Keg Setup $375

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Kegging is expensive! Especially if you have a small fridge.

I'm looking at getting into it, and would appreciate if people could offer suggestions on my proposed system. It comes from a variety of places, mybeershop and ebay being the main sources.

12 Litre Squat Keg $169
540g C02 Cylinder - $75
Regulator - budget Dorado $39.95
Plastic Pluto Gun - $32
Disconnects - $20
5mm Tube, Clamps, Check Valve $39

Anyone got any tips for me on what I'm missing, anything look wrong? Or minor improvements?

I realise 19l corny kegs can be had for $50, however I just got a bar fridge as a gift and I am not going to suggest replacing it. I've only got less than 39cm height, and the 12litre one I found is only 22cm high :) But it costs a bomb. If anyone knows where cheaper 12litre kegs are, please TELL ME!:?)

I've also been labouring over the pluto gun vs a ball lock direct mount tap, but trying to keep costs down and the fact that I can't balance the system with a directy mount tap led me to choose the pluto. The bronco tap just looks too cheap. (I've also considered 'mounting' a short shank tap INSIDE the fridge somewhere, because using an actual tap is cool, but this just doesn't seem practical).

Maybe look at a complete corny system, you can get a fridge or chesty from eBay or gumtree cheap/free!

Use the bar fridge for bottling/cc'ing cubes! It's a win win.

I got a chesty for free, and built a collar, bought 4 taps and lines, disconnects, gas, micromatic regulator etc and have only spent around 450-500 so far, taps were half of it from the US (perlick).

If you research, you can do pretty good, also, hop shop and go can reduce shipping by consolidating the packages if buying over seas.
don't be deceived by the look of the plastic bronco taps - they give a good pour.
Have a chat with CraftBrewer to see what is involved in setting up these little kegs for re-use: It mentions at the bottom of the blurb "Not designed for reuse, but many brewers have adapted for several uses."

And then let us know. ha ha

(Replying to Glen's post further down)

Bingo. I have a bar-fridge which is my ferment fridge. I did have to chop a bit out of the bottom of the freezer section out, but only when I started using a heat plate under the fermenting vessel. But fits straight in (30L Coopers). I did have to bastardise the inside front door skin to close the door because of the compressor bulge at the bottom.

I have a kegerator which I picked up off eBay with gas bottle, kegs, some spares, keg spikes, etc, etc. But that cost more than you are budgeting.

To give you an idea of what bargains you can pick up, I grabbed 4 kegs for $120 on Gumtree. $30 for new seals and poppets and done. So keep your eyes peeled for kegs and give-away fridges. At some point someone you know will have a spare fridge and your mates will gladly donate a fridge to you if there will be a chance of free beer for them. :lol:
Hey mate,

I also purchased a budget dorado reg when I needed a quick cheap alternative and have found that they are not the best. Mine leaks gas and the dials dont move all of the time. But I guess thats what you get when you pay less. I have had three kegerators, one with through the door shanks and taps, a keezer with a two tap font that recently passed away, and also a commercial kegerator from keg king I got second hand. I use bronco taps on the commercial one just for ease and they pour the best out of nearly any tap I have (bar my perlicks).

But the most trustworthy is the old fridge with the taps through the door. Spent $250 dollars to get all the gear from my LHBS (they do it cheaper now for a start up kit). Then got a second hand fridge for nothing off the road - painted it and away I went. That would be my choice again cheap as chips and better quality gear.

Use your bar fridge for bottles or conditioning.

I have a pluto gun too stainless - but only use it for parties or special events. Just dosent seem the same as pulling a beer from a tap.

Hope this helps.

your first two expenses are what's gonna kill you.

i wouldn't go the 12lt keg option. It's too big to take to a bbq, and too small to have any awesome benefits in my opinion.

also 540g of gas for that price, i wouldn't do it.

If you can't afford a dedicated gas bottle outright with gas, then just go boc/air liquide until you can.

