Mini kegs

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jambop

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Hi I bought a mini keg starter kit when I got into cider making last autumn three kegs and a tap. I have been using them for my beer and have to say I am impressed with them. I find a 5 L keg lasts me a weekend just nicely so I am thinking of getting a few more of them. I had thought about going down the corny keg route but I think the mini keg would be just a bit more convenient for me. I can easily get eight in my brew fridge for priming and then chilling and then transfer to my kitchen fridge. Question is though are there any drawbacks to the mini keg that I have not encountered yet?
 

Elric

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The biggest complaint with mini kegs is the amount of time to brew/ferment/condition relative to how quickly they empty, as there is little additional time (if any) to scale up to larger sizes. If you are making the same thing over and over again, then it would make sense to move up to larger kegs. If you like rotating what you have constantly then the little ones are still good for you. I keep a mix of kegs between 1-5 gallons and batch size depends on how much I think I will want to drink of a given brew.
 

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I bought some 5L minikegs about 20 years ago and have never used them. :p Mainly because I didn't like the cost of CO2 cartridges to dispense them. Are there any taps that take bulk CO2 lines? Or perhaps a hand-pump tap would be okay because they are small enough the beer won't have much time to oxidize (but it will go a bit flat)

I should look into what kind of taps are available now, because if you can keep the kegs from rusting I really like the format.
 

AlexKay

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If you are priming a keg and then putting a tap on it later, you’re getting a little oxygen exposure. I personally don’t think that’s a big deal, but certainly there are plenty who do.

If you have a tap for every keg that you leave on, it’s really not much cheaper than buying 1.75 gallon kegs from Adventures in Homebrewing. (I have rather a lot of those 1.75 gallon kegs.)
 

Elric

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I bought some 5L minikegs about 20 years ago and have never used them. :p Mainly because I didn't like the cost of CO2 cartridges to dispense them. Are there any taps that take bulk CO2 lines? Or perhaps a hand-pump tap would be okay because they are small enough the beer won't have much time to oxidize (but it will go a bit flat)

I should look into what kind of taps are available now, because if you can keep the kegs from rusting I really like the format.
There are plenty of new mini kegs that have screw on lids that have standard corny keg posts on them. Both of my 1 gallon kegs are this design.

link to a lid of the style I am referring to:
Mega cap
 

bwible

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I also have some I bought years ago and I keep saying one day I’ll use them. I have the ones with only one opening, no pull out faucet. I have an old Phil Tap.

The pull out faucets if you have that kind are a thin plastic that will wear and break over time from use, being pushed in and out.

One of the biggest complaints was that they bulge and crease easily from being over carbonated. You have to be really careful and even under prime. When they bulge or crease from over carbonating there is a coating on the inside of the keg that gets damaged. Once that happens they can’t really be sanitized well anymore and they will also rust on the inside where the coating is damaged. So they are pretty much done.

They are also difficult to clean. They sell a little L shaped brush that is just for these kegs. I’ve also seen some kind of tablet you drop in for cleaning like they use for growlers.
 
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jambop

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The reason I want to keep using these is their price and their size 5L ... 10€ each and one keg does me Friday ,Saturday and Sunday and they easily sit in the fridge in the kitchen over the weekend . I have looked at a corny keg but the price is high at 350 € for one keg with a CO2 reg and bottle . Then on top of that you require a dedicated fridge to take the corny keg for dispensing. For me at least that is a hell of an outlay for one 19L keg.
With the mini keg I can have ,with a 27 L brew 3 x 5L keg and 15 x 750ml swing tops which I can easily fit in my brew fridge for conditioning and then cooling. I do appreciate that some brewers are looking to produce a near pub like drinking experience for their drinking buddies... me I am the only one that drinks English style beer so I cater for myself .
 
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jambop

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They are also difficult to clean. They sell a little L shaped brush that is just for these kegs. I’ve also seen some kind of tablet you drop in for cleaning like they use for growlers.

