Mini Keg Priming

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Mini Keg Priming

Postby Shaft42 » Tue Mar 04, 2003 11:23 am

When priming a mini keg, will there be any issues with priming the entire 5 gallon batch with 5 oz of corn sugar? I am going to bottle a little over a gallon in 12 oz bottles and I was hoping to prime the entire batch. Any information you can provide would be great.
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Be Careful When Priming for "Mini" (Fass) Kegs !!!!

Postby Mesa Maltworks » Tue Mar 04, 2003 11:58 am

Fass kegs were not designed as pressure vessels to withstand the force produced by natural carbonation but rather to withstand serving pressures.

I used these around 1988 when not much info on their use was written. I found out that unless you prime them to produce 2.3 volumes or less of CO2 you risk at the least distorting the keg's metal or at worst blowing the bung. Even if you prime them this way, the bungs eventually don't fit too well due to the gradual doming of the top flange from the pressure that they were not designed for.

That was bad enough, but what really stopped me from using them is they are virtually impossible to clean adequately without damaging the very thin coating on the inside. Once this stuff is scratched, the kegs will rust from the inside out. There are a number of long established and well respected home brew supply vendors that will no longer carry them due to these issues.

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PSI bungs

Postby stouts » Tue Mar 04, 2003 6:59 pm

Are you using the pressure relief bungs or the original style. With the pressure relief bungs you would be safe from overpressure but it still may not be a good idea to overprime. Sugar tablets for bottling small amounts are availabe and that may be the way to go.
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PSI Bungs

Postby Shaft42 » Wed Mar 05, 2003 4:58 am

Yes, I will be using the PSI bungs. Will that help extend the life of the mini keg? Does the lining inside scratch easily? Any suggestions for cleaning?

Thanks,

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Fass Keg Liners...

Postby Mesa Maltworks » Wed Mar 05, 2003 8:18 am

"Yes, I will be using the PSI bungs. Will that help extend the life of the mini keg?"

Somewhat, but here again, these kegs were designed for SERVING pressure. Serving pressure is typically between 12~15 PSI. When prime carbonating, the headspace pressure can exceed those pressures by a large margin.

"Does the lining inside scratch easily?"

BIG TIME ! These kegs were designed for commercial breweries to fill once and then be disposed of. Therefore there was only the need to protect the contents from iron leaching from the walls and seams long enough to get to the consumer without flavor effects.

"Any suggestions for cleaning?"

There really is no sufficient method to clean these since they cannot be brushed without damaging the liner. With some contortive moves and a flashlight, you can see all of the bottom and some of the sides to inspect them, but you can't see all of the sides and the top. The hallmark of a good vessel for beer packaging is the ability to ensure proper cleanliness by visual inspection. Without that ability, you are never sure if your cleaning proceedures have lead to a sanitizable container.

That being said, the only method I can think of to somewhat clean these things is to use an alkaline cleaner at 160 degrees for a LONG soak (>24 hours). PBW or TSP would be a good choice. Any hotter than this and you risk binding (read baking) residual soils onto the keg's surfaces.

To sanitize them the best choice would be an acid anionic sanitizer like Five Star's Saniclean. These are the only group of sanitizers that will be effective in the presence of proteins and oxilates and, as a bonus, they are the only sanitizer group that are completely non-reactive with beer. Using this type of sanitizer would be particularly important with these kegs since you could not acid wash them to remove beer stone because the acid would dissolve the coating and act upon the steel. At diluted concentrations, the saniclean should not attack either the liner or the steel as long as the liner is fully intact.

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re: Fass Keg Liners...

Postby Shaft42 » Wed Mar 05, 2003 11:48 am

Eric,

Thanks for the thorough response. It sounds like the best cleaning approach is strong chemicals, i.e. using a brush to scrub out the mini keg would not be a good idea. You mentioned using PBW, I read somewhere that Oxy Clean was essentially the same, is that true?

I only have one mini keg right now and I have not used it so it can always go back. I have been using a Party Pig and bottling the remainder of the batch. I was hoping that the mini keg system would be a viable system until I have the space for keg system. The only complaint that I have about the Pig is it is difficult to activate with the pump and once it is about half empty you have to tilt it to get a good pour rate. Do you know of anything that would work well other than mini kegs or a Pig? Thanks again for the information.

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TAD

Postby stouts » Wed Mar 05, 2003 8:17 pm

Have you looked at the tap-a-draft system? it is shaped like a pig but uses 2 8 gram CO2 bulbs and/or a CO2 bulb with a N2 bulb. These can also be forced or naturally carbonated.
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Here is another

Postby fitz » Thu Mar 06, 2003 3:40 am

Another possibility is a 2.5 or 3 gal corney. They have a picnic CO2 injector that won't break the bank(less than $25 most places) A picnic tap and this CO2 sytem would save on space and wallet.
Someone else here on the post had a link to a distributor in CA that sold them pretty cheap. I also saw some advantages to having a 1+ gallon(keg) to take to picnics, then I researched them a little more. Even in most advertisements for the minis, they state that they are only good for 10-12 fills.
Good Luck
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