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Old 07-05-2009, 03:51 AM   #1
Join Date: Mar 2009
Location: Washington US
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Okay so I am thinking of making the jump to kegging. Only because I have seen so many of the Kegarators around here that I really want one! I have some space downstairs that would work real well for a bar (note: we are renting so I can't build anything). I may post a pic of it currently someplace to ask for advice on that.

Anyway my question is for those who already keg, what is a good starter kegging system? Any advice for a new Kegger?

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Old 07-05-2009, 04:12 AM   #2
SavageSteve's Avatar
Join Date: Sep 2007
Location: Connecticut
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A starter kegging system is pretty simple: a keg, a CO2 tank, a regulator, and appropriate tubing and connectors to go from the CO2 tank to the keg. That's how I bought mine, and I've been adding to it ever since. I'm up to 8 kegs and two CO2 tanks now.

I think any starter system you get is OK as long as it comes with everything you need to keg a batch of beer.

As for my advice for a new kegger, well, just do it! It is so much easier than bottling-- for me, anyway.


On Deck: Jamil's Vanilla Robust Porter
Fermenting: Orange Blossom Mead
Kegs: Element 56 Pale Ale, Ron's Belgian Blonde, Summer'n Saison, Furloughktoberfest '09, Grateful Pale Ale, Sam Adams Cream Stout Clone, EdWort's Apfelwein
Planning: n/a

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Old 07-05-2009, 04:25 AM   #3
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Yeah it seems like it would be easier. Thanks.

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Old 07-05-2009, 06:47 AM   #4
Join Date: Sep 2008
Location: Bloomington, IL
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kegging is a whole hell-uva lot easier than bottling...

Here is the one that I started with:
Brew Logic Single Tap Draft System- with Reconditioned CO2 Tank :: Midwest Supplies Homebrewing and Winemaking Supplies

That is with a picnic tap, so you don't have to drill any holes or anything like that in your fridge. The next step after that to make your kegerator is just as simple as drilling hole in the fridge, installing the tap shaft and then adding a pull tap.

Overall it is pretty darn simple, and you get your beer about a week and a half sooner.

If you have any other questions, feel free to hit me up.
Accidentally Good Brewing
Bloomington, IL

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Old 07-05-2009, 09:42 AM   #5
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Location: Chicago, IL
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+1 on kegging. i angered the beer karma gods and jumped straight to kegging when I started brewing. (I know, I know - I cheated; I was supposed to pay my dues by bottling first.) All that bottling then waiting seemed like way too much trouble for me - not to mention skipping the cost of stocking up on bottles.

Now, thanks to BierMuncher's Better Bottle Filler, I've got the best of both worlds - I can fill up a couple bottles on the spot and send people home with some brew, and have it on tap at the same time. That's a long thread, but worth the read. Basically you cut a racking tube, put it through a stopper, attach the other end into a picnic tap, drop your pressure to 5psi and keep the bottle under pressure as you're filling it so as to retain the carbonation. Super easy, super quick (once you do it once or twice and get a feel for it).

If you have a spare fridge, all you'll need is a CO2 tank, used kegs and tubing. Get 3/16" ID tubing - known as "foam free" because of the extra internal resistance it offers and the reduction of foaming at the other end. It still needs to be several feet long, though. Check out this post (the Excel file attachment) for a very convenient calculator that takes all the sweat out of getting the right length of line for a proper pour.

Once you get to the keezer stage, definitely go with Perlick taps. They're more expensive but way worth it. You'll eventually wind up upgrading; may as well save yourself the cost of the cheap tap (and the aggravation).

Lastly, I'd suggest getting a chest freezer off of craig's list. You can use one of those minifridges if space is tight, but it'll wind up being more expensive than a chest freezer and you'll have less room.

The extra room is great for 2 reasons: First, I always keep a keg of sanitiser that I can plug my lines into and flush em out lickety split, easy peezy. Then I use that keg for my next batch - it's clean, pressure tested and ready to go! Second, it sure it nice to be able to cold crash my secondaries before racking into the kegs!! Clarification without the chemicals.

