A short rant.
I don't mind bottling that much, but it is a pain.
I just want to make sure I'm not missing something.
In order to do the whole kegging thing, I'll need the following (I think):
Corny Keg: ~$25
CO2 tank: ?
Tubes + connectors: ~$30?
Small fridge: ~$250?
Kegerator parts: ~$100?
Am I way off?
I don't know if the kegerator parts will run you that much, but yeah, it's expensive, which is why I've put it off for so long. I'll probably do it after the new year, but I just haven't really taken the initiative and spent the $$ yet.
if you have the room, look in the classifieds near you for a used fridge. I got a full size fridge (w/freezer on top like we all had growing up) for $25 and just had to move it. Also, check your local scrap yard (in the yellow pages) they often have cornies or sankes - I got 2 like that in good shape with all the parts for $20 ea.
I started out with:
3 cornies $75.00
1 Dual gauge regulator: $49.00
1 CO2 Tank (Craigslist) $75.00
21 feet of liquid tubing: ~$12-$14
10 feet of gas tubing: ~$7-$10
Three liquid ball locks and threaded connects: $20
Three gas ball locks and threaded connects: $20
One Sanyo 4912 on sale: $160 (including tax).
Two simple gas line splitters $3.00
Three picnic taps: $12-$15
All in: ~ $438.00.
What helped is that I just started assembling what I needed over a 4-6 week period. It was less painful that way.
I was enjoying cold draft beer for several months before I got around to building a tower.
check this out http://www.beveragefactory.com/draftbeer/kits/shpk.shtml
The bare minimum you will need is:
gas in quick disconnect
liquid out quick disconnect
liquid out line
By searching Craigslist and Ebay you are going to be able to find deals on some of this stuff. For example, I got my 10lb CO2 tank on Ebay for $60 shipped. So pay attention.
However, I would not recommend going with the minimum. You WILL want to upgrade your system. Get a fridge that will hold 3-4+ cornies. Get a 10lb CO2 tank. Get some kind of splitter for your gas in. I currently have a fridge that will hold 4 cornies and a carboy for lagering (or a CO2tank) and this was my original fridge that I was only keeping one keg in at a time. Trust me, once you keg the first batch you will all but abort bottling.
Check out these guy's I was happy with my purchase from them
1 keg system for $165
3 keg system for $211
You can often find old fridges cheap or for free on Craig's list.
I have a dual gauge regulator but now know that knowing the pressure on the
co2 tank is not an indication of how much gas is left in the tank so I think it's a waste of money.
You can get in on the cheap - corny, regulator, co2, tubing, and picnic tap - probably for $150-200... throw it in an existing fridge or used craigslist fridge...
Or you can go "all-out" and get multiple cornies, dual regulators (for different PSI on different kegs), co2, tubing, mini-fridge, and kegerator accessories (faucets, towers, et all)... If you do this, plan to spend somewhere in the neighborhood of $500-700 depending upon what you buy used versus new.
Here's how I rolled:
CO2 tank, ~$50 shipped (ebay ftw! I made a thread about the supplier a while ago)
Regulator: $25 out of HBT classifieds
4 cornies from Adventures in Homebrewing: $80
plastic quick disconnects: $3 each x 6 = 18
beverage line: $.50 x 30 ft = $15
air line: $.29 x 10 ft = $3
picinic taps: $3 x 3 = $9
So I have 4 cornies (with three available on tap) for about $200... If you're patient and wait for the right deal to come along, you can get in at a very reasonable price! Although I would really like to get a kegerator and get these guys outta my fridge... Oh well, some sacrifices must be made!
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