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Old 02-13-2013, 11:56 PM   #1
Echoloc8
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Default Empty kegerator, emerging from pipeline fail; suggestions for avoiding future fail

Two empty kegs in a 2-tap kegerator makes for a sad brewer.

As my sig currently shows, I've actually got quite a few things going in my pipeline, and I'll be putting the EdWort's IPA in the keg on Saturday. But this was only after figuring out my problem in mid-January: both kegs were getting low, and I didn't have any beers going to fill them! Plenty of wine/cider/mead batches, but nothing to keg. The bottles I have are few and far between; straggler remnants from previous batches. I don't generally bottle (I'd much rather siphon once from primary to keg), but that may need to change so I'm not limited by keg availability.

So here we are in mid-February and the IPA is almost ready. The Irish Red will be another 2 weeks, per the Northern Brewer recipe. I suppose that for maximum turnaround I should have busted out a low-grav Pale Ale and a Hefeweizen, but IMO it was too early in the year back in January.

I'm going to pay more attention to beer-pipeline considerations in the future (I've got rough brewing plans for the whole year now), but I'm curious: how do you plan ahead? What sort of keg turnaround do you generally presume? Do you have any tools or rules of thumb you use?

If you get overly optimistic about kicking a keg and you wind up with a beer ready before the keg is, do you just wait, bottle, fill growlers for friends, throw a party?

-Rich


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Old 02-14-2013, 12:57 AM   #2
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I use low gravity quick brews to fill in the gaps. I also bottle a six pack from each keg as soon as it carbs and squirrel that away in case I suddenly find myself out of kegs.

Spare kegs can help if you can get some. If you have room you can carb one untapped while waiting to kick the two on tap. If you don't have room in the kegerator you could prime a spare keg or two with sugar and store them in a closet till you need them. Hope these ideas help.


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Old 02-14-2013, 01:31 AM   #3
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I plan about 2-3 months in advance to ensure my pipeline is always full and has a diverse selection. I like to keep a lighter beer (pilsner/helles/dortmunder), an amber (o'fest, american amber, dark lager), and a hoppy beer (pale ale, ipa) ready and on tap at all times.

I know roughly what my consumption rate is so it's just a matter of making sure that I've got 2-3 of each type either kegged and waiting, or in a fermenter.

Lots of equipment helps to make this easy too. I have 7 corny kegs, and 2 fermentation freezers, plus a serving fridge. I normally have 1 freezer with active fermentations and 1 freezer holding kegs ready to go.
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Old 02-14-2013, 03:43 PM   #4
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Cool ideas. I definitely want to get a fermentation fridge going in addition to the kegerator. I particularly like the idea of having kegs "on deck."

I also really appreciate the idea of bottling a sixer from each keg. Maybe even 2, at least until I get more kegs going.

Since my keezer dreams are going to be unfulfilled for a while, I'm likely to max out at 4 kegs, 2 tapped, 2 waiting, for a while. I might need to make peace with bottling again, if only to have the flexibility to have more brew diversity around than kegs can provide me.

-Rich
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Old 02-14-2013, 08:47 PM   #5
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with a kid on the way, empty kegs are my biggest homebrewers worry... though i love the all-grain process i'll probably switch back to all-extract here and there just to avoid an empty pipeline...

its funny, i've never had a problem emptying a keg when i've got more going in...
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Old 02-15-2013, 12:11 AM   #6
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Clearly, you need more kegs.

I picked up a 6 tap, so I brew when one kicks.
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Old 02-15-2013, 03:18 PM   #7
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Quote:
Originally Posted by AgentHubcap View Post
Clearly, you need more kegs.
Clearly!

-Rich


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Primary: Janet's Brown Ale | 2013 EdWort's Apfelwein | 2012 JAOM 3-gal | 2013 JAOM 5-gal
Secondary: 2013 Velvet Hammer RIS | 2012 Kit Raspberry Merlot
Bottled: 2014 Peach Sauvignon Blanc | Rich's Legal Wit | 2013 Fireside Barleywine | 2007 Oaked orange blossom mead | 2013 Kit Cabernet
Kegged: 2014 Peach Sauvignon Blanc, sparkling | Mole' Porter
On Deck: Black Cherry Ancho Chile Mead | Leffe Blond clone
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