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General Category => Kegging and Bottling => Topic started by: akr71 on March 03, 2010, 01:52:59 PM

Title: Kegging Advice - Am I crazy for offering?
Post by: akr71 on March 03, 2010, 01:52:59 PM
No, I'm not asking how to keg - I can browse the forums and figure that out.

A co-worker asked me about the cost of a keg of (store bought) beer for her upcoming wedding.  I told her that she'd have to pay the cost, put a deposit on the keg and rent the tap... or she could get a hand crafted beer from me for the cost of the ingredients.  I was only joking, but apparently she and her fiance and now seriously considering it.

My dilema is that I am not currently setup to keg & I don't have the spare cash for it right now (if I get kegs, then I'm gonna have to build a kegerator, draft tower, etc).  She knows this and offered to buy the kegs and sell them to me afterwards.  Am I stupid for even considering this?  It would be my first time kegging and I fear something would go wrong and I would give her an inferior product.

If I do go through with this, do I get a CO2 system at the same time?  Would a hand pump and picnic tap be good enough, where it is going to be drank all in one day?  And if I go picnic tap, force carb, or prime with sugar?  My gut tells me a priming sugar, hand pump and picnic tap would be good enough, but I'm in unknown territory here.

The fiance is a lager drinker, I think she doesn't mind a (commercial) red ale.
Title: Re: Kegging Advice - Am I crazy for offering?
Post by: riverrat on March 03, 2010, 03:19:07 PM
First and most important question, where is the wedding?  If it is at a hotel, ballroom, or any type of place that serves beverages already, their liquor liscense will not allow you to bring in your own alcohol of any type, especially homebrew.
Title: Re: Kegging Advice - Am I crazy for offering?
Post by: akr71 on March 03, 2010, 03:29:40 PM
The wedding and reception is at the couple's house in their back yard.  Its late July, so I have some time to get my sh!t together and even do a test batch if needed.
Title: Re: Kegging Advice - Am I crazy for offering?
Post by: riverrat on March 03, 2010, 04:24:55 PM
That simplifies things greatly!

If I was presented with the opportunity to get into kegging with a bit of help from someone else, and a goal/deadline, i think I would jump on it.

I would recomend going with an actual full keg setup (CO2 tank, regulator, etc....).  If you start watching craigslist etc. now, you should be able to find a used tank and regulator for a reasonable price.

I have also had good luck finding old cornies on craigslist for cheaper than my LHBS charges.  Best deal I found so far was 13 kegs for $200.

You will not regret getting into a full on kegging setup, and will most likely expand it greatly as you go.
Title: Re: Kegging Advice - Am I crazy for offering?
Post by: bluesman on March 03, 2010, 04:46:11 PM
+1

I would get a CO2 set-up so you can force carb and control the level of carbonation.
Title: Re: Kegging Advice - Am I crazy for offering?
Post by: BrewArk on March 03, 2010, 04:54:21 PM
I'm looking for the downside to getting a kegging system.  I don't see it.  Sell your comic books and get one!
Title: Re: Kegging Advice - Am I crazy for offering?
Post by: akr71 on March 03, 2010, 05:03:49 PM
+1

I would get a CO2 set-up so you can force carb and control the level of carbonation.

Alright, sounds like a plan.  The biggest stumbling block now is my wife.  I mentioned it to her at lunch and her response was "You tell her," the co-worker in question, "that she ruined my Christmas present idea to you."

I'm not committing to anything until they've had a few of my brews and are a little more concrete about what sort of style they're looking for.
Title: Re: Kegging Advice - Am I crazy for offering?
Post by: akr71 on March 03, 2010, 05:11:26 PM
I'm looking for the downside to getting a kegging system.  I don't see it.  Sell your comic books and get one!

The cost is the downside!  If we're talking regulator, CO2 tank, tap, lines and reconditioned keg, we're upto $270 +tx from my supplier.  If I she pays for the keg, I pay for the rest of the gear and supply the beer as a wedding present, it makes it a bit easier.  If I ask her to pony up the dough for the whole thing, she may as well get double the amount of commercial beer for the same price.

I was planning on using my tax refund for a grain mill, but I guess I could go for the kegging system instead...
Title: Re: Kegging Advice - Am I crazy for offering?
Post by: skyler on March 03, 2010, 05:27:04 PM
My gut tells me a priming sugar, hand pump and picnic tap would be good enough, but I'm in unknown territory here.

Nope. Most (maybe all) corny kegs require pressure to hold pressure, so you'd have to pump a tiny bit of co2 into the keg in order for the priming to work.
Title: Re: Kegging Advice - Am I crazy for offering?
Post by: beerrat on March 03, 2010, 08:24:59 PM
My dilema is that I am not currently setup to keg & I don't have the spare cash for it right now (if I get kegs, then I'm gonna have to build a kegerator, draft tower, etc).  She knows this and offered to buy the kegs and sell them to me afterwards.  Am I stupid for even considering this?  It would be my first time kegging and I fear something would go wrong and I would give her an inferior product.

