Bottling vs Kegging

Discussion in 'General Brewing Discussions' started by JAMC, Aug 17, 2012.

  1. JAMC

    JAMC Member

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    I currently bottle my 5G batches using different sized brown glass bottles I've collected over time. I originally decided to use this method because it meant I didn't have to worry about obtaining a CO2 supply and additional dispensing equipment when I was first starting out. Having gone through four batches this way I now realise that there are some notable drawbacks as well; not least having to find storage space in the house for 80+ glass bottles!

    I'm interested to hear the views and experiences of brewers who've tried both bottling and kegging. Should I be thinking about kegging? What are the benefits of doing so, and what are the drawbacks?
     
  2. LarryBrewer

    LarryBrewer Active Member

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    Kegging is awesome. My best beers have been kegged. Priming sugar can throw off the flavor somewhat, at least until it is fully consumed by the yeast in the bottle. And yes, kegging saves time in terms of washing all those bottles too!

    Getting a good pour can be a bit of a challenge, until you dial in the line length and pressure:
    http://www.brewersfriend.com/2009/07/18 ... -pressure/

    Had to get a moisture absorption product to keep condensation and mold out:
    http://www.brewersfriend.com/2010/12/12 ... -solution/

    Have fun with the upgrade!
     
  3. Beer-lord

    Beer-lord New Member

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    I got into kegging 3 months ago and it's so much better vs. my bottling day. Yes, there is some 'investment' but I have never heard someone say they prefer bottling over kegging. If so, it's a miniscule minority.
    I brew lots of IPA's so I've found what works for me is putting the keg in the keezer for 24 hours, then at 30 psi for 24 hours, then 20 psi for 24 hours then 10 pis for 24 hours and usually by the 4th day, I'm drinking. 5 days max.
    This has worked perfectly for me thru 7 kegs now.
     
  4. JAMC

    JAMC Member

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    A quick search suggests that (in the UK at least) corny kegs are going for about £75 ($120). I'd then guess maybe the same again for connectors, lines, regulator etc. The main complication for me would be getting a CO2 tank - there's not many places around here that supply them to the general public...
     
  5. Altbier bitte

    Altbier bitte New Member

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    Something else to consider: just because you have a keg/draft setup doesn't mean you can't bottle. You can bottle from your kegs with a bottle filler.
     
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  6. LarryBrewer

    LarryBrewer Active Member

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    Is that price for a new corny keg? You can go with used / reconditioned corny kegs for much less (which is what I did, and I've have minimal trouble). In the US our home brew stores generally sell kits with all the hoses, the tank, and a reconditioned corny keg for ~$175. A few years ago it was less but there is a lot more demand for used corny kegs. The home brew stores should also be able to refill / exchange the tank for you.
     
  7. JAMC

    JAMC Member

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    Nope, recon.
     
  8. LarryBrewer

    LarryBrewer Active Member

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    Wow, it would almost be worth it to pay shipping from the US???
     
  9. LarryBrewer

    LarryBrewer Active Member

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    Speaking of bottling we have a feature request thread going pertaining to the bottling calculator:
    viewtopic.php?f=7&t=67&p=244

    Any thoughts in terms of metric units for bottling? Do you work in Liters and Milliliters typically?
     
  10. BronxBrewer

    BronxBrewer New Member

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    I understand where bottling can be a PITA. Im in a small condo in NYC. I chose to use 22oz or Gunnies 1l bottles. That cuts the bottles in half. I also use my dish washer as a bottling station and sanitizing. if and when i do move i will probably get into keging . The only draw back besides the start up cost would be big abv beers. Not so sure i want to have a 8% beer on tap. I will probably do both keg and bottle.

    BB
     
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  11. JAMC

    JAMC Member

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    I'd have to sit down and calculate it because there's also import VAT (20%) to be paid on the UK side, but you could well be right. Assuming the shipping wasn't astronomical, it could well be cheaper.
     
  12. LarryBrewer

    LarryBrewer Active Member

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    That is absolutely right, an 8% beer on tap would be pretty dangerous. I still bottle all the time. In my experience, richer beers do a lot better in the bottle than light beers. I usually end up bottling my IPAs, or anything over 6%. I keg my summer beers lagers, pale ales, etc. Funny how it worked out that way but I never really noticed... Cheers!
     
  13. Altbier bitte

    Altbier bitte New Member

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    I'm with you, BB. It's not an either/or proposition. Even someone with half a dozen taps to use is going to want to gift someone a six-pack somewhere along the line.
     
  14. JAMC

    JAMC Member

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    Hmm... In that case I seem to be hovering around the keg danger point with my batches. Of the four I've done so far, they've come out at 6.5, 5.8, 6.0 and 6.2%.
     
  15. BrewHop

    BrewHop New Member

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    The cheapest basic setup I have found was on morebeer.com which has one corny, regulator, tank, etc for $185...

    I like kegging my lighter sessionable beers and using them for aging and such. If I am doing one that is heavier I will still bottle. A lot of beer judges I have talked to say bottle conditioning a beer is better for aging because the yeast will keep it fresher for longer.
     
  16. The Brew Mentor

    The Brew Mentor Well-Known Member

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    We sell our basic 1 keg setup for $175.00. This includes an reconditioned ball lock keg, a 5# new co2 tank, regulator and all gas and liquid lines. The faucet is a party/picnik faucet.
    Sorry for the shameless plug, we'll soon have our shopping cart up and our prices across the board are very aggressive.

    As far as shipping to the UK, I'd have to check on that.
    Brian
    [email protected]
     
  17. Matty

    Matty New Member

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    I've been looking to Keg for a while now....that being said most of my beers are > 6% so good to know bottling is more suited to those. I've had quite a bit of success with the party pig system, which is really just a giant bottle. For whatever reason though, I swear the beer tastes better from the "pig" than the traditional bottles, though they really are the same process.
     
  18. shizzy

    shizzy New Member

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    I keg anything medium to small. Anything big or anything that needs some time to age goes in bottles. Simple batches that will be drank in volume? keg.
     
  19. Hamner Brewhouse

    Hamner Brewhouse Active Member

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    I go higher on the ABV scale for bottling. 9%+ goes into bottles. Or if I get a little aggressive brewing & the kegs are all in use, then that batch will get bottled.
     
  20. Craigerrr

    Craigerrr Well-Known Member

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    I pretty much keg exclusively. Lately though I have sometimes kegged half of a batch, and bottled the other. My decision to bottle half of a batch is based on the style (stouts, and spiced ales), or on keg availability. I brew 10 gallon batches.
     

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