So I’ve made a number of 1gal batches and bottled them, so far so good. I’m thinking about bumping up to 5gal batches, but I am no big fan of the bottling process, so I am considering putting together a rudimentary draft system. Ultimately, one of those multi-keg keezers sounds awesome…but for now, I think I want to go as cheap as possible, without forcing myself to buy everything new again to upgrade. The dual keg setup that NB offers gave me this idea, but I am thinking I should be able to scrounge around and put together something workable that’s cheaper. Any advice from those of you who have done this? “Stop cheaping out and just buy the pre-packaged setup” is fine, although I likely won’t take it
do a little reading and just watch for sales and buy just what you need. the kits are ok but start out slow but what you need and build up as you go.
I have 6 kegs. I bought 4 from kegconnection.com and 2 off of craigslist. They’re all used/reconditioned with new O-rings and work just fine. They have a few scratches and dings on the outside but they work perfectly and cost me a lot less than new ones.
My regs are new and CO2 cylinders reconditioned as well. Check around near you to find out if you even need to buy a cylinder. It may be cheaper in the end to just rent one and exchange it when you need a refill. I get mine refilled at a welding shop for about $17. I have 2 5 lb tanks. I wish I had just bought a 20 lb.
I put a Johnson controls temp controller on an upright freezer I already had and used picnic faucets for almost a year. It holds 4 kegs along with some bottles on a wire rack above the kegs and hops and harvested yeast on the door shelves.
Now I have perlick taps mounted on the door. I’m glad I had the upright because I feel like getting kegs in and out of a chest freezer would be a pain but I have seen some really cool keezer builds.
One easy place to cut corners early on is to use party taps rather than tap handles. I started with tap handles and after the first chest freezer died I didn’t feel like making another collar for the new one so switched to the party taps, never missed the handles at all.
Search Craigslist for kegorators and any other key words that might score you some used stuff. All my first (commercial) keg stuff was used from a CO2 supply so if you have one near by stop in and ask. If you know anyone in the bar or restaurant business, ask them if they have any spare stuff.
Your local fire equipment or CO2 supply may “loan” you a tank with a deposit that is less or equal to the price of owning one. If you own it, it will need to be hydrostatic tested every 5 years at your expense. If they own it, they will be responsible and may just swap it out for a full one so you do not have to wait while it is being filled.
That all sounds like great advice, thank you!