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Keg Brewing

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new2kegbrew

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Hi to all. Just opened my account with AHB.com about 2 minutes ago. I was happy with my home brew, but heard about keg brewing. That's all I've heard. I've seen kits to buy for $450, but don't know what they include. I want to know if anyone can help me. I want to be able to pour home brew from tap in my own bar. I would like it if someone could give me the ins & outs of this, tell me what I will need, and is $450 a reasonable price to pay? Thanks guys. :party:
 

sluggerdog

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Hi new2kegbrew

welcome to the forums..

where are you located at? might help us with some information on setups...

cheers!
SD
 

new2kegbrew

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Hey SD,
Thanks for your quick response!!
I'm in Adelaide, SA.
 

PostModern

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Hi n2kb,
There's a lot to know about kegging. In fact, just learning all the ins and outs that you'll need to set up and use your kegs will probably give you enough info to answer this question yourself. Just asking someone to give you the ins and outs is a big ask, and I don't mean to be rude, because they'll be typing (or cut and pasting) pages and pages of info.

Settle in to the site for the night, pour yourself a beer and click the search button. You'll find a wealth of information already posted. Feel free to post specific follow up questions in existing threads if you like, if for example something has been posted that you don't fully understand.

Anyway, welcome to AHB. Hope you decide to hang around a while.

Cheers,
PoMo
 

new2kegbrew

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Hey thanks PO MO
will take your advice... I might be a bit slow at the search - the beer's cold, and the footy's on, but I'll see if i can find more specific questions - so put your scissors away for now, and I'll quiz you later. BTW just the quick question - is $450 to much to pay to set it up?
 

sluggerdog

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Depending on what is in the kit I'd say it is a little over... but it really depends on where your living.

I'd say you should be able to get something cheaper around Adelaide. maybe around the $400 mark.

Did this kit come with a tap or a gun?
 

pbrosnan

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Hi n2kb,

I started brewing about two years ago with kits. In short order progressed through extract to AG which is really the place to be. The kegging side of things is really more of a convenience thing, not directly related to brewing. One thing about brewing is experimentation (particularly AG) and keeping a large enough supply of king browns on hand was a big PITA (no to mention cleaning and capping). So the way to go is to keg, put one whole fermenter's worth in one vessel. And chances are you'll get a more consistent beer that you'll want to drink (again AG is really the key here). Plus the added bonus of mucking about with all the technical details ...
 

new2kegbrew

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thanks guys...
slugger ... the kit comes with a tap, not a gun.
Pbros what is AG? 'scuse my ignorance
 

pbrosnan

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new2kegbrew said:
thanks guys...
slugger ... the kit comes with a tap, not a gun.
Pbros what is AG? 'scuse my ignorance
[post="69221"][/post]​
AG = All Grain. Kit brewing is the lowest common denominator, you take the wort as a concentrate from the kit manufacturer so it's their grain and hops that you use. Extract brewing allows you to have a choice with regard to hops, the extract is the concentrate of the boiled grain. AG lets you choose the grain, mash them to create the wort and then boil with your hop choice. Then you select a yeast, ferment and viola a beer of your own design. Grain and hops come in a wide range of varities and this allows you to brew many different styles a whole lot better than the kits of the same name. The best idea is to get hold of a book or have a look at John Palmers site which can be found here: http://www.howtobrew.com/. Believe me it is possible to brew really fine beer at home (hic).
 

new2kegbrew

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Thanks Patrick.
I believe you about brewing good beer at home! When I used to brew and bottle beer it was without a doubt, better than pub beer! This is why I want to learn about brewing keg beer - I want to have beer on tap at my bar, without the bottling, and washing a few glasses rather than a heap of bottles! This is why I'm interested in keg brewing, as I have no idea how it is done, or how it differs from brewing to bottle. I really want to find out, once the $400 is spent.. what the basic steps are, and from there learn how to brew the beer I want to have coming out of a top on my bar. Do you have a basic rhthym to your keg brewing?
 

