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General Category => Kegging and Bottling => Topic started by: erockrph on April 27, 2014, 07:30:28 PM

Title: Recommended accessories for the novice kegger?
Post by: erockrph on April 27, 2014, 07:30:28 PM
I have my kegging setup coming in this week, and I was wondering what gadgets/accessories/etc are "must-have's" for a kegging newbie. All I have coming in are four new 2.5-gallon kegs, one kegging kit (regulator, 5# CO2 tank and one set of lines, disconnects, picnic tap), and one mini CO2-charger (the kind that runs off small CO2 cartridges for dispensing). Even though the kegs are new, I also got a spare set of O-rings just in case.

I have some rewards points saved up from this purchase, and was wondering what are my must-haves for relatively inexpensive supplies. I'm thinking at least 1-2 more picnic tap setups, but after that I'm not sure.
Title: Re: Recommended accessories for the novice kegger?
Post by: Stevie on April 27, 2014, 07:47:02 PM
I prefer flare over barbed fittings. Little bit extra up front, but easier to work with if you want to swap ball to pin or sanke.

I love my co2 charger for taking kegs places.

Dip tube brush is nice to have if you don't have a way of effectively cleaning them.

Keg lube is a must. I apply to all rings when assembling, lid ring when sealing, and post rings when attaching to the lines.

BLC for cleaning lines. Oxyclean and pbw work ok, but proper line cleaner is superior for cleaning nasty stained lines.

Build one of these line cleaners too. Might take some effort to find a post with the proper threading, but it is easier than using a keg and cheaper than the proper line cleaner pump bottles that run near $50. Plus, those proper line cleaners work from the faucet, not the disconnects.
http://www.homebrewtalk.com/f51/diy-beer-line-cleaner-226497/
Title: Re: Recommended accessories for the novice kegger?
Post by: Headless Monk on April 27, 2014, 07:49:18 PM
Off the too of my head ... you definitely want a manifold so you can carbonate a few kegs while you're drinking one.

I have an 8x manifold.  So, I usually have 2-3 on tap and a few carbing at any given time.  Right before my annual Oktoberfest, I've usually got all eight full.
Title: Re: Recommended accessories for the novice kegger?
Post by: Stevie on April 27, 2014, 08:07:52 PM
Forgot to mention kent lock disconnects to the gas side. I have one before my manifold along with a nice long line to use for transfers and such. Makes it easy to swap tanks when you upgrade to a second as well.
Title: Re: Recommended accessories for the novice kegger?
Post by: fmader on April 27, 2014, 09:47:59 PM
Manifold
Title: Re: Recommended accessories for the novice kegger?
Post by: HoosierBrew on April 27, 2014, 10:30:58 PM
All good advice. I'd add Teflon tape for threading the regulator on to the tank.
Title: Re: Recommended accessories for the novice kegger?
Post by: wingnut on April 27, 2014, 10:54:38 PM
Shut offs everywhere so you can isolate kegs, and make troubleshooting any leaks you may have easier.

Extra Pin Lock/Ball lock fittings... I keep inventing stuff, or using them for portable setups.

Use Starsan to check for leaks.

I keep a dedicated wrench in the brewery to remove posts on kegs.

Perl Faucets are more expensive, but the standard ones stick if not used every day... get the Perl's up front or you will find yourself replacing them later.

Dual gauge regulator is very nice, on top of that, I bought one with two attached regulators so I can run two different pressures, (I used this A LOT... mostly because I can) I keep one set for bottle filling with by Beer Gun, or set for English Ales, the other set for German Lagers. 


 
Title: Re: Recommended accessories for the novice kegger?
Post by: narcout on April 29, 2014, 01:09:49 AM
I like to put blue o-rings on the liquid out posts to make them easy to identify.
Title: Re: Recommended accessories for the novice kegger?
Post by: leejoreilly on April 29, 2014, 12:36:54 PM
I like to put blue o-rings on the liquid out posts to make them easy to identify.

And green ones on the in posts. "Green gas, blue beer".
Title: Re: Recommended accessories for the novice kegger?
Post by: AmandaK on April 29, 2014, 01:37:06 PM
I prefer flare over barbed fittings. Little bit extra up front, but easier to work with if you want to swap ball to pin or sanke.

I have two pin locks, so I only keep two of the gas lines and two of the beer lines with the MFL fittings. Are the others are barbed. It's not like I'm going to be swapping out 10 other lines anytime soon! So while convenient for us weirdos with ball and pin lock kegs, not a must.

I love my co2 charger for taking kegs places.

Be careful with these. I used to love mine until I shot the CO2 into my hand, blowing a hole into my hand and rupturing the skin. 3/8" wound for a few weeks was no fun! I'm still scared of the thing.

Dip tube brush is nice to have if you don't have a way of effectively cleaning them.

