Author Topic: pin vs ball??  (Read 2270 times)

Offline hellbound

  • Cellarman
  • **
  • Posts: 36
  • Beer Saved The World
    • View Profile
pin vs ball??
« on: March 18, 2013, 01:23:44 PM »
Hi, so after all this time bottling, I'm finally getting sick of it. I've never done the keg thing before due to lack of space, but I think I'm just going to have to put the foot down and get another fridge.

Question is, considering I've never kegged before, what's the best route to go with kegs? Pin lock or Ball lock? Is one type easier to use/clean than the other? I think I remember that pin locks are cheaper? Are there any significant differences that I should be aware of or consider?

Any feedback would be greatly appreciated,

Cheers! and thanks!

-Dave
Dave
Maltose Falcon, San Fernando Valley Beer Lover
"Been drinking all the beer I can find since 1982"

Offline tygo

  • I spend way too much time on the AHA forum
  • ********
  • Posts: 2622
  • Sterling, VA
    • View Profile
Re: pin vs ball??
« Reply #1 on: March 18, 2013, 01:25:14 PM »
If I were starting out kegging right now I think I'd go with pin lock just because they're cheaper and easier to find than ball lock kegs at this point. 
Clint
Wort Hogs

Fermenting: Wit
On Tap: Lucifer's Hammer Golden Strong Ale, Dopplebock, Old Fuzzynut's Ale

Offline jeffy

  • Brewmaster General
  • *******
  • Posts: 2445
  • Tampa, Fl
    • View Profile
Re: pin vs ball??
« Reply #2 on: March 18, 2013, 01:42:11 PM »
I have both.  It doesn't take much expense to get some of each kind of quick disconnect and put a "T" in the gas line so you can use either.
Ball locks are much more widely used and have a narrower diameter so you can fit more of them in a chest freezer, but pin locks are much easier to identify the in/out ports.  Heck you can do it in the dark, which is more often than you might think.
Jeff Gladish, Tampa (989.3, 175.1 Apparent Rennarian)
Homebrewing since 1990
AHA member since 1991, now a lifetime member
BJCP judge since 1995

Offline blatz

  • Brewmaster General
  • *******
  • Posts: 2453
  • Paul Blatz - Jupiter, FL
    • View Profile
Re: pin vs ball??
« Reply #3 on: March 18, 2013, 01:52:38 PM »
+1 to jeffy -
The happiest people don’t necessarily have the best of everything; they just make the best of everything they have.

BJCP National: F0281

Offline hellbound

  • Cellarman
  • **
  • Posts: 36
  • Beer Saved The World
    • View Profile
Re: pin vs ball??
« Reply #4 on: March 18, 2013, 01:57:06 PM »
Ok, thanks.

Are most set-ups (CO2 and regulators, dispensing disconnects, etc.) configured for ball locks or pins? which is easier to use?
Dave
Maltose Falcon, San Fernando Valley Beer Lover
"Been drinking all the beer I can find since 1982"

Offline snowtiger87

  • Brewer
  • ****
  • Posts: 400
    • View Profile
Re: pin vs ball??
« Reply #5 on: March 18, 2013, 02:07:23 PM »
Ball locks are much easier for me to use - also the skinny factor is a big deal to me as well.
Brewing since 1989 - BJCP National Rank

Fermenting: McChouffe clone, Samiclaus clone
Conditioning: Belgian Tripel, Barrel Aged Baltic Porter - in sherry barrel, Belgain Easter Ale
On tap: CAP, Dortmunder Export, IIPA, Dubbel Chocolate Stout, Wee Heavy, Whiskey barrel aged Wee Heavy, Baltic Porter
Newly Bottled:

Offline blatz

  • Brewmaster General
  • *******
  • Posts: 2453
  • Paul Blatz - Jupiter, FL
    • View Profile
Re: pin vs ball??
« Reply #6 on: March 18, 2013, 02:09:44 PM »
Ok, thanks.

Are most set-ups (CO2 and regulators, dispensing disconnects, etc.) configured for ball locks or pins? which is easier to use?

they are all built by you, so its whatever you have.

I went with all pins when I started out because pin kegs will fit under my kegerator's compressor whereas pins were just a smidge too tall.

aside from that, it doesn't really make much difference - if you get the flared fittings, you can swap out to whatever rather quickly.

I have about 18 pins, but have 4 shorties that are ball lock.  no problems for me to swap around.
The happiest people don’t necessarily have the best of everything; they just make the best of everything they have.

BJCP National: F0281

Offline Joe Sr.

  • Brewmaster General
  • *******
  • Posts: 2325
  • Chicago - NORTH SIDE
    • View Profile
Re: pin vs ball??
« Reply #7 on: March 18, 2013, 02:58:17 PM »
I see converted pin locks for sale these days more than anything.  So the size difference becomes moot, since you have a pin lock keg with ball lock fittings.

