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Going kegging

Discussion in 'Homebrewing' started by JoeyStats707, Apr 1, 2014.

  1. JoeyStats707

    JoeyStats707 Savant (420) California Jan 28, 2014 Beer Trader

    I decided to build a kegerator for my home brew this weekend, after buying an old fridge, I looked up complete systems and found these two.

    Its the exact same system except ball lock and pin lock. Given pin lock is cheaper, I figured might as well go that route, but I'd like to know if there is a good reason to spend the extra and go with the ball lock system?

    Are there any major pros and cons to either, home brewing wise?

  2. VikeMan

    VikeMan Poobah (1,030) Pennsylvania Jul 12, 2009 Beer Trader

    Ball Lock kegs generally have a relief valve in the lid that can be used to release pressure manually. Pin Lock kegs generally don't. Also, the dimensions are different. Pin Lock kegs are shorter and fatter.
  3. I never knew the kegs were different sizes, that is interesting. The link for ball lock in this case mentions they are "low profile," I wonder if that means that they are converted pin-locks?
  4. jlordi12

    jlordi12 Advocate (585) Massachusetts Jun 8, 2011 Beer Trader

    If given the choice between the two definitely go Ball Lock. I own both kinds and I find them to be much easier to work with.
  5. dblab33

    dblab33 Savant (375) Michigan Dec 9, 2011

    Adventures sells those low profile ball locks that are a bit larger in diameter and about 3" shorter than the standard corny. They are perfect for putting on the compressor hump in a keezer if you are tight on space.

    After shopping around a bit, I ended up purchasing nearly all of my kegging system from them (5 and 10 lb tanks, 8 kegs, faucets, shanks, regulators, gas lines, misc components, etc). Only things I didn't buy there were my manifolds, drip tray, and serving lines (wanted Accuflex BevSeal Ultra and they don't carry that). Helps that their original location just happens to be my LHBS of choice.
    JoeyStats707 likes this.
  6. JohnSnowNW

    JohnSnowNW Champion (755) Minnesota Feb 6, 2013 Beer Trader

    I use, and would recommend ball-lock kegs. That said, I'd also recommend you piece the system together yourself.

    Consider buying a dual-valve regulator...you will thank me later:


    Then purchase SS for everything but the gas side, including Perlick taps (either 525 or 630):



    Anyway, you'll be much happier in the long-term spending a little extra money to get the better kegging equipment.
    Theortiz01 and JoeyStats707 like this.
  7. PortLargo

    PortLargo Advocate (550) Florida Oct 19, 2012 Verified

    Not directly related to ball vs. pin, but a few details that are not obvious now but you will learn to appreciate:

    Using male flare fittings (mfl) for both gas and liquid connections will minimize aggravation. This involves extra connections (barb/swivel-nut) but will add a few years to your life-span. (it looks like these kits have it)

    Two kegs are good to start, but the beauty of kegging is having a pipeline in place. Consider planning your kegerator around more rather than less.

    Bit the bullet and get all your extras in advance (again, adds to life-span). Buy a line cutter, dip-tube brush, faucet brush, and at least double the gaskets, connectors, clamps, and whatnots before you need them.

    A 10 lb tank is so much better than a 5 lbs you should consider a 20 lb'er. Please get a better than average regulator and review the possibilities of having multiple pressures (if this is important to you). You will find CO2 is your friend for more than just pushing beer through a faucet. The tap-rite model pictured is a good one.

    From the description it looks like you are getting generic faucets and shanks. It doesn't cost a lot more to get something better and ss is the way to go here.

    Please, review previous posts (Home Bar Forum) and numerous web sources on how to balance your system before you open the gas valve the first time (ditto for leaks). If you rely on their advice ("this system should be run at 10 psi") you will be disappointed.

    Good luck, I'm pretty sure my kegging system has lead to major improvements in the quality of drinking.
    Last edited: Apr 1, 2014
    inchrisin and JoeyStats707 like this.
  8. I definitely agree, do not buy a cheap regulator. I bought a $30 regulator for my set up and the gauge was terrible. I would set the pressure and then 20 minutes later the gauge would read a lot higher. It took way too long for the gauge to change so don't skimp on the regulator.
  9. JoeyStats707

    JoeyStats707 Savant (420) California Jan 28, 2014 Beer Trader

    PortLargo and JohnSnowNW like this.
  10. JohnSnowNW

    JohnSnowNW Champion (755) Minnesota Feb 6, 2013 Beer Trader

    I think you'll be happy with that. Congrats...beats the crap out of bottling.
  11. Gauges are easily replaceable, and they're pretty cheap. I recently replaced the gauges on two of my Micromatic regulators (nice regulators, but pretty generic gauges that were getting finicky after six years). FWIW, I bought 30 psi gauges instead of the traditional 60. Much easier to adjust, IMO.

    And don't skimp on the regulator!
    PortLargo likes this.
  12. VikeMan

    VikeMan Poobah (1,030) Pennsylvania Jul 12, 2009 Beer Trader

    One of my micromatic gauges has finally gone rogue. Can you describe your method to replace? I can't quite decide where to hold the valve body and with what to minimize the chance of damage.
  13. I put it in a vise. Don't clamp it down tight - just snug enough to hold it in position while the vise's jaws provide the stops to keep it from turning. It'll become clear when you try it. Keep in mind that the body is not the delicate part.