Author Topic: Keg charger to go?  (Read 1080 times)

Offline glenmoorebrewing

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Keg charger to go?
« on: September 08, 2014, 03:40:29 PM »
Northern brewer has a " soda keg co2 charger " for sale. Any body have experience with this type of thing? I'm guessing I force carb my keg then use this gadget for serving pressure on the go. Sounds great in theory to me, no reg, or co2 cylinder. But does it actually give a good pour with a picnic tap?  It could be awesome for festivals where beer is allowed but no shady "co2" tanks getting through security.
-AK

Offline Stevie

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Re: Keg charger to go?
« Reply #1 on: September 08, 2014, 03:50:50 PM »
Are you referring to this? http://www.northernbrewer.com/shop/review/product/list/id/441/category/41/

I have one and like it ok. They are a little finicky and can explode disconnects if used incorrectly. Amanda k had a failure. Takes about 2 carts to push a keg. The trick is to give the keg small bursts when the flow slows down.

Watch rookies as they will hit it with a bunch of pressure that you will need to bleed to get a good pour. I'm guessing they are the same guys from college that would stand by the keg pumping endlessly and never learned that half open valves make foam.

Offline Jimmy K

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Re: Keg charger to go?
« Reply #2 on: September 08, 2014, 04:52:02 PM »
I have one and use it about once a year. It's small and light which is convenient. It needs a bit of babysitting to recharge (I don't encourage others to touch it) and to change the cylinder. Also, the cartridges are expensive ~$3, so 2 adds $6 to the cost of a batch. Cost is probably the main reason I don't use it more often.
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Offline Stevie

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Re: Keg charger to go?
« Reply #3 on: September 08, 2014, 04:58:39 PM »
Williams has the refills for $1.39, order 30 and they are $1.08. I've seen them on ebay and amazon for less than a buck, but in boxes of 60+.

Offline erockrph

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Re: Keg charger to go?
« Reply #4 on: September 08, 2014, 05:12:23 PM »
I love mine. I can throw one of my 2.5 gallon kegs in a cooler with a picnic tap and one of these and I'm good to go. The cartridges do have a tendency to get used up more quickly by the uninitiated, but otherwise it's fantastic for taking a keg on the go.
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Offline HoosierBrew

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Re: Keg charger to go?
« Reply #5 on: September 08, 2014, 05:41:12 PM »
Good to hear the mostly good reviews on those cartridges. I've always been skeptical of them, so I drag around the 5lb tank/regulator - PITA. Not doing much of that nowadays though, but I used to pretty regularly.
« Last Edit: September 08, 2014, 06:02:33 PM by HoosierBrew »
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Offline wingnut

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Re: Keg charger to go?
« Reply #6 on: September 09, 2014, 02:30:31 AM »
If you have issues with guests over pressurizing the keg with these, Williams Brewing sells a version with a regulator.  I have not used it (bit pricy) but I did make one of my own with Harbor Freight parts.   I have used it a couple times and love not having to cart the big tank around.
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Offline Stevie

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Re: Keg charger to go?
« Reply #7 on: September 09, 2014, 02:42:36 AM »

If you have issues with guests over pressurizing the keg with these, Williams Brewing sells a version with a regulator.  I have not used it (bit pricy) but I did make one of my own with Harbor Freight parts.   I have used it a couple times and love not having to cart the big tank around.
parts list and instructions?

Offline wingnut

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Re: Keg charger to go?
« Reply #8 on: September 09, 2014, 03:25:49 AM »
ill have to dig it out of my parts drawer and see if the regulator has a part number.  It is made for air hoses, and i just bought the fittings to connect the hand held CO2 charger everyone uses.

something like this :
http://www.harborfreight.com/125-psi-air-flow-regulator-with-gauge-68219.html

and this:
http://www.homebrewing.org/CO2-Keg-Charger_p_3343.html

with a barb screwed into the outlet and tube to a pinlock gas connector.
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Offline Stevie

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Keg charger to go?
« Reply #9 on: September 09, 2014, 03:47:30 AM »
So do you lock the lever down or still give it a shot from time to time?

Either way, I'm sold.

Offline wingnut

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Re: Keg charger to go?
« Reply #10 on: September 09, 2014, 01:00:20 PM »
The regulator does not have a part number on it but it is very similar to the link in the prevous post. 

As for notes on using it...

I still pulsed the charger and simply used the regulator to limit the maximum pressure. 
I do not think the cheap hand held CO2 charger can really hold up to the sustained stress of the cartidge pressure, which gets up to 850 PSI. 

NEVER fully close the regulator, pulsing the charger with no place for the gas to go is where the bad things happen (850PSI through a pin hole dissipates to low pressure quickly, but you need to give the gas some place to dissapate pressure to... like a keg)

I never dialed in the regulator to a specific "12 or 13 PSI", I just dialed it back so that the keg does not get too much pressure, and left it.  (again, never fully closed the regulator... I started Hi and worked lower so that the gas always had someplace to go. I might be over cautious... but that was my thinking on dialing it in)

The Williams ones, reporteldy will let you dial in your PSI and you can leave it "on" all the time.  It is a better quality setup for sure, while mine is a step up from spit and bailing wire and duct tape.  :-)   

If you are going to use it 5 or 10 times a year, I would say spend the money.  If you are like me, and only bring a keg or two to the christmas party once a year  (the rest of the parties seem to be at my house... the curse of having lots of good beer on tap during the holidays), then I found this to be an acceptabe $15 solution to a minor problem.

Enjoy!
-- Wingnut - Cheers!

Offline glenmoorebrewing

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Re: Keg charger to go?
« Reply #11 on: September 09, 2014, 04:46:02 PM »
Sounds like it might be worth it, I don't have a 5lb co2 setup anymore so this will probably beat  lugging the 20 around. Thanks
-AK