Second Best Reason to Keg Your Home Brew

Discussion in 'Homebrewing' started by mnstorm99, Jan 16, 2013.

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  1. mnstorm99

    mnstorm99 Initiate (0) May 11, 2007 Minnesota

    The first should be unanimous for not having to clean 50 bottles for a five gallon batch, right? Ok, we all have our reasons. But, I was thinking that another aspect I really enjoy about kegging is that I can choose my serving size. Late at night I feel like having a beer, but honestly even 12 ounces is too much sometimes so I sit here enjoying an eight ounce pour of my Oatmeal Stout while I type this.

    What are your advantages with kegging?
    TWStandley likes this.
  2. jzeilinger

    jzeilinger Poo-Bah (4,610) Dec 4, 2004 Pennsylvania
    Supporter Subscriber Beer Trader

    Consistent carbonation and not having to wait a few weeks or more to enjoy my beers.
    inchrisin likes this.
  3. mcc1654

    mcc1654 Aspirant (280) Mar 20, 2011 Illinois

    Less oxidation for hoppy beers, time carbonating and pour size. Otherwise cleaning kegs and lines, filling CO2, cost, just as time consuming and probably more costly than bottling. I still do love it. I do bottle all my wild/sour beers and anything meant for long term aging, but the rest goes in kegs.
  4. barfdiggs

    barfdiggs Initiate (0) Mar 22, 2011 California

    Makes it super easy to prepare beer to take to a party/get together/Beer Club Meeting on the fly.
    Duff27 likes this.
  5. kjyost

    kjyost Initiate (0) May 4, 2008 Manitoba (Canada)

    Dry hopping until the moment I pull a beer... In fact I am pretty sure because I let my hop bag sink atop my tip tube it behaves like a mini-Randall :slight_smile:.

    I agree with the mcc1654's comment that it's essentially just as time consuming though.
    Duff27 likes this.
  6. scurvy311

    scurvy311 Disciple (343) Dec 3, 2005 Louisiana

    Pull clear beer with no setiment, bulk aging (until it's gone),

    Definitly, and I would piggy back on that to add the ability to adjust carbonation on the fly
  7. NiceFly

    NiceFly Aspirant (275) Dec 22, 2011 Tajikistan

    Well, most of the advantages I can think of have been listed. The small pour and hop bag fliter being the two main ones for me.

    I will add one, not knowing how much beer is left. When I have a really good one on tap, I do not want to know when it will kick. This way I do not anguish over every bottle and just keep pouring until it spits at me.
  8. audioserf

    audioserf Aspirant (253) Sep 3, 2010 Connecticut

    I got my kegging setup in May of 2011 and ever since then it has only been under much protest that I've bottled homebrew. Bottling is a simply terrible thing to have to bother with.

    I enjoy being able to fill a growler to bring to a friend's house or a family function.
  9. scurvy311

    scurvy311 Disciple (343) Dec 3, 2005 Louisiana

    Amen. Competition beer is the only thing I bottle now and it is only 4-6 at a time straight from the keg and it isn't every keg.
  10. robhbest

    robhbest Initiate (0) Apr 16, 2012 Michigan

    We've only bottled very very special beers lately. Usually ones that will be sitting in the cellar for a long time.
    NiceFly likes this.
  11. mikehartigan

    mikehartigan Aspirant (294) Apr 9, 2007 Illinois

    Clearly, you're a glass half full kind of guy! I agree, this is an advantage, though I've never thought to articulate it.

    To those who feel that cleaning/sanitizing/filling a keg is as much work as cleaning/sanitizing/filling/capping 50 bottles: What are you, nuts????!!!!

    As to the cost of priming versus force carbing, while I haven't done the math, and I could be wrong, I suspect CO2 is cheaper than priming sugar. And if it isn't, you can always prime the keg with sugar.

    My contribution to this list: it's way cooler to pour your homebrew from a selection of faucets than it is to open bottles.
    NiceFly likes this.
  12. Pegli

    Pegli Initiate (0) Aug 30, 2006 Rhode Island

    To me, consistent (and adjustable) carbonation is the #1 best reason to keg.
    Naugled likes this.
  13. afrokaze

    afrokaze Zealot (580) Jun 12, 2009 Arizona
    Industry Beer Trader

    I'd love to have money/room for kegging equipment, but I also don't get why people think cleaning and bottling is that hard. Just rinse with hot water when the bottle is emptied, then again before you put them in the oven at 400 degrees for an hour. Voila, sanitized bottles with no scrubbing!
  14. scurvy311

    scurvy311 Disciple (343) Dec 3, 2005 Louisiana

    Hell yeah you will love kegging. If you think doing the bottle disco and mess for 5-6 gallons of beer every month and just the collection and storage of bottles alone, is easy, you will definitely love kegging.

