Author Topic: Kegging/tap system Questions  (Read 933 times)

Offline pete b

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Kegging/tap system Questions
« on: December 09, 2014, 05:07:29 PM »
I know nothing about kegging because its something I never thought I would do because I don’t mind bottling and don’t really want more stuff to take care of and store. However, we are putting on an addition which will give me a chance to re-think the kitchen. I am adding a peninsula so I have more counterspace, cabinet space, and a dishwasher. I’ll make the counter overhang and put a couple stools on one side. There would be room here for a keggerator and taps.
So I have a few questions:
1.   I make more 2.5 batches of beer than 5 gallons. Can I keg this size batch?
2.   In addition to kegs in the keggerator, would I be able to keg mead, store it in the cellar, and run lines to the tap in the kitchen?
3.   Is having 4-6 taps reasonable or are additional taps overly expensive or difficult in any way?
4.   Is the ongoing maintenance of a set up like this a big PIA or a big ongoing expense?
Thanks for your input.
Pete
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Offline Wort-H.O.G.

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Re: Kegging/tap system Questions
« Reply #1 on: December 09, 2014, 05:17:52 PM »
1. i'd look at the smaller kegs. thinking you might burn through more co2 with half full kegs.
2. someone with expertise on setup for running beer/mead that far should answer
3. as many as you like and care to setup. i run 4 and find thats enough for me
4. i haven't found it to be an ongoing expense. you clean lines, kegs etc just like you clean bottles and replace bottles as needed. more time in bottling for sure - processing and carbonating. IMO some beers are just better for bottling (weizens).

EDIT: the ongoing expense comes from needing(ok wanting) more kegs and expanding your draft system. bottling is cheap, no way around that.
« Last Edit: December 09, 2014, 05:39:42 PM by wort-h.o.g. »
Ken- Chagrin Falls, OH
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Offline seefish

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Re: Kegging/tap system Questions
« Reply #2 on: December 09, 2014, 05:56:57 PM »
Have only been kegging for a short time...but I have enjoyed it so far.

1. 5gal keg may use a little more gas, but I think gas is relatively cheap.  You will be able to find used 5gal. kegs cheaper I think because they are more widely used in the soda industry.
2. You could definitely do that for all of your beers and/or meads, but I am no expert on that.  Try looking for people that have setup basement bars.
3. more taps only means you need to have a larger fridge/freezer to hold more kegs.  it probably is less of an expense than a question of how much space you have.  I often read how people think they are happy with a certain number and quickly want to upgrade...maybe buy a fridge that can fit 6 but install 4 taps?  you could upgrade pretty easy that way.
4. I dunno yet, it seemed at first like a steeper learning curve than it was.  I always got frustrated when bottling that my carbonation wasn't exactly what I wanted.  Sucks when you spend all the time to make a dopplebock and the only problem is the stupid carbonation is low.

Offline erockrph

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Re: Kegging/tap system Questions
« Reply #3 on: December 09, 2014, 06:12:24 PM »
I use 2.5 gallon kegs for my batches. It works perfectly for my purposes, since that's my typical batch size. Adventures in Homebrewing runs pretty good specials every few months, so if you can wait I'd just watch their sales and buy a bunch once they're available at a good price. While they are typically less expensive than a normal 5-gallon corny, it's only by 10-20 bucks, tops. So on a per-gallon basis, 5-gallon kegs are quite a bit cheaper.

You could keg your meads as well. The only issue I see is that if you keep the keg under pressure, then the mead will end up becoming carbonated. I think you can avoid this by using a different gas (like nitrogen or argon) to push the mead, but I don't have any personal experience with that.
Eric B.

