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Hello and some questions about kegging

Discussion in 'Welcome!' started by Austin, 13/5/18.

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  1. Austin

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    Posted 13/5/18
    This is my first post here. I've had an account for a while and mainly just lurked here. I do fairly simple BIAB style smash ales and my last one was with 2017 Galaxy hops + Pilsner malt. Next brew I plan to use up some cluster hops that I've had for probably a bit too long.

    I'm based in Brisbane in the western suburbs. I don't see much homebrew activity this way, but I'd like to stand corrected (please reply). The last homebrew store I remember here was just off Moggil Road near Chapel Hill and I think it must have shut down almost 10 years ago.

    I'm on the edge of taking the plunge with kegging. I have a pretty voluminous bottle collection and it's getting a little out of hand. But I'm used to bottles and I'm in the thinking phase about kegs. I have a few issues that I'd be interested in hearing any thoughts on:

    1. It's not clear to me what the costs will be (both upfront and ongoing) and how to get the best value. There seem to be wildly varying prices out there. e.g. Kegland has a 6kg CO2 gas bottle for $99+delivery, where as other places go up to over $200. Then there's the kegs, regulators, lines, connects, gas, etc. What's the right strategy here if you want to slowly accumulate? How much is the minimum you'd expect to pay to get going? It seems like it could be close to $1000, which seems like a bit much to me

    2. I don't have any equipment for kegging, and that includes cooling (I don't temperature control the fermentation, yet). I'm half inclined to thing about getting a smaller keg that'll fit in our regular fridge (maybe the 9.5L) and transfer to that to cool smaller quantities for serving. Is this actually a viable option or am I deluding myself? What's the general lifetime for beer stored at room temperature in a keg? Should it be cooled most the time? Also, transporting a 19L keg+gas to other locations seems like a pain and the 9.5L option seems better. I'm not sure what the options are here.

    3. Santa brought a fermentersarus for me last year. It's a very interesting vessel, but I'm curious about the pressure fermentation and closed transfers. Has anyone done this and is it worthwhile?
     
  2. Drewgong

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    Posted 15/5/18
    Gday mate
    first off kegging is the best decision you will ever make . You need to keep your kegs at drinking temp search gumtree for a big old fridge or freezer that you can plug in a temp controller. Another option is to find a second hand keg setup. search gumtree for keg fridge, kegerator, keezer, beer fridge ect ect . If you want to go new gear then definitely take advantage of kegland there prices will not be that low for long . A basic setup will consist of a co2 bottle and regulator, beer/gas line , gas connector, liquid connector, a keg and a tap.
    It can get expensive just start with one keg and go from there I think 300-350 plus an old fridge should get you started
     
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  3. MHB

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    Posted 15/5/18
    On the wildly different prices, it's like buying a car, there are relatively cheap 4 door sedans and much more expensive ones, think Kia and BMW, both have 4 doors...
    With the gas bottles, it probably depends on where you are going to get it filled (google is your friend) see what is available close to you, see what they offer and recommend.
    I have a couple of 1kg bottles for portability/backup and a 4.5kg Mykegonlegs bottle for my main. I chose it because its a good height (shorter than a keg) has a wide base so its more stable, its a US made Aluminium bottle that is very well made and only needs testing every 10 years - it was a bit dearer than some other options but it suited my needs and has given floorless performance for over 10 years - a good call for me. But see what you local has to offer and can supply.
    Same applies to taps lines and regulators, the cheapest ones are or can be a bit rough, they just don't pour as well as the professional quality ones they often copy. For me one of the most important parts of a keg system is the Regulator, good ones are more consistent and don't creep (self adjust).
    Lines, I would get the dual layer lines used in professional systems, some of the crap lines offered with cheep systems are really dodgy, they take up flavours, let bacteria grow on/in the surface, stain and don't last as long as well as being way thicker.
    Remember that your Local Home Brew Shop, is where you will be going for gas, hopefully supplies and where you can take any problems, they have a vested interest in helping you get it right, bit of a win/win!
    Mark
     
  4. JDW81

    I make wort, the yeast make it beer.

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    Posted 15/5/18
    Welcome aboard Austin. Kegging is a great way to go, and is very simple. You basically fill one big bottle instead of 20+ small ones.