    The room for kegging equipment...a 5# CO2 tank, hoses, and a keg...? I had an entire metal cabinet to store all of my bottles, and I still didn't have enough room when empty bottles were returned to me.

    Yes my friend, you will love kegging.
  15. jlordi12

    jlordi12 Zealot (503) Jun 8, 2011 Massachusetts
    Beer Trader

    I'm new to kegging ~ 2 months, so far it has been a pain in the balls w/ one issue after another. I finally feel like I'm getting a handle on it though and soon it'll all be worthwhile.
  16. scurvy311

    scurvy311 Disciple (343) Dec 3, 2005 Louisiana

    I did 2 quick all extract basic cheap pale ales and a test batch of wedding beer for my brother (he paid for the ingredients). It took 3 batches and some great advice from the home bar forum, but now I am bottling competition beer straight from the keg and fooling around with pressures/temps with confidence. Patience and experience and advice...
  17. GreenKrusty101

    GreenKrusty101 Defender (679) Dec 4, 2008 Nevada

    Kegging is like sex or drinking...once you experience know abstinence is for other people.

    Seriously, bottling is not that hard as long as your significant other is willing to be your bottle buddy (mine wasn't)
    Now that I have a beer gun, I don't really have to kiss her ass anymore : )

    For me the dryhopping benefit was the totally unexpected surprise.
  18. clearbrew

    clearbrew Initiate (0) Nov 3, 2009 Louisiana

    When a new acquaintance is in my house and says "holy crap, you have beers on tap, more than one, and you made them yourself!!"
    Yeah, that never gets old.
    Plus, I find it more fun to drink draft beer. Its like beer that flows into my glass as if from nowhere. Like a magic beer fountain.
    Zach136, FeDUBBELFIST and NiceFly like this.
  19. mikehartigan

    mikehartigan Aspirant (294) Apr 9, 2007 Illinois

    ...and no empty bottles to count! :wink:
  20. mikehartigan

    mikehartigan Aspirant (294) Apr 9, 2007 Illinois

    Cleaning and sanitizing 50 bottles (100, in the case of a ten gallon batch) is not hard. But it's a PITA compared to cleaning and sanitizing one (two, in the case of a ten gallon batch). Regarding space, a five gallon batch takes less than one square foot of floor space (actually, about 63 square inches). Refrigeration space is the same, kegs or bottles. Money ...well you've got a point there!
    pointyskull and afrokaze like this.
  21. scurvy311

    scurvy311 Disciple (343) Dec 3, 2005 Louisiana

    Clearbrew, allow me to turn that effective statement into a keg haiku.

    "Beer flows into glass,
    Like a magic beer fountain,
    As if from nowhere."
  22. clearbrew

    clearbrew Initiate (0) Nov 3, 2009 Louisiana

    That was beautiful man!!
  23. jbakajust1

    jbakajust1 Moderator (1,076) Aug 25, 2009 Oregon

    I will admit, I do not keg, though I am in the market. One huge downside to kegging that I never see anyone talk about in these threads but in plenty of others... I have never seen a bottler write "I walked out in my garage and found a huge puddle of Imperial Stout in the bottom of my fridge and all my bottles half empty!"

    Ifi walked out to any beer I had just invested time, money, thought, labor, love into all over the floor because of a bad connection while forcing CO2 into the keg I would be furious and probably want to go back to bottling.

    I have never kegged, so I could be wrong.
  24. jlordi12

    jlordi12 Zealot (503) Jun 8, 2011 Massachusetts
    Beer Trader

    This has happened to me . Not a full keg or even a half, but enough to make me hang my head a bit.
  25. mikehartigan

    mikehartigan Aspirant (294) Apr 9, 2007 Illinois

    hmmmm... poor maintenance. But a real danger, nevertheless. It's never happened to me, but that doesn't mean it never will, so I am careful. A bad job of capping a single bottle results in the potential loss of, at most, that bottle. A bad job of 'capping' a single keg can potentially result in the loss of the equivalent of fifty bottles. On the other hand, the odds of a bad seal occurring on one of those fifty bottles are fifty times greater than it is on one keg. I'm pretty anal about leaks, particularly anytime I touch something (the most likely time something's gonna break), so I'm not too worried, though.

    I have never bottled a batch of beer. I do individual bottles for competitions. I've said in the past that if kegging was not an option, I might not be brewing today. ...or at least not as frequently.
    pointyskull likes this.
  26. dcloeren

    dcloeren Defender (629) Sep 15, 2010 Texas
    Beer Trader

    I get my tank refilled for a dollar...
  27. mikehartigan

    mikehartigan Aspirant (294) Apr 9, 2007 Illinois

    Ok. What's your secret? :wink:
  28. mcc1654

    mcc1654 Aspirant (280) Mar 20, 2011 Illinois

    $20 in Chicago for a refill.
  29. dcloeren

    dcloeren Defender (629) Sep 15, 2010 Texas
    Beer Trader

    The welding supply store I bought my tank from offered me a membership for $20 extra and I get the tank refilled for a dollar.

