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Starting A Kegging System

Thoughts, advice, and hell…even horror stories are much welcome.

Regulators: Is the micromatic worth the extra dough?
They appear to be a quality product.

Faucets&Shanks: Perlick is what I’m hearing most people advocate.
I’m not a fan of buying stuff twice.

Picnic Taps: For mobility, are they reliable?
I have a deep abiding hatred of these things.
(they conjure up visions of high school keg parties, and sour, foamy, yellow swill)

I’ve heard of people having liquid run back in their gas lines. Aside from contaminating your gas lines, that will destroy a regulator, yes? Could you put a check valve between the keg and regulator as insurance?

Na Zdrowie!!

My two cents -

Regulator - any good brand name. The basic mechanics of them are all about the same.

Use MFL, not barbs.

Perlick in SS. You will definitely not regret that one.

Picnic taps are cheap and have been reliable (mine at least). Worth having a couple around.

Buy some spare o-rings for the kegs, check poppets and it’s worth having a couple spares around.

Check valves come standard in many assemblies.

Kegging was one of the best things I’ve done with my home brew. Enjoy!

Have you decided if you’re going with ball lock or pin lock kegs? Going with a keezer or fridge?

I can’t vouch for Micromatic regulators. I have a Cornelius dual body regulator from Midwest that I use for dispensing and a Tapright that I use on my 5 lb tank for other tasks. I really like the Tapright, because it has a built-in o-ring. Without a built-in o-ring, you’ll have to replace the gasket each time you disconnect from the tank. The gaskets are cheap, but it’s one more thing you have to do.

As far as faucets are concerned, I’ve only used Perlicks and a couple different stout faucets. The Perlicks are exactly as everyone describes them. Never had any sticking problems. They work flawlessly every time.

I don’t see why picnic faucets wouldn’t work for taking your beer on the road. The bigger issue with kegging and portability is that you will disturb the yeast in the bottom of the keg when you move it, so you’ll be pouring yeasty beer unless you are able to let it settle before pouring.

If you always ensure pressure on the gas line is higher than pressure in the keg, you will not get beer in your lines. Further, if you use one-way (check) valves, you will not get beer in your regulator–even if you accidentally connect a line to a keg with higher pressure.

I’ve done a lot of research and purchased components from quite a few vendors as I built and have been maintaining my system. I can recommend these vendors, in addition of course to NB.

Maybe the best place to get most of the core components for your system: http://stores.kegconnection.com/. If you get a pre-built kit like this one
http://stores.kegconnection.com/Detail.bok?no=496
, you will save money compared to building out separately.

I’ve purchased many kegs from this place: http://www.bvrgelements.com/category/Keg/. Their prices are very reasonable and they do a great job cleaning kegs before sending them. They seem to go above and beyond what most vendors do in that department. They sent me a faulty keg one time, but sent out a replacement no questions asked after I e-mailed a photo of the problem.

For building out a keezer/kegerator, here is a great place to get shanks, Perlicks, etc (assuming you want all stainless components): http://www.stainlessbrewing.com/Kegging_c_17.html.

My top piece of advice: buy the best components you can afford now, so you won’t have to replace them later. For example, Perlick vs. other faucets. This is why I went all stainless for all of my components.

Wow, I think that was my longest post ever. But one more thing, since you’re in KC: for tanks and CO2 fills, I highly recommend Keller Fire and Safety

. They’ve been very good to me.

I bought a 5 lb. tank with a kit and wanted a larger one for dispensing. They built a 20 lb aluminum tank for me for ~$90, including tax and the first fill. I also had them build a 10 lb (~40 cu. ft) nitro tank for me for around ~$65, which is a steal.

I agree with Voodoo about MFL fittings and spare parts.

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