I use Chempro cleanser and it works a treat, I do not use a brush as that can damage the coating, then a light sulphiting and its good to go.
 

bwible

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The reason I want to keep using these is their price and their size 5L ... 10€ each and one keg does me Friday ,Saturday and Sunday and they easily sit in the fridge in the kitchen over the weekend . I have looked at a corny keg but the price is high at 350 € for one keg with a CO2 reg and bottle . Then on top of that you require a dedicated fridge to take the corny keg for dispensing. For me at least that is a hell of an outlay for one 19L keg.
With the mini keg I can have ,with a 27 L brew 3 x 5L keg and 15 x 750ml swing tops which I can easily fit in my brew fridge for conditioning and then cooling. I do appreciate that some brewers are looking to produce a near pub like drinking experience for their drinking buddies... me I am the only one that drinks English style beer so I cater for myself .
If they work for you thats great. I knew some guys who used them but that was 20 years ago. You have to buy the little Co2 cylinders and the 2 piece bungs but thats it. You are right it is more of an investment to buy full sized kegs and they need a fridge, not good to leave those at room temp.

5L is about 1.3 gallons. They do make 1 gallon and 1.5 gallon kegs, they are called torpedo kegs. And it is more expensive tp buy those but you’ll only buy one once. And they can be dispensed with the little co2 cylinders too, you wouldn’t need a big co2 bottle
 

Homebrew Harry

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I take those little kegs with me when I meet friends at an annual camp party/float trip. They are easy to pack and fit in a cooler nicely. I dont have to take co2 tanks etc. At 13-14 beers they don't have time to go flat. They make little elctric cooler/ dispensers for them that you could adapt to a co2 line if you don't want to use the little cartridges. Makes for a good avatar in a pinch too !
 

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13-14?! I say 5 L is not quite 9. ;)

And if I could get a mini keg for 10 €, I’d be all over that. I’d get 20 or something. Do you have a link? Does the company distribute to the US?
 

bwible

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13-14?! I say 5 L is not quite 9. ;)

And if I could get a mini keg for 10 €, I’d be all over that. I’d get 20 or something. Do you have a link? Does the company distribute to the US?
5 liters is about 169 oz US which is about 14 servings if they’re 12 oz servings. 12 oz is about 350 ml for our European friends. Or about 10.5 pints if you’re drinking pints.

A us gallon is 128 oz which is about 3.78 liters if that helps. Or 8 pints.
 
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jambop

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Oh wait, are we talking about something like this? I’d been thinking along these lines. Not so crazy about design #1…

Yes it the cheaper keg ... but works well and still good value. I can get the other sort you are talking about but they are more expensive www.rolling-beers.fr/fr/futs-et-mini-fut/3442-fut-5l-a-raccords-ball-lock.html . At 8.2€ a piece I can buy 12 of the other type for the cost of one of these . I don't know about how you think but I have to say there are times that I think " how much money do I want to throw at making a pint of beer ?" If I did go down the road of getting another keg system it would still be using the 5L size though because it is very convenient for moving from my brew fridge into the kitchen fridge thus negating another fridge/cooler in the kitchen.
 

earachemyeye69

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The only way to use mini’s
I do mead and cider in them but beer in corny’s
 

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GoodTruble

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They're not available in the US yet, but I am interested to test out these 8 liter polymer kegs from KegLand as a cheap, short-term kegging option ..........


 

Homebrew Harry

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There are a few home made tapper vids out there for these little kegs. Here is one of them:
 
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jambop

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There are a few home made tapper vids out there for these little kegs. Here is one of them:


I use the one that has the CO2 capsule integrated into the tap... it works great and cost me about 50€
In all sincerity I cannot fault the system it is cheap and effective. I do not know if any brewer ever sits and thinks how much their beer actually costs when you start to use things like corny kegs and the like... i know I would be better off taking a taxi t the pub every other night than shelling out for that sort of gear. Now I fully understand that its a hobby that some want to excel at but I have removed myself from a Hi Fi approach to life and the things I like to do. In short I am now on this bus 5 L mini keg cost 8€ or mini keg 95€ using the later every litre is costing me 17€ more for every litre at the first use... that is just not making any sense to me... if I want to try to make a clone why bother at that price difference I can drink the real deal 🤣
 

Draft Master Flash

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I've been using 5 liter mini kegs for many years although just the commercial ones from Germany. I'm new to homebrew and IMHO there are better options as far as what to use for small batch.

