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A bunch of questions about kegging...

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Ragman

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Hello Everyone.

My friend and I just brewed 2 - 10 gallon batches this past weekend and we are both dreading bottling.
I picked up a 5 cubic foot freezer to make a keezer out of but because of time and money restraints there is no way I will have it ready by the time this brew is ready to keg.
Im trying to figure out the best way to do this so as to spend the least amount of money.
Here is what Im looking at,
a website sells 5gal corny kegs for 39 apiece shipped - So 2 corny kegs - $80.
I will need a regulator which I found for about $30 and I have a few C02 tanks from paintball Im thinking of repurposing for this. (im sure I will need some kind of adapter - right?
I will need hoses and connectors for the corny kegs.
The same site that sells the cornys for 39 also has a kit with 2 cornys,a regulator,hoses, keg connectors and picnic taps all for $121. - I think this may be the best way to go for me.

Anyway so thats my plan - here come the questions...

If I transfer from carboy to Keg about 2 weeks after the start of fermentation, can I just purge all the oxygen from the keg and let the beer sit, unrefrigerated in the corny for a couple weeks until I finish my keezer? or should it be refrigerated during those couple weeks?

I saw a video where someone did a pressure transfer from carboy to keg that had been brewed a couple week prior and he dropped a hop bag into the keg before transferring beer? is this normal? will the hop bag get in the way of the out tube?

Im not too certain of how the C02 works with the beer in the keg to carbonate it. Does the beer have to sit in the C02 for awhile to become carbonated or does this happen more quickly?

Lastly, if everything goes according to plan and I finish my keezer within a couple weeks of kegging, how do I know what to set the C02 regulator at so that the beer flows but doesnt get all foamy?

Thanks everyone for any advice you can give.
 

eric19312

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That $121 package sounds like a good plan.
Adventures in Homebrewing has a similar deal and I can recommend them as a good source for kegs and kegging equipment.

Their package is with used kegs. I would absolutely get the replacement o-rings package and do a deep clean on used kegs. Full disassembly, hot PBW etc. Contamination can live in those rubber o-rings and if the keg was used for soda it will be noticeable in your beer unless you do a good job on cleaning.

I'd recommend against the pressure transfer in your first kegging attempt. Just siphon fill the kegs and then purge the headspace with multiple blasts of CO2. Get that part down and then get into full keg purging by pushing sanitizer and pressure transfers later. Yes they make your beer better especially for super hoppy hazy IPAs but lots of us kegged without doing them for years with good results and many beer styles are more forgiving than NEIPAs.

On letting the beer sit at room temperature. Yes thats ok. You can leave them hooked up to gas to start the carbonation. Look at a carbonation chart and pick the PSI needed to get to target carbonation (e.g targeting 2.4 volumes of CO2) at room temperature. Might be something like 25 PSI. You can gook the kegs up to that PSI and then when you cool them to serving temperature they will have same volumes of CO2 but the PSI will be only about 10-12 PSI becuase the CO2 is more soluble in the cold beer,

Here is a good thread on how the carbonation works once you get the beer into the kegs:

Your last question is about line balancing. Pretty sure the picnic taps are pretty forgiving with respect to foamy pours. It helps to have a fan inside your keezer to keep the air circulating and keep the tap lines same temperature as the beer.
 
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Ragman

Ragman

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Thank you for your reply - The main reason I was looking at pressure transfer was because the last time I syphoned it was anightmare and I oxidized the $hit our of my beer. I dont know if the seal was bad on the autosyphon but it just didnt work well for me. I may just go with a racking cane and fill it full of starsan, put one end into carboy and other into a bucket on floor and let it run until beer starts coming out, pinch and move to keg.

Also - do I need to leave the kegs hooked up to C02 for the 1st 2 weeks? if I dont, will it mean the c02 will have to stay connected longer once I chill it before I can actually drink it?
 

EDF713

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Thank you for your reply - The main reason I was looking at pressure transfer was because the last time I syphoned it was anightmare and I oxidized the $hit our of my beer. I dont know if the seal was bad on the autosyphon but it just didnt work well for me. I may just go with a racking cane and fill it full of starsan, put one end into carboy and other into a bucket on floor and let it run until beer starts coming out, pinch and move to keg.

Also - do I need to leave the kegs hooked up to C02 for the 1st 2 weeks? if I dont, will it mean the c02 will have to stay connected longer once I chill it before I can actually drink it?
You don't have to leave the CO2 hooked up, it's up to you. It can carbonate at room temp, but will require more pressure, look at the carb chart for the temp where you're storing (Force Carbonation Chart - Kegerators.com). The CO2 absorbs better at lower temps and won't need as high a pressure. Another option if you're storing at room temp a couple of weeks is priming like you would for bottling, though most people I've heard of doing this don't use the full amount of sugar since the CO2 from the tank will bring it up to full carbonation once hooked up.

