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Author Topic: New Micro Brewery needs help  (Read 3778 times)

Offline mcallijb

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New Micro Brewery needs help
« on: February 12, 2014, 10:09:43 pm »
I'm starting a VERY small microbrew on a tiny island in the Pacific that is in dire need of local craft beer.  I've been bottling for over a year now with GREAT success, but am finally ready to graduate to kegging.  I'd like to keep it simple, using 5 gallon (1/6th) kegs and keg conditioning the brew.  Shipping is REALLY expensive here so I want to order the right stuff on the first try if possible.  Two questions:

1)  Should I order Sanke or Corny kegs?  I know Corny's are easier to clean, but I'm sure Sanke's will be easier to market to local bars & restaurants.  I don't mind taking out the spear and manually cleaning if it makes them easier to sell.  No keg washers out here I'm sure.

2)  Do I really need to purge O2 after filling the kegs?  That would mean I need a CO2 tank and a place to fill CO2 tanks, neither of which is readily available to my knowledge.  I never purge the secondary or bottles and the beer turns out just fine.  So can I just rack into the 1/6th (with priming sugar), put the spear in, and seal it up for fermenting?

Any thoughts would be GREAT!  Thanks!!!

Offline klickitat jim

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Re: New Micro Brewery needs help
« Reply #1 on: February 12, 2014, 10:57:38 pm »
I've been not purging my corny kegs before filling, but I rack gently like you would to a bottling bucket. Not sure if too many people purge their bottling buckets. But I purge when I attach the CO2 for force carbing. I believe you can naturally carbonate in a keg but others will chime in on that. I think you use less priming sugar.

I guess you should go with the keg that your customer will buy.

Offline morticaixavier

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Re: New Micro Brewery needs help
« Reply #2 on: February 12, 2014, 11:20:05 pm »
Yeah, if you're priming the keg you don't need to purge the extra fermentation will take care of any little bit of oxygen.

However, you may need something to seat the lids (if using corny kegs, not sure about sanke) and I would guess sanke would be easier for local bars assuming they can serve draft.

By the way, if the bars are serving draft beer they have co2 somewhere on the island. you can't serve draft beer without it really in a commercial setting.

Good luck!
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Offline james

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Re: New Micro Brewery needs help
« Reply #3 on: February 12, 2014, 11:27:47 pm »
Definitely go with sanke, you will be fighting an uphill battle to get places to take cornys.  Also if you have a good pump you can CIP a sanke easily and not have to pull the spears every time.

Cornys really suck, 5 o rings vs 1 on sanke and many more places for a possible leak.  Sanke couplers have built in check valves as well

Offline mcallijb

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Re: New Micro Brewery needs help
« Reply #4 on: February 13, 2014, 03:54:17 am »
Thanks for the advice.  I'm going to hit up some bars this weekend and hopefully I'll find a CO2 supply, even if I have to import the tanks already full.

Tonight I was messing around with an old 15.5 gal. sanke and released the pressure but can't get the O ring to pop.  I used a pocket knife and a screwdriver to pry just like in those Youtube videos but can't get it to budge.  Any tips?  Maybe I just need to hit the gym  ;)  Hopefully some new 5 gallon sankes will be easier to open?

Offline majorvices

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Re: New Micro Brewery needs help
« Reply #5 on: February 13, 2014, 06:34:46 am »
Sankes are far more easier to clean than cornies. You simply need a keg cleaner. It's a process. You can build one for relatively cheap but you will need some pumps.

Process is: Rinse (I prefer hot rinse w/140 degree water) blow out with compressed air. Caustic or acid wash cycle 2-4 minutes. Blow out with compressed air (this is a caustic loop that blows back into a temp controlled kettle) Hot rinse again, blow out with compressed air and then sanitize and blow out with Co2 and then final purge and pressurize to 10 psi.,

Also, I would recommend purging all kegs wether or not you are naturally conditioning or not. The most common flaw I pick up in naturally conditioned beers is almost always oxidation or diacetyl which I attribute to being from the precursors of diacetyl reforming due to the presence of o2.

As far as depressurizing the keg goes, if you are having trouble just get a keg couple like you use to tap tyhe keg. You will need that to build your keg cleaner anyway.

Do a search on pro brewer . com to find instructions on keg cleaner buildings. If you get really stuck PM me and I'll show you mine.

Offline euge

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Re: New Micro Brewery needs help
« Reply #6 on: February 16, 2014, 08:52:27 am »
I sugar prime almost all my ales in the keg. It will be an issue if the kegs get moved a lot just prior to serving such as in a keg swap. Very likely in a bar.

Not sure what scale you are operating on but you can "naturally" carbonate in a "bright-tank" and transfer the finished carbonated beer off the sediment into your waiting kegs. I believe this is a standard practice.

Go with the sanke style if that is standard for the island. You'll want to make this as painless as possible for yourself and the folks who'll be serving your beer.
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