people, what would be the best storing and serving method in your opinion? One thing to consider is that whatever system is used, I would really like to be able to use it for future brews instead of using bottles after the wedding.

Thanks for your help, I appreciate it

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Old 10-13-2009, 03:07 PM   #2
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The first thing to do is check the local laws- transporting homebrew is fine is some states, illegal in others. You may need to have a special permit, so check with your local authorities.

I'd recommend three cornie kegs, and a regular co2 set up. That way, you'd spend about $200 or so on gear, but get to keep the equipment after the reception.

I've seen some really great ideas for serving- from Biermuncher's trashcan, to some homemade towers. I'll see if I can find some links for you to check out!

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Old 10-13-2009, 03:16 PM   #3
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Here's Biermuncher's rolling kegerator (which was featured in BYO magazine):


He has all of the plans and photos available if you'd like to make one like it.

If you want something "nicer", I've seen some others that used a wood "box" over a counter and the lines when up through the "coffin box" while a tablecloth covered the kegs underneath in coolers.

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Old 10-13-2009, 03:31 PM   #4
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I know a lot of people have successfully brewed a lot of beer for their, or a friends wedding. Here is my .02 though. Are you providing all of the alcohol? 15 gallons for 300 people might not be enough. Also, like yooper said, make sure you are allowed to do this. A lot of halls or catering companies will not allow people to serve homebrew.

I'm getting married in October of next year. My recpetion is going to be a good bit smaller than yours (~150). What I opted to do is to brew a strong beer to be used in the toast. I am brewing the 10-10-10 Devil May Cry. It will be aged for a year, so I won't be stressing about brewing this a few months before the wedding. I'm brewing 10 gallons. I've yet to decide if I want to bottle it all, or bottle half, and serve the other half out of a keg at the wedding. I just didn't want to deal with the logistics and stress of brewing and serving 20+ gallons for all of the guests.

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Old 10-13-2009, 03:32 PM   #5
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We did what Yooper suggests for our wedding a year ago last month. We had the following:

three corny kegs of beer
a CO2 tank
a CO2 regulator
a 3-way manifold
CO2 disconnects
three picnic taps
a large, rectangular Rubbermaid container

I dropped all this off with our caterer the day before and they hauled it to the wedding and back. I picked it up from the caterer after the honeymoon. The caterer kept the kegs overnight in their walk-in a cooler. Once on site, they set the kegs in the Rubbermaid container and filled it with ice.

One tip - make sure the CO2 tank its turned OFF until everything is set up. One of my guests had to make a mad dash across town to get another tank, as mine had been emptied b/c I DIDN'T check to make sure it was off and somehow, the regulator had gotten loose.

Other than that, it worked great and the people who worked the wedding were asking me lots of questions about brewing when I picked everything up.

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Old 10-13-2009, 03:48 PM   #6
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Congratulations!....Another thing to keep in mind, above/beyond the serving equipment...and that is $$$$ .

You didn't mention if you were brewing extract/AG but since you are relatively new to the hobby I'm guessing you are doing extract. Keep in mind that with what you will probably spend in DME/LME, hops, yeast and then throw in kegging equipment on top of that....price-wise you are probably better off buying 6 cases of commercial beer and be done with it.

Also, you will save all of that time by not having to brew and get all of that beer ready for the wedding. I know you ordinarily don't mind taking the time to brew, but you are going to have alot to do to get ready for the wedding and nothing sucks the fun of a hobby than having to do it in a time crunch!!

Another thing that is nice about buying the beer is you will be able to mix/match and have 3 different beers to serve. Unfortunately, many people are bud/miller/coors drinkers and might not appreciate that the only thing on tap is your lovingly craft-brewed nut brown ale.

I'm not trying to p*ss in your cereal or anything, I'm just trying to be help you think through the finer points of your idea. Please feel free to ignore me.

That being said, if I haven't convinced you to steer clear of brewing beer for your wedding I would suggest a light, low-hop blonde or cream ale for your "nupi-ale"....something like BM's Centennial Blonde comes to mind (found in recipe section of this site).

Good luck and congrats again!

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Old 10-13-2009, 04:12 PM   #7
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My friend recently asked me to brew some beer for his wedding next year. The reception management company allows outside liquor/wine/beer to be served, but they require their licensed bartender to serve it. Fair enough, so I'm planning to provide the beer dispensing hardware.

After considering the options, he decided to buy a 1/2 barrel of lawnmower beer (e.g., St Arnold's) for the BMC crowd and I agreed to brew 10 gallons of traditional bock for the craft beer fans. And, if I'm feeling randy, I might do 3 gallons of back-sweetened fruit lambic for the ladies.

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Old 10-13-2009, 06:46 PM   #8
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Thank you all for your incredibly helpful responses so far! They really do address my questions.

Yooper, I like your suggestion about the 3 corny kegs and CO2 system. In regards to local laws, TN allows for transportation and serving. The reception hall also allows us to provide our own alcohol. I'm very interested in those plans you mentioned as well as any other links to those other "nicer" ways you were speaking of, if you have some spare time

Edcculus, congrats to you! I like your idea of making a big beer for the toast - very creative We're providing 1-15 gal keg of miller lite and it appears that it'll be 3 corny kegs of homebrew (something lighter to entice all palates). In addition, there will be plenty of wine to go around and champagne for the wedding party.

Rhoobarb, thanks for the input - any chance you have a picture of the final set up? I'm really interested to see how it turned out.

Broadbill, you're right, I'm new and I'm sticking to extracts. I'm afraid I don't know anybody else in this hobby who could help me with an AG in time. Also, I do appreciate the concerns you bring up regarding the inconveniences of brewing prior to a wedding. Cost-wise, factoring in fixed costs of equipment for all of this, I'm already way over the cost of a 15 gal keg of a good local craft beer. To us though (and I'm sure you might be able to relate), there seems to be something unique and special about the bride and groom providing a home brew to the guests. That experience (and future bragging rights) would be worth the difference. The labor involved in the process may be inconvenient, but with enough practice and planning, I'm sure it can go smoothly (famous last words... haha!).

In the end, if something goes wrong - even within the last day or so, I'm just one call away from getting a second keg filled by a local brewery. The other benefit is that I have the equipment I need to keg my future brews! The date is next April, so I still have a little bit of time to get my plans straight.

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Old 10-13-2009, 08:47 PM   #9
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Maybe your friends don't drink as much as mine do, but 15 gallons of beer is only 160 twelve ounce servings. For 300 people, I'd want 30-45 gallons of beer. You might consider brewing some of it yourself, and buying some BMC for those who like it. Or, if you have plenty of time, brew it all yourself.

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Old 10-13-2009, 08:57 PM   #10
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Quote:
Originally Posted by beltbuckle View Post
Maybe your friends don't drink as much as mine do, but 15 gallons of beer is only 160 twelve ounce servings. For 300 people, I'd want 30-45 gallons of beer. You might consider brewing some of it yourself, and buying some BMC for those who like it. Or, if you have plenty of time, brew it all yourself.
He mentioned they were getting a full keg of BMC too.
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