would it be worth it to get into kegging instead of bottling??

Discussion in 'Homebrewing' started by ghostinthemachine, Sep 13, 2015.

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  1. ghostinthemachine

    ghostinthemachine Initiate (0) Aug 14, 2015 Louisiana

    about how much would it cost? i've been browsing craigslist for systems or kegs lately. i have a chest freezer that i dont really use that i would convert into a kegerator.

    is it that much better than bottling?
  2. CurtFromHershey

    CurtFromHershey Initiate (0) Oct 4, 2012 Minnesota

    I don't know anyone who kegs that wants to go back to bottling or regrets their purchase. That said, it can be a pricey initial investment depending on whether you build vs. buy a kit, 1 tap vs. 2 or more, fans, dehumidifiers, other accessories. It can be done on a budget or you could easily drop a K.
  3. billandsuz

    billandsuz Pooh-Bah (1,963) Sep 1, 2004 New York


    nobody has ever said "I don't like kegging my homebrew. I am going back to bottling". not ever.
    research the threads, because if you find one soul who disparages kegging after having bottled we want to know.

    also, as i have stated in years past, keg beer is cool. but having your own homebrew on tap, in your home, that's cooler than the other side of the pillow.
    try it. you'll like it.

  4. ghostinthemachine

    ghostinthemachine Initiate (0) Aug 14, 2015 Louisiana

    i would definitely build it if it could save me money. i like building stuff. i built my fermentation temp controller (kind of) and made my own keggles and all that jazz. building it is part of the fun
  5. GetMeAnIPA

    GetMeAnIPA Pooh-Bah (2,473) Mar 28, 2009 California

    I just started kegging, 3 batches, and it is so much better than bottling, especially IPAs. The ability to minimize oxidation and not having the beer sit two weeks at room temp to prime helped improve my ipas significantly.

    For me I already had a fridge in the garage for beer so I bought a basic set with a 5 lb CO2 tank and a plain cobra/picnic handle. The full set was $190, plus tax. Bottle set up is super cheap like $30 - $40? I also like not having to store my empty bottles all over. Now I just keep a few 12 oz and 22 oz bottles. I still bottle a few off the keg once it's primed.

    The only downsize is my beer seems to go a lot faster. It's very easy to say I'll just have half a glass more, then end up having 10 half glasses.
    DukeCola, NiceFly, Tebuken and 2 others like this.
  6. ghostinthemachine

    ghostinthemachine Initiate (0) Aug 14, 2015 Louisiana

    well i just got some news from a friend. he found a source for free corny kegs. his girlfriends dad owns some lil old school drug stores and the soda companies don't always take the kegs back. he said he would start setting aside some for him. im hoping for two but i wont complain about 1
    corbmoster and GetMeAnIPA like this.
  7. Wanda

    Wanda Crusader (482) Nov 23, 2006 Tennessee

    Personally I'd turn the chest freezer (with the addition of a temp controller) into my fermentation chamber. I've seen keggerators with tap and all plumbing in costco for under 400. I got mine with my excessive Marriott points...even came with an empty CO2 tank that I had filled. I also use Sanke kegs since that's the connection that came with my set up but they make conversion kits so you could easily change to ball/lock for cornies.

    I still keep a supply of bottles for high gravity stuff that I'd like to condition for a while though I suppose I could replace my tap faucet with a double faucet since the fridge can hold two 5 gallon kegs. Either way, it's good to have options and I like kegging!
    ghostinthemachine likes this.
  8. ghostinthemachine

    ghostinthemachine Initiate (0) Aug 14, 2015 Louisiana

    i plan on getting another chest freezer or a craiglist fridge to have as a kegerator. it's pretty easy to make a temp control and i'll build and insulate a collar for it so i can have the taps on the outside
    Wanda likes this.
  9. corbmoster

    corbmoster Initiate (0) Dec 15, 2014 Texas

    No need to insulate the collar. Wood is not a conductor. You may want to caulk the bottom of it though. Here is a good tutorial on doing a keezer build.

    Free kegs are always nice! Make sure you know the difference between pinlock, and ball lock, so you order the correct connectors for the kegs. A lot of elbow grease maybe needed on your part to clean out the kegs. You may even need to get new O-rings. they are pretty cheap though, so no worries.

    For faucets: I'm not very knowledgeable, but I have a Perlick 650ss and I love it because I do not have to fiddle with different hose lengths to have the correct resistance for the system. Instead, I just turn the smaller knob on the side. Easy peezy.