    You can spend as much as you like, however you can keep your costs down by buying second hand. Kegs come up on here/ebay/gumtree all the time, as do gas bottles and regulators. I have a 2.6kg keg king gas bottle (which I got second hand), and running 4 kegs at a time, lasts me many months (I last filled it before christmas, and it's still half full by weight). It costs me $30 to fill/swap it.

    As far as taps go, i'd be inclined to spend a bit more and get some flow control taps (intertap have got some good feedback, and perlick are a great product IMHO). I've got SS perlick flow control taps and they're great.

    At a minimum you will need (someone please jump in and add anything I've missed):
    • Keg(s)
    • Tap/pluto gun
    • Gas bottle and regulator
    • Beer/gas line
    • Shanks (for taps)
    • Beer non-return valve (stops beer coming up your gas line and ruining your regulatory)
    • Liquid/gas disconnects
    • Line connectors (to connect your beer line to your taps - I'd recommend John Guest Fittings)
    • Keg fridge
    I don't know how far you are from Capalaba, but there is a very well regarded HB shop there called CraftBrewer. It would be worthwhile checking out there website, and possibly heading out there for a chat about what you need. They'll be able to talk you through what you need, and help troubleshoot any questions you've got.

    Keep an eye out for second hand stuff, but don't be put off buying new. Remember this stuff will last you for many years to come.

    JD
     
  5. S.E

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    Posted 15/5/18
    Could you go back to whatever you fermented in before the fermentersarus and use your fermentersarus as a keg until you get one/some?

    You would only need to get co2 bottle, reg, picnic tap, line and connects to get started.

    Also a fridge or temp controlled freezer big enough for the fermentersarus which you could do with to ferment in later when you get kegs .
     
    Last edited: 15/5/18
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  6. Outback

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    Posted 15/5/18
    I've just been down this road.
    With kegland's current aggressive pricing it is the perfect time to change over. I bought a kegerator, 2.6kg Co2 bottle, dissconnects, and used kegs i changed all the o rings in.
    I was well over washing and sanitizing bottles.

    I should have done it years ago.
    This setup cost about the same as buying bits and converting a fridge.
     
  7. Schikitar

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    Posted 16/5/18
    I'm in exactly the same boat and have been looking at a kegerator+kegs from Kegland versus converting one of my old (inefficient) fridges.

    I think I'm going to go the kegerator but I'm told the font can overheat?? I dunno, maybe someone can comment on the quality of these v4 kegerators?

    One thing is for sure, I'm pretty sick of bottles both from a cleaning/bottling perspective but also from a quality perspective..
     
  8. Austin

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    Posted 16/5/18
    Thanks for the replies.

    It seems that a keggerator or similar is an absolute must. I'm going to need to think about that as I really don't have any space at the moment for one. Or at the very least, work hard to make some space. The beauty of bottles is that I can box them and shove them under the stairs at room temp. Powering a fridge under there isn't super practical.

    I've ordered grain from CraftBrewer in the past. It's about a 45min-1hour drive from where I am west of Brisbane, but I'll keep it in mind.

    The stores for refils listed on the Kegland website seem OK for the one off trip every blue moon. But they are not just round the corner from me. The western suburbs doesn't seem to be a very homebrew dense area.

    Probably also one of these spunding valve things as well I guess. It looks like the primary focus should be a big enough fridge or freezer.
     
  9. brewgasm

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    Posted 16/5/18
    Just my opinion but you can save a few dollars by not getting flow control taps. They can be useful to an extent but I think that you should only get fc if that's what you want. Intertap ss are a great tap and I have seen a cheeky Chinese knock off of perlik taps with interchangeable nossles and the tap shuttle is well made. Actually all the machining is top notch compared to the gen 1 intertap (all my intertaps are gen 1 and work like a dream)
     
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  10. theQuinny

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    Posted 17/5/18
    My local is Country Brewer at Wacol ... dunno if that's any closer for you.
     
  11. Austin

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    Posted 17/5/18
    20 mins drive from my place. Thanks.
     
  12. Schikitar

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    Posted 18/5/18 at 12:21 AM
    Hope you work out all the logisitics Austin, let us know how you get on!

