Kegging Intro

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ryser2k

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I'm considering getting into kegging my homebrew, since washing 22 oz bottles every few weeks is starting to get tedious. I'd like to do this as cheaply as possible, so I've been trolling eBay for kegs to try and get a deal.

I've got a bunch of questions about how I should go about this:

1. Ball lock or pin lock -- Does it matter?
2. Am I correct in assuming that I can buy a CO2 tank and regulator from a welding supply shop for much cheaper than I can online?
3. Beyond the kegs and the CO2, what else will I need to buy (disconnects, hoses, etc)? What is the best (read: least expensive) place to buy these things?
4. Are there any online references for the kegging process?
5. Any tips/suggestions/gotchas that you can mention to help me along?

Thanks in advance!
 

Bernie Brewer

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Ball or pin lock- It really doesn't matter, except that ball lock kegs seem to be more readily available. Also you should know that you can't convert one to the other.
I'm not sure about a regulator, but I am quite certain that you can get a CO2 tank much cheaper at a place like Airtek or Airgas. You might not even have to purchase one- possibly you could just pay a deposit on one and just keep exchanging them when they go empty.

Anything more you may need will depend on what type of setup you plan to put together. You could get a tower system, or if you have a full-sized fridge, you may want to mount taps through the door.
Do you even have a fridge? You're definitely going to need a fridge or a chest freezer with a temp controller. good luck
 

sonvolt

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ablrbrau said:
You're definitely going to need a fridge or a chest freezer with a temp controller. good luck
Not to hijack this thread, but I am in the same position as ryser . . . beginning to think about assembling a kegging system, etc.

Why is a temp controller necessary? After all, I like beer at the temperature that it is in the bottles I am drinking from my fridge. I understand that I may be limited if I wanted to put on an English style at a warmer temperature or something.

What is wrong with kegging at the temperatures my fridge can be set to currently . . . without a seperate temp controller? This would also eliminate the loss of the freezer component.

:confused:
 

Brewpastor

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You don't need a temperature controller for serving beer. It is useful for temperature control in some fermentation programs.
 

Bernie Brewer

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sonvolt said:
Not to hijack this thread, but I am in the same position as ryser . . . beginning to think about assembling a kegging system, etc.

Why is a temp controller necessary? After all, I like beer at the temperature that it is in the bottles I am drinking from my fridge. I understand that I may be limited if I wanted to put on an English style at a warmer temperature or something.

What is wrong with kegging at the temperatures my fridge can be set to currently . . . without a seperate temp controller? This would also eliminate the loss of the freezer component.

:confused:
Sorry I was a bit unclear. You wouldn't need separate temp control for a fridge, only for a chest freezer if you were to use it as a kegerator. That's clear as mud, right?:)
 
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ryser2k

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I don't have a fridge right now, but I've heard that some people keep their keg in a corner somewhere and just drink it warm... any problem with that, assuming I don't mind warm homebrew? :)
 

Bernie Brewer

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ryser2k said:
I don't have a fridge right now, but I've heard that some people keep their keg in a corner somewhere and just drink it warm... any problem with that, assuming I don't mind warm homebrew? :)
You'd have to naturally cabonate your keg, much the same way that you carbonate your bottles. The beer must be cold in order to force-carbonate.
 

bikebryan

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ablrbrau said:
You'd have to naturally cabonate your keg, much the same way that you carbonate your bottles. The beer must be cold in order to force-carbonate.
Beer doesn't have to be cold - you just have to really increase the pressure of the CO2 to carbonate it warm. Check the charts - you can carbonate warm beer.
 

jrp3

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Before I converted a chest freezer to a keggerator, I just had my keg in the corner. It carbonated fine, I just had to up the pressure to about 12 psi and leave it there. Then, when I wanted a cold beer, I poured into a frozen mug. Let it sit for a couple of minutes and it's at just about the right temp to enjoy all the wonderful flavors.
 

tcaddoo

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Kegging is awesome! I too got tired washing bottles and trying to find a place to put them all. I keep a couple of bottles around now for competitions and a counter-flow bottle filler. Here are a couple of suggestions based on my experience.

1. As for the kegs, cornelius kegs seem to be the most prevelant, and you can get replacement parts for them very easily from most major homebrew retailers (especially online)

2. I converetd a Kenmore chest freezer to a serving cooler. It cost me about $299 delivered to my door. I use a Johnson Controller to control the temperature in the freezer at about 40 degrees, perfect for serving. I attached a two tap tower to the top of the lid, and drilled a hole for the CO2 line to enter the fridge from the outside. I use a 5lb CO2 to provide about 10 PSI of gas to the beers on tap. I have a 20 lb CO2 canister for force carbing. I can get 7 kegs total in the freezer at one time, with two on-tap. Works quite nicely.

3. Eventually, you will need a beer line cleaner, so that you can clean the beer lines for your taps. They will build up crud (proteins, etc.) over time, and if not clean, impart undesireable flavors on your beer.

4. As for the gas, I would check with your local home brew shop. A lot of them will ask that your purchase an aluminum CO2 canister, and then you can just bring back the empty for a full one, without having to wait. If you do not have this luxury, then most gas or fire extingusher supply places will seel you CO2.

5. For regulators, I use the MicroMatic dual gauge regulator on both my serving and force carbing CO2 tank. Dual guage is nice, since you can see how much gas you have as well as dial in the perfect amount of pressure for what ever your application is.

I hope this helps. Let me know if you have any other questions.
 
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