Another Kegging (for a beginner) Thread

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Schikitar

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Hey guys,

So I'm getting pretty sick of cleaning bottles and I'm also getting dissatisfied with oxidising my beers. I like the convenience of bottles but I'm thinking I could of course use one of those pressure cap doobies to accommodate for those times when I take beer offsite. The main concern is making the best beer I can and storing it the best way I can for consumption.

So, anyway, before I get going I just have a few quick questions;
  1. Do beers store in kegs as long, longer or shorter as they do in bottles?
  2. Did you find yourself drinking more beer as result of moving from bottles to kegs? (I have some self-control, so kinda relates back to the first question, but I also don't want to become a raging alcoholic)
  3. Ultimately, is having and maintaining a keg system both better for your beer and also easy to maintain?
  4. Off the shelf keggerator, DIY-keezer or just some kegs and CO2 in a fridge with a picnic tap?
Alright, provided I can tick some boxes above I'm just wondering if someone could come down to my level (uneducated) and perhaps detail, based on your experience, the best approach for getting into kegging in terms of equipment, suppliers and expenditure? How would you do it if starting from scratch? Links to actual recommended things I can buy would be going above and beyond!

Money isn't the primary concern, I'd rather do something right once than constantly updating/fixing things, I'm just not exactly sure what equipment (particularly what fittings/hoses I'd need), where to purchase from and how that will stack up in terms of costs. There is a SWMBO and I prefer to not make her displeased with my hobby-spending (but she loves beer too so that's in my favour)..

Cheers!
 

brewgasm

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3) definitely kegs are better one benefit is unlike glass no light touches your beer
 

brewgasm

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4)I used a conversion kit on an old fridge which is fun to do. You can get a keggerator for about the same price these days. If you were going to have your setup in the house a keggerator might look nicer. If my keg fridge kicks it I would look at making a keezer
 

Blind Dog

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My 2c

1. Longer. A) It’s much easier to expel all O2 from a keg, purge with CO2 and transfer to the sealed keg letting CO2 out as the beer flows in with minimal O2 getting in; B) the kegs are generally stored at serving temp and I had to store most bottles at room temp; C) better consistency from pint to pint

2. Yes, but only once the keezer was moved into the house (temporarily 2 years ago) – but I’m also brewing a lot of very low alcohol beers now, but that’s a whole other story

3. Yes. There’s almost no effort in cleaning & sanitising a keg (even if you’re a little anal like me and disassemble on a frequent basis) and filling is a breeze.

4. Depends on budget


I have a modified chesty with collar that fits 6 kegs, with 4 taps. The lid and the collar are both hinged (at least they’re supposed to be currently the hinge on the collar is non-existent, part of the temporary move) and its on wheels. The double hinging makes it much easier to get kegs in and out, particularly when full as I can lift the lid and the collar which both lowers the height and get the lines out of the way (they’re attached to the collar).

My only issues are that it’s a bit of a pain to clean inside (and it does need it from time to time) and its not big enough as I need to add a number of non-beer taps for water and kombucha, but that will only happen once SWMBO finally flips re: the temporary move indoors. Plus I really want a coffin keezer as they look so cool...
 

Mat B

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1: My experience has been they store indefinitely. I'm probably wrong on this, but I've never had one go bad and one has been drinking for a year.

2: No. The availability of beer doesn't change. Just the method of dispensing it. My beer drinking behaviour isn't driven by the serving method. That's just me though.

3: Dunno about being better for the beer, but it seems to greatly minimise that risk of infection. You're only cleaning one vessel, so can spend more time on sanitisation. I find them very easy to clean. I just hose out the old stuff, quick run with a soft sponge, shake a litre of boiled water around in it, then use the no rinse sanitiser. No problems yet. I also find it much less of a chore. That whole process can take 15mins, including transferring the beer. When I used to bottle, it would take ages and there'd be mess everywhere. Also, the beer matures much faster in the keg. I use the 'set and forget' carb method, and it takes about a week to carb. I find after one more week it's settled fully and is good to go. I don't know if it's in my head, but I find the beer coming out of the keg tastes like craft beer, not home brew (if you know what I mean).

4: I like the 'tap in fridge' setups some guys seem to run. Pretty simple. I built a keezer, and I love it. Having said that, it probably cost about as much as a kegerator, was more labour intensive, is more likely to fail (not built for purpose etc), and I have 4 taps which I really don't need. For similar money and less effort, a kegerator is a pretty cool investment. I'd suggest saving money and getting second hand kegs. They're just as good. +1 on the previous comment on cleaning a keezer. It's a bit of a pain. Lifting kegs in and out is tricky too in the tight space I have. All small issues though. It looks cool.

If you're concerned about portability of your beer, just get a growler or two. Problem solved. Another solution I have is to continue brewing 23L batched. Keg 19L, and bottle the last few L. A bit more hassle, bit much easier than bottling 23L.

Kegging is awesome.
 
