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Buying a keg setup - ADVICE?

Before diving deep into kegging, I did a lot of searching and reading on this forum and learned a lot. Fortunately most of a keg setup is easily expandable so its easy to add, and spend, more later.

Some up-front thoughts on what your final set-up might be will save you some time and money however.

I’ll certainly agree with the used keg suggestions above. Try KegConnection and CornyKeg.
Stainless steel faucets and connections are best. If you go with cheaper ones first, you may end up buying twice.
During my learning, several posts recommended Perlick Faucets. I followed that advice and I’m very happy with my 630SS.
I’ve got a 4 tap keezer and 8 used corny kegs. I went with pin lock kegs based on the idea that it is harder to mix up gas and liquid connections.

You can search for keezer and kegerator here to see several setups. For what its worth, you can find a post on my setup here:

There you will see a dual pressure regulator (not to be confused with dual gauge). I have since added a third regulator. All 3 are on a single 5lb CO2 tank. I also agree with above comments that a 2nd tank would be nice. That may be in my future.

Some tips:
If you are planning a multi-tap, multi-keg setup, lines of differing color help when it is all stuffed into a keezer or kegerator. I have clear liquid lines, red gas lines off two regulators and blue gas lines off my third regulator.
In addition to color, lines come in different sizes and qualities. I found this guide helpful.
The reason for multiple regulators is that you may want to serve different beer styles at different pressures, depending on what you like. I have soda water at 30 psi, most ales at 12 psi and porters / stouts at 9 psi - more on pressure below.
Gas manifolds allow feeding multiple kegs from the same regulator. Check valves there prevent beer from backing up from one keg to another, and, into the regulator, which can cause it to fail.
Oetiker clamps on the lines are much better than band clamps. Clamp sizes are specific to line sizes, and you need a tool for them. They are intended to be somewhat permanent, but are easy to cut off.
“MFL” connections allow for easier cleaning, line swapping and set-up changes.

As for pressure:
Search for carbonation chart. Different beers styles generally are served at different levels of carbonation. You probably already know this from bottle carbonating. Carbonation level (the amount of CO2 dissolved in the beer) is a function of both pressure and temperature. Fortunately, you control both of these. Decide what temperature you like your beer at and set your temperature controller. Then for that temperature and your beer style(s), use the carbonation chart to determine the desired pressure(s) to set your regulator(s).

Once you’ve got that, then you can calculate the proper liquid line length using a calculator like this one.
You will probably want to experiment some with temperature, carbonation level (CO2 pressure) and line length but doing it in that order will help keep you sane. Start with lines a bit longer than recommended - its easier to make them shorter and longer. :slight_smile:

By the way, the high pressure gauge on the regulator will hold a constant pressure, based on temperature, until your CO2 tank is nearly empty, then it will drop fairly quickly. It is not a great indication of how much CO2 you have left.

Good luck, have fun and please share what you learn with the rest of us.

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Great response! I just picked up on some more nuggets!

I see on the AIH site they are selling new ball lock kegs at a pretty low price…(65 bucks).

Is there something to watch out for on deals like this? The picture looks great. I do have a couple of new kegs that have some super sharp edges on the inside of the lid opening. I have never cleaned these kegs without drawing blood from my hands. I would like to avoid buying any more of those if possible.

Just seems to be some big disparities in pricing so it makes me suspicious … I would rather pay more and buy it once.

I do have a single output, with 4 gas lines to 4 kegs… I am good with that… I have 2 kegs now in a keezer, and able to carb 2 more… I don’t drink quite as much now as a while ago… Better quality, I’m good! I like how Steve has laid out kegging… Good people on this forum, full of info, and in many various aspects of brewing… As a community we will move ahead! Sneezles61

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NEED a 3-gallon keg? No.

You can force carb a 3-gallon batch in a 5-gallon keg. I don’t think I’d want to sugar-carb though; too much head space. Even force carbing, the extra head space will use more of your CO2. Now, how many 3-gallon batches do you have to force-carb in the keg before the cost of wasted CO2 makes it worth the cost of a 3-gallon keg? I don’t know, but it is probably shittons of batches.

Then again I have “Gear Acquisition Syndrome”; so I have 3x 3-gallon kegs, and 3x 5-gallon kegs, because that’s the number of kegs I found sales on.

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I have 12 five gallon and 1 ten ball locks all used. Some purchased and some were freebies. I agree, they look banged up on the outside but what’s inside is what counts. Some new O rings and a good cleaning on used will save some money. I both force and prime them. That way one can be on my spare regulator and tank while others carb themselves.

I would not buy a CO2 tank if you can avoid it. Gas dealers will charge a deposit to use their tank. It is then their problem to have it hydrostatic tested. You can usually just swap it out also and not wait for a fill. A second tank is a must have.

Start thinking about your long term goal for brewing. I purchased a new Frig from Lowes and added 3 taps to the front of the Frig (really cool). Inside I have two 5 gallon kegs and two 3 gallon kegs (4 CO2 taps, 3 Front Door Taps). Others convert mini-freezers. Start off with a 10 gallon HLT (a real one). You can use it for both 5 and 10 gallon batches. Purchase a burner with extended legs. Use Igloo 10 Gallon MLT vs Rubbermaid. I obviously don’t speak for everyone. Every system is different. Enjoy what you create. Also for bottling, use a beer gun vs priming sugar (when ever you bottle). That’s my input.

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Nice setup. I have a similar setup in an upright freezer with temp controller on it and four taps through the door. I love the easy access with kegs compared to a chest freezer!

I wanted three 5 gallon kegs but could only fit 2 so I added two 3 gallon kegs for the back row (due compressor).
Three taps is plenty for me.

Left Tap: Best Beer - First 5 gallons from my 10 gallon batch - (Good Beer)
Right Tap: Experimental Beer- 2nd 5 gallons of 10 gallon batch (Evil Beer) - Adding Sugar, Hops, Steeped Grains…
Center Tap: Weekend Morning Beer (Porter, Stout, etc.) - 6 gallon batch for two 3 gallon kegs

Strange, I know but that’s my routine…

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[quote=“TomW, post:29, topic:25451, full:true”]
Weekend Morning Beer[/quote]

I like your style! :beers: :egg:

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“Strange” is in the eye of the beholder…haha…whatever works for you! I’m barely able to squeeze 4 ball locks in the freezer. Had to remove the shelves from the lower half of the door.

Nice clean build @TomW. I too, use the 10 gal Igloo cooler as MT, 15 gal Megapot 2.0 BK and Blichmann burner with the leg extensions. Extra bottles of propane are a must! I went chest freezer way for my tap setup and love it. Lifting the kegs can be a PITA but I don’t do it that often either. Most important, your setup is yours and do whatever works for your budget and space.

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Good looking kegerator @brewmanchu! Nice work.

Thanks @dannyboy58. I tried keeping it clean as long as I could but I recently started adding brewery stickers to the collar. Collection was growing too big and only so much room on my grain bucket!

Sweet.

I have my kegs and all of the equipment! Ready to get it running this weekend. Do I need to remove the storage compartment on the inside of the fridge door before drilling through it?

As long as you fill your keg with CO2, 3 gallons in a 5 gallon keg is fine.

Kegconnection.com has ball lock and pin lock kegs on sale in 4 packs right now.

I saw alot of good deals on kegs lately. If I didn’t already have enough a 4pack would be the way to go. You need at least 2. Four would be better if you want to establish a nice pipeline

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