    I've just bought everything I need except for the kegerator itself from Kegland - I'll either buy one in 1-2 weeks or I'll commit to DIY'ing one of my fridges depending on how many kegs + gas I can fit into the fridge I want to use.. that will make more sense to me once I have the kegs.
     
  13. Austin

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    Posted 18/5/18 at 3:29 AM
    Thanks, I will. I'm currently thinking of doing a drastic rearrangement of the garage, but it's going to get tight to add a fridge (and the SO might not be happy with that).
     
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  14. scomet

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    Posted 18/5/18 at 8:19 AM
    Hello Austin, jump in, the kegged beer is beautiful…

    My 2c to your project is : My first Co2 bottle lasted 3 weeks (6kg/$50 of gas) then 6 weeks! then I changed all the *rap push-in fittings to hard fittings and clamps and threw out the *rappy 3 way valve, now I have 2x6kg Co2 bottles and I get over a year from 12kg of gas.

    As a starter I would get a SS Flow Control Inter-tap with changeable nozzles, the FC lets you learn how to carbonate and still pour beer when you get it wrong (and you will) Start with the FC closed and slowly open with the beer tap open.

    I use Nottingham yeast for 95% of my beers, ales and faux lagers and dont ferment with temp control other than a few frozen water bottles wrapped around the fermenter when its hot, notto is very forgiving +- 3c np, cold crash and keg. Your full kegs should be stored cold and Dont forget a one way check valve to protect your regulator. ps all good advice above.
     
  15. brewgasm

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    Posted 18/5/18 at 11:08 AM
    The easiest way to carb your beer is to put it on serving pressure for a few weeks while it's chilled. There are so many variables but I generally find that 40psi for 32-36hrs generally hits the spot for me.

    I recently over carbed a keg and I just shut off its gas supply and pulled the prv a few times a day for a couple of days and let it ballance that way. I could have put it on my fc tap but I doubt that it would of helped. I want to get rid of it actually.

    Something I like to do is naturally carb a keg. It's great when you have no room in your keg fridge and you need to store it warm for a week or so. I always store my kegs cold. Some people say that you won't do your beer any harm storing warm and others say you won't be doing it any favours if you do. Really a keg is like a big bottle so I am really interested in what people know and think about warm storage.
     
  16. koshari

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    Posted 18/5/18 at 11:40 AM
    Like all over posters i say you def wont look back. You also will save heaps of room from bottles as the kegs footprint is relatively small.

    Could you fit a keezer under your stairs?
     
  17. brewgasm

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    Posted 18/5/18 at 12:09 PM
    Absolutely the best beer related decision I ever made :)
     
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  18. brewgasm

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    Posted 18/5/18 at 12:14 PM
    I used the Nottingham ale yeast heaps back when I used to bottle. It's a great yeast and I liked it for the fact that it formed a firm yeast cake which is good for pouring.
    I use various yeasts but mainly us05 and mj new world strong ale and you got me thinking that I should get some notto for the next batch :)
     
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  19. forshoa

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    Posted 18/5/18 at 1:14 PM
    Gotta agree ^^.
    Was a tough ask for me to the OK to get a kegerator into the house, had to be done by stealth tbh, but with the time saved from bottling, cleaning bottles, space saved from storing empties, my wife has come to realise its a pretty good option and learned to live with it.

    I have had a series 4 kegerator for 2 years now and provided you thaw it regularly in the warmer months it will serve you well. Yeah kegs are expensive but you can build up vessels over time...certainly beats bottling and gives you the option to do either or both depending on what you are brewing.

    As others have said, you wont look back...
     
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  20. peterlonz

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    Posted 19/5/18 at 1:39 AM
    I bottled for the best part of 30 years.
    Ultimately used the brown PET bottles which are very light but do last.
    I have never ever had a bottle infection despite only modest care in bottle washing.
    I think the time element is over stated because some people become obsessive about sanitation of bottles.

    For nearly 10 years I have been kegging & I prefer this method & the beer so produced.
    But you do need to face the investment (second hand set up from an auction started me off) & you will still need to bottle 23-19=4 lites approx of beer. BTW you now need to sanitise both kegs & beer lines & this alone takes time & demands care.
    Think twice & if you are short on $ maybe defer.
    Otherwise good luck.
     

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