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General Category => Kegging and Bottling => Topic started by: darkmorford on July 06, 2011, 11:13:30 PM

Title: Uh-oh... Leaky Keg Blues
Post by: darkmorford on July 06, 2011, 11:13:30 PM
I went out over lunch today and bought a used Corny from my LHBS—my first one. I got it home, rinsed it out, and dumped a gallon of PBW into it. Even standing on its head to make sure the gas tube got cleaned, it didn't leak a drop. Then I emptied it out, disassembled it, and let the posts and O-rings soak in the PBW for about 10–15 minutes. I put everything back together, filled it with Star-San, and now the lid is leaking like crazy. I've tried re-seating it, flipping it the other way, turning the O-ring over, coating it with Vaseline as a sealant (I forgot to buy keg lube. :-\)... but no matter what I try, the lid starts bubbling as soon as I hook up the gas. Is PBW bad for O-rings? Do I need to replace them all now?
Title: Re: Uh-oh... Leaky Keg Blues
Post by: tschmidlin on July 06, 2011, 11:24:21 PM
You should replace all of the o-rings anyway.

If it's leaking around the lid o-ring, put some pressure on it and bang it with a rubber mallet, that will help it seat.  Have you sprayed it with starsan to confirm where the bubbles are coming from?  I've found that a leaking PRV can sometimes be mistaken for a leaking lid.  I know you said the lid starts bubbling but sometimes it is deceptive.  Or maybe i'm the only one who ever makes that mistake. :)
Title: Re: Uh-oh... Leaky Keg Blues
Post by: Bret on July 06, 2011, 11:28:32 PM
Sometimes the lid just needs to be jiggled around a bit to get it to seat==how the lid fits inside the space.

Did the LHBS recondition it?  Otherwise follow Tom's advice and get a rebuild kit.
Title: Re: Uh-oh... Leaky Keg Blues
Post by: darkmorford on July 06, 2011, 11:44:10 PM
Thanks for the quick tips, guys. The reason I figured it was a problem with the O-ring is that I'd opened and shut the thing about half a dozen times in the process of rinsing and cleaning and it never leaked a drop until after I'd soaked the rings in PBW. The rubber mallet trick seems to have worked for now, but I think I'll pick up a replacement ring kit next time I'm at the store, just to be sure. Luckily, I won't actually be needing to use the keg for at least a couple of weeks, so it's not an emergency situation.

Next question: How do I get the outside of this thing cleaned up? There's at least two or three labels stuck on it, and it just plain needs a good polishing.
Title: Re: Uh-oh... Leaky Keg Blues
Post by: Joe Sr. on July 06, 2011, 11:48:14 PM
Outside: Bar Keepers Friend.  This stuff will clean it up nice.  You might need to peel at the labels a bit first, but BKF will do a heck of a job on the stainless.

As far as the leaking, if you hit it initially with 30 lb or so of pressure it often helps to seat the top so it doesn't leak.  You can also try putting the lid o-ring in warm water to soften it up before you seal the keg.  That has helped me in the past.

As far as replacement o-rings, you can get them at McMaster Carr super cheap.
Title: Re: Uh-oh... Leaky Keg Blues
Post by: tschmidlin on July 07, 2011, 12:06:44 AM
Did you get the keg at Mountain?  If you plan on having more than one keg buying through McMaster Carr is a great way to go.  If you have time to wait I can give you some o-rings cheap rather than you having to order them by the 10 or 100, but I'll miss the meeting Tuesday and have little time to meet up.  I could maybe meet you at Malt and Vine this Friday during the day.
Title: Re: Uh-oh... Leaky Keg Blues
Post by: Bret on July 07, 2011, 12:15:31 AM
+1 to Bar Keepers Friend.  Thought the wife had bought a new tea kettle---turns out she just reconditioned it!
Title: Re: Uh-oh... Leaky Keg Blues
Post by: darkmorford on July 07, 2011, 12:21:35 AM
Yeah, I went to Mountain for it. Figured it'd end up being cheaper paying the tax locally instead of paying shipping from one of the online places, since the actual unit price was pretty much identical. And I got to pick out exactly which keg I wanted! :)

I'm probably just going to stick with the one keg for now—partly for financial reasons and partly because I'm a very low-volume brewer at the moment. I do want to pick up at least one or two more eventually, but I don't see that happening until next summer at the earliest.

