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Old 10-20-2011, 07:54 PM   #1
Oct 2009
azusa, ca
Posts: 6

Thinking long and hard about making the step up to kegging. Of course it is more convenient, but is it more cost effective? Worried about the cost of CO2 in particular. Can anyone tell me

A. How much does it cost to fill up a standard size CO2 tank?

B. How many five gallon batches can you typically carb and dispense per said fillup?

I'm sure it varies based on where you fill and what beers you're brewing. But a ballpark answer would be much appreciated.


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Old 10-20-2011, 08:00 PM   #2
LandoLincoln's Avatar
Feb 2011
Joliet, IL
Posts: 2,989
Liked 1115 Times on 588 Posts

Kegging has been the most expensive part of the hobby for me. The corny kegs, the regulator, the tank, the chest freezer, the tubes, the faucets and shanks and tail just goes on and on and on.

Yeah, there's just no way at all you're going to save money over bottling. Unless you factor in time saved as money.

A. It costs me about $30 to fill up a 20lb tank.

B. I don't know, but I haven't had my system for very long.

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Old 10-20-2011, 08:15 PM   #3
Jul 2011
Ramsey & Akeley, Mn
Posts: 2,975
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A) Haven't had to do it yet, so really cheap
B) You should get 5-8 kegs out of a 5# cylinder if you force carbonate. If you prime with sugar for carbing and only use CO2 for dispensing, you can easily double the number kegs before a fill up is needed.
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Old 10-20-2011, 08:17 PM   #4
Jan 2011
Fort Worth, Texas
Posts: 189
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I pay about $12 for a 5 lb CO2 refill and get about tens kegs out of it. It is the best addition to my brewing I have made. If i still had to bottle, I probably would not brew as much.

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Old 10-20-2011, 08:25 PM   #5
bruin_ale's Avatar
May 2009
Campbell, CA
Posts: 1,436
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As the first reply stated, the cost of the equipment adds up quick. After that, CO2 is pretty cheap. I pay about $15 for a 5# refill, but a 10# refill is only a dollar or two more and I'm sure it's probably not much for for a #20. So if you're concerned about the cost of CO2, buy a bigger tank. I fill my 5# tank after about 6 kegs or so - which usually is a couple times a year. I could probably do a fill a year on a 10 or 20lb tank.

With a family and busy job, I can't put a price on my time. Spending 10 minutes to transfer beer from a carboy into a keg is much better than an hour or more bottling.

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Old 10-20-2011, 08:29 PM   #6
BainbridgeBrewer's Avatar
Mar 2011
Bainbridge Island, WA
Posts: 228
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A. I pay $15 to swap 5 lbs. tanks at the LHBS.

B. I carbed 7 5 gallon kegs and dispensed a total of 8 kegs with it (I refilled a cornie at a micro brewery). I also used the tank for purging carboys during transfer, and filling some bottles from these kegs.

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Old 10-20-2011, 08:47 PM   #7
Sep 2010
Posts: 1,689
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Kegging is pricey to get started, but worth it.

For me, it's $20 for a 5lb fill-up and $28 for a 20lb fill-up. Haven't exhausted either tank yet, so can't comment on how long they last (hope the 20lb lasts a while).

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Old 10-20-2011, 09:11 PM   #8
kpr121's Avatar
Jul 2009
Pittsburgh, PA
Posts: 3,151
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I use 20 oz paintball bottles from Dicks Sporting Goods. 3.99 a fill and every 5th fill is free if you reuse the box it came in. So its $2.55/lb. Each tank lasts me about 3-4 force carbonated kegs on average. I also use the tanks for misc. tasks like purging bottles/carboys/kegs.

I have three tanks and try to keep one or two filled at all times on reserve.

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Old 10-20-2011, 10:15 PM   #9
Sep 2011
Draper, ut
Posts: 7

Just refilled a 5lb and a 20lb for $20

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Old 10-20-2011, 10:44 PM   #10
Oct 2009
azusa, ca
Posts: 6

Thanks for all the solid info! these boards are by far the best way to get down to the nitty gritty in a hurry. Looks like if I run a 20# tank the cost of carbing is pretty negligible. Score one for legging.

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