Whatever you do I still recommend purging the headspace and adding around 10 psi of pressure to keep the lid tight.
 

Ogilthorpe2

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Thank you for your reply - The main reason I was looking at pressure transfer was because the last time I syphoned it was anightmare and I oxidized the $hit our of my beer. I dont know if the seal was bad on the autosyphon but it just didnt work well for me. I may just go with a racking cane and fill it full of starsan, put one end into carboy and other into a bucket on floor and let it run until beer starts coming out, pinch and move to keg.

Also - do I need to leave the kegs hooked up to C02 for the 1st 2 weeks? if I dont, will it mean the c02 will have to stay connected longer once I chill it before I can actually drink it?
You can just pressurize the kegs with a short burst of CO2 and then disconnect and let them sit for a while. This will ensure a good seal on your keg while the beer continues to condition. That would free up your tank for whatever else you want it for. Only downside is that you will still have to hook back up to carbonate for a few days before serving, but it won’t harm the beer at all, and might even improve it some depending on the style.
 
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Ragman

Ragman

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You can just pressurize the kegs with a short burst of CO2 and then disconnect and let them sit for a while. This will ensure a good seal on your keg while the beer continues to condition. That would free up your tank for whatever else you want it for. Only downside is that you will still have to hook back up to carbonate for a few days before serving, but it won’t harm the beer at all, and might even improve it some depending on the style.
Good - I wasnt worried so much about how long after I get it in the keezer to when I can drink. Thank you.

Anyone know anything about the hop bag drop in during keg transfer? Just was wondering if that is normal and will the hop back clog the out tube. I suppose you just pull the bag out when the keg is empty... if this will add significant flavor than it might be something Id like to try.
 

eric19312

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Good - I wasnt worried so much about how long after I get it in the keezer to when I can drink. Thank you.

Anyone know anything about the hop bag drop in during keg transfer? Just was wondering if that is normal and will the hop back clog the out tube. I suppose you just pull the bag out when the keg is empty... if this will add significant flavor than it might be something Id like to try.
I've done keg hopping. It works fine. Some people use a strip of flat dental floss (unflavored) or something similar to suspend the bag off the bottom of the keg. I tried that but lead to leaky kegs and I stopped.
 

EDF713

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Good - I wasnt worried so much about how long after I get it in the keezer to when I can drink. Thank you.

Anyone know anything about the hop bag drop in during keg transfer? Just was wondering if that is normal and will the hop back clog the out tube. I suppose you just pull the bag out when the keg is empty... if this will add significant flavor than it might be something Id like to try.
The trick with the hops is they will eventually sink and can clog the diptube. I use a floating dip tube to avoid this. Others suspend the hops with a string or chain (if they use steel mesh canisters), but I haven't done this. You can buy keg lids with a tab to tie the string or chain to.

Unless you are really fired up about the dry hops, I would try kegging without them at first before you decide what to do.
 

dawn_kiebawls

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You could keg condition it? Add some sugar like you would to a bottle, seal the lid with ~30 psi and let it carbonate on its own in the corner of your room while working on the keezer. Just an idea
 

verboten

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Adventures has loose handle kegs for $21, or at least they did yesterday. some 3m trim adhesive and everything is good to go.
 

jseyfert3

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I will need a regulator which I found for about $30 and I have a few C02 tanks from paintball Im thinking of repurposing for this. (im sure I will need some kind of adapter - right?
How big are the CO2 tanks (grams or oz), and how much do refills cost? An adapter probably isn't terribly difficult to source, but I suspect it wouldn't take a lot of paintball tank refills before you reach the price of buying a tank.

Prices vary, but in my area with Airgas the purchase of a tank runs from about $140 to $230 for 5 to 20 lb tanks, respectively. After which you exchange for a full tank like a propane tank swap, and that ranges from $20 for a 5 lb to $30 for a 20 lb.

This can be done cheaper, depending on your local CO2 providers, especially if you can locate a used tank. BUT keep in mind tanks will need a hydro test every so many years (I think 6), which adds a slight hassle if you're not swapping tanks. Some places, like Airgas, will not fill customer tanks, only do a swap. So if you go the purchased tank route be sure you have a CO2 provider who will fill tanks around you. If all the suppliers around you only swap then just buy a tank from them to swap.
 