    Edit: I basically have a corporate account with them now and it allows them to fill me up for the dollar
  30. tjensen3618

    tjensen3618 Initiate (0) Mar 23, 2008 California

    Cool factor.
    Much more impressive to have buddies over and have 3 beers on tap for them to chose from rather than a bunch of assorted bottles.
    mikehartigan likes this.
  31. mikehartigan

    mikehartigan Aspirant (294) Apr 9, 2007 Illinois

    My last 20# refill was $30 at Terrace Supply in Villa Park. Brew and Grow will do a swap for $25, IIRC. Where do you get yours? (If this is a 5# refill, then never mind! :wink:. Actually, I'm not complaining about $25-$30 every 2 1/2 years!
  32. mcc1654

    mcc1654 Aspirant (280) Mar 20, 2011 Illinois

    Yes, it's a 5#. I'm not sure the $ for a 20#. I now regret only purchasing a 5# tank, but at the time I wanted something that would fit on the ledge in the freezer. The place is: . They have a good selection of parts as well and for me it's only a 5 minutes drive.
  33. bifrost17

    bifrost17 Initiate (0) Dec 16, 2011 Washington

    I really need to get a kegging setup....
  34. mikehartigan

    mikehartigan Aspirant (294) Apr 9, 2007 Illinois

    I keep my tank in a closet adjacent to the bar. I could put a freaking huge tank in there without spoiling the aesthetics of the room. Since there are no line length or ID limitations on the gas line, you could put a CO2 tank anywhere in the house without issue - along side your water heater in the basement, for example. A 20# refill is only marginally more expensive than 5# (something like $3 or $4 difference, last time I asked). My supplier will lease a 50# tank for a one time lifetime lease fee of $225, last time I asked (less a $100 trade in on my 20# tank). Refills are $35-ish (it varies, though I'm not sure why). It seems the lion's share of a refill is hooking up the tank. The gas, itself, costs next to nothing. I recently saw an ad for a $20 CO2 refill -- any size tank.
  35. inchrisin

    inchrisin Defender (654) Sep 25, 2008 Indiana

    You make some valid points, but table sugar is a buck a pound. You know it only takes 3-5 oz of sugar to prime 5 gal of beer. It takes just under a pound of CO2 to carb a keg. (Maybe I'm including purging and other duties). I'll give you that both ways are cheap to do, but table sugar has to win by quite a bit. That said, you are giving me yet another reason to buy a 20# tank. :slight_smile:
  36. mikehartigan

    mikehartigan Aspirant (294) Apr 9, 2007 Illinois

    20# lasts about 30 kegs. This includes racking from the fermenter, purging the kegs, carbing, serving, purging and filling bottles for competition, carbonating the occasional 2L bottle of 'fresh' beer and soda (in addition to the 30 kegs), etc. I think "just under a pound of CO2 to carb a keg" may be overstating it just a tad. It sounds like the difference is probably pennies per keg one way or the other. (a buck a pound for table sugar?!?!? Dude, you're shopping in the wrong store! :wink:)

    Edit: Wow! I stand corrected. I just did an online search and $1/lb seems to be a common, nominal price for cane sugar. It was about half that the last time I bought it for my brewery (homemade soft drinks, mostly). FWIW, I was paying $.05/lb as recently as ten years ago (I lived near the Canadian border. I would buy my sugar at the world price for homemade jam rather than pay the prevailing $.25 in the US due to the import restrictions on Cane sugar)
    inchrisin likes this.
  37. pweis909

    pweis909 Poo-Bah (1,587) Aug 13, 2005 Wisconsin
    Supporter Subscriber

    As a fairly newbie kegger, I gotta say that I never considered the possibility of losing a keg. So how common is the "lost an entire keg" scenario that jbakajust1 suggests? What are the causes? Failed o-rings? Partially unlocked ball locks? Leaky cobra taps? What routine maintenance do I do to prevent it?
  38. Rau71

    Rau71 Initiate (0) Dec 12, 2011 California
    Beer Trader

    I have a keg, but after 1 batch I turned it into a root beer keg, I just don't drink enough beer to have a keg on hand. That being said, haing homemade rootbeer on tap is the best thing ever.
  39. OddNotion

    OddNotion Devotee (478) Nov 1, 2009 New Jersey
    Beer Trader

    I live in an apartment and believe it or not, having a kegerator saves a ton of space! I also love the quick turn around time once the beer is ready to be carbonated.
  40. mnstorm99

    mnstorm99 Initiate (0) May 11, 2007 Minnesota

    Never happened to me. <<<Knocks on wood>>>
    Bottle Bombs might be the bottlers equivenent.
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