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Home Brew Forums > Home Brewing Beer > Bottling/Kegging > WARNING: Plastic Kegs
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Old 08-17-2012, 05:17 PM   #1
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Default WARNING: Plastic Kegs

I don't know if anyone here has any 5gal plastic kegs that are starting to get popular in the professional brewing arena, but you need to be careful if so. There have been several explosions of kegs while cleaning them - usually the keg top separates and the keg itself goes flying straight up into the air, but one person passed away while cleaning a keg when it exploded into bits.

The latest batch of exploding kegs came from PKA and PKA has said their kegs are safe up to 60psi, but we've seen some kegs explode at 30. PKA is working with the breweries reporting trouble so hopefully we'll hear more information soon.

Since homebrew systems and equipment are less precise (often) than pro systems, I'd caution against using these at home with any significant pressure. Because of the failures some breweries may be looking to dump these kegs and they may be attractive to you but you may wish to hold off.


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Old 08-17-2012, 05:50 PM   #2
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Someone died recently due to this.... it was all over the forum. Not a home brewer, but some poor craft brew guy


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Old 08-17-2012, 05:51 PM   #3
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Yep. And since then, there have been many reports of exploding kegs during cleaning on the Brewers' Association mail list. I figured I'd share it here.
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Old 08-17-2012, 05:53 PM   #4
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Is there a picture of said kegs?
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Old 08-17-2012, 05:54 PM   #5
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No, unfortunately. The BA's technology isn't the best

But most of them seem to have come from PKA so I'm assuming they're these:

http://www.pkamerica.com/content/sec...egs/index.html
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Old 08-18-2012, 02:21 PM   #6
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Most breweries will pressurize the kegs after cleaning. Depending on the type of cleaner they have the may not achieve the level of internal pressure they desire so some will add additional pressure after the keg cleaner. That is probably where the issues occur. If it's on a keg cleaner the top has no where to go because it's mounted in the cleaner, it's the post cleaning pressurizing that is the risky part. So in order to move faster I assume many breweries are running 80-100psi on their regulator for a quick burst into the keg so they don't have to sit there for 20 seconds to pressurize the keg. I have not really looked into the issue a whole lot because where I work we use all metal kegs and although they state 60 psi on the keg their burst pressure is WELL above that.
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Old 08-18-2012, 03:53 PM   #7
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Correct. Although some of the reports the BA has received include reports of failure below 60psi - even as low as 30. The uninitiated homebrewer may accidentally (or purposely) pressurize a keg more than that and if they choose plastic may be injured or killed.
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Old 08-18-2012, 04:06 PM   #8
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Most SS kegs have sevral battle scars on them from getting kicked around. As light as the empty plastic kegs are, I bet people toss them around as much or more. Any blows to the sides of the plastic are likely going to weaken it. It would be interesting to know if most of the failures are from manufacturing defects or from weakened kegs due to misuse.
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Old 08-18-2012, 04:19 PM   #9
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wow this is crazy.... The plastic keg idea seems like a great option for a smaller nano/micro brewery as the costs are lower I assume but dang!
I can't believe that things have not been shut down as far a production until this gets figured out, over pressurizing or not if a pressure vessel cannot hold at least twice it's normal operating pressure than it should not be sold. 30-60 or even 90psi should be perfectly fine with ought any risk of catastrophic failure. R.I.P. brewery guy...
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Old 08-18-2012, 04:29 PM   #10
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Agreed. And that's why I decided to share it. I've read several reports over the past week plus in the Brewers Association digest and realized that homebrewers may be attracted to these kegs.

To be fair, PKA (vendor) is responsive and working with the breweries to learn what happened in each case. But at home, this is a hobby. Spend a couple extra bucks for the steel kegs and enjoy time with your family afterward.


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