Getting back into brewing but want to keg - questions

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akthor

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So this weekend went yardsaling with the girlfriend and found a NIB beer brewing kit and got it for $8

I brewed my own beer about a decade ago. I had a small space, and I quickly tired of the cleaning, sterilizing, bottling procedure so I eventually gave the hobby up after about 15 - 5 gal batches and gave my equipment away.

I have been thinking for quite a while of getting back into it since I now have the space and the kids are grown I have more time.

I really want to use Corny kegs to avoid the bottling hassle.

Money is tight right now so a kegerator and forced carbing are really not possible. Plus we would never really drink the beer at my house since beer drinking outings aways occur at events or other guys houses so portability would be necessary.

So will using a Corny Keg, naturally carbing, and using a hand pump and tap that attach directly to the keg work good? Any problems or concerns? What about using a paintball CO2 tank for dispensing? Taste concerns?

Also is there a perfect sized container out there for putting 5 gallon Corny Kegs in with ice?

Thanks for any help!
 

jeffmeh

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A hand pump will dispense the beer, but will also introduce air. If you do not finish the keg within a few days it will not keep. A paintball tank with CO2 will work fine and is portable for dispensing, but it is not going to save you money versus a 5lb. tank, and it is not large enough to be practical if you decide to force carb at some point.

You could go with a 5lb. tank and regulator setup, then bottle from the keg when you want to travel. https://www.homebrewtalk.com/f35/we-no-need-no-stinking-beer-gun-24678/

You can bottle into larger vessels, like growlers, to avoid the "many bottle" hassle. 2 liter plastic soda bottles work well (club soda is ideal, root beer smells are difficult to remove). Fill a few 2 liter bottles, bring them out, and drink them.
 

mosquitocontrol

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Naturally carbing will also introduce more sediment in the beer than force carbing. If you are going to drive with the keg before drinking you will need a few extra so you can rack into a clean keg a day or two before transporting.
 

rexbanner

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Naturally carbing will also introduce more sediment in the beer than force carbing. If you are going to drive with the keg before drinking you will need a few extra so you can rack into a clean keg a day or two before transporting.
I don't secondary much, which results in sediment in the keg. It's no big deal, just let it settle and pour a glass or two's worth. All the sediment gets forced up the dip tube. Whatever you do, DON'T drink this :cross:
 

Justibone

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I'm kinda in the same situation, trying to get into kegging cheaply. I've found a few options so far. You can rack to a keg and carb with sugar, but as mentioned above that is a bit of an issue b/c of sediment. This leaves a couple of other options:

1) treat unfiltered beer with sorbate to prevent yeast reproduction, but it will allow the yeast who are already there to still carb up the beer. This will cut down on the sediment in the bottom of the keg, but there will still be some. It will also take about twice as long to carb properly, based on my experience. Sorbate is just one more additive to beer, so to me that's a bit of a downside, but it rarely causes much of a problem and it's pretty cheap.

2) add dry ice and close the keg to allow it to force carb that way. You must be careful and knowledgeable about gas volumes and pressures if you want to do it this way, but it can be relatively safe and effective. If you over-carb it with too much dry ice you can bleed pressure out to take the keg back down to serving pressure (so you don't get cups of foam), but without a regulator knowing when you're at the right pressure might be a tough call. Dry ice is cheaper in the short term than a bottle and regulator, but you have to buy more for every single batch you keg... so in the long run it might not be cheaper.

Any input from the experienced keggers on these methods?
 
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akthor

akthor

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Is the amount of dry ice different for different beers? I there an accepted "amount" people use?
 

Justibone

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It depends on styles. Some styles are heavily carbed, others less so.

44g of dry ice should be about 22L in volume. Most beers are between 2-3 volumes of carbonation at serving, so 132 g (a bit more than 1/4 lb?) would be good enough if you weren't force carbing. Force carbing over 2-3 days requires higher pressure.

These are "back-of-the-envelope" numbers, meaning, do your homework and be sure before you risk explosions and whatnot. ;)
 
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akthor

akthor

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Dont need to force carb. So could i just throw a 1/4 pound chunk in seal it and leave it be for 4 weeks?
 

Justibone

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Heck, I don't know, I've never done it! I don't know what would happen... I don't seal dry ice, ever, inside anything airtight. If you want to save money in kegging, you have to spend time... in this case, time researching. Remember: gas volumes vary by temperature, for one, so it's not as easy as it sounds.

I suppose if you wanted to be reckless you could chuck 4 oz. (~120g) of dry ice in 5.5 gal of beer and hope for the best... but I suggest a bit more caution than that. ;)
 

headfullahops

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This is the first time I've ever heard of keg carbing with dry ice. Sounds like a good way to blow up a keg if you use too much dry ice. I would worry about it freezing the beer that it came in contact with initially and what flavor/body problems that could occur. I personally would save my money for a 5lb CO2 tank and a regulator before I went that route. Here's where I've gotten my CO2/serving hardware:

http://www.beveragefactory.com/draftbeer.shtml

I get my tanks exchanged at a local gas supplier that supplies metalworking type industries for $16-$17 each.
 
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akthor

akthor

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couldnt explode and kill anyone could it? wouldn't it just blow the relief valve or the seals?
 

headfullahops

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couldnt explode and kill anyone could it? wouldn't it just blow the relief valve or the seals?
As long as they're working properly. I don't know about you, but I've never tested them or replaced them, so who knows. I'm just saying do you want to chance it? ;)
 

Justibone

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Okay, from reading I learned a couple of things:

Someone tried it with soda, and the picnic tap they had attached started spewing as soon as they did it. Also, it was hard to get the lid on while the cold gas was shooting out the top. Someone speculated that if the beer was colder it might have worked better.

Someone else mentioned that using a few physics equations and a gram scale that measured to the 1000ths, you could very accurately predict psi... but that kind of scale costs more than a gas bottle and a regulator.

A lot of people were worried about it, but few had tried. The one guy who did failed to mention how much dry ice he added, so that's not so helpful. I'm going to file this one under the "potentially-useful-while-simultaneously-being-potentially-disastrous" category, even though I'm the one who brought it up.
 
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