YES. And be sure to get one that is longer than your dip tubes. I have two, one that goes 2/3 of the way and one that goes completely through. The 2/3 one is collecting dust.

Keg lube is a must. I apply to all rings when assembling, lid ring when sealing, and post rings when attaching to the lines.

Definitely saves headaches when searching for gas leaks. Gas leaks are the WORST.

BLC for cleaning lines. Oxyclean and pbw work ok, but proper line cleaner is superior for cleaning nasty stained lines.

Build one of these line cleaners too. Might take some effort to find a post with the proper threading, but it is easier than using a keg and cheaper than the proper line cleaner pump bottles that run near $50. Plus, those proper line cleaners work from the faucet, not the disconnects.
http://www.homebrewtalk.com/f51/diy-beer-line-cleaner-226497/

I have one of those line cleaners that I keep BLC in, and might build another as a dedicated StarSan holder. When we blow a keg, we immediately run BLC through it. Otherwise the foam in the lines dries up, is impossible to get out, and you end up replacing your lines - which gets expensive.


Perl Faucets are more expensive, but the standard ones stick if not used every day... get the Perl's up front or you will find yourself replacing them later.

Yep. Just buy stainless everything. No point in buying something that you're just going to replace later. I have the 630SS faucets and they are niiiiice. They have a shorter throw on them, kind of reminds me of a short throw shifter. Haha.


ALSO - I added different colored electrical tape to the ends of my beer lines. For instance, a line running from a keg to the first tap is marked with green electrical tape at the keg end and at the tap end. The second keg/tap is white and so on... I also have black gas line, not clear. Kegerators become a tangled mess of lines quite quickly so anything you can do to tame the madness will help in the long run.

If you have room on your manifold, have a dedicated line for an inline gas quick disconnect (http://morebeer.com/products/beer-gas-tubing-quick-disconnect-14-barb-female-shutoff.html (http://morebeer.com/products/beer-gas-tubing-quick-disconnect-14-barb-female-shutoff.html)). I have a dedicated one and can clip in whatever I want. Right now, I have it set up for the Beer Gun only. But once I get around to it I'll have two other clip ins, one for a long-length gas side ball lock QD and another for a gas chuck for topping off carboys in the sour area.
Title: Re: Recommended accessories for the novice kegger?
Post by: narcout on April 29, 2014, 04:41:46 PM
I would also add 12 point box wrenches in 7/8 and 11/16 for removing keg posts.  I paid about $4 each at home depot.

Title: Re: Recommended accessories for the novice kegger?
Post by: hopfenundmalz on April 29, 2014, 04:58:53 PM
Get 2 extra gas and liquid plus some tubing. Make 2 jumpers, on gas gas, one liquid liquid. You can transfer PBW, SS, and beer between kegs. If you have the full keg elevated, start a siphon to the empty keg by putting CO2 on the full keg, then jumper gas to gas and you can do other jobs.
Title: Re: Recommended accessories for the novice kegger?
Post by: Stevie on April 29, 2014, 06:00:11 PM
Amanda - Sucks you got injured. I was actually thinking the risks last night. I wonder if using a stainless disconnect would be safer. Those things are $30-40.
Title: Re: Recommended accessories for the novice kegger?
Post by: Joe Sr. on April 29, 2014, 06:23:20 PM
I'm thinking at least 1-2 more picnic tap setups, but after that I'm not sure.

I'd keep a handful of picnic taps on hand if you're going to use them.  Those things can grow mold inside them and once that happens, you pretty much want to toss them.
Title: Re: Recommended accessories for the novice kegger?
Post by: AmandaK on April 29, 2014, 06:39:12 PM
Amanda - Sucks you got injured. I was actually thinking the risks last night. I wonder if using a stainless disconnect would be safer. Those things are $30-40.

There is still no regulator, which is the real issue with those little guys. The tiny regulators are wicked expensive, somewhere on the order of $120. I believe the 16 gram cartridges are around 130psi, which is high enough to make you bleed for 3 days (pro-tip!).
Title: Re: Recommended accessories for the novice kegger?
Post by: Joe Sr. on April 29, 2014, 06:41:57 PM
Amanda - Sucks you got injured. I was actually thinking the risks last night. I wonder if using a stainless disconnect would be safer. Those things are $30-40.

There is still no regulator, which is the real issue with those little guys. The tiny regulators are wicked expensive, somewhere on the order of $120. I believe the 16 gram cartridges are around 130psi, which is high enough to make you bleed for 3 days (pro-tip!).

I need to find mine and secure it from child height.
Title: Re: Recommended accessories for the novice kegger?
Post by: erockrph on April 29, 2014, 07:09:07 PM
Thanks for the tips! Things like manifolds will have to wait until I have a dedicated chest freezer/kegerator. Right now my fermentation chamber will be doing double duty as keg fridge, so kegs will probably be going in and out when I need the space for fermenting lagers.