    Start looking for welding shops, and fire extinguisher places that will do tank exchanges. If you will be having multiple kegs, you will need a manifold of some sort. The larger the tank you can accommodate, the better.

    And lastly, I think the cheapest way to do temp control is by using an STC1000 model and building a unit for it. I'm not sure if the other manufacturers have other features this one does not have, but I'm happy with mine.
  10. ghostinthemachine

    ghostinthemachine Initiate (0) Aug 14, 2015 Louisiana

    all of my temp controllers have the stc 1000 in em. they are so cheap and easy to put together. i dont see why they wouldnt work
    corbmoster likes this.
  11. TheGr8Sarcasmo

    TheGr8Sarcasmo Initiate (0) Apr 3, 2015 Indiana

    Yes. Full stop. End of Telegraph.
  12. deleted_user_1043750

    deleted_user_1043750 Initiate (0) Sep 17, 2015

    It's worth it to minimize the oxidization of your brew. The initial cost can be a bit of a pain, but if you wait long enough on Craigslist you can usually find some great gear for cheap!
  13. jbakajust1

    jbakajust1 Pooh-Bah (2,456) Aug 25, 2009 Oregon

    I would never dream of bottling again. I have a 3 year old Lambic in the garage that is still waiting because I don't want to bottle it, nor do I want to dedicate a keg to it as I will drink it way too fast that way.
  14. JFMBearcat

    JFMBearcat Initiate (0) Dec 9, 2014 Ohio

  15. corbmoster

    corbmoster Initiate (0) Dec 15, 2014 Texas

    I wouldn't say it is inferior. Functionality wise they are both perfectly fine.
  16. Tebuken

    Tebuken Initiate (0) Jun 6, 2009 Argentina

    I think both methods have different pro/cons but both are important to be used . I brew lot of beers to give as a present , I like to present a crystal clear bottled lager beer so I bottle it from a keg using a counter-pressure gun, avoiding this way yeast sediment at the bottom of the bottles. I love high Belgian OG beers bottled conditioned for long periods, so I think both methods are valuable.
  17. gcg49

    gcg49 Initiate (0) Dec 29, 2014 Texas

    I've had a kegerator for a few months now, some positives:

    -Having your own beer on tap is about as cool as it gets
    -It's nice to be able to pour 6oz, 9oz, 16oz, etc. whatever you are in the mood for
    -Force carbing is so easy and more reliable than bottle conditioning
    -Seemingly better luck with oxidation


    -Even for a low/midrange setup, you're going to easily spend $600 or more over the first few months. Cheaper if you're handy enough to put it together yourself and scour craigslist for all the parts, but I don't think that the majority fall into this category.
    -If you want to share your beer with others outside of your home, you're looking at yet another investment in a bottling gun, which seem to run around 100 bucks last I checked. Someone with more experience can probably chime in here, but my point is that the cost of all the accessories can quickly spiral out of control!
    -Somewhat relating to the last point - when you have bottles, it's so easy to dole out to friends and stash some away for aging. Batches don't last too long. When you have a keg, I find there is often a point where you're just trying to wrap up that final gallon so you can tap something else. For darker or heavier beers, I find myself wishing I had some bottle conditioned so I could check on them 6 months down the road.
    -Maintaining a keg + kegerator is a more intensive and time consuming task than cleaning out bottles and a bucket, and there is a lot more that can go wrong.
  18. VikeMan

    VikeMan Pooh-Bah (2,913) Jul 12, 2009 Pennsylvania

    Or you can just rotate that partial keg out and put the new one in. The first keg can come back later.
  19. gcg49

    gcg49 Initiate (0) Dec 29, 2014 Texas

    Very true, but this is assuming that A. a new kegger is going to invest in multiple kegs right off the bat and B. it's a style that won't fall off after additional weeks/months of sitting around. If you like to clean the lines between batches, you're also introducing more work for yourself here (although I will note this is a fairly minor point).

    You could also make the point to just brew smaller batches if you're struggling to get through them, and that's a valid point as well. I think it's worth bringing up how the perspective/practices might need to shift a bit when you go from bottling to kegging.
    ghostinthemachine likes this.
  20. wspscott

    wspscott Pooh-Bah (1,884) May 25, 2006 Kentucky

    It is completely pointless to switch to kegging if you aren't going to buy multiple kegs, at least 2 for every tap is a bare minimum. I don't think you need to clean lines after running 3.5 gallons of beer.

    Filling a growler from a regular tap is a very easy way to share beer, no need for a beer gun.
    billandsuz and ghostinthemachine like this.
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