Researching transitioning to Keg

Discussion in 'General Brewing Discussions' started by valsamik, Jun 28, 2016.

  1. valsamik

    valsamik New Member

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    Hey Brewers, I am thinking about transitioning from bottles to kegs sometime this year. I was wondering if there are any lessons learned from others who have done the transition. What exactly would I need? I've looked at some sites for keg kits, but I'm not really interested in paying the $300+ all at one time. I'd like to buy piece by piece over time. Any help is appreciated.

    Mike
     
  2. jeffpn

    jeffpn Well-Known Member

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    I dropped $600 of my total $1300 at one time. Mine is a 6 tap, 8 keg system. You'll have to start with a tank, regulator, keg, tap, etc. but you can add capacity as you go. The initial stuff is pretty expensive. Fortunately, I eventually found where my LHBS buys their kegs, and I bought my last kegs direct from them. Make sure you buy the shortest shank you can get away with. If your collar is secured to the base of the freezer, the shanks get in the way when you change out the kegs.
     
  3. J A

    J A Well-Known Member

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    You can look into a simple system like this to get started:
    http://www.homebrewing.org/5-Gallon-Bal ... _2254.html
    Add a 5# tank for $65 and you're under a couple hundred. Don't know how much shipping is going to set you back, though.
    I stalked craigslist. There were some decent prices here and there. I ended up totally lucking into a nearly new bottle and regulator, used 5 gallon ball lock and all the stuff for $80 from a guy who's moving out of town. Total score, but I've seen tank and regulator for less than $100 several times. Used kegs pop up all the time for 40 or 50 bucks, sometimes cheaper.
    You can convert a dorm fridge to just squeeze in 2 kegs. I happen to have an extra fridge that I can hack, so I'm set for a rudimentary system for really cheap. Depending on where you are, there's always somebody getting out of homebrewing for one reason or another. You'll end up finding a good price on stuff and piecing it together if you want to save money. There is the danger of nickel-and-diming to cobble a workable system and then ending up upgrading anway, and spending more than you would have to just bite the bullet.
    Either save up a lot of money and commit to a nice system up front or build it up gradually and risk being less cost-effective over the long haul.
     
  4. artbreu

    artbreu Member

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    Try to find used kegs on craigslist to avoid shipping costs. You should replace the seals and maybe replace the lid and posts as needed. I suggest a tap-rite 2 or 3 product regulator or you'll have to purchase a manifold to have more than one brew serving while another is carbing up. A single tube of keg lube will cost you about $5 and save you hundreds on wasted CO2 from small leaks.

    A single 5# CO2 tank is all you need, but a 10# can save you trips to the LHBSS.

    There is a relationship between serving pressure and the length of your serving line, so don't have a needlessly long serving line.

    Your keg can be a very good "secondary." Don't be afraid to let a little trub and yeast go through. Heresy!! I know. But you can have a beer continuously aging while also being served. Just don't disturb the keg and you'll serve crystal clear despite the trub ring that forms in the bottom.
     
  5. KC

    KC Active Member

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    My lesson learned is that for $71, new sankey sixtels from Stout make more sense than 20-year old used corneys for $100+. Fits any standard kegerator which usually comes with their own regulator and tank. Although the gas tank will be nice and shiny, if you turn it in on an exchange program there's no worry about recertifying every few years.
     
  6. valsamik

    valsamik New Member

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    Thanks for the good info.
     
  7. PZ

    PZ Member

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    Picnic taps are cheap and would give you time to decide how elaborate you want your ultimate system to be. Spend your money on a dual regulator so you can have more than one pressure going. I have two freezers, one GE and one Kenmore. The GE is much, much better quality. Of course capacity is the key -- make sure you have enough space for your maniac hobby to grow. I have found four kegs to be perfect.

    I'm sure there are plenty of brewers who will, shoot me down, but I love priming in the keg.

    In any case, kegging is the way to go!

    PZ
     
  8. jeffpn

    jeffpn Well-Known Member

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    I'll shoot you down.* But not for priming in a keg. For saying four kegs (taps) is the perfect number. I have 6 taps, but my keezer holds 8 kegs. That leaves room for 2 kegs conditioning while I'm drinking and serving from the other 6! I haven't used priming sugar since I started kegging. I have one regulator set to 30 psi for force carbonating.

    *This is my opinion. Other's opinions will vary.
     
  9. J A

    J A Well-Known Member

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    I just successfully kegged and carbed my first beer! It was great! No more showing people how to pour a bottle of homebrew so they don't get all the yeast I tried so hard to get packed in the bottom of the bottle. :)
    We had 3 kegs - one of mine and a couple of my buddy's brews. I put 2 in the chest freezer and one in a trash can with ice. Ran hoses and picnic taps for pouring and it worked out perfectly.
    Soon I'll convert my dorm fridge to hold 2 kegs for household consumption. I suppose I'll have to get some taps for that, but I may run hoses temporarily.
     

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