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Old 11-16-2012, 01:07 PM   #1
Scanloni
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Default One Set Up for All Styles?

I currently have a kegerator set up to dispense Guinness. Beer Gas, nitrogen regulator, stout faucet, etc. I used to love Guinness, but I've since moved on to other beers and I'm not really into Guinness all that much anymore. I still love stouts though, particularly Bear Republic Big Bear Black Stout, Steelhead, Ipswich Oatmeal Stout, etc. But I also enjoy other styles as well, such as pale ales, IPA, red's, browns, lagers, etc.

So I've decided to start using my kegerator for my homebrew, but I'm not 100% sure I know what the ideal set up is. I'm pretty sure switching from the beer gas over to just Co2 is the correct way to go. That would be suitable for pale ales, IPA's, etc, but would Co2 also be suitable for the kind of stouts I'm into these days? (My local gas supplier has no problem filling my nitrogen tank with Co2, so I'm all set with my existing nitrogen regulator too for pushing the Co2, right?)

Also, what about the faucet/tap? Should I invest in a standard tap for certain styles, but use my stout tap for others? Or stick with my stout tap, but remove the restrictor disk & flow director when dispensing certain styles? Again, I'm not looking for the Guinness style head. Should I still use the stout faucet for non-Guinness style stouts? Or is a standard tap fine for non-Guinness stouts pushed with Co2? I don't mind expirimenting or buying whatever I need, just looking for some clarification first.

Also, should I be looking to force carbonate my homebrew, or prime it with sugar in the keg? And how does that play into my set up with regard to the Co2? Are there advantages to either? I know force carbing it means I get to drink it sooner, which is nice, but I don't mind waiting for it to prime with sugar if the result is better. When it comes to force carbing vs keg priming, does it matter whether it's a stout, pale ale, etc? Are there certain styles where one method is preferred over the other?

I know I'm asking many questions at once here, but they're all related to the same basic question- what is the best overall set up to dispense many different styles? For example, I've got a pale ale fermenting right now, and an American Stout on deck. What kind of set up should I aim for? Or do I need to switch things around based on the style I'm dispensing? I really appreciate everyone's experience, and I'm sure others will benefit from my questions being answered as well. So thanks in advance for your time, and happy brewing!

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Old 11-16-2012, 01:43 PM   #2
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I wouldn't bust open the stout tap. A standard chrome faucet only costs a couple of bucks and you can find SS Perlicks for ~$35 if you shop around. It's really easy to swap 'em out.

As for the gas, I'd just look into getting a 5 lb cylinder and regulator for CO2 and keep the N2 cylinder for the beer mix. It'll be a little expensive to get into, but the advantage is that most shops just swap out 5 pounders and you never have to worry about a hydro test (so long as you turn it in before it's due).

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Old 11-16-2012, 02:21 PM   #3
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Quote:
Originally Posted by gr8shandini View Post
I wouldn't bust open the stout tap. A standard chrome faucet only costs a couple of bucks and you can find SS Perlicks for ~$35 if you shop around. It's really easy to swap 'em out.

As for the gas, I'd just look into getting a 5 lb cylinder and regulator for CO2 and keep the N2 cylinder for the beer mix. It'll be a little expensive to get into, but the advantage is that most shops just swap out 5 pounders and you never have to worry about a hydro test (so long as you turn it in before it's due).
I agree, I'll just pick up a standard tap. But I still have a question about the stout tap. Is the stout tap intended for use with ALL stouts ingeneral, or just Guinness style stouts? I'm assuming just Guinness style stouts, since those are the only kind that require a widget when bottled. If that's correct, than I would use a standard tap for any non-Guinness style stouts, right? For example, if I want to dispense a Sierra Nevada style stout, I would use a standard tap, NOT a stout tap? In other words, the only time one would use a "stout tap" is to dispense Guinness style stouts, or other beers where a Guinness style head was desired? All other stouts would be dispensed using a standard tap?
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Old 11-16-2012, 03:51 PM   #4
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I've seen those stout taps used for all sorts of stouts, scotch ales, milds, etc. so I think it would be fine with all style you want served with that more creamy character.

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Old 11-16-2012, 04:46 PM   #5
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Yup. I think the stout tap was invented to simulate a pint pulled with a beer engine with a "sparkler" tip. So it's appropriate for anything you'd serve on the hand pump. Everything else goes through the regular tap.

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