Time to hop off of the fence and quick lurking...
I just recently took an interest in small-batch brewing as a low-cost way to get into and experiment with AG brewing (inspired by posts from DRoyLenz
- thanks guys!!) Anyway, I decided to go with 5l mini kegs rather than bottling.
I'd say that for my purposes (~2.5 gal batches) the minikegs have worked out quite well, although to be honest, I'm guessing that the tap-a-draft system would probably have worked equally well.
I bought 4 new minikegs online and built my own tap according to the design by SiouxerBrewer
on the Northern Brewer Forums. I modified the tap with fittings to take advantage of the ball lock 5-gal corny setup I already owned. (bought off of a friend many years ago, and gathering dust until my recently renewed interest in brewing)
A few weeks ago, I transferred my first batch (Biermuncher's Wit recipe) into two minikegs, crossed my fingers and force carbed at about 20 psi for several days. I had to loop a strap around the top and bottom of the minikeg to hold the tap in place, but I didn't seem to have any trouble holding pressure otherwise. The keg fits nicely on the bottom shelf of my kitchen fridge, which is more than I can say for a 5 gal corny keg. (I'm looking to put together a keezer in the near future if I can find a good deal on CL.)
Since I just started, I have yet to reuse a keg. We'll see how that goes. Once empty, I wash the keg with oxiclean, and fill it with StarSan, capping the top with a cleaned replaceable bung. Batch #2 (an SNPA clone recipe) went into kegs 3 and 4. When it's ready batch #3 (Yuri Rage's Thunderstruck pumpkin ale) will go into kegs 1 and 2. We'll see how many reuses I can get out of these. I expect that sooner or later I'll end up moving into 3 gallon corny kegs, but these seem pretty good for now.