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Coodgee

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2) this is actually a pretty important question and not one that gets discussed on here much because, despite some exceptions, we are probably all fairly heavy drinkers. I would say having beer on tap definitely increases consumption for me. If you like the taste of your beer, and I like drinking my beer more than most commercial beer, then it's like having a pub in your own home. If you have a big night you can't count the bottles the next day. All you can do is feel the weight of the keg and think "shit we drank a lot of beer last night". It's definitely something to consider because it does creep up on you.

having said that, bottling sucks :)
 

wide eyed and legless

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I don't have to count the bottles, I leave that to the wife, good job I don't leave all of them where she can count them, that will be giving her to much ammunition.
Shikitar why don't you try a cube to start off with, I always try and keep 10 litres in a cube, I bottled 10 litres to day and put 10 in a cube (priming a cube use 1/2 of what you would use in a bottle) it is easy and a good way to start. I have kegs from 5 to 20 litre but only use them on family occasions.
002.JPG
 

malt and barley blues

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Thats good coming from someone who counts his cabbages before he goes on holiday, and leaves shit beer in the outside fridge.
 

brewgasm

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I don't have to count the bottles, I leave that to the wife, good job I don't leave all of them where she can count them, that will be giving her to much ammunition.
Shikitar why don't you try a cube to start off with, I always try and keep 10 litres in a cube, I bottled 10 litres to day and put 10 in a cube (priming a cube use 1/2 of what you would use in a bottle) it is easy and a good way to start. I have kegs from 5 to 20 litre but only use them on family occasions.
View attachment 111983
I have plenty of cubes from AllInn fwk's. I did consider serving from them but I have plenty of kegs
 

Schikitar

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Hey thanks guys, appreciate all the advice!

I think I kinda like the idea of a kegerator, they look pretty neat and SWMBO would probably like the look of one on our deck. I actually just won a bar fridge (and a vacuum cleaner) this week in a raffle so instead I suppose I could do a conversion on it OR perhaps just sell it and put the money towards a kegerator! I'm not in any hurry so if I start buying some bits and pieces here and there then I I won't feel the financial pain as much.. that said, I do also have access to a chesty and being able to add almost any number of taps is attractive (I'd like to have soda water on tap, so on a 3-tap kegerator that would reduce me to two beer taps, hmmmm)..

I'm a very indecisive person at times, I need a push!

Shikitar why don't you try a cube to start off with
I saw your post on this in another thread, I'm curious as it looks really cool but I'm thinking I might just go all in on this one. I was hoping to switch to a fermentasaurus and then start pressure fermenting and transferring under pressure to kegs as well..
 

phildo

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I keen to get the fermentasaurus with a pressure cap, but I think that I will prioritise a single vessel system. I'm keen to ditch the kits and 10l biab batches. Beauty of the fermentasaurus is you can serve from it directly if your not in a rush to put on another batch.
 

Schikitar

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I have noticed kegland seem to be selling keggerators fairly cheap

Yeah, I was looking at Kegland as their prices seem pretty good.

I'm a bit of a dumb-arse though because I've also just realised that without bottling I'll have a really nice full-sized fridge I could convert. If I did that then I could probably run four taps pretty comfortably and stack the kegs upright in pairs against the back. Three beers and a soda water would be perfect!

I feel like this might be the best way to go, although it means figuring out what parts I need to buy which will be an interesting challenge. I think there's some good posts on here for DIY builds, will try and find them but I'm happy to receive ongoing advice here of course!
 

brewgasm

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Yeah, I was looking at Kegland as their prices seem pretty good.

I'm a bit of a dumb-arse though because I've also just realised that without bottling I'll have a really nice full-sized fridge I could convert. If I did that then I could probably run four taps pretty comfortably and stack the kegs upright in pairs against the back. Three beers and a soda water would be perfect!

I feel like this might be the best way to go, although it means figuring out what parts I need to buy which will be an interesting challenge. I think there's some good posts on here for DIY builds, will try and find them but I'm happy to receive ongoing advice here of course!
Most homebrew stores sell a starter pack. All you would need to add is a Manifold, gas bottle, additional taps, lines, disconnects and maybe a drip tray if not included. The kit will generally contain 2 kegs, a tap or pluto gun, a regulator and everything you need to stick it all together.
 

brewgasm

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I can get beer to three taps in my little fridge. I got the fridge for free but if something better comes along it won't be a big job to move everything over
IMG20171019090953.jpg
 

Mat B

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Heaps of info on here about what gear you need if you go that route. I'm sure lots of people will pipe in with suggestions. I'd go with some second hand ball lock kegs (and some new seals maybe), 2.6kg CO2 bottle, 4 way manifold, long shank taps (stainless ones. I have intertap, and I like them). you could get the beer and gas line and the disconnects from your LHBS. All of that stuff is available online at good prices too. Maybe once you've decided which option you decide on, let it be known here and let the recommendations come forward. It's really not that complicated to get set up. I found most of the effort was getting the lines balanced.
 

Schikitar

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Right, I intend to have a chat with the wife tonight, will submit the paperwork in triplicate and hopefully I get the green light. I'll back with an update and would love it if anyone can stick around and give me some tips and moral support! Cheers!
 

phildo

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I hope that the CAPEX is approved and the capital is released :)
 

Schikitar

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Well that was quick, permission granted. I asked my awesome wife how much she thinks it will cost, she says about $1500, so there's my budget! ;)
 

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