Personally I wouldn't waste my time with those homemade tap contraptions that turn out to be more trouble then it's worth.

Instead I use these, they do ship to USA.


They work exceptionally well and just attaches to my kegerator and I serve at 10 to 12 psi with perfect pour and no leaks.

DMF
 

Homebrew Harry

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I bought some 5L minikegs about 20 years ago and have never used them. :p Mainly because I didn't like the cost of CO2 cartridges to dispense them. Are there any taps that take bulk CO2 lines? Or perhaps a hand-pump tap would be okay because they are small enough the beer won't have much time to oxidize (but it will go a bit flat)

I should look into what kind of taps are available now, because if you can keep the kegs from rusting I really like the format.
I found 2 of these at a yard sale in Florida for a dollar. I never saw one that had a pumper on it like these. They are from Germany. I only use the little kegs once in a while so I have not messed with them. I was gonna take one apart to see if there was a way to put a co2 line on them, but haven't had the time.
1647024395573-473637300.jpg
 

Draft Master Flash

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I found 2 of these at a yard sale in Florida for a dollar. I never saw one that had a pumper on it like these. They are from Germany. I only use the little kegs once in a while so I have not messed with them. I was gonna take one apart to see if there was a way to put a co2 line on them, but haven't had the time.View attachment 762374
There are a few versions that have hand pumps. There was a German EKU mini keg that had a hose that was similar to a sanke party tap. A company in Germany by the name of Wecomatic GmbH still makes a lot of the plastic fittings.

DMF
 

szap

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It was a couple brand name beers in mini kegs that sparked my brewing. I used mini kegs for the first couple years. As you have said, if you drink it all in a day or two, they are great. But most of the time it was several days before it was gone. I tried several ways to keep the kegs pressurized all involved some form of tap using co2 cartridges. The only problem I had was getting the tap seated where it didn't leak. When it worked the beer was good for a couple weeks or more, but I went through too many cartridges and found flat beer too many times to stay with it.
 

Draft Master Flash

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It was a couple brand name beers in mini kegs that sparked my brewing. I used mini kegs for the first couple years. As you have said, if you drink it all in a day or two, they are great. But most of the time it was several days before it was gone. I tried several ways to keep the kegs pressurized all involved some form of tap using co2 cartridges. The only problem I had was getting the tap seated where it didn't leak. When it worked the beer was good for a couple weeks or more, but I went through too many cartridges and found flat beer too many times to stay with it.
We've done hundreds of them using the stainless coupler bought from Germany. Never had a problem with them leaking or going flat. We made our own tools out of panel pulling pliers and such. Out of the 3 most common bungs, there is only one type that doesn't seal that you have to take out the bung and replace with a new bung such as on the Fruh Kolsch. These we have to purge with co2 like you would a freshly filled corny keg. Even still never had a problem with leaking or oxidation. I even have a mini fridge that I converted specifically for these 5 liter mini kegs that uses a sodastream bottle with a faucet installed through the door. My husband is German so he is picky about his beer and he has lots of experience with these "party fass"when growing up. We drank strickly Germen beer until I discovered homebrewing. As long as these continue to be commercially available we will drink them from time to time.

DMF
 

szap

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We've done hundreds of them using the stainless coupler bought from Germany. Never had a problem with them leaking or going flat. We made our own tools out of panel pullinMyg pliers and such. Out of the 3 most common bungs, there is only one type that doesn't seal that you have to take out the bung and replace with a new bung such as on the Fruh Kolsch. These we have to purge with co2 like you would a freshly filled corny keg. Even still never had a problem with leaking or oxidation. I even have a mini fridge that I converted specifically for these 5 liter mini kegs that uses a sodastream bottle with a faucet installed through the door. My husband is German so he is picky about his beer and he has lots of experience with these "party fass"when growing up. We drank strickly Germen beer until I discovered homebrewing. As long as these continue to be commercially available we will drink them from time to time.

DMF
I wish I had the same experience. I would have the leak problems where the shaft from the tap went through the hole in the bung. I would like to see the stainless coupler you refer to. If I could limit the leaking issues, I would still use the kegs for something portable.
 

