Kegging - less than full kegs? setting up kegs-my info

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Kegging - less than full kegs? setting up kegs-my info

Postby mule » Wed Mar 25, 2009 10:01 pm

I'm jumping back into brewing with both feet I guess.... I went out and got a 5 gallon syrup keg and the fittings today. So the question is, can I put 3 gallons in and bottle the rest? I'm splitting the batch with my buddy at work and don't want to be a jerk and keep it all at my house.....

So the plans are to dump some CO2 into the keg before transferring the beer into it. That way the O2 is driven out as the keg is filled. I'm still not sure if I want to naturally carbonate or push in the CO2. Any thoughts on this?

Next, I don't have a fridge to chill it in, so I was going to stick it into the office basement for a couple weeks, it's about 52*-55* down in the dungeon... Is that good enough?

Forgot. I'm going to use a secondary fermentation setup for a couple weeks first.


Now, changing gears.
I have been reading on here a bit about keg setups and might be able to help some of you guys out. Here are some tips for putting together your setup cheaper than fully assembled kits.

1) Regulators - if you are using a standard CO2 cylinder from a local welding or beverage place, you can get the regulator from Harbor Freight tools on line for a fraction of the price of the name brand units. I used one for years with my welding setup and never had an issue. Both the HF and welding supply house cylinders use CGA-540 connections. If you get a regulator with the CGA-580 connector, it will look like a propane tank connector. You have to get the 540. Any welding supply house has them for about $8 or so. I think my HF reg came w/ the 580 AND the 540. Here is the link to it for $30.00. http://www.harborfreight.com/cpi/ctaf/d ... mber=94841 This can be adapted to work with paintball cylinders. See 1-a.

1-a) Paintball CYLINDERS. You can buy a paintball regulator setup for pretty cheap on ebay these days. They even come with a low pressure gauge and screw right to the 20/12/8 oz cyls. Therefore, you only need a low pressure line to your keg. It also makes the keg more portable if you are only shagging 20 oz cyls..... I use to sell gear and play paintball.

cylinder costs-
Paintball 20 oz cylinders can be bought for as little as $15.00 if you find them on sale at a sporting goods store or wal-mart. They only cost $3.50 to fill.

My old 10# Cyl for welding was about $97 to buy and $13 to fill.
Beware - Harbor Freight sells 20 CF units (2.4#) for $80 which is a rip off. .12# per ft3.
A keen eye will find used paintball cylinders selling on Craigslist for cheap. Make sure any cylinder you buy doesn't need a hydro test. They are hard to do, but a scuba shop can test them or get them done for you. It's about the cost of a new cylinder though, so I would recommend buying a new one. Contact me if you need an explanation of hydros.... I worked in a dive shop for a while and helped do them.


2) Keg - my local brew shop prices on used 5 gal tank can't be beat ($35), so I support them first. If you don't have one, I found 5 gal tanks on ebay today for about $40 to my house or $75 for two delivered. My brew shop had the ball fittings for cheaper than ebay - $6.00, they were $12 ea on line. So shop around, who knows what you can find. They require their own threaded fittings, it's some funky pattern, mine cost $2.00 ea for two of them. One side is barbed for the hose.
IF you find a 3 gallon unit, grab it FAST. Those things are hotter than a politician handing out $100 bills...... I found some for $140 NEW, no used. Didn't buy any though.

I hope this helps some, I'm a cheap person and like to build stuff myself.
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Postby jawbox » Thu Mar 26, 2009 9:08 am

Tanks
Best Prices I've found

Tanks & Regulators. I love my micromatic premium regulator, better quality than my others.

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Lines, Regulators, Taps, jockey boxes etc.
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Postby Suthrncomfrt1884 » Thu Mar 26, 2009 10:04 am

My LHBS sells used kegs for $25. I have to buy new gaskets for a couple bucks, but I don't mind at that price.
Primary - Belgian Dubbel, Belgian IPA
Secondary - Cherry Lambic
Bottled - Bourbon Barrel Coffee Porter, Double Chocolate Raspberry Stout, Imperial Nut Brown, Apfelwein, American Amber Ale w/Homegrown Hops, Breakfast Stout
Kegged - Bass Clone, ESB
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Postby mule » Thu Mar 26, 2009 10:48 am

Suthrncomfrt1884 wrote:My LHBS sells used kegs for $25. I have to buy new gaskets for a couple bucks, but I don't mind at that price.


Man that's lucky..... I would do a couple at that price....
I'm cheap, so there is always some industry you can get parts and pieces from cheaper than the hobby sellers.... If you don't have the link, check these guys out for about any nicknack part you could ever want.
http://www.mcmaster.com/#

I saved $130 by getting my high pressure digital gauge from them for scuba cylinder filling. Some of my Oxygen line pipe fittings and stuff came from them too. They may even have the connectors for the kegs, I haven't looked. I know you can get the o-rings there.
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Postby Suthrncomfrt1884 » Thu Mar 26, 2009 1:04 pm

I agree with ya Mule. Most hbs's are overpriced, but sometimes they're the only place you can find certain things. I refuse to buy fittings and misc. parts I can get at a hardware store from the LHBS. They wanted to charge me 3.50 for a 1/4" hose barb! I bought it for a buck at a hardware store.