I Got mine for $30 off of craig's list - a fraction of the cost of a new one. It looked like hell when I bought it, but a little paint and my Ravens keezer is rockin!

Good luck!
Primary: Imperial IPA, Biermuncher's OctoberFAST, Zombie Dust
Secondary: Caberlot (my first wine!)
Cold Crashing: Goat's Spare Tire
Kegged & On Tap: Bavarian Hefeweizen, 3-year aged Cider

Projects: The Ravens Keezer - Custom Gas System - 10gal MLT

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Old 07-05-2009, 10:13 AM   #6
Join Date: May 2008
Location: Hawaii
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I wasted many years bottling and did not brew much because it was HELL. Once I started kegging life became good, and brewing fun. Come to the dark side.
In Primary: Belgium Chimay clones.
In Secondary: Braggot, pale ale, end of the world white.
Conditioning: Mead, Cider, braggot, Belgium Wheat.
On Tap: Clones, Chimay Blue, Red, Porter, malted cider.
Bottles: Far, far, too many to list.

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Old 07-05-2009, 11:14 AM   #7
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And now, a word from "the other dark side." The comments posted on this thread outline the benefits of kegging pretty well, so I won't go there.

Instead, I'll present a rebuttal, points in no particular order:

1. Bottling preserves the principle of K.I.S.S. Bottles are low tech; no power required, no moving parts, just like the rest of my brewing equipment (cooler conversion to mash, stainless pot over propane to boil, plastic buckets to ferment, carboys for secondary).

2. Bottles are more flexible. It's easier to transport, share and enjoy a variety of beers in bottles than in kegs.

3. Refrigeration not required. Bottles can be stored in a variety of spaces and configurations, and don't require the expense of refrigeration in storage.

4. Dedicated space for storage / dispensing equipment. Like big brew rigs, kegging generally requires permanent space for the storage unit (fridge, converted freezer) when full of beer. Also, keg dispensing tends toward the building or remodeling permanent space for a bar or other area. Not everyone has a suitable domicile for this sort of arrangement. Bottles, once again, are much more.....flexible.

5. Bottles don't have to be expensive...or have any expense. All but about 25 of my 500+ bottles are 12 oz. longneck commercial non-returnables. Cost = $0.00

6. It doesn't have to be a "hateful" proposition to deal with bottling. I quickly adopted a number of methods and processes that make my bottling day very tolerable. As far as my methods (and those of others) go, I can't do better than post a link to Revvy's excellent thread:

Nota Bene: As stated earlier, I appreciate the advantages of kegging. Neither am I denying that I may keg myself some day. I'm just presenting the advantages of bottling, which are real.
“Malt does more than Milton can / To justify God’s ways to man”

-A. E. Housman (1859–1936). A Shropshire Lad , 1896.

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Old 07-05-2009, 11:29 AM   #8
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You dont have to store them in the cold, and 3 gal kegs are very portable for parties.

You will never regret a keg system. The only time I bottle is for gifts or specialty stuff like mead. It will seem a little overwhelming the first time but here is a great video that got me thru and made me a fan.

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Old 07-05-2009, 12:35 PM   #9
Join Date: Jun 2009
Location: Québec
Posts: 45

+1 for kegging! I first bought bottles wich were very expensive (easy cap) and beside it's easier to transport, I think it's easier to clean and sanitize a keg than 80 bottles for a batch. Then I switched to Tap-a-draft (wich is still pretty cool for parties - 6 liters tank with small CO2 cartridges), but since I'm kegging, life is more easier. The bottling process takes about 20 minutes max. I bought used PEPSI kegs, a CO2 tank and tap. I'm using a freezer at high temp (4 Celsius). It's not the best deal, but for now, it's ok. I plan to buy a fridge in the next months. But, as other mentioned, go for it, you wont regret!

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Old 07-06-2009, 01:09 AM   #10
Join Date: Mar 2009
Posts: 11

I just received the homebrew deluxe dual keg system fro midwest, and I have a batch ready to be kegged as soon as I get the CO2 tank filled. Any advice on conditioning w/ priming sugar versus force carbonation?

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