Draft Master Flash

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I wish I had the same experience. I would have the leak problems where the shaft from the tap went through the hole in the bung. I would like to see the stainless coupler you refer to. If I could limit the leaking issues, I would still use the kegs for something portable.
Thread #23, we have a couple of them.

DMF
 

CascadesBrewer

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Question is though are there any drawbacks to the mini keg that I have not encountered yet?

Personally, I have looked hard at various keg solutions in the 1-gallon/5L size range. For me it just comes down to bottling winning out in just about every measure.

I used to have one of the cheap "Party Tap" systems that used the small kegs and cartridges. I used it a few times before I gave up. I would not want to use a kegging system based on CO2 cartridges, unless it was just something to take to a party or a club meeting. The price of quality kegs in the 1-gallon range is hard for me to justify. It usually costs 80% to 90% the cost of 5-gallon kegging equipment.

Personally I keg 85% of my beers. I have four 5-gallon kegs and four 10L Torpedo kegs (along with a couple CO2 tanks, fridge, lines, etc...still using plastic picnic taps). The Torpedo kegs are just smaller ball lock kegs and work with standard kegging equipment. I bottle off some higher ABV beers, Belgians and 1-gallon batches. I seldom bottle a full 5-gallon batch but do bottle 2.5-gallon batches.

That said, if you have some of the kegs and you have been happy using them for beer, then keep doing what is working for you.
 

AlexKay

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For me, I bottle in 1-L EZ-caps. They’re relatively cheap, you don’t need many of them, and they’re rated to high pressure. Do the mini kegs in question have a pressure rating?
 

Draft Master Flash

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That is far more substantial than anything I found. Do you use a regular co2 tank with these?
You absolutely can and I have. We mostly use a mini regulator with a sodastream bottle or co2 cartridge only because it fits in my mini refrigerator conversion better because often the conversion has 2 mini kegs inside. In the door a sodastream fits perfectly. You can also just run it off your kegerator or keezer.

DMF
 

Draft Master Flash

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The gas connect on this coupler is 3/4" which is popular in Europe instead of 5/8" like what we have here in USA. What I did was,




Duotight Push-In Fitting - 9.5 mm (3/8 in.) x 3/4 in. BSP | MoreBeer

connected to,







Works like a charm!


DMF
 

Elric

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The only way to use mini’s
I do mead and cider in them but beer in corny’s
In your first photo the middle keg seems to have the standard cap on it but with a single post installed on it. I've never seen this before and checked kegland's website and it does not exist there. Is this something you drilled yourself? do you use it for fermenting or carbonating?
 

szap

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You absolutely can and I have. We mostly use a mini regulator with a sodastream bottle or co2 cartridge only because it fits in my mini refrigerator conversion better because often the conversion has 2 mini kegs inside. In the door a sodastream fits perfectly. You can also just run it off your kegerator or keezer.

Thanks for all the info
DMF
 

bwible

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I found 2 of these at a yard sale in Florida for a dollar. I never saw one that had a pumper on it like these. They are from Germany. I only use the little kegs once in a while so I have not messed with them. I was gonna take one apart to see if there was a way to put a co2 line on them, but haven't had the time.View attachment 762374
This seems like it would do a better approximation of real ale, as its pumping air into the keg to draw each beer. I imagine you’d prime in the keg and dispense with this.
 

bwible

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The gas connect on this coupler is 3/4" which is popular in Europe instead of 5/8" like what we have here in USA. What I did was,




Duotight Push-In Fitting - 9.5 mm (3/8 in.) x 3/4 in. BSP | MoreBeer
John Guest fitting are frequently used to attach beer engines. Here’s a link:

 

bwible

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The only way to use mini’s
I do mead and cider in them but beer in corny’s
Those little kegs are what they call the “Man Can” or a similar design. I like the look of those. I don’t own any.

This one (169 oz) would be 5L:

 
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Draft Master Flash

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Draft Master Flash said:

You absolutely can and I have. We mostly use a mini regulator with a sodastream bottle or co2 cartridge only because it fits in my mini refrigerator conversion better because often the conversion has 2 mini kegs inside. In the door a sodastream fits perfectly. You can also just run it off your kegerator or keezer.

Thanks for all the info
DMF




My pleasure!

DMF
 
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