That said, I wouldn't mind meeting up on Friday anyway, especially since you won't be at the meeting. Right now my schedule's open pretty much any time before 4:00, but given the nature of my summer job that could change by this time tomorrow.
Title: Re: Uh-oh... Leaky Keg Blues
Post by: tschmidlin on July 07, 2011, 12:40:32 AM
Ok, well I'll be there before 4 for sure to do some weekend shopping, I don't want to hang out for the mob at the tasting.
Title: Re: Uh-oh... Leaky Keg Blues
Post by: bluesman on July 07, 2011, 12:40:46 AM
Inspect the flange edge of the opening and the lid for any slight dents or dings around the opening and/or outer edge, this happened to me once. I remedied the situation by flattening the dent so that the sealing surface was uniform (smooth profile) and it fixed the leak.
Title: Re: Uh-oh... Leaky Keg Blues
Post by: WDE97 on July 07, 2011, 12:52:21 AM
Yeah, I went to Mountain for it. Figured it'd end up being cheaper paying the tax locally instead of paying shipping from one of the online places, since the actual unit price was pretty much identical. And I got to pick out exactly which keg I wanted! :)

I'm probably just going to stick with the one keg for now—partly for financial reasons and partly because I'm a very low-volume brewer at the moment. I do want to pick up at least one or two more eventually, but I don't see that happening until next summer at the earliest.That said, I wouldn't mind meeting up on Friday anyway, especially since you won't be at the meeting. Right now my schedule's open pretty much any time before 4:00, but given the nature of my summer job that could change by this time tomorrow.

 :o
Good luck with the "one keg for now" plan!  I just started kegging this spring and am already up to 8.   ;D
Title: Re: Uh-oh... Leaky Keg Blues
Post by: darkmorford on July 07, 2011, 01:09:44 AM
Oh, yes, I'm quite familiar with that trend. Originally I wasn't even going to touch kegs until I had another couple batches under my belt. But then I bought the CO2 tank so I could recharge sodas and stuff, and then I heard that used kegs were starting to go scarce so I bought this one...
Title: Re: Uh-oh... Leaky Keg Blues
Post by: tschmidlin on July 07, 2011, 01:27:40 AM
It is really drying up.  Jon at Mountain got them from me, and I checked with my source a couple of weeks ago (he works at the Pepsi distributor in Olympia) and he can't get any, they're gone.  I sold the last ones I wanted to a few weeks ago.
Title: Re: Uh-oh... Leaky Keg Blues
Post by: darkmorford on July 07, 2011, 02:20:37 AM
Ugh... That isn't what I wanted to hear. I can't really justify buying more kegs right now—because of how little I make—and even if I could, I don't have the budget for it. Not to mention trying to find a place to keep the things. But on the other hand, the "big-picture" part of my brain knows that I should probably grab a few up while I can before the used ones start shooting up in price. Decisions, decisions...
Title: Re: Uh-oh... Leaky Keg Blues
Post by: WDE97 on July 07, 2011, 05:46:10 PM
It is really drying up.  Jon at Mountain got them from me, and I checked with my source a couple of weeks ago (he works at the Pepsi distributor in Olympia) and he can't get any, they're gone.  I sold the last ones I wanted to a few weeks ago.

Keg prices do seem to be continually going up.  I guess I should consider myself lucky.  Our local Pepsi distributor will sell kegs to members of our local homebrew clubs.  Of course, who knows how long that will last.  Maybe I should pick up a few extras just in case.
Title: Re: Uh-oh... Leaky Keg Blues
Post by: tschmidlin on July 07, 2011, 06:05:31 PM
There is a market for them if he'll sell to you in bulk for homebrew use.
Title: Re: Uh-oh... Leaky Keg Blues
Post by: WDE97 on July 07, 2011, 06:18:59 PM
There is a market for them if he'll sell to you in bulk for homebrew use.

Tom, I'm not sure if he will do that or not.  I get the feeling they only do it as a goodwill thing to help out the local homebrewers, but I will inquire the next time I'm over there. 
Title: Re: Uh-oh... Leaky Keg Blues
Post by: Joe Sr. on July 07, 2011, 06:45:16 PM
I have to say that I've been hearing for years now that the supply is running out, but there always seem to be some to be had.

Prices have definitely gone up over the years, but that seems true of all things.

5 years ago or so I was told that the Chinese were importing them in full overseas containers to get the stainless steel.  Who knows what the truth is?

A couple months ago, I was quoted $65 a pop at the LHBS.  So I bought 4 from More Beer delivered to my door for much less.

Perhaps it's regional availability?  Or they come in batches when someone gets a bulk purchase?
Title: Re: Uh-oh... Leaky Keg Blues
Post by: tschmidlin on July 07, 2011, 06:59:28 PM
There is a market for them if he'll sell to you in bulk for homebrew use.

