Help with learning to keg 'em

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Help with learning to keg 'em

Postby McGuireV10 » Wed Oct 29, 2008 7:25 am

These are both technique and equipment questions. From poking around here for a few days, I've decided to skip bottling (I did a little of it with a simple Mr. Beer kit a few times before I got my big brewing setup) and go straight to 5 gallon Cornie kegging.

But after searching around, I found a whole slew of different equipment options and keg types and so on, making it pretty difficult to figure out where to start.

Can somebody point me to a FAQ or something?

The guy at my local brew shop is sort of surly and unhelpful to newbs, and when I asked about kegging he just pointed to a 5-gallon and said, "You unscrew the top, pour it in, hook it up, and drink it." So I've been running around thinking it was that easy. But the many equipment options suggest otherwise.

I've seen some posts and threads and blogs where people use CO2 to force the beer out of the carboy straight into the keg. Looks sorta cool, but I haven't been able to figure out what equipment is involved. I admit, at least partially it just appeals to my inner mad scientist to use lots of tubes and levers and stuff.

I've gathered there are lots of different types of 5-gallon Cornie kegs. Do any of them use the regular Sankey-type couplers? I have about a million Sankey couplers (friend used to work for a distributor) so I'd hate to have to accumulate more of some other type -- although it wouldn't be a terrible burden.

I also simply get the feeling that there is a lot about this that "I don't know that I don't know" if you follow my drift.

I have two faucets and more room than I need inside my keg fridge. Right now I just have a single CO2 line to a single keg, but the fridge has a big 5-line CO2 distribution system built into it that I haven't used yet (haven't figured out a good way to see if those lines are clean -- or if that should even be a real concern with CO2 lines -- the fridge is old though). Generally that end of things seems pretty clear.

Any and all help would be deeply appreciated!
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RE: Help with learning to keg 'em...

Postby wottaguy » Fri Oct 31, 2008 9:48 am

Say, I'd be happy to show you everything you need to know about kegging if you want to come down to the Daytona area.

We are brewing on Sat the 1st, and you are welcome to stop by. If so, please let me know and i'll send you directions how to get here. I actually live South of Daytona, in Edgewater. (About 20 minutes from Daytona).

If you can't make it Sat, then perhaps we can set a date in the future to get together. My brew friends and I have been known to frequent Seven Bridges in JAX once in a while.

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Postby McGuireV10 » Fri Oct 31, 2008 11:35 am

I appreciate the offer but I'll be out of town this weekend (Busch Gardens, actually, home of America's Mediocre Beer). I'm on the other side of Jax but I do like Seven Bridges...
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Postby brewmeisterintng » Fri Oct 31, 2008 9:18 pm

There are a lot of sites out there that explain the basic process.
http://www.beersmith.com/kegging_basics.htm
Each brewer adds their own twist to it and will try to tell you that it is the only way. So... my advice is to search the net and follow the basics first. You will be glad that you are not bottling.
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Postby McGuireV10 » Mon Nov 03, 2008 6:35 am

Thanks, I was hoping for some FAQ-type links!
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Postby McGuireV10 » Sat Dec 06, 2008 12:24 pm

I'm kind of at a loss here... I've had my beer in a 5-gallon keg in my fridge at about 32 degrees (I know that's colder than most people run it, but as far as I know it shouldn't be a problem) and the CO2 running to it at about 15 PSI.

The CO2 shares a distribution system with a regular keg of Sam Adams, which I don't normally run at more than about 12 PSI but the distribution system has a number of adjustments and I'm still getting them all balanced out.

Thing is, the brewed beer has been in the fridge and on the CO2 for about 9 days and it still only has very, very minimal carbonation. I just put soapy water around the lid to see if I had leaks and didn't see anything, and when I move the pressure-release valve in the lid it seems to have quite a bit of pressure.

Are there cases where it might take a lot longer than a week or so to carbonate? I don't think I have any CO2 leaks, my other Sam Adams is coming out about as ridiculously over-foamy as you'd expect at 15 PSI.

I guess I'm just going to wait and see (although I'm actually rather enjoying laying down a nice foamy half-glass of Sam and putting my flatter super-dark stuff on top of it, heh).
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