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Keg Setup Walkthrough

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ashman

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Hi guys,

I've been brewing for years now but have never had the impetus to setup a keg dispensing system. Well, this weekend I've got a massive party planned and am now dead keen to get the setup on the go. Part of my job involves working with gas systems so I've got a spare regulator and lines and a good range of fittings to get everything connected, but, I need to make sure of a few points:

1) My mate has an empty Carlton kegs that he never bothered to return after a party. Where can I get the right fitting to go in the top? And what is the style of fitting called so I can find it?

2) Am I right in understanding that I have two connectors to the keg, one for gas and one for beer and that I don't have both connected at once. This is a conceptual issue that I haven't been able to work out from reading the forums.

3) What do most people do for CO2 and what size cylinder do they get? Should I just rock up to BOC and buy a small cylinder or are there cheaper places to get one?

4) What other hardware will I need - I am fussing here over details because I'm paranoid that there is some little widget or what-not that I'll miss and will then be sunk.

5) I have 100L of lager ready to go in these two little bad boys. By reading around I've worked out that I need to chill the kegs, then carbonate them, and then drink them. 30psi for 2 days and then 10psi for serving are the planned values, any comments?

Thanks heaps for the help guys,

Ash
 

ashman

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mikem108 said:

Thanks, I'm chasing all this down at the moment. I was just surprised to find so few attempting to setup a commercial keg system instead of going with post-mix. I see so many advantages to the larger kegs, and not just including more beer!

I'll post my findings here as they happen. Hopefully they'll be useful to other newbies like me.
 

Darren

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ashman said:
mikem108 said:

Thanks, I'm chasing all this down at the moment. I was just surprised to find so few attempting to setup a commercial keg system instead of going with post-mix. I see so many advantages to the larger kegs, and not just including more beer!

I'll post my findings here as they happen. Hopefully they'll be useful to other newbies like me.
[post="88849"][/post]​


Ash, apart from it being ilegal to use commercial kegs, I think the main reason no-one (or very few) use them is that they are so damn heavy full. Getting them into a fridge would be a pain in the butt.
cheers
Darren
 

ashman

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OK, here is a summary of what I've got to date:

100L of Lager made using Farmland lager kits. (5 x $7.40 + sugars (no point listing a price as it could vary from $5 for plain white sugar up to $20-$30 for ))
2 CUB and 2 Toohey syle kegs. (Free if stolen from a pub you don't like)
D Size CO2 cylinder from BOC ($33 for the gas + $10/month cylinder hire)

So the things I need to track down are:

Fittings for Kegs (about $80 on ebay or more new or free if hand made)
Regulator (About $150 to buy but I have one someplace)
Hoses (Got heaps at work and stuff)
Tap ...


...I know there are lots of people here with lots of experience, but I don't want any one to say my idea is stupid unless they have tried it themselves and found it not to work. We're going to use a garden tap for the dispensing. Now, don't be silly, not a standard twist tap, but a cutoff tap, the type that swings 90 degrees to open and close. The principle behind a beer tap is the same, open and close quickly. This prevents the beer going through a small opening, the pressure drop across which causes the CO2 to nucleate out into bubbles and thus foam.

I will post my findings here in a few days.
 

big d

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cant really add too much to whats already been mentioned ashman.i got a :ph34r: coupling off ebay some time ago.i havent got around to fiiling up my :ph34r: keg yet as i havent done a double batch brewday yet.it will happen at some stage but as mentioned it will be damn heavy but worth it providing your beer turns ok else wise you have 50l of very average beer.
hope all goes well.

cheers
big d
 

Fingerlickin_B

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ashman said:
2 CUB and 2 Toohey syle kegs. (Free if stolen from a pub you don't like)
I'd edit your posts and stop making brand-specific statements like that if I were you man...people are watching :ph34r: :eek:

PZ.
 

n00ch

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Just out of interest what are the other advantages they have over post mix kegs besides size?
 

PostModern

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Postmix kegs are legal, lightweight, legal, easy to service, easy to clean and did I mention LEGAL.
 

peas_and_corn

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Yeah, I wouldn't think of using commercial kegs.

Every friday I have a bit of a 'works outing' where me, my supervisor, another bloke from night fill and one of the front end supervisors go across the road to the pub and have a few, relax and have a good time. A couple of times empty kegs have been outside the 'cage' they are normally kept in, and Jake joked about how I should grab them and drive off. We have also joked about cutting the cage open, as it's just chicken wire. However, I wouldn't really consider stealing kegs from a pub... it's a little too illegal for my liking...
 

