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Basic Kegging Questions

As most people do, I apologize if these questions have been answered before. I’ve been doing some research on kegging and am definitely interested in kegging over bottling. However, the large upfront investment makes my wife hesitant on allowing me to make the purchases. Shes interested in kegging too, though I’m pretty sure she enjoys bottling day the most. We are still very much beginners in the homebrew realm, using extract kits. We just brewed our 5th kit the other night and it is currently fermenting. Currently I am considering buying piece-mail to spread the cost out over time but still get use out of everything. So onto the questions:

  1. Natural carbonation. I’ve read a lot of negativity about natural carb. Is it that much more difficult to do natural over CO2 in a keg? Time isn’t a huge deal to me.

  2. Chilling. This is one of the big ones. I’m thinking about getting a 1 or 2.5 gallon keg and doing half and half. That way I can make room in the regular refrigerator for it, as opposed to spending the money on a secondary one right now. I saw one guy say that he kegged in the winter so he could store it outside. I’m in NC, so not the most ideal for that, but the garage stays chilly enough.

  3. Storage time. How long will a tapped keg last? I’ve seen a lot of different answers on this and just looking for a solid answer.

Thanks for the help. I’ve been lurking for awhile, figured it was about time that I should hop on and start asking questions!

A keg tapped with co2 will last forever. If your going to get the small kegs they are more expensive but you can leave them in the garage on some ice and you’ll be fine

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How long will a keg last. Mmm. Depends how much you drink. I got kegs ready well carbonated. Wating to be hooked to the beer tap. Some 4 weeks old

As @brew_cat said beer on CO2 will last pretty much indefinitely. Bottled beer lasts a long time too and you can bottle some off the keg to save.

Carbonating with sugar as opposed to using a CO2 cylinder? In my opinion less precise and you still need gas to serve it.

Reconditioned kegs are pretty cheap. You can rent a CO2 cylinder or buy a used one. They seem expensive but bottles aren’t cheap and can get broken. I hate bottling so I’m a big proponent of kegging. The start up costs seem prohibitive but it’s worth it.

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Yes get some reconditioned kegs. As far as a refer people are always getting new ones thats all you would need for your garage

Vigilant Craigslist searching… I found one ball lock for $25 once. I’m about to order a couple for significantly more, but you’d be surprised what shows up if you keep your eye out.

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I brew with the wife too, and we had a great bottling-day system.

Kegging does have some start up costs, but is super convenient once set up. I resisted kegging for the longest time because of the costs. Then the wife got a bonus, and suggested getting a keg kit. We figured we could carb in the keg, then finally bottle without sediment.

Well, the only thing worse than wanting to buy gear and having an unsupportive spouse, is wanting to buy gear and having a way too supportive spouse. We now have 2x5gal kegs; 2x3gal kegs, a 2-tap Kegerator w/Perlick faucets, a back-up CO2 tank, and have NEVER filled a bottle from the kegs. Well, growlers, but not bottles. I’m not complaining though.

Best wishes…

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Yes, look on Craigslist not just for kegs but complete draft systems. They will mostly be Sanke type taps for commercial kegs but it’s easy to convert them to corny kegs.

If you know someone in the restaurant business, see if they have any soda kegs hanging around. Many soda distributors have changed to “bag in box” that does not use kegs. You will need to clean them well and replace the O rings to avoid the soda taste. Try not to get root beer kegs. That taste never seems to go away.

For the CO2 tank, I suggest paying the deposit to a CO2 distributor rather than buying one. It won’t be nice and shiny but you will be able to swap the empty for a full one and not wait. They also need to be tested every 5 or 10 years depending on the type tank. When the distributor owns it, it’s his problem. Check with the CO2 guy for used stuff too. My first set up was an old fridge with a hole through the door and used stuff from a CO2 dealer.

I both force and condition with sugar. Force carbonation is more accurate but will tie up your equipment. For me it means being able to force one keg while three others are carbing themselves. If you go easy on the priming sugar you can finish carbing on the gas is a short time.

Thanks for all of the replies! From the sounds of it, I should stick to bottling now and build up my stock of everything I need to do kegging properly. I’ve been casually browsing CraigsList and Ebay for everything. Just haven’t pulled the trigger on it yet, mostly because my wife is still hesitant about it all. But once she sees the grand vision (and ease of serving), I think she will come around.

It is easy to keep delaying the jump to kegging(I delayed for 3 years, God knows why). I just kegged my first batch this week. I’m sold already. Everything went well and the process was easy. Ordered a package deal from Homebrew Supply on sale awhile back, which although nominally more expensive, was super convenient.

My advice, Jump.

The odds and ends add up. I got a kegerator for Christmas, of course with Sanke fittings. To pick up odds and ends to convert two taps to ball lock? Forty bucks of little odds and ends. And now I’m too impatient to bargain hunt for additional kegs, so I’m about to pull the trigger on two new ones.

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GEE whiz!! New ones! Don’t do it! I know it will help the peeps that work there, and possibly give a child a chance at college, but why would you want to do that?:stuck_out_tongue: Sneezles61

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^^^ I really meant to say, lucky dog… Sneezles61

It’s crazy… even on Craigslist, it’s a red letter day if you can find someone selling a used ball lock for $50. It’s not too much more for new ones (on sale from certain places). Even after shipping I’m looking at just over $150 for 2 brand spanking new kegs.

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Have you gone to the soda pop distributor and asked ifn they had some fer sale, maybe? Sneezles61

Look at kegconnections.com before you buy new. I have 10 kegs. Not a single one was bought new. All reconditioned from keg connectios or bought off craigslist. All working great with nothing more than a good cleaning and new o rings. I think I may have replaced a lid on one…

yea that’s not too bad…[

Pin locks $34 at AIH that’s where I get mine.

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Hoped on kegconnections and started getting some stuff ordered. Just need to look for a regulator, CO2 tank, and a fridge now. Figured might as well just start ordering it as I see it or It will never happen.

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CO2 tank advice: if you can find a used steel tank, you won’t be upset when it arrives empty (they can’t ship them full) and you take it to a place that swaps out your tank. Exchanging a shiny new aluminum tank for a banged up Steel one hurts.

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