Mini keg with CO2 dispenser - ever use one?

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Brewsmith

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You can force carbonate with CO2 or use priming sugar. I know there are some brewers here that prime their kegs, but I would imagine the vast majority of kegs get force-carbed.

The mini cartridges work great when you want to take a keg somewhere and dispense without the bulky and heavy tank. The little cartridge won’t last long for force carbonating, but I bet someone here could tell you just how far they go, especially with mini kegs
 

Geezer-Glide

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They don’t last long and they are relatively expensive. A little cheaper if you buy in bulk. I carb my 1 gallon kegs from my 20# cylinder then use the mini-cylinder for dispensing. I normally cask condition my cornys but don’t want the sediment/trub in my mini-kegs or anything I need to move around much.
 

NSMikeD

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I used to prime my 2.5 gal kegs and then put them on CO2 for dispensing our of my DIY kegerator (It just was easier to hook them up to the 5lb canister and force carb). A psi meter on the cartridge set up will help make sure you are not under or over carbed especially when you cold crash and have it at serving temp. Trying to force carb with a cartridge can be a PITA since it can take days for the CO2 in the beer to reach a fully dissolved equilibrium.

+1 on the cartridges not lasting long.
 
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Dont have a big tank. have 4 paintball tanks.
Normally prime the kegs . Normal prime rate is 2.25 to 2.5oz sugar for 2.5g. Treat as one big bottle. Been using this method for 2 yrs , works for me .
Keep under pressure with cartridge or connect paintball tank to seat the seal then cut back to about 5psi.

If I need the mini co2 tank for another keg , then put the cartridge back on with psi set to 5. As the keg conditions, pull the keg vent to keep psi around 20.
When ready to serve, drop to about 5psi, one cartridge might last for the entire keg.
Normally condition a keg for 2 to 3 weeks.

Have no problem getting paint ball tanks filled.
buy cartridges on Ebay in volume of 30. cost about $1 each
 

brewbama

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Just transfer from the fermenter with 1-2% extract remaining. The yeast will consume the residual extract simultaneously carbonating the beer and consuming any inadvertent O2 picked up during the transfer. Win/Win.
 

tracer bullet

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I use the little CO2 canisters for pushing beer out - works perfectly. I would not use them for carbonating. Not sure how many you'd use, but I'm sure it'd be a few. I force carb w/ the bigger CO2 tank.

You could probably figure out the amount of CO2 in one of those guys and the figure out the # of keg "volumes" needed, and compare.
 

ryansn

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I used to use a Tap-a-Draft years ago. Tried force carbonating once. I used 4 8 g cartridges. It was still flat-ish. Takes too long and too many cartridges to force carbonate a beer with a mini-keg system. I would prime with corn sugar when I kegged. Used it for more than 10 years and stopped when it wore out and I switched to a corny keg system. For what it is, a mini keg is a very good alternative to bottling for newer brewers or brewers with limited space, etc.
 

z-bob

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I have some little 5L kegs that I bought 20+ years ago. I love the concept, but I never really used them because of the cost of the CO2 cartridges. The time or two that I did try them, I primed them with sugar to carbonate and just used the CO2 cartridge to dispense the beer and keep it carbonated. They would be great with an adapter to use a bulk CO2 cylinder, or a pump tap if you're going to drink the whole thing in one night. (better have some friends, 5L is too much even for me for one evening)
 

tracer bullet

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Mine comes out once in a while. Sometimes I end up with like 5.5 gallons of beer and it doesn't all fit in the keg so a little goes to the mini. I've also poured canned beer into it (like a 4-pack of 16 oz cans) so I can serve as much or as little to myself as I want. It's a bit silly so I don't do it often but sometimes say a 4-pack of Evil Twin can be a bit much to have the 16oz can at once. In these instances I force carb w/ my normal kegging setup if it's needed, and dispense that way too. But I do have some little CO2 canisters that can go with me to a party or other event and do the dispensing job. If I recall right I can get 2 mini (1/2 gallon) kegs dispensed on one canister. Can't wait long in between though or it leaks out (but I have a low quality regulator and gage so no surprise).

The mini keg has its uses but it's not a secret wonderful thing everyone should jump on.
 

Geezer-Glide

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Mine comes out once in a while. Sometimes I end up with like 5.5 gallons of beer and it doesn't all fit in the keg so a little goes to the mini. I've also poured canned beer into it (like a 4-pack of 16 oz cans) so I can serve as much or as little to myself as I want. It's a bit silly so I don't do it often but sometimes say a 4-pack of Evil Twin can be a bit much to have the 16oz can at once. In these instances I force carb w/ my normal kegging setup if it's needed, and dispense that way too. But I do have some little CO2 canisters that can go with me to a party or other event and do the dispensing job. If I recall right I can get 2 mini (1/2 gallon) kegs dispensed on one canister. Can't wait long in between though or it leaks out (but I have a low quality regulator and gage so no surprise).

The mini keg has its uses but it's not a secret wonderful thing everyone should jump on.
I have two 1-gallon minis and 1 1/2 gallon bottle. Mostly because I’m not very good at estimating kettle loss and trub creation. I usually make a little more than my cornys will hold. Mini kegs are handy then. I try not to use CO2 cartridges to carbonate. believe they are 12 grams of CO2. There are nearly 454 grams in a pound. That is nearly 38 cylinders For each pound of CO2. I pay $22 to exchange a 20# CO2 tank. A little over a buck a pound. I‘m not very good at math but the cylinders seem kind of pricey
to me. Handy when you want to take some brew to go but a little spendy (for my budget) to use for carbonation.
 

Beermeister32

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You’ll burn through too many cartridges if you use the small ones. Even if you get them sealed properly, the beer will absorb the CO2 in a short amount of time.

It is better to force carb or naturally carb the beer in advance. I use a 88-95 gram cartridge to dispense pre-carbed beer on my office keg. Cartridge lasts for months…
70E3AF7E-C0B0-491B-879A-7689320718D6.jpeg
 
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saucebag

saucebag

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You’ll burn through too many cartridges if you use the small ones. Even if you get them sealed properly, the beer will absorb the CO2 in a short amount of time.

It is better to force carb or naturally carb the beer in advance. I use a 88-95 gram cartridge to dispense pre-carbed beer on my office keg. Cartridge lasts for months…View attachment 807431
I dont know what is more amazing, that you can get 88 gram cartridges or that you have an office keg.....
 

bike2brew

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I have been using these mini kegs and the 30 gram CO2 cartridges. Generally I keg 1 or 2 gallons so I can enjoy the fruits of fermentation w/in the week and bottle the rest for 3 week conditioning. The 30 g cartridge lasts for a while for force carbonation and serving. Does not seem to breaking the bank.

20221209_172441.jpg
 
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