Thunderlips

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Darren said:
Harder for home brewer to clean
[post="88878"][/post]​
Plus you need to buy the coupler. I suppose that's no big deal for those that get the kegs for free though.
I recently bought a 45L keg but it has ball lock posts on it and a screw top lid. It's an ex windery keg. Easy to clean and it uses your standard post mix keg fittings.
It is bloody heavy though when full. Mine goes in a fridge so I can lift it myself but you'd need two people if it was going in a chest freezer.
 

Uncle Fester

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As far as large kegs go, I am going to wait for those plastic recyclable and disposable ecokegs to become more widespread. At least then you wont have the threat of the keg gestapo knocking on your door. (And I hear that the breweries are very active in recovering their kegs).


M
 

ashman

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Thanks for the feedback guys. I don't intend to edit my post as all I mentioned was "Free if stolen from a pub". I haven't said that I stole a keg and I certainly don't condone illegal behaviour. But, having said that, if you're mates with a pub owner and he lends you a keg for 6 months, or less, then that's fine. And, the deposit on a bought keg is only $20. So keeping the keg is like buying it since they keep your deposit. And how many people have milk crates kicking about? It's the same thing.

So, what are the advantages. Obviously volume. I've got 100L of beer in a big tub ready to go. I don't think scale is an issue. Obviously when experimenting you want to run smaller batches but who said the 50L keg has to be filled? It will work perfectly well half full. You also have the ability to run commercial beer through your setup when needed - parties, parties and more parties spring to mind. But your milage on this point may vary.

Setbacks include: cleaning - NOT! Cmon guys. I took the spears out of two kegs last night. Took me 5 minutes. I then cleaned them both out very easily. If you had a good routine that included rinsing and cleaning your kegs as soon as they are empty then I don't think cleaning is a setback. Others here have mentioned "pink detergent". It sounds really nasty but also sounds pretty excellent for cleaning kegs. I just used morning fresh and lots of hot water, both kegs now have no residual smell from the previous occupants.

People here have mentioned the weight. I wrote above that you don't have to fill the keg, but, I personally can lift a full keg (50-60kg) since I grew up carrying trees about in rural Tasmania. But, I'm sure any two capable people could lift a keg together. And since beer is meant to be enjoyed with company there should always be people about to help.

Hmmmmmm, I can't think of any other setbacks right now, thoughts anyone?....

PS: I measured up the fitting last night and will machine my own connector this afternoon. I'll post some photos too.
 

Darren

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Sorry, but morning fresh isn't going to cut the mustard if you fill it with homebrew. The crud that can be transferred with homebrew sticks like proverbial. Often I need to get my arm right in there and scrub to get it off (even if I have used napisan). Commercially I think they use acid, then caustic and then a pressure wash to clean it out. If you can be bothered doing that then good on ya.
Finally, You don't need to have acyually stolen the keg yourself to be charged.
I think it is known as possession of stolen goods. Better keep your hire receipt I would say. As others have mentioned, keg recovery agents patrol and I think on one occassion actually posted to this board.
 

normell

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ashman said:
Thanks for the feedback guys. I don't intend to edit my post as all I mentioned was "Free if stolen from a pub". I haven't said that I stole a keg and I certainly don't condone illegal behaviour. But, having said that, if you're mates with a pub owner and he lends you a keg for 6 months, or less, then that's fine. And, the deposit on a bought keg is only $20. So keeping the keg is like buying it since they keep your deposit.
[post="88975"][/post]​
Dont think the "pub owner" owns the keg, "it always remains the property of the brewery", so you may still end up in more shit than a Werribee duck. :blink:

Normell
 

ashman

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Urm, I thought this was a forum about home brew, not a chance the espouse moral concerns on the unfortunate. I couldn't care less about these so called "keg collectors", I mean, cmon, what a waste of time. How are they going to catch me? Drive by my house and magically see the kegs inside or do they have a keg locator device that can home in on them. And there's no way they'd be able to subpeona my ISP information to track me through this web post. I can see it now: ISP: "so someone posted crap in a web forum and you want to know who it is?" CUB: "Yes, that's right." ISP: "And they may have stolen something, worth how much again?" CUB: "Well, we give them away for $20..." ISP: "What the ****?" ... what a waste of everyone's time.

Let's stop fear mongering and instead focus on the project at hand - feeding butt-loads of beer to heaps of fun people for next to nothing in cost.
 

pbrosnan

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Personally I think that 20L of Farmland lager would be plenty ...
 

Ross

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pbrosnan said:
Personally I think that 20L of Farmland lager would be plenty ...
[post="88996"][/post]​
More than enough ;) :D
 

tangent

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....and a sh!t load of sugar!
Shame you can't wash your car with it.
 
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