I think you should go with whatever you can source most easily and affordably.  Functionally, there should be no difference.
It's all in the reflexes. - Jack Burton

Online rapurcell85

  • Cellarman
  • **
  • Posts: 27
    • View Profile
Re: pin vs ball??
« Reply #8 on: March 18, 2013, 06:37:12 PM »
Either way you go, I would strongly recommend getting the flared fittings.  It is so easy to swap between the pin and ball lock kegs that it doesn't matter which type of kegs you buy, which can be nice if you find a great deal on pin lock kegs, but you already have ball lock kegs.  Also, if you end up with ball lock kegs, but have a friend that brings over a pin lock keg, you can easily put it on your taps and they will not have to lug around any fittings or gas cylinders.

Offline BrewQwest

  • Cellarman
  • **
  • Posts: 79
    • View Profile
Re: pin vs ball??
« Reply #9 on: March 19, 2013, 07:51:22 AM »
I also have both.. I like the pin locks because it is impossible to put the wrong fitting on the wrong post..If you have ever put a pin lock gas fitting on the liquid out fitting (or vice versa) it is a real PITA to get it off again... the good thing about the ball locks though, it the ease of releasing pressure in the keg via the pressure relief valve... none of my pin locks have a pressure relief valve in the cover so I have to remove the gas connector and push down on the poppet valve to relieve pressure... cheers!
On a never-ending journey for the perfect pint of beer...

Offline hellbound

  • Cellarman
  • **
  • Posts: 36
  • Beer Saved The World
    • View Profile
Re: pin vs ball??
« Reply #10 on: March 19, 2013, 11:51:59 AM »
I see converted pin locks for sale these days more than anything.  So the size difference becomes moot, since you have a pin lock keg with ball lock fittings.

I think you should go with whatever you can source most easily and affordably.  Functionally, there should be no difference.

Thanks, that seems to be the smartest route for me so far.
Dave
Maltose Falcon, San Fernando Valley Beer Lover
"Been drinking all the beer I can find since 1982"

Offline hellbound

  • Cellarman
  • **
  • Posts: 36
  • Beer Saved The World
    • View Profile
Re: pin vs ball??
« Reply #11 on: March 19, 2013, 11:52:26 AM »
I also have both.. I like the pin locks because it is impossible to put the wrong fitting on the wrong post..If you have ever put a pin lock gas fitting on the liquid out fitting (or vice versa) it is a real PITA to get it off again... the good thing about the ball locks though, it the ease of releasing pressure in the keg via the pressure relief valve... none of my pin locks have a pressure relief valve in the cover so I have to remove the gas connector and push down on the poppet valve to relieve pressure... cheers!

How important is a PRV?
Dave
Maltose Falcon, San Fernando Valley Beer Lover
"Been drinking all the beer I can find since 1982"

Offline jeffy

  • Brewmaster General
  • *******
  • Posts: 2445
  • Tampa, Fl
    • View Profile
Re: pin vs ball??
« Reply #12 on: March 19, 2013, 02:20:43 PM »
I also have both.. I like the pin locks because it is impossible to put the wrong fitting on the wrong post..If you have ever put a pin lock gas fitting on the liquid out fitting (or vice versa) it is a real PITA to get it off again... the good thing about the ball locks though, it the ease of releasing pressure in the keg via the pressure relief valve... none of my pin locks have a pressure relief valve in the cover so I have to remove the gas connector and push down on the poppet valve to relieve pressure... cheers!

How important is a PRV?

It is more convenient than important. 
Jeff Gladish, Tampa (989.3, 175.1 Apparent Rennarian)
Homebrewing since 1990
AHA member since 1991, now a lifetime member
BJCP judge since 1995

Offline hellbound

  • Cellarman
  • **
  • Posts: 36
  • Beer Saved The World
    • View Profile
Re: pin vs ball??
« Reply #13 on: March 20, 2013, 07:11:55 PM »
i see that the pin lock kegs on midwest have PRV's. Is there a way to convert a lid to have a prv?
Dave
Maltose Falcon, San Fernando Valley Beer Lover
"Been drinking all the beer I can find since 1982"

Offline Joe Sr.

  • Brewmaster General
  • *******
  • Posts: 2325
  • Chicago - NORTH SIDE
    • View Profile
Re: pin vs ball??
« Reply #14 on: March 21, 2013, 09:32:26 AM »
i see that the pin lock kegs on midwest have PRV's. Is there a way to convert a lid to have a prv?

I think the difference is that ball locks have PRVs that you can open manually by pulling them up.  On pin locks it's more of a safety valve that releases when pressure builds too high.

Of course, since I don't have any pin locks I don't know for certain, but that's what the internets tell me.

I'd personally be wary of drilling through a lid, but I suppose you could rig something.  Wouldn't it be easier just to release pressure on the gas side?
It's all in the reflexes. - Jack Burton