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Offline pete b

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Re: Kegging/tap system Questions
« Reply #4 on: December 09, 2014, 06:19:03 PM »
One thing I see is a need for backup gas canisters. I think its a 45 minute drive to the nearest place I can get them filled.
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Offline pete b

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Re: Kegging/tap system Questions
« Reply #5 on: December 09, 2014, 06:20:55 PM »
I use 2.5 gallon kegs for my batches. It works perfectly for my purposes, since that's my typical batch size. Adventures in Homebrewing runs pretty good specials every few months, so if you can wait I'd just watch their sales and buy a bunch once they're available at a good price. While they are typically less expensive than a normal 5-gallon corny, it's only by 10-20 bucks, tops. So on a per-gallon basis, 5-gallon kegs are quite a bit cheaper.

You could keg your meads as well. The only issue I see is that if you keep the keg under pressure, then the mead will end up becoming carbonated. I think you can avoid this by using a different gas (like nitrogen or argon) to push the mead, but I don't have any personal experience with that.
Yea, I was wondering about the mead getting carbonated and wondered if there was some type of regulator/valve that only provided the pressure when called for.
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Offline erockrph

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Re: Kegging/tap system Questions
« Reply #6 on: December 09, 2014, 07:31:48 PM »
I use 2.5 gallon kegs for my batches. It works perfectly for my purposes, since that's my typical batch size. Adventures in Homebrewing runs pretty good specials every few months, so if you can wait I'd just watch their sales and buy a bunch once they're available at a good price. While they are typically less expensive than a normal 5-gallon corny, it's only by 10-20 bucks, tops. So on a per-gallon basis, 5-gallon kegs are quite a bit cheaper.

You could keg your meads as well. The only issue I see is that if you keep the keg under pressure, then the mead will end up becoming carbonated. I think you can avoid this by using a different gas (like nitrogen or argon) to push the mead, but I don't have any personal experience with that.
Yea, I was wondering about the mead getting carbonated and wondered if there was some type of regulator/valve that only provided the pressure when called for.
I think if you're going all-in on a dispensing setup, then you might as well get a separate tank/regulator for nitrogen for your meads. Google "kegging wine" for more detail, but it seems pretty much as simple as having a separate tank of gas.
Eric B.

Finally got around to starting a homebrewing blog: The Hop Whisperer

Offline leejoreilly

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Re: Kegging/tap system Questions
« Reply #7 on: December 09, 2014, 07:43:16 PM »
One thing I see is a need for backup gas canisters. I think its a 45 minute drive to the nearest place I can get them filled.

A back-up CO2 tank is a great idea. My primary tank is a 20#, which literally lasts me YEARS, but I also have a 5# for back-up. It's my experience that, when a tank empties, it tends to go from 800 psi to zero very quickly, and usually at the least convenient time. Having a spare 5# will let you carbonate and serve for quite a while, til you can get around to refilling the primary.

Offline erockrph

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Re: Kegging/tap system Questions
« Reply #8 on: December 09, 2014, 07:48:40 PM »
One thing I see is a need for backup gas canisters. I think its a 45 minute drive to the nearest place I can get them filled.

A back-up CO2 tank is a great idea. My primary tank is a 20#, which literally lasts me YEARS, but I also have a 5# for back-up. It's my experience that, when a tank empties, it tends to go from 800 psi to zero very quickly, and usually at the least convenient time. Having a spare 5# will let you carbonate and serve for quite a while, til you can get around to refilling the primary.
And if you're new to kegging, then you WILL have a leak that drains your full CO2 tank at the worst possible moment. It's nice to have some insurance.
Eric B.

Finally got around to starting a homebrewing blog: The Hop Whisperer

Offline mugwort

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Re: Kegging/tap system Questions
« Reply #9 on: December 09, 2014, 07:52:54 PM »
These are some really great suggestions.  Two tanks keep you from a long, unplanned expedition to get a fill.  And using 2.5 or 3 gallon kegs is easier and a boon to variety on tap.


Definitely get the twin gauge regulator which you can set different pressure for each, and then further split the lines as you see fit.
http://www.kegconnection.com/taprite-dual-body-regulator-three-gauge/

You can run a very low pressure to the mead.  Also you can leave the valve that is feeding the mead off, only switching it on when the pour slows to a trickle.  This will minimize gassing the mead.
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Offline Wort-H.O.G.

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Re: Kegging