The only downside I see is the cost to setup/maintain kegged beer at temperature. I have not invested in a separate keggerator or refrigerate yet.  I've used a couple different setups in the 8 months I have been kegging... all work fine and contained costs until I finish my basement remodel.  First, CO2/regulator (imho) mandatory to pressurize and dispense properly.
Serving options I used:
1) picnic tap with kegs in garbage can of ice water
2) jockey box - loaded with ice, kegs at ambient temps.
3) Since October I've been getting away with picnic taps on cellar cooled kegs at 50-55Ff for 6 months now, but know that will not last past April.  

You can get away with picnic taps sitting in a refrigerator provided you have space.

Good luck - sound like a great opportunity, but your $ and space consideration should temper the excitement.
Title: Re: Kegging Advice - Am I crazy for offering?
Post by: mrdrysdale64 on March 03, 2010, 08:46:31 PM
This sounds like a golden opportunity to get into kegging even if the couple doesnt need/want your beer. You can always blame them for you spending the money. At least you can try to sell that to your wife! You were being the noble gentleman trying to help out a bride and save money for her special day!

Kegging is the only way to go in my opinion. The intial expense is rough but if you take care of the stuff you can always sell it later if need be. I'm always looking for equipment from guys who give up the hobby. I have purchased all of my equipment that way.

Good luck!
Title: Re: Kegging Advice - Am I crazy for offering?
Post by: akr71 on March 04, 2010, 02:54:43 AM
Just to muddy the waters even more, a member of my brew club offered to loan me the dispensing gear.  ;D I offered him an easy out, no strings attached - I live about 3 hours away from the rest of the club and he may not want his gear traveling that far.

So, at this point, it looks like I just need the keg - which the bride has already offered to pony up the dough for.  I'm going to put together a sample pack for them and we'll see if they still want me to brew for them come Monday...
Title: Re: Kegging Advice - Am I crazy for offering?
Post by: richt on March 04, 2010, 04:13:35 AM
You can get a two keg setup from Midwest Supplies that will allow you to serve at two different pressures for $200.  That includes kegs, CO2 tank, picnic taps, and lines.  Just sayin...
Title: Re: Kegging Advice - Am I crazy for offering?
Post by: akr71 on March 04, 2010, 01:02:59 PM
The shipping and brokerage fees would kill me... I'm in Canada.

I think I've talked myself out of it (along with some advice from others).  I'm sure jumping into kegging isn't difficult, but really I should be testing it out on me and my beer buddies.  Plus, I plan to take my family on vacation early-mid July and I should be haveing fun with my wife and kids, not worrying about someone else's beer.

I'll get the kegging system eventually - I can wait a while longer.  Thanks for all the advice.
Title: Re: Kegging Advice - Am I crazy for offering?
Post by: rabid_dingo on March 09, 2010, 08:22:23 AM
Who says it has to be kegged? If the co-worker is still willing to help pay for ingredients... Why not brew
up a 10 gallon batch (or more)  of bottles for them...Or at that point you could probably work out a mix of
beers. Hell, in Canada it would be better that those US imports of BMC... ;)

Don't get me wrong, if you can work a kegging set up out of it try. But explain that you were only conversing,
but the offer of some "Custom made" brews for the wedding and efforts can still be offered. Not to mention
some nice labels for the brews, and the obligatory honey wine (mead) for the honeymoon.  :-* 8)

Start collecting the bits and pieces of hardware needed. One piece at a time if you have to but it is definitely
worth the wait and effort to keg.

Title: Re: Kegging Advice - Am I crazy for offering?
Post by: akr71 on March 09, 2010, 01:44:48 PM
Who says it has to be kegged? If the co-worker is still willing to help pay for ingredients... Why not brew
up a 10 gallon batch (or more)  of bottles for them...Or at that point you could probably work out a mix of
beers. Hell, in Canada it would be better that those US imports of BMC... ;)

Don't get me wrong, if you can work a kegging set up out of it try. But explain that you were only conversing,
but the offer of some "Custom made" brews for the wedding and efforts can still be offered. Not to mention
some nice labels for the brews, and the obligatory honey wine (mead) for the honeymoon.  :-* 8)

Start collecting the bits and pieces of hardware needed. One piece at a time if you have to but it is definitely
worth the wait and effort to keg.



They were pretty much only interested in a keg - I offered the bottle option and she refused.  At this point it seems like too much work for someone I barely know and would be just as happy with a few cases of Blue of Canadian.

If it was someone who appreciated and drank my beer on a regular basis, it would be a different story.  I do have 18 lbs of honey waiting to be fermented, but the results of that are going to be jealously guarded  ;D
Title: Re: Kegging Advice - Am I crazy for offering?
Post by: euge on March 10, 2010, 09:01:05 AM
Pretty wise decision on backing out.

I prime my kegs now and while it's better to put a couple psi on the keg it isn't absolutely required. The lid on the cornie should be tight enough to upend the keg without it leaking before it gets any psi.

Kegs will really free your brewing but make sure you got a lot of friends to help you drink it all up... :D
Title: Re: Kegging Advice - Am I crazy for offering?
Post by: danetrain on April 30, 2010, 02:34:31 AM
I would recommend the two keg system if you have the space/means of brewing the larger batches.  I find its nice to have the extra beer around for anyone looking for a growler.