GMK

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I sell Keg systems for:

Single tap Keg system 370.00 (Includes Brand New dual gauge CO2 Harris 601 reg, disconects x2, Beer & Gas line, clamps, SS Grundy Tap and SS fridge extension with SS Nipple, SS snaplock & one pepsi keg)

Dual Tap Keg sytsem 670.00

Hope this helps
 

Thunderlips

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new2kegbrew said:
I have no idea how it is done, or how it differs from brewing to bottle. I really want to find out, once the $400 is spent.. what the basic steps are, and from there learn how to brew the beer I want to have coming out of a top on my bar. Do you have a basic rhthym to your keg brewing?
[post="69224"][/post]​
There's no difference in brewing technique when going from bottle to keg.
When I first started I got sick of bottling real quick and after making about 4 kits I went and bought a keg setup. I still do everything the same except it all goes into kegs rather than bottles. You can also force carbonate a keg, if you wish, and it'll be carbonated in 5 minutes. No need to wait a couple of weeks for those bottles to carbonate :)
 

Scotty

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Just for you to get an idea of how the system works. BTW, don't be afraid to ask any questions as we are all mates here and are happy to help out in any way that we can.

KEGS:
The kegs used in this system are post-mix kegs, made of stainless steel with a hatch cover for ease of cleaning and filling. They include gas in and beer out valves as well as a safety release valve. These types of "kegs" vary in size from as small as 9 up to 50 litres. The most common is 18 litres, which is ideal for the home brewer as they hold a standard brew.

DISCONNECTS:
There are a couple of different types, pin lock and ball lock (snap lock). We supply ball lock, which are available in stainless steel and plastic and work on the same principle as your standard garden hose fittings; they click on and click off for easy connection and disconnection of the beer and gas lines from the keg.

CO2 GAS BOTTLE:
The gas bottles come in various sizes. The most common and easiest to handle are the "D" size bottle. They are a bit taller than knee height and weigh less than 20kg. Other sizes are available but can be quite heavy and difficult to move, not to mention unsightly. Gas bottles are available for hire from BOC Gases or Air Liquid amongst others.

REGULATOR:
A full CO2 bottle will hold a pressure of approximately 800 psi (pounds per square inch) 5600 kpa, that's a bit more than the 10 psi/70 kpa that's needed to run this system, so a regulator is a must.
The regulator screws onto the gas bottle and reduces the pressure to safe levels. There is one guage on the regulator, which shows the output pressure (keg working pressure) that can be set by turning the nut on the end of the regulator using the key supplied.
The best way to estimate how much CO2 is left in the bottle is by weight, not pressure, so make a habit of weighing your bottle when you first get it. The bottle will be weighed and stamped when empty. The empty bottle weight is usually on a tag around the neck of the bottle.

PREPARING THE FRIDGE:


Like bottled beer your kegs will need to be kept cold. With a standard keg holding a full batch of beer and being somewhat bigger than a bottle your fridge is going to need to be changed to suit your kegs, you may need to remove some or all of the shelves, you may also have to level the base.
Some older fridges are not level at the bottom and will need to be levelled. Use whatever suits you best.
You will need to drill a small hole to bring the gas line from the regulator into the fridge. Whether you choose the side or back of fridge is up to you.




NB: Make sure all power is disconnected prior to drilling.
Try and use a drill bit just large enough to allow gas line to fit snugly through hole. Before sealing gas line makes sure there is sufficient length of line to reach out of the fridge.

NB: The wiring systems and cooling systems will vary from fridge to fridge so take care when drilling any holes in your fridge.
If your keg system is going to have a beer gun it's just a matter of cutting the beer line to a length that suits you and attaching the gun to one end of the line and the beer disconnect to the other. The length of line should be between 1.5 and 2 metres long. If you choose to have a tap, there are more holes to be drilled. As stated before, take care when drilling. The position of the tap is your choice again. If putting the tap on the door of the fridge, make sure there is enough beer line so that the door can still be fully opened.
If deciding to put the tap on the door, when you tighten the back nut it may collapse the interior of the door. We have found a small length of PVC pipe pushed over the shank of the tap allows the tap to be tightened so that it is secure, without damaging the interior.