I just took advantage of the free shipping at Midwest, as well as the gift certificate from their discontinued points program, and ordered a bunch of stuff. Got a bunch of threaded disconnects, a few more picnic tap faucets, 30 feet of 3/4" tubing, BLC, keg lube and a dip tube brush.

Now I just need to find the closest place to fill my CO2 tank, and I'm in business.
Title: Re: Recommended accessories for the novice kegger?
Post by: Stevie on April 29, 2014, 07:32:45 PM
If you are in or near a metropolitan area, filling a tank should be a piece of cake. I like airgas personally
Title: Re: Recommended accessories for the novice kegger?
Post by: HoosierBrew on April 29, 2014, 07:36:19 PM
If you are in or near a metropolitan area, filling a tank should be a piece of cake. I like airgas personally

+1
Title: Re: Recommended accessories for the novice kegger?
Post by: narcout on April 29, 2014, 07:46:44 PM
If you are going to be racking to serving kegs under pressure, there is some good info Dean Palmer's site:

http://www.thebeerjournals.com/Racking.html
Title: Re: Recommended accessories for the novice kegger?
Post by: erockrph on April 30, 2014, 04:03:00 AM
If you are going to be racking to serving kegs under pressure, there is some good info Dean Palmer's site:

http://www.thebeerjournals.com/Racking.html

Thanks for the link! Seeing that I generally brew 1/2 batches I was thinking that a 5-gallon corny keg would make for a great primary fermenter. This way I could brew my lagers under pressure, too.

Man, I don't even have beer in my kegs yet, but the money sink keeps opening wider. Could be worse things to spend my money on, I guess. At least it's not meth...
Title: Re: Recommended accessories for the novice kegger?
Post by: bondra76 on May 30, 2014, 02:59:24 AM
If you like gadgets check out home brew finds (just google it)


Sent from my iPhone using Tapatalk
Title: Re: Recommended accessories for the novice kegger?
Post by: Jeff M on May 30, 2014, 03:00:00 PM
If you are going to be racking to serving kegs under pressure, there is some good info Dean Palmer's site:

http://www.thebeerjournals.com/Racking.html

Thanks for the link! Seeing that I generally brew 1/2 batches I was thinking that a 5-gallon corny keg would make for a great primary fermenter. This way I could brew my lagers under pressure, too.

Man, I don't even have beer in my kegs yet, but the money sink keeps opening wider. Could be worse things to spend my money on, I guess. At least it's not meth...
are you SURE it isnt meth?
Title: Re: Recommended accessories for the novice kegger?
Post by: beersk on May 30, 2014, 03:52:58 PM
If you are going to be racking to serving kegs under pressure, there is some good info Dean Palmer's site:

http://www.thebeerjournals.com/Racking.html

Thanks for the link! Seeing that I generally brew 1/2 batches I was thinking that a 5-gallon corny keg would make for a great primary fermenter. This way I could brew my lagers under pressure, too.

Man, I don't even have beer in my kegs yet, but the money sink keeps opening wider. Could be worse things to spend my money on, I guess. At least it's not meth...
Yes, kegs definitely do make great fermenters for smaller batches. I brew 4 gallon batches in 5 gallon low profile kegs and rack to serving keg under pressure. I love it. I just bent the dip tubes up a couple inches off the bottom so I wouldn't pull all the yeast out of there I might want to harvest. This way, I don't have to worry about hops clogging up the flow.
The thing I'd worry about with racking 2.5 gallons to a 2.5 gallon keg, is maybe having a little more than you thought you had and over filling the serving keg.
I really like doing it this way because I can close the lid with my starsan in the keg and tip the keg upside down to make sure the lid is sealed before racking beer into it.
You won't regret it, dude!
Title: Re: Recommended accessories for the novice kegger?
Post by: Joe Sr. on May 30, 2014, 03:58:57 PM
The thing I'd worry about with racking 2.5 gallons to a 2.5 gallon keg, is maybe having a little more than you thought you had and over filling the serving keg.

Run off a liter or so into a plastic soda bottle with a carb cap.  Shake it to carb, throw it in the freezer and enjoy in 30 minutes.  For quality control sampling purposes, of course.
Title: Re: Recommended accessories for the novice kegger?
Post by: beersk on May 30, 2014, 04:01:15 PM
That's a good idea.
Title: Re: Recommended accessories for the novice kegger?
Post by: brewsumore on June 07, 2014, 05:18:01 PM
I'm thinking at least 1-2 more picnic tap setups, but after that I'm not sure.

I'd keep a handful of picnic taps on hand if you're going to use them.  Those things can grow mold inside them and once that happens, you pretty much want to toss them.

After I use them I run water through/sanitize/rinse again and then hang it to air dry without the liquid QD at that end, and the faucet end thumb lever held in the "open" position with a rubber band.  No mold if it is dried out.