I pay about $65 for a refill on a massive bottle. I reckon it's a 10kg bottle. and it's about $13 a month. I have gotten nearly 2 years out of a bottle (on my third now) and i only ever force carbonate and serve. No natural carbing at all.
Yeah i know, rental, rental, and all that, but seriously 540g is useless. Unless your gonna naturally carbonate and just use the gas for serving, but i doubt it.

One of the benefits of kegging besides the lack of bottling and it's assosciated issues, is the speed at which you can be drinking your beer.
Yep it will taste better as it ages in a keg (to a point), but i regularly am drinking my kegs the day after they have been gassed (force carb'd).
I would say without a doubt most keggers here don't naturally carbonate their kegs. Sure there are some, but i bet most don't.

You won't want to hear it, but i'd hold off on kegging until you can get a bigger fridge, and use the bar fridge for bottled stock, hops and yeast storage.
What's gonna happen when you want more kegs......are you really gonna pay $169 each time? When you know you can get the more standard ones for $50-60?

Scour the classifieds, hard rubbish collection, recycle plants, garage sales, talk to family and friends etc and source a cheap (or free) bigger fridge that will hold atleast 2 kegs.

Or even rent a chesty from somewhere at a couple of dollars a week...
Can you fit a fermenter in the bar fridge? You might beable to make that your fermentation fridge, and then get something that fits the kegs.
don't be deceived by the look of the plastic bronco taps - they give a good pour.

yep, my old man (Old Farts Brauhaus) uses them. they work well actually. He keeps them in his chest freezer and simply opens the lid, quick pour and closed again.

He's pretty happy with them.
+1 on sourcing another fridge. With patience, you should be able to get one for next to nothing. An EOI on here, or scouring gumtree will turn one up eventually.
If you buy a 12L keg, you'll only want a second one to rotate beers after a few months and a third...
You'd still save money in the long run using a more suitable fridge and cornies imho.

You can rent gas in the short-term to 'hide' some of the costs too if that's a factor.

Pluto gun definitely sounds better. The direct mount taps is just a world of foam/mess.

All as previously stated really, good luck.
I've paid a lot for my setup. But i have 2 19 litre and 1 9 litre keg. I use soda stream bottles. 2 for 50 down here. Also have 2 taps and a pluto gun. The 9 litre keg was 125 and the 19's were 115 each. Brand new too. So worth it as the pluto gun is just my travel keg now for fishing trips. Looking at about 400 for my arse about setup.
Bronco taps pour as well/better than a lot of ones that don't cost $7. These ones take 5 seconds to remove for cleaning/replacement.

I have 2 kegs in the kitchen fridge/freezer. Just chopped 1/3 off the bottom 2 shelves. We don't really miss the fridge space - still heaps.

don't be deceived by the look of the plastic bronco taps - they give a good pour.
+1 - I have 2 curly hosed bronco taps - about $20 each, great pour.

Get a cheap or free full sized fridge, they will use a similar amount of power, and you can get2 or3 cornies in it.

Buy a keg king 2.6L gas bottle from ebay for about $180 delivered. My refills are $25-$30. Pays for itself over hiring in a year.

Co2 2.6kg (full) - $199
19L corny $65
Beer/gas hose $5
Keg King should offer free shipping for these..

Cheapo regulator $40 (ebay ?)

Old fridge $0-40 on ebay/gumtree (patience will yield results)

Chi-company ($6 disconnects x 2, $3 bronco tap, what ever else you need) plus $15 shipping OR buy from Keg King (but from my experience they are not the greatest quality)

I started with the same setup as Nick JD ... the bronco taps pour really well... not quite like a Perlick though :)
Agree with the bronco taps. I used to have a Pluto gun that i thought looked a lot better. A keg of beer later and one of the drunks dropped it and broke the handle. Was unable to pour beer for the rest of the night.