JSmetalcraft

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I have been aging a large beer for 4 months now in a keg. I just keep 10lb of pressure inside. Fill the keg with starsan and then transfer out using CO2 to purge of O2. I have spicket on the bottom of my carboys. I gravity feed out of carboy into keg. One line for beer and other line for the CO2. My setup is on stairs so I get good elevation change between the two. I dry hop in the keg. Usually make 10 gal batches. When I transfer I will dry hop one keg by adding a dry hopper tube hung from lid, (all my lids had a tab welded on them). The other 5 gallons sits in keg a week or two until it is needed. I have an extra lid. So I add the dry hop tube to it and I can take one off and add the lid with tube quickly. Small purge and all is done. One reply mentioned the loose handle kegs. I have several and not one have I had to repair or really found "loose". Most is they have small dents towards the bottom, great value as far as I am concerned.
 

EDF713

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I have been aging a large beer for 4 months now in a keg. I just keep 10lb of pressure inside. Fill the keg with starsan and then transfer out using CO2 to purge of O2. I have spicket on the bottom of my carboys. I gravity feed out of carboy into keg. One line for beer and other line for the CO2. My setup is on stairs so I get good elevation change between the two. I dry hop in the keg. Usually make 10 gal batches. When I transfer I will dry hop one keg by adding a dry hopper tube hung from lid, (all my lids had a tab welded on them). The other 5 gallons sits in keg a week or two until it is needed. I have an extra lid. So I add the dry hop tube to it and I can take one off and add the lid with tube quickly. Small purge and all is done. One reply mentioned the loose handle kegs. I have several and not one have I had to repair or really found "loose". Most is they have small dents towards the bottom, great value as far as I am concerned.
Same experience here with loose handle kegs. I think mine were sold discounted not because of the handles, but they had been used for cold brew coffee and I had to scrub, soak, scrub some more, and replace all the gaskets to get the coffee-ness out of them.
 

Ogilthorpe2

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Same experience here with loose handle kegs. I think mine were sold discounted not because of the handles, but they had been used for cold brew coffee and I had to scrub, soak, scrub some more, and replace all the gaskets to get the coffee-ness out of them.
I‘ve been looking for an inexpensive and sturdy container to store the recycled StarSan that I use to sanitize and then push out of my collection of 2.5 gallon kegs...one of these seems like it may be just the right thing for the job.
 

EDF713

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I used
I‘ve been looking for an inexpensive and sturdy container to store the recycled StarSan that I use to sanitize and then push out of my collection of 2.5 gallon kegs...one of these seems like it may be just the right thing for the job.
That's what I used one for. Works for line cleaner, too, depending on how old you like your cleaner to get.
 
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Ragman

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So I pulled the trigger on the $113 setup from AIH. Ordering inkbird controller from Amazon. I have about 10 days until I need to keg - hopefully everything will be here by then. I think I will just hook up the inkbird to the freezer and put the kegs in there after filling with beer and pressurizing with some C02 and let them sit while I figure out how to build the collar. Thanks everyone. Cant wait to get rid of all these bottles....:)
 

eric19312

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So I pulled the trigger on the $113 setup from AIH. Ordering inkbird controller from Amazon. I have about 10 days until I need to keg - hopefully everything will be here by then. I think I will just hook up the inkbird to the freezer and put the kegs in there after filling with beer and pressurizing with some C02 and let them sit while I figure out how to build the collar. Thanks everyone. Cant wait to get rid of all these bottles....:)
Grats you won't regret it. I bottled 50 batches before switching to kegging lol. When I did jump into kegging I did same as you and put the kegs and cylinder in the freezer and served from picnic taps. I probably went 3 months before buying taps and shanks and building the collar.
 

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How big are the CO2 tanks (grams or oz), and how much do refills cost? An adapter probably isn't terribly difficult to source, but I suspect it wouldn't take a lot of paintball tank refills before you reach the price of buying a tank.

Prices vary, but in my area with Airgas the purchase of a tank runs from about $140 to $230 for 5 to 20 lb tanks, respectively. After which you exchange for a full tank like a propane tank swap, and that ranges from $20 for a 5 lb to $30 for a 20 lb.

This can be done cheaper, depending on your local CO2 providers, especially if you can locate a used tank. BUT keep in mind tanks will need a hydro test every so many years (I think 6), which adds a slight hassle if you're not swapping tanks. Some places, like Airgas, will not fill customer tanks, only do a swap. So if you go the purchased tank route be sure you have a CO2 provider who will fill tanks around you. If all the suppliers around you only swap then just buy a tank from them to swap.
I asked once about initial tank cost for a 5 and 10 lb tank at my Airgas and I think they said under $100. Anyway could be location. My Airgas also just swapped out my personally owned tanks. I wasn't particularly attached to them. So maybe look for a used one and start swapping. I prefer it because then I don't have to get the tank tested ever and because Airgas is the only local place I have found to get CO2 so I might as well prefer it anyway.
 
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