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"Tap a Draft" cheater keging system feedback?

Discussion in 'Homebrewing' started by JimmyTango, Jul 9, 2012.

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  1. JimmyTango

    JimmyTango Initiate (0) Aug 1, 2011 California

  2. Beerontwowheels

    Beerontwowheels Initiate (0) Nov 22, 2009 Maryland

    I think you should buy it, test it, and then let me know :grinning: . I'm getting to be in the same boat as you!
  3. JebediahScooter

    JebediahScooter Initiate (0) Sep 5, 2010 Vermont

    I haven't used it, but I went through the same thing of researching these as a baby step toward kegging when I didn't have the cash for a full setup/had some space limitations. After a lot of reading, I decided to wait until I could save up for the real deal.
    GoldenChild and nozferatu46 like this.
  4. kjyost

    kjyost Meyvn (1,175) May 4, 2008 Manitoba (Canada)

  5. JimmyTango

    JimmyTango Initiate (0) Aug 1, 2011 California

    Could you elaborate a bit? What did you learn that eventually dissuaded you?
  6. JimmyTango

    JimmyTango Initiate (0) Aug 1, 2011 California


    That is a pretty cool set up!

    Two questions/ concerns (forgive me if I'm being kind of boneheaded... I don't really have any knowledge of how to run a keg):

    1) What is the difference between the homemade set up and the one I linked to from MoreBeer? They both seem to be a way to keg that fits in a mini fridge and uses CO2 cartridges for gas. Cost isn't really an issue for me with the Tap A Draft, so what would be the advantages of the converted mini keg?

    2) Where can I get a mini keg?? I don't really want to have to buy and drink 5L of Newcastle befor I can "keg" my next IPA. We don't get Two Hearted out here :slight_frown:
  7. JebediahScooter

    JebediahScooter Initiate (0) Sep 5, 2010 Vermont

    It's been awhile since I pulled the trigger on my kegging setup, but if IIRC, it came down to a few issues. First was longevity of cornies vs. the TAD kegs (I believe I recall reports of them wearing out, gaskets breaking and needing to be replaced, etc). Also, I think that the cost of gas works out in favor of refilling a CO2 tank (obviously there is greater up-front cost with a full-size kegging setup, though). I also wanted to be able to carb different kegs at the same time under different pressures and to be able to carb a keg at the same time as dispensing another, so a dual body regulator was important to me (in practice, essentially allows me to run two different regulators off the same tank so I can be serving an IPA at proper pressure while carbing, say, an ESB at a lower pressure without needing two tanks). I also wanted to be able to dial in pressure precisely so that I could turn it way down, say, fill growlers or to force carb at high pressure if I needed a keg ready quick for a party or something. I also like that cornies offer the flexibility of doing stuff like dry-hopping in the keg, conditioning a bigger beer under a little bit of pressure in an oxygen-free environment for extended periods, etc. Size/space was another factor. So yes, I could fit several of these in my kitchen fridge, but the wife didn't really want to give up that much fridge space...so if I was going to have to get a second fridge to be able to have all of my keg beer cold, I figured I would just wait to buy a chest freezer with temp control and then put full-size cornies in it. Also, I believe the TAD kit comes with three 1.5 gallon kegs...I didn't want to mini-keg most of a batch and then have to break out the bottling setup to do the rest. I brew 6 gallon batches to account for dry-hop/trub loss and so that I can rack off the cake into kegs to shoot for as clear a beer as possible without using finings. I can fill my 5-gallon cornies up to the top without disturbing the yeast cake...then cold-crash and condition in the corny, pull one pint with sediment at the beginning, and then have nice, clear, keg-hopped beer. Really came down to versatility for me.

    That said, there are plenty of happy TAD users out there...it just wasn't the right option for me. Here's a thread with a ton of discussion:

    JimmyTango likes this.
  8. JimmyTango

    JimmyTango Initiate (0) Aug 1, 2011 California

  9. JimmyTango

    JimmyTango Initiate (0) Aug 1, 2011 California

    So, as I said, I am not a keger right now... maybe y'all could clear up a few things for me with this:

    -I'm assuming I will be able to carb up the 1.5 gal jug with the CO2 cartidge and not have to wait 3 weeks for bottle conditioning. Yes or no?

