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Home Brew Forums > Home Brewing Beer > Beginners Beer Brewing Forum > How does the whole Soda Keg thing work?
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Old 04-16-2010, 12:56 AM   #1
jonmclean2
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Default How does the whole Soda Keg thing work?

I am curious about soda kegs. Do I ferment my beer in them and then hook them up to a kegerator? Or do I transfer fermented beer into them? Are they easy to clean? What is the whole O ring or seal thing about? Advantages/Disadvantages? Any help is appreciated.

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Old 04-16-2010, 01:09 AM   #2
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Some people ferment in them, but that really is a minority. Most people just transfer fermented beer into them for serving.

The top of a keg looks like this:



That top pops out, and has this big rubber O ring like this:



Just closing the lid won't create a good seal, so you have to apply pressure (via a CO2 tank, with a regulator) to "seat" the lid. The pressure pushes the lid up, the O ring makes the seal.

They are stainless steel, and extremely easy to clean.

The biggest advantage is that you don't have to bottle anymore. You can also fine tune your carbonation level, and also pour a pint whenever you want one.

Disadvantages are cost (kegerator, CO2 tank, regulator, lines, taps etc), and the space the kegerator and extra kegs takes up.

This is a good basic kit
I ended up upgrading to the 2 keg, and dual body regulator kit. The dual body regulator means you can have 2 kegs at 2 different pressures. Otherwise, with 1 body, even if you split the line, every keg you hook up has to be set at the same pressure. This isn't advantageous if you want to carbonate one beer, which requires higher pressure, and serve another, which requires lower pressure.

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Old 04-16-2010, 01:41 AM   #3
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Thanks, this was really helpful. I like the idea of the 2 keg kit. What is the size of the soda kegs? I take it with this setup I would be able to server beer after 2-3 weeks once the ferementation is done and the beer has settled? No need to bottle or use priming suger. Thanks again the photos helped illustraight it for me.

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Old 04-16-2010, 02:22 AM   #4
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It holds 5 gallons

My typical schedule is:

-ferment for 3-4 weeks (or whatever you usually do)
-transfer to clean, sanitized keg
-hook up to gas, and stick in kegerator
-let sit for ~2 weeks @ determined PSI for desired carbonation. This is pretty easy. There are charts that tell you what pressure to set it at, depending on the temperature.
-After the beer is carbonated, adjust to serving pressure and enjoy!

I sometimes naturally carb the keg too. I use beersmith to tell me how much priming sugar to add. Its usually less than if you were bottling. You then seat the lid, and let it sit at room temp for 2-3 weeks to carb.

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Old 04-16-2010, 02:34 AM   #5
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This is so tempting to me.

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Single Vessel BIAB is all I need....Until we figure out the no vessel technique.

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Old 04-16-2010, 02:41 AM   #6
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It's really a no brainer. It is the best money I've spent in this hobby so far.

Bull

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Old 04-16-2010, 03:37 AM   #7
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what is the difference between pin lock and ball lock? which is better?

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Old 04-16-2010, 03:40 AM   #8
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Edcculus View Post
Some people ferment in them, but that really is a minority. Most people just transfer fermented beer into them for serving.

The top of a keg looks like this:



That top pops out, and has this big rubber O ring like this:



Just closing the lid won't create a good seal, so you have to apply pressure (via a CO2 tank, with a regulator) to "seat" the lid. The pressure pushes the lid up, the O ring makes the seal.

They are stainless steel, and extremely easy to clean.

The biggest advantage is that you don't have to bottle anymore. You can also fine tune your carbonation level, and also pour a pint whenever you want one.

Disadvantages are cost (kegerator, CO2 tank, regulator, lines, taps etc), and the space the kegerator and extra kegs takes up.

This is a good basic kit
I ended up upgrading to the 2 keg, and dual body regulator kit. The dual body regulator means you can have 2 kegs at 2 different pressures. Otherwise, with 1 body, even if you split the line, every keg you hook up has to be set at the same pressure. This isn't advantageous if you want to carbonate one beer, which requires higher pressure, and serve another, which requires lower pressure.
So, these kits are all complete? all you would need to do is sanitize and transfer to the kegs.. Oh, and fill your co2 tank. What does that cost to get it filled? I know prices are different everywhere.
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Old 04-16-2010, 03:56 AM   #9
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Quote:
Originally Posted by kwaidonjin View Post
what is the difference between pin lock and ball lock? which is better?
Pin lock (Pepsi-style) quick disconnects have a twist-on fitting. They're a bit harder to come by and from what I understand they're a bit taller so be aware of that if you're going to try and squeeze one into a mini-fridge.

Ball lock (Coke-style) quick disconnects have a pop-on style. A lot easier to come by and easier to find parts for unless it has a "racetrack" shaped lid.

If you find a few pin locks dirt cheap, go ahead and pick them up and you'll be able to find everything you need online to recondition them. Replacing the o-rings gets rid of the soda syrup taste out of them. I've had to replace a couple of poppets too so that they'd

Quote:
Originally Posted by kwaidonjinseal
So, these kits are all complete? all you would need to do is sanitize and transfer to the kegs.. Oh, and fill your co2 tank. What does that cost to get it filled? I know prices are different everywhere.
I don't know what's in the kits. Probably everything you need except the CO2 tank will be empty. It costs me $11 to get my 10-lb tank refilled at a local keg store -- $10 if I went up to a welding supply store a bit further away. I could exchange the tank at the LHBS for $17.

To transfer into the keg, the simplest method is to just remove the lid and siphon out of your fermenter into the keg. Put the lid back on and hook it up to the gas. If you were worried about oxidation from splashing, you could hook up a quick disconnect and a tube off of the "beer out" side and then hook the tube up to your siphon to fill from the bottom up.
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Fermenting: A few beers

Conditioning: A few other beers
Bottled: A few more beers
Kegged: Many beers
Next Brews: More beers than you could imagine
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Old 04-16-2010, 04:01 AM   #10
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Quote:
Originally Posted by archiefl98 View Post
Pin lock (Pepsi-style) quick disconnects have a twist-on fitting. They're a bit harder to come by and from what I understand they're a bit taller so be aware of that if you're going to try and squeeze one into a mini-fridge.

Ball lock (Coke-style) quick disconnects have a pop-on style. A lot easier to come by and easier to find parts for unless it has a "racetrack" shaped lid.

If you find a few pin locks dirt cheap, go ahead and pick them up and you'll be able to find everything you need online to recondition them. Replacing the o-rings gets rid of the soda syrup taste out of them. I've had to replace a couple of poppets too so that they'd



I don't know what's in the kits. Probably everything you need except the CO2 tank will be empty. It costs me $11 to get my 10-lb tank refilled at a local keg store -- $10 if I went up to a welding supply store a bit further away. I could exchange the tank at the LHBS for $17.

To transfer into the keg, the simplest method is to just remove the lid and siphon out of your fermenter into the keg. Put the lid back on and hook it up to the gas. If you were worried about oxidation from splashing, you could hook up a quick disconnect and a tube off of the "beer out" side and then hook the tube up to your siphon to fill from the bottom up.
Awesome, really sounds like the way to go.. I know I am sick of bottling.
So, you can prime with sugar and let carbonate naturally or force carbonate. if you use priming sugar, how long can you let them age in keg?Are the ball lock and pin lock kegs interchangeable?
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