My bronco tap has gone through a hell of a beating and still works perfectly. I also get a better pour using it then when I was using the gun. If you were able to swap the fridge it would end up a lot cheaper for you now and in the long run when you plan on expanding your setup (buying more kegs etc). Plus I am sure you can use the other fridge for something else like yeast the odd bottles of beer that you get from the rest of the ferment.
39cm sounds crazy small for the internal height, even for a bar fridge. What model is it? Is there a freezer compartment in there as well or something?
$169 for a 12L keg.... hrrrmmm. If you are willing to pay that then why don't you budget a fridge for up to $69 (should be able to get one for nothing if you look hard enough) and then by 2 x 19L cornys for $100?
Bronco taps pour as well/better than a lot of ones that don't cost $7. These ones take 5 seconds to remove for cleaning/replacement.

I have 2 kegs in the kitchen fridge/freezer. Just chopped 1/3 off the bottom 2 shelves. We don't really miss the fridge space - still heaps.

Hey Nick, how to you use those taps? Just pour from them where they are mounted or pull them out, pour and then stash them back?
Bigger than bar fridge, second hand - 120
Regulator, 2nd hand or welding reg - 50
19L keg - 60
Tap n hose - 20
Disconnects - ~20-30
Gas line - 2-3
540g gas bottle (they are awesome) - 75

PS: sell/return the small fridge and go for a decent sized one.
Hey Nick, how to you use those taps? Just pour from them where they are mounted or pull them out, pour and then stash them back?

Where they are mounted. See how there's a tab (for the fingers when you pour), that tab goes in like a key and then turns 90 degrees locking the tap in place.

Wow so many responses, I forgot how good this place is :beer:

Yeah I've looked at the 5 Litre mini kegs. Yeah that is a significant cost saving there. I just get the feeling it'll be a bit of a clunky setup, but I will look into it more. Could be really good. As long as I can still force carbonate, and pour from a tap? I'll look into it.

I'm not 100% how far into it I will get, so I am reluctant to set up the full system (4 taps sounds awesome by the way Jurt!), so like the idea of keeping it 'compact' with the 12 litre keg.

Cheers Liam, I'll not look past the bronco.

Sean - Jeez the dorado didn't send the best there. I'd hope despite the cheapness of it that it'd still do its fundamental job satisfactorily, I might ask mybeershop what their consensus is on it. Despite it's flaws - have you stuck with it though?

Big Nath, I don't go to bbqs. So my main goal was to get the best value for money that fits in my fridge. But yeah the price is not good compared to the 19 litre jobbies. There is NO CHANCE in hell I'll be getting more than one of thme at 169! No, I thought if I ended up wanting to put more beer into kegs that I'd get some $50 cornies, and just transfer half into the 12 litre keg when I want to serve it up. That should work yeah? I don't go through my beer very quickly, it's usually 2-3 on a friday and saturday.

And 540 grams...yeah it's small, but it's 1/5 the price of a 2.3 kg. How much is rental I wonder? I'd consider it if the cost isn't great, but I assumed you'd need to be using it a lot to make it worth it. The refills on the 540 gram aren't huge - 10 bucks. Plus it's small so will fit in the fridge with no modifications.

Really it's all just about getting my foot in the kegging door with minimal obvious outlay, and end up with a nice little system. I figure that the gas tank and the keg will hold there value well enough that I can recoup costs if I decide to expand.

hsb "hide the costs" - you get where I'm coming from mate :)

'39 cm is crazy small' - Yep there's a freezer compartment in the top, and a vege crisper in the bottom which is half the depth of the rest. AHH! It was a christmas present, brand new, 5 months old....I don't have the heart to hurt anyones feelings yet.

"If you are willing to pay that then why don't you budget a fridge for up to $69" - My wife doesn't 'like' second hand fridges.......................................(I can keep adding dots). But I'm now thinking more and more about this option..


Cheers for all the advice folks. Now I have some serious thinking to do. I'm so excited. All this keg planning, and my fridge is dry at the moment. God I'm thirsty!


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