Tom, I'm not sure if he will do that or not.  I get the feeling they only do it as a goodwill thing to help out the local homebrewers, but I will inquire the next time I'm over there. 
If Seattle is local enough for him, someone might be willing to make the trip.  One of my clubs was trying to put together a buy for 20+ kegs.   They have the people who want them, they just haven't found a good source that will do it cheaper than the LHBS.  Although for $40 the LHBS is a good enough deal I think.

5 years ago or so I was told that the Chinese were importing them in full overseas containers to get the stainless steel.  Who knows what the truth is?
My Pepsi contact told me he competed for kegs with another guy at work, and that guy was selling them to China as scrap.
Title: Re: Uh-oh... Leaky Keg Blues
Post by: Joe Sr. on July 07, 2011, 07:21:19 PM
If you heard it, too, that makes it true enough for me.  You'd think you could get a higher price than whatever the scrap value is, but I bet selling them for scrap is effortless.

For my money $40 at the LHBS is good enough.  I think the days of $20 and $25 are long gone, though I remember them fondly.

As for scrap, here in Chicago there's apparently a rash of thefts of home HVAC compressors.  Stolen in the night for their copper.

Someone stole two units off the roof of an animal shelter not too long ago.

But I'm WAY off topic...
Title: Re: Uh-oh... Leaky Keg Blues
Post by: darkmorford on July 08, 2011, 03:51:59 AM
Tom, it looks like my schedule for tomorrow hasn't changed; I'm free pretty much any time before 4. If you want to meet up and maybe chat for a while, just let me know when. Pretty sure I can be at Malt & Vine within 10 minutes.
Title: Re: Uh-oh... Leaky Keg Blues
Post by: tschmidlin on July 08, 2011, 05:08:25 AM
Mine is open too, I just have a lot of work to do.  When/where it gets done doesn't matter.  I might show up early for a pint and park myself in a chair and work for a bit.  Send me an email, it will come to my phone.  I'll PM my email to you.
Title: Re: Uh-oh... Leaky Keg Blues
Post by: tumarkin on July 08, 2011, 12:11:40 PM
late to the party, and not much to offer. didn't sleep well last night so.....

wasn't Leaky Keg Blues a Steve Earle song? (just kidding)
Title: Re: Uh-oh... Leaky Keg Blues
Post by: narvin on July 08, 2011, 12:22:40 PM
I agree with Tom, banging the lip of the keg with a hammer has helped me fix a keg that wouldn't seal around the lid.

A spray bottle of star san is very helpful for finding leaks.
Title: Re: Uh-oh... Leaky Keg Blues
Post by: oscarvan on July 08, 2011, 09:43:37 PM
Yeah, I went to Mountain for it. Figured it'd end up being cheaper paying the tax locally instead of paying shipping from one of the online places, since the actual unit price was pretty much identical. And I got to pick out exactly which keg I wanted! :)

I'm probably just going to stick with the one keg for now—partly for financial reasons and partly because I'm a very low-volume brewer at the moment. I do want to pick up at least one or two more eventually, but I don't see that happening until next summer at the earliest.That said, I wouldn't mind meeting up on Friday anyway, especially since you won't be at the meeting. Right now my schedule's open pretty much any time before 4:00, but given the nature of my summer job that could change by this time tomorrow.



 :o
Good luck with the "one keg for now" plan!  I just started kegging this spring and am already up to 8.   ;D


13, and I need more...... :o :o :o
Title: Re: Uh-oh... Leaky Keg Blues
Post by: jimrod on July 11, 2011, 06:58:27 AM
I just got my 10th Corny last week because in California they are up to around 50 bucks with tax and getting higher.
Title: Re: Uh-oh... Leaky Keg Blues
Post by: ynotbrusum on July 11, 2011, 12:18:27 PM
13 also, but no space to store more....I am lucky if I have 4 open ones at a time these days.  10 gallon batches and ever thirsty friends have caused me to consider buying more, but $40-$50 is 50% more than what I paid for the first few....ouch.

I have never hit mine with a rubber mallet - they seal up with some Keg Lube on the big O-ring usually.

Cheers.
Title: Re: Uh-oh... Leaky Keg Blues
Post by: gsandel on July 26, 2011, 03:35:44 AM
in colorado, $70 for un reconditioned ball locks at LHBS, $40 for pin locks at one LHBS shop specializing in kegs...ouch.

Craigslist, about $30-40....but this takes time and vigilance.

$110 for new.