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Old 11-04-2008, 08:52 PM   #1
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1. How long does the beer in a keg stay drinkable once you tap into it?
2. What kind of maintenance I am looking at? I'm thinking a basic cleaning/sanitization of the lines in between kegs. What kind of time is involved there?
I am seriously considering the purchase for myself over the holidays and would appreciate any input!
Thanks!

 
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Old 11-04-2008, 09:16 PM   #2
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1.) Depends heavily on the beer you put in it. Lighter beers don;t have the shelf life of the big alcoholics or hop bombs. Either way the beer will hit a peak and then begin a slow process of degredation. Aroma will fade first, hop flavor next. bitterness will progressively trade places with oxidation.

As to how drinkable the beer will be over time depends heavily on your personal palate. Some people look forward to some oxidative flavors in some of the big beers. Others won't tolerate it at all and would rather dump the keg than suffer through such an offense.

General rule is that the Hefeweisens, Pale Ales, Light Lagers, IPA, and some others are to be drank freshly and quickly.

Beers like Stouts, Porters, Scottishs, et al are meant to have some age in them to meld their character.

Big boys like Heavys, RIS, Scotch, and Barleywines are best to age 6 months to a year before you let them flow.

But, none of this is absolute.

2.) This depends on how twitchy you are about cleanliness and sanitation.

General rule of thumb is that each keg you empty you clean the lines. About 10 to 15 minutes which includes the working time for the line cleaner (a time in which you will either be waiting, drinking, or cleaning something else like the keg)

I personally break everything down every 2 kegs or at visible signs of beerstone (calcium deposits that look like coarse salt). I rinse my kegs after use. Deep clean them when I have 2 or more. And sanitize them only just before re-filling.

Hope this helps.

 
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Old 11-04-2008, 09:25 PM   #3
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1. I've found that it's about the same as in bottles. With the corny kegs you keep them pressurized so they don't oxidize like a commerical keg that you have to tap and then kick relatively quickly. My last keg went about 4 months before I finally drained it.

2. It's less maintenance than bottling that much is for sure. I clean my keg and lines every time I fill it and the whole process takes maybe 30 minutes.
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Old 11-04-2008, 10:25 PM   #4
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I am only 3 batches behind, 1 that I am drinking now and I am seeing kegging with a kegerator in my future. If I have 4 cornies with 2 of them in the fridge and 2 being used as secondaries I can build up my pipeline in no time.
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Old 11-04-2008, 10:29 PM   #5
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I found these helpful when researching kegging maintenance:

 
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Old 11-05-2008, 01:08 PM   #6
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Everything I know about kegging I learned from Chris's videos.

Oh yeah except for one thing I learned from the guys at Austin Homebrew. Use LOTS of keg lube. Having a leaky post seal sucks. Plenty of lube will prevent that.
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Old 11-05-2008, 01:24 PM   #7
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I found that once you do it a few times, the maintanence on the system really is not much. I don't have faucets yet, though- I'm still using picnic taps inside the fridge. I'm sure that makes it easier. The kegs are easy to break down (except I have one with a large star-shaped post that I just cannot get that off) and it's pretty maintanence-free.

Just like with bottled beer, you can drink it whenever you'd like. The problem comes with the timing, of course- you can carbonate a one week old beer but of course you will have carbonated green beer. It's so tempting to want to drink a young beer!

I only have two taps, and 7 kegs, so if I have a beer that I'm not thrilled with, I take it off and replace it with something else. I've had beers in kegs for months with no loss of flavor, so it's not going to "go bad" on you. Just like with bottled beer, it seems like the end of the keg was the very best of the batch!
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Old 11-05-2008, 01:53 PM   #8
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Quote:
Originally Posted by YooperBrew View Post
...(except I have one with a large star-shaped post that I just cannot get that off)...
I have one like that too. It's a CO2 post. How important is it to get a CO2 post off?
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Old 11-05-2008, 02:01 PM   #9
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Kegging should not affect the shelf life of your beer, and if it does, it should extend it. Like the others said, you push the beer out with CO2, so just make sure your kegs are holding pressure. The truth is, even if they don't hold pressure, you should not expect all sorts of bad things to get in through the tiny leaks.

Maintenance is a breeze, compared to bottles. Cleaning lines is as simple as adding a quart of warm BLC (diluted according to the directions) to your keg, shaking it all around in the keg, and then running it out through the line. Voila, your line is clean. I then add some iodophore solution to the keg, shake that around, and run it out through the line. If I am going to put the dispensing line away for a while, I often leave it full of sanitizer.

If you want to break down a keg, it might take you longer the first time. However, you'll quickly get faster and better at it. It's somewhat like deboning a chicken, that way.


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Old 11-05-2008, 02:08 PM   #10
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Quote:
Originally Posted by RC0032 View Post
I found these helpful when researching kegging maintenance:
Sorry. It's hard for me to take that guy seriously when he goes through all 4 of those videos with that same half glass of beer sitting there. What the heck is wrong with him?
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