Also, as far as the gauges go...anything that's labeled for beer use is going to cost you twice the price. Since I'm not running beer through it, I don't think I need to be picky about what it's made of. I bought a dual gauge regulator from Harbor Freight for $35. The LHBS wanted to charge me $85. I'm sure it may be better quality, but for $35 I can afford the risk.

As far as the kegs at the LHBS go, they have a limit of how many you can buy, so I bought two and sent a buddy in with money to buy two more.
Primary - Belgian Dubbel, Belgian IPA
Secondary - Cherry Lambic
Bottled - Bourbon Barrel Coffee Porter, Double Chocolate Raspberry Stout, Imperial Nut Brown, Apfelwein, American Amber Ale w/Homegrown Hops, Breakfast Stout
Kegged - Bass Clone, ESB
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Postby mule » Thu Mar 26, 2009 4:48 pm

Actually, I just realized where you are. IL is where the main supplier is for shops out in CO. I found the seller's web page - they show a semi loaded to the top with them.

In general, if you can find something at HF, you save a pretty good amount of cash. I've also found that Ace Hardware carries a lot of hard to find parts too. I have a bunch of other hobbies that require some odd supplies - High Power model rockets, radio controlled cars, trucks and competition R/C crawlers. Not to mention a Harley....

From what I've seen, brewers are pretty resourceful too. So, the info I posted is probably already been said and I just missed it. I haven't seen the paintball tanks used in home setups - just the professional kits. So, I may toss some pictures up when I do mine. I'm doing both CO2 setups for traveling and home. I'm taking a keg camping for spring break :P
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Postby Suthrncomfrt1884 » Thu Mar 26, 2009 5:54 pm

I actually use a mini co2 cartridge to push beer out when I take it to cookouts. I'm pretty sure it's meant for paintball use. Found it at the LHBS though. I think it's only a 10gram cartridge. It's only good for pushing beer that's already carbonated though.
Primary - Belgian Dubbel, Belgian IPA
Secondary - Cherry Lambic
Bottled - Bourbon Barrel Coffee Porter, Double Chocolate Raspberry Stout, Imperial Nut Brown, Apfelwein, American Amber Ale w/Homegrown Hops, Breakfast Stout
Kegged - Bass Clone, ESB
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Postby jawbox » Fri Mar 27, 2009 9:31 am

I use a paintball tank when I go camping.
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Postby mule » Fri Mar 27, 2009 11:09 pm

So anyone have some help with the questions? Or are we just a bunch of tech nuts?????? :P
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carbonating

Postby slothrob » Sat Mar 28, 2009 8:12 am

In response to the questions:
Carbonating with compressed gas will reduce the amount of residual yeast and give you more control over the carbonation level, but there's nothing wrong with natural carbonation. Natural carbonation will probably take 2-4 weeks at room temperature, while forced carbonation will take 4 days to 1 week.

You can carbonate fine at 52°F or 55°F with compressed gas, you just need to calculate the pressure that will give you the carbonation level you want at the temperature at which you want to carbonate. If you want to naturally carbonate, you'll need to keep the keg above 60°F, closer to 70°F will be faster, to keep the yeast active.
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Postby mule » Sun Mar 29, 2009 5:11 pm

Rod,
I was doing some reading on this earlier. So, there are two schools of thought?
Looks like some put a lower pressure on the keg and let it set for a week or so and the others that force carbonate by putting the keg at 20-30# and slowly rocking the keg on it's side (over simplifying it).

Is there any difference in taste?

Well, I made up my CO2 system. Call it the pipe fitters nightmare or someone with way too much time and fittings on his hands...

It uses a paintball "nitrogen" regulator (for 3500 psi system) set to about 100#, screwed into another tank fitting that allows a hose to be attached, then a 10K psi stainless steel braided hose (I had some laying around), that goes into an honest to God CO2 regulator for a syrup keg.... There the CO2 pressure can be changes from 0-60psi, then into the tank fitting..... It is set up to use a paintball cylinder. OR, I can screw a remote cylinder fitting into the 3500# regulator and use a paintball quick coupler attached to a valve and CO2 cylinder - CGA 540 connector.

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Postby jawbox » Sun Mar 29, 2009 6:40 pm

mule I think you might need a few more brass fittings on that thing lol.
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Postby mule » Sun Mar 29, 2009 7:04 pm

That's what happens when you scavenge trans fill Nitrogen and CO2 setups for paintball, paintball cylinder attachment and welding stuff. I have a whole drawer of brass fittings..... Thing is, I had all of this and it didn't cost me anything out of pocket to do. It's always cheaper the second time around.

The copper line, regulators and some of the fittings were soaked in an ultrasonic cleaner with combination's of simple green & vinegar or simple green and ammonia (depending on the metal) to clean.
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