    -Will I be loosing a whole bunch of beer per jug to initial foam and trub? I'm sure trub shouldn't be too big of an issue as I'll be transfering clean beer into it...

    -Can I travel with carbonated jugs? If I get them all carbed up in the fridge, but then take them on the road, will they loose CO2 if they get warm and take several days to re-carb, or can I just get them cold again to be ready to serve?

    -How long should it take to get them carbed up with a CO2 cartridge?
  10. DrewBeechum

    DrewBeechum Meyvn (1,236) Mar 15, 2003 California
    Supporter Subscriber

    You can carbonate with these cartridges, but man that's an expensive proposition.

    And once a beer is carbonated, you can travel with it. You'll just want to give it a little time to settle on theo ther side of the journey.
  11. JebediahScooter

    JebediahScooter Initiate (0) Sep 5, 2010 Vermont

    Yeah, the force carbing with the cartridges did not seem like an appealing avenue for me to explore. Check that hbt link up there...there's 30 or 40 pages, but I think there is some discussion somewhere in there of people tricking out mini-kegs with a paintball tank and mini-regulator. That could be a good way to skirt the hassle of cartridges but maintain the small package, and you could dial in the proper pressure for force carbing.

    If I were going for compact and cost wasn't a factor, there's also 2.5 and 3 gallon kegs that will fit in a kitchen fridge along with the food. Those suckers are sweet, and I covet one, but damn they're expensive.
  12. digitalbullet

    digitalbullet Initiate (0) Jul 15, 2008 California

    I have a tap a draft set and it ok. The good: It's relatively small and fits in the fridge. I don't have to bottle as much. I've had a beer in there for over 2 months with no signs of oxidation.
    The bad: due to the internal pressure relief in the tap the beer does not hold the carbonation as much as I'd like. After a day or two it becomes almost like a cask ale.
  13. kjyost

    kjyost Meyvn (1,175) May 4, 2008 Manitoba (Canada)

    1) You can use any CO2 for the homemade system. Thus you can get a (initially more expensive) CO2 tank that can be later reused in a corny keg system that can also be refilled much more cheaply than the epxnse of the cartridges.

    2) You can get them online. For example midwest has them for $16: http://www.midwestsupplies.com/mini-keg.html That said, find one full for $20. The type that is used has the little pull-out dispenser, I believe. I know at least one German import can be bought where I am like that (DAB). Also, Midwest has some giant "system" for $130 (http://www.midwestsupplies.com/party-star-deluxe-tap-system.html)
  14. inchrisin

    inchrisin Defender (654) Sep 25, 2008 Indiana

  15. meatballj626j

    meatballj626j Initiate (0) May 7, 2009 Georgia

    I too have been evaluating the TAD system, but I have also had my eyes on this system:


    the pros are is you can continue to upgrade the system with the paintball co2 systems. Con is the kegs are about the same price as a 5 gallon corny. I have not made a purchase yet on either, but to me stainless would last longer.
  16. clearbrew

    clearbrew Initiate (0) Nov 3, 2009 Louisiana

    I've never used one of these, but I've heard good things.

    The only experience I have with the tap-a-draft system is using the bottles as casks. I didn't use the c02 set-up with the bottles. I just filled and carbed like a big bottle then put on a spigot top and served from it, like a cask.
    It worked great for my purposes.
  17. JimmyTango

    JimmyTango Initiate (0) Aug 1, 2011 California

  18. kaips1

    kaips1 Initiate (0) Feb 20, 2011 Kentucky

    youre best bet is to find those miller/coors lt home draft "kegs" and get someone to drink it and then reuse the whole container minus the spent CO2 cartridge, you may need to macgyver the cartridge with a couple o rings. thats the cheap route but it does take some effort. it beats 60 bucks on a TAD system and doesnt require having a whole kegerator setup.
    JimmyTango likes this.
  19. JimmyTango

    JimmyTango Initiate (0) Aug 1, 2011 California

    ^ Good stuff.
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