FILLING THE KEG:
Ferment your beer in the normal way. Once fermentation is completed it is time to clean and sterilise the keg. There are a number of cleaners/sanitisers you can use for your keg, including So2, Morgans Sanitize or PSR (we recommend the use of Country Brewer Keg Cleaner to clean dirty kegs). These cleaners are used the same way that you would sterilise your bottles. The transferring of the beer to the keg is as simple as racking directly into the keg via a piece of clear tubing, cut to length so that it reaches from the tap of the fermenter to the bottom of the keg.
You will notice that there is a tube in the keg running from the top of the keg to the centre of the bottom. This is called the Dip Tube; this is how the beer is drawn from the keg. There is also another tube that is quite short in length. This is the Co2 inlet, where the Co2 is injected into the beer.
Your keg should be filled to approximately 12-25 mm (1/2 to 1 inch) from the bottom of this tube.
Now the keg is full replace the hatch cover and move keg to fridge. Assuming your gas line was cut to length it should be long enough to reach outside the fridge so you can connect it to the gas bottle. Turn the gas bottle on and set pressure on regulator to between 10 and 15 psi and connect the gas line to keg.
What we have to do now is purge the air from the headspace of the keg and replace it with CO2. This is done to protect the beer from oxidisation. By lifting the pressure release valve the CO2 will flow into the keg and the air will flow out through this valve. This is called burping the keg and is best done in three short bursts.
Depending on the clarity of the beer you can either go straight to carbonating the keg or if beer is cloudy you can let it stand and settle for about a week and then carbonate.

CARBONATING:
The absorption of the CO2 into your beer can depend on many things, most particularly the temperature of the beer, the pressure at which it is applied and the length of time pressure is applied.
The CO2 will be absorbed at a faster rate when the beer is cold (the beer will not absorb gas at room temperature) so if you apply 31 psi (220kpa) continually for two days under normal refrigeration temperature your beer should be ready to try.
We have found that two days at this pressure gives the correct carbonation. Depending on personal taste you may like more or less so there is some trial and error to find what is best for you. eg. For an English type Bitter you may prefer a lower rate of carbonation but on the other hand you may be making a German Weizen which would be more effervescent so again the rate of carbonation is up to you.

DISPENSING:
Now for the good part, pulling that first beer.
First reduce your keg from carbonating pressure to dispensing pressure. Do this by turning down the set screw on the regulator, if the pressure doesn't come down as you turn the screw you may have to vent the keg using the safety relief valve to release the excess pressure. A suggested dispensing pressure is 10 psi/70kpa.
Even though the beer that you kegged may have been clear you will still get some sediment at the bottom of the keg, so the first glass may be not what you expected. We suggest pulling a couple of glasses through until it clears. Whether using a gun or a tap always dispense with it fully open, if it's used part way opened you will end up with all froth and no beer.
Dispensing, like carbonating, can be trial and error. Plenty of practice will see your right!
Having installed a keg system in your own home you have come a long way from the teaspoon of sugar in a long neck, and it should give you many years of enjoyment.

*To convert psi to kpa multiply psi x 7 = kpa

Scotty

keg_system_special_sml.jpg
 

new2kegbrew

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Hey, thanks guys ... that's been really helpful. Now I've just got to raise the cash to buy a setup, and I'm on my way!! Will keep you all posted, and probably become a regular to this site.
Thanks again to all who have posted to help me out!
See you soon
 

Scotty

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No probs, It came from the country brewer website www.countrybrewer.com.au
 

PostModern

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Scotty said:
No probs, It came from the country brewer website www.countrybrewer.com.au
[post="69365"][/post]​
When you wrote "we supply", I was wondering when you got into the HBS business :)
 

ozbrewer

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Scotty said:
No probs, It came from the country brewer website www.countrybrewer.com.au
[post="69365"][/post]​

Country Brewer took it from Still Spirits.......
 

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