How long does it take to keg

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d40dave

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With everything considered, how long does it take to keg. It seems like it may not be that much faster than bottling from videos I saw on youtube. It typically takes me <1 hour for 2 cases. Thanks
 
You’re forgetting the wait time for your bottled beer to carbonate, then chill. You can accomplish fully carbonating a keg in the size of your choice in 2-3 days with force carbonation or 10-12 days via keg conditioning (you’ll still need to chill)
 
I can set up for a closed transfer, fill two kegs, then clean up and put everything away, in about an hour.
That's the equivalent of four and half cases of filling bottles.
But if I was only filling one keg, that'd still take a good 45 minutes. The setup and tear down part doesn't change...

Cheers!
 
Sanitizing a keg takes a few minutes. It's a lot faster than sanitizing a batch of bottles.

ETA: regarding keg filling time, imagine just racking to a bottling bucket (or keg) and then not having to bottle at all. That's how much time you'd save.
 
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by your self kegging is way more efficient.

using two people for bottling would equate to one person kegging probably still faster kegging.

disregarding the cleaning of the fermenter as this would need to be done in both situations. as fast as my 1/2" hose will transfer to keg is how fast it is to keg.

its almost cheating when kegging. plus you can have kegs fully sanitized and ready at moments notice.
 
also note time considered after every bottle drank and rinsed out then washed. reusing bottles is great but the amount of extra water used is actually more wasteful than kegging. additional fridges now days are very efficient to run and are a mute expense in my opinion. saving the planet one keg pour at a time.

of course not sure how much energy it takes to create liquified co2.

might me tit for tat as far as energy consumption. Maybe this should be in the rambling section.
 
I can set up for a closed transfer, fill two kegs, then clean up and put everything away, in about an hour.
That's the equivalent of four and half cases of filling bottles.
But if I was only filling one keg, that'd still take a good 45 minutes. The setup and tear down part doesn't change...

Cheers!
This plus once the transfer starts you can go watch TV, have a beer, clean something, whatever while bottling takes your full attention
 
With everything considered, how long does it take to keg. It seems like it may not be that much faster than bottling from videos I saw on youtube. It typically takes me <1 hour for 2 cases. Thanks
An hour for two cases of beer isn't bad. The posts so far hopefully have given you a good idea of about kegging.

Obviously you are considering kegging your beer. I switched from bottles to kegs a long time ago and it was the best move I made.

But kegs take up more room and there's a substantial investment. A five gallon batch of beer would require at least one keg. You're probably going to need a system to dispense your beer. You also have to consider chilling the keg or kegs and that might take more space than bottles.

I have many kegs in different sizes and several of each. I have a CO2 system with regulators, hose, and keg qd's. The kegs are chilled and served from a dedicated fridge.

So all things considered there's a larger investment to have the convenience of using kegs.
 
I can set up for a closed transfer, fill two kegs, then clean up and put everything away, in about an hour.
That's the equivalent of four and half cases of filling bottles.
But if I was only filling one keg, that'd still take a good 45 minutes. The setup and tear down part doesn't change...

Cheers!

Yep - same here.
 
I'm not sure there's a definitive time savings, or at least it's not significant enough to justify the cost on its own. Kegging and draft beer is just a different user experience. I do recommend breaking the keg down to parts in between fills, or at least every other time if you don't integrate some kind of recirculating spray/cleaning system that pushes cleaner through the ports and diptubes. So, cleaning a keg might be about the same time as cleaning 50 bottles.

It's also imperative, in my opinion, to be even more careful with oxygen when kegging because you don't have that yeast growth/refermentation that bottle conditioning offers. In that regard, doing a full starsan fill and dispense is the way I recommend purging the keg prior to filling. Pushing the beer in under low pressure CO2 also helps.
 
I guess I have the worst of both worlds, since I use kegs but don't have a kegerator or keezer. I keg condition with priming sugar and then chill and fill bottles and/or transfer to minikegs that fit in my bar fridge with picnic taps. So I have to package every batch twice and also clean and sanitize both kegs and bottles. But I'm not really trying to save time. This is my retirement hobby and spending time on it is kinda the point.
 
I'm not sure there's a definitive time savings, or at least it's not significant enough to justify the cost on its own. Kegging and draft beer is just a different user experience. I do recommend breaking the keg down to parts in between fills, or at least every other time if you don't integrate some kind of recirculating spray/cleaning system that pushes cleaner through the ports and diptubes. So, cleaning a keg might be about the same time as cleaning 50 bottles.

It's also imperative, in my opinion, to be even more careful with oxygen when kegging because you don't have that yeast growth/refermentation that bottle conditioning offers. In that regard, doing a full starsan fill and dispense is the way I recommend purging the keg prior to filling. Pushing the beer in under low pressure CO2 also helps.
i agree now days the total expense of kegging would be a high cost. i was lucky and salvaged a bunch of pin locks from scrap yard at 8$ a pop. the cost of equipment now days has almost doubled for most things since i started.

with cleaning kegs i do a very hot water oxyclean ran thru the keg and my taps using a pancake air compressor usually around 40psi. then fill keg with sanitizer about two gallons. and run it through leaving sanitizer in the beer lines. depending on how murky/yeasty the beer being put in depends if i tear down the keg. considering i have left an empty keg unhooked with co2 pressure for over a year; cleaning it was a breeze almost a rinse and done.

kegs can also be bottle conditioned (casked) but remember to set the seals with co2 otherwise there would be potential for small leak. when doing this which is rare for me i would tear the keg down and thoroughly clean which does not take long. clean the dip tube with a line tied to a swab is probably the hardest task.

the initial expense of kegging is what keeps people bottling in my opinion.
 
With everything considered, how long does it take to keg. It seems like it may not be that much faster than bottling from videos I saw on youtube. It typically takes me <1 hour for 2 cases. Thanks
You've generated a lot of good replies here, but haven't come back to comment on any of them so I can't grok the context.
Is this just a passing curiousity, or are you looking to save time or labour? ..considering kegging yourself?
From one perspective, kegging and bottling is apples & oranges, but from another they meet in the middle. I started kegging with CO2 and a very cold room in the winter in lieu of refrgeration for the purpose of beergun-bottling...In the spring I bought a used kegerator and gave up bottling altogether (with the exception of the excess beer that didn't fit in the keg.)
I'm disabled so the repetition of handling bottles through the process, though lightwieght, is more movement than my spine can handle. Kegging, though much heavier, takes significantly less of toll on my body so the initial high cost is an investment that paid for itself.
Happy New Year BTW! :mug:
 
For me - considering everything involved - including sanitizing, transfer, & clean-up, I'm at ~45min. If you're doing all that with bottling and still at <1 hr, then you're a wizard lol. It used to take me ~2-3x that to bottle, start to finish (memory is hazy, it's been quite some time since I bottled an entire batch). And there's the faster turn around time to drinking, no worries about using too much or too little priming sugar, and wasting beer since you have to leave some in every bottle.
 
Thanks everyone for getting back to me. I think I will give it a try. I have seen some kegging videos on youtube where they clean the keg with PBW and disassemble all the fittings. This seems like it may not be necessary every time. It does take me a few minutes less than an hour to bottle but I start out with clean bottles so I just need to sanitize.
 
Thanks everyone for getting back to me. I think I will give it a try. I have seen some kegging videos on youtube where they clean the keg with PBW and disassemble all the fittings. This seems like it may not be necessary every time. It does take me a few minutes less than an hour to bottle but I start out with clean bottles so I just need to sanitize.
Some folks will do a deep cleaning of the keg and fittings every time but I don't feel it's necessary. Do that for sure if you get a used keg and periodically. If you do get a used keg you'll want to deep clean it and replace all of the seals.

When my kegs are empty I will flush them out then use the keg washer on them. That cleans the inside and both qd/tubes with hot water and PBW. After they are rinsed with clear water, I sanitizer them, put the cover on then store them till needed.
 
Some folks will do a deep cleaning of the keg and fittings every time but I don't feel it's necessary. Do that for sure if you get a used keg and periodically. If you do get a used keg you'll want to deep clean it and replace all of the seals.

When my kegs are empty I will flush them out then use the keg washer on them. That cleans the inside and both qd/tubes with hot water and PBW. After they are rinsed with clear water, I sanitizer them, put the cover on then store them till needed.
Yeah what I was saying is that if you DO have a keg washer, such that liquid is flushing through the posts, poppets and diptubes then they don't need to be broken down other than the first one and then maybe once a year. If one does not have a keg washer, then I'd break them down often and get a brush down through the long diptube.
 
Yeah what I was saying is that if you DO have a keg washer, such that liquid is flushing through the posts, poppets and diptubes then they don't need to be broken down other than the first one and then maybe once a year. If one does not have a keg washer, then I'd break them down often and get a brush down through the long diptube.
Good point - thanks for adding that!

Before I built the keg washer I had this metal wand carboy washer. It had a drilled head, connected to a faucet with a garden hose adapter. I cut the hose and added the two keg post qd's. That worked great for cleaning the inside of the keg and the two posts. Just another idea for cleaning.
 
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I do a full break down every time. It's just too easy to not do it.

The exception is when I keg ferment and dump a fresh batch on the yeast cake in the keg.
 
I just kegged a couple a couple nights ago. The actual transfer time was less than 30 minutes and super easy if you don't count the time trying to troubleshoot a leak on the keg. I've used the keg before buy there's a small dent around where the lid connects and after experience the other day I'd taking that one out of rotation to avoid leak issues.
 
The actually time cost needs to consider all the time spent getting the keg and bottles clean, the time to fill them, and even if signficant the amount of time to get the keg or bottles ready to pour the beer into your glass.

For me, I have a keg washer that I built. For efficiency in time and PBW, I like to run 2-3 kegs through it at a time. The temperature of the solution drops off and the water gets dirty so that's why I do them as a small batch. Besides the cleaning of the kegs, I have to set up and break down the keg washer. I also periodically break down the kegs. I take off the parts, soak everything in PBW, then scrub the inside of the keg, and brush the poppets and tubes. I fusually hand rinse with a sink sprayer. I always wash the kegs between fills.

I've moved to closed transfers, so I like to wait until I run out of kegs, then push starsan through all of them at once to save on starsan.

Bottles for me require the intitial step of label removal. This time is spread out over the life of the bottle and can be avoided by purchasing new bottles. I reuse bottles. I soak them for several days in ammonia which most times drops the label, then get the stuck labels and glue off with either a paint remover or brass brush. I will reject bottles for which the label is too troublesome to remove but I don't really care much about the time. A reused HB bottle gets a quick rinse on a dedicated bottle sprayer, then dropped into one of two buckets under the sink. When the buckets get full, I add a little soap, water, and ammonia and let the buckets sit, usually overnight. They get brushed and rinsed after soaking. Prior to bottling, they get sanitized using a bottle tree with the pump on top. Caps or rubber gaskets I give a quick boil or starsan soak.

Bottling I use a bottling bucket with wand and those require cleaning and sanitizing, transfer tubes and racking cane too. I fill the bottles first and then cap all of them. Fliptops I put the gaskets on before filling if I remember to then just close. Bottles then get packaged into full and half cases and/or six packs. I bottle in the kitchen in order to use the counter, so all those bottles need to go up and down the stairs. I use DME to carbonate.

Kegging I use pressure to transfer to the kegs. This requires a clean racking tube plus the extra hardware for the cap and tubing. After transfer, I force carbonate. Usually my pipeline thins out and the keg goes in the keezer but sometimes it goes in the fermentation fridge first.

I have a tower on my keezer with four taps. Maintaining a tap system is not trouble free. There is time spent cleaning the lines and fixing any number of issues. Picnic taps are much simpler but a personal choice.

I have never timed each piece, and while attempting to be thorough, I may also be missing some other consideratioins. As mentioned by someone earlier, transferring the beer to the keg is the same as transferring to the bottling bucket. As far as cleaning and sanitizing, the keg washer does the majority of cleaning. I just walk away and come back later. It takes time to push the starsan through the keg however I'd say it takes no more time than the 25-50 bottles and possibly less. You can do something else nearby while the starsan is being pushed out. (Clean some bottles haha!) Overall, I am fairly confident that my kegging is less time intensive. I have had a number of mechanical issues with my tap system personally but these are mainly related to the complexity of my keezer build as the tower and keezer surround are homemade. Those are also initial time costs.
 
The actually time cost needs to consider all the time spent getting the keg and bottles clean, the time to fill them, and even if signficant the amount of time to get the keg or bottles ready to pour the beer into your glass.

For me, I have a keg washer that I built. For efficiency in time and PBW, I like to run 2-3 kegs through it at a time. The temperature of the solution drops off and the water gets dirty so that's why I do them as a small batch. Besides the cleaning of the kegs, I have to set up and break down the keg washer. I also periodically break down the kegs. I take off the parts, soak everything in PBW, then scrub the inside of the keg, and brush the poppets and tubes. I fusually hand rinse with a sink sprayer. I always wash the kegs between fills.

I've moved to closed transfers, so I like to wait until I run out of kegs, then push starsan through all of them at once to save on starsan.

Bottles for me require the intitial step of label removal. This time is spread out over the life of the bottle and can be avoided by purchasing new bottles. I reuse bottles. I soak them for several days in ammonia which most times drops the label, then get the stuck labels and glue off with either a paint remover or brass brush. I will reject bottles for which the label is too troublesome to remove but I don't really care much about the time. A reused HB bottle gets a quick rinse on a dedicated bottle sprayer, then dropped into one of two buckets under the sink. When the buckets get full, I add a little soap, water, and ammonia and let the buckets sit, usually overnight. They get brushed and rinsed after soaking. Prior to bottling, they get sanitized using a bottle tree with the pump on top. Caps or rubber gaskets I give a quick boil or starsan soak.

Bottling I use a bottling bucket with wand and those require cleaning and sanitizing, transfer tubes and racking cane too. I fill the bottles first and then cap all of them. Fliptops I put the gaskets on before filling if I remember to then just close. Bottles then get packaged into full and half cases and/or six packs. I bottle in the kitchen in order to use the counter, so all those bottles need to go up and down the stairs. I use DME to carbonate.

Kegging I use pressure to transfer to the kegs. This requires a clean racking tube plus the extra hardware for the cap and tubing. After transfer, I force carbonate. Usually my pipeline thins out and the keg goes in the keezer but sometimes it goes in the fermentation fridge first.

I have a tower on my keezer with four taps. Maintaining a tap system is not trouble free. There is time spent cleaning the lines and fixing any number of issues. Picnic taps are much simpler but a personal choice.

I have never timed each piece, and while attempting to be thorough, I may also be missing some other consideratioins. As mentioned by someone earlier, transferring the beer to the keg is the same as transferring to the bottling bucket. As far as cleaning and sanitizing, the keg washer does the majority of cleaning. I just walk away and come back later. It takes time to push the starsan through the keg however I'd say it takes no more time than the 25-50 bottles and possibly less. You can do something else nearby while the starsan is being pushed out. (Clean some bottles haha!) Overall, I am fairly confident that my kegging is less time intensive. I have had a number of mechanical issues with my tap system personally but these are mainly related to the complexity of my keezer build as the tower and keezer surround are homemade. Those are also initial time costs.
I can fill a keg in the time it takes to read this post.

I'm kidding this is a good summary.

I still think the metric isn't as much time as it is effort or "actively engaged time". If you just start a stopwatch at the moment you begin and shut it off when you have 5 gallons in either bottles or kegs it's probably close and likely is most dependent on a person's process and how fast they push. The fact that I can get either a star san push or a closed transfer started and I can then walk away and do other brewing tasks or eat dinner or mow the lawn or whatever is a huge factor in making kegging easier. It is reducing oxygen that made me get into kegging, but based on the effort I'd never go back. Heck I bought mini kegs to avoid bottling for taking my beer on the road for things like tailgating because of it.
 
the way i look at it is its like one big bottle so whatever times it used to take me to bottle 48 bottles of beer its 1/48th that time. seriously tho keggin is so much quicker than bottling in so many ways like stated above. no label peeling no cleaning 48 bottles no sanitizing 48 packages etc.

kegging can actually be made even quicker. when i transfer wort to my FV the spigot is already attached to the clean sanitized purged keg. via the gas outlet. i just bleed the keg . leave the prv open. open the spigot and the beer starts to flow.
 
I can fill a keg in the time it takes to read this post.

I'm kidding this is a good summary.

I still think the metric isn't as much time as it is effort or "actively engaged time". If you just start a stopwatch at the moment you begin and shut it off when you have 5 gallons in either bottles or kegs it's probably close and likely is most dependent on a person's process and how fast they push. The fact that I can get either a star san push or a closed transfer started and I can then walk away and do other brewing tasks or eat dinner or mow the lawn or whatever is a huge factor in making kegging easier. It is reducing oxygen that made me get into kegging, but based on the effort I'd never go back. Heck I bought mini kegs to avoid bottling for taking my beer on the road for things like tailgating because of it.
I wanted to get at what you are saying here but indeed the post was already rather long! There are points in the entire kegging process where little activity is needed on the part of the operator. There's a mental aspect affecting perceived effort as well. I don't mind very much washing bottles and sanitizing bottles but some people hate it so much it probably influences their perception of those tasks. Which is completely understandable. And I don't mind bottling either, which again, some find tedious. I tend to daydream and reminisce about places I've lived at years ago where I also brewed and bottled.
 
the way i look at it is its like one big bottle so whatever times it used to take me to bottle 48 bottles of beer its 1/48th that time. seriously tho keggin is so much quicker than bottling in so many ways like stated above. no label peeling no cleaning 48 bottles no sanitizing 48 packages etc.

kegging can actually be made even quicker. when i transfer wort to my FV the spigot is already attached to the clean sanitized purged keg. via the gas outlet. i just bleed the keg . leave the prv open. open the spigot and the beer starts to flow.

There are a lot of nuances that people tend to overlook and if you couple that with everyone's varying use of used bottles vs. new and/or their bottle rinsing habits, the time can vary a lot.

Let's talk about ways bottlers might optimize time.

Buy new bottles - no label removal and cigarette butt cleaning.
Rinse a bottle with hot water blasts as soon as you pour the beer. Can likely skip the cleaning and just sanitize these, at least for a batch or two.
Use a "vinator" to squirt sanitizer into the bottles
Use a high quality bench capper that is secured to a work surface
If I sanitize all the needed bottles and have them in a drying rack ahead of time, I can fill bottles with my left hand while I'm capping the previous one with my right hand. If the fill rate is still too slow for you, using a keg as a bottling tank can not only reduce oxygen exposure and allow for very good sugar mixing, it also let's you run a couple PSI of filling pressure to speed the dispense even without gravity assist.

When you move over to kegging, the effort and time is going to depend on how convinced you are of the necessity of certain tasks.

First, it should be said. There are some beer styles that benefit from bottle conditioning, e.g. Belgian beers and German Weissebier.

If you don't have a keg washer that blasts cleaner through the posts, you should take the posts apart between every fill to clean (including running a brush down the long draw tube.

You should also be filling the kegs to the top with 5 gallons of starsan and pushing it all out with CO2 prior to filling. Many people don't, and they say their beer is fine, but it would be more fine if they purged properly. Alternative methods involve running fermentation CO2 through empty sanitized kegs to do the same purging job, but this does require some extra setup on brew day.

All this is to say that there are ways to make both packaging operations better, faster, cheaper and they are competing goals. Beer quality MAY improve when switching between methods depending how much or little care you took with the previous method (in case it's not clear, bottle conditioning may be a better oxygen prevention method over the long term if you're just filling kegs through an open lid).

I think time savings is not really a prime motivator here. There are reasons to do both. I keg 95% of my brewed beers and then almost 100% of the time I bottle a six pack using a beer gun for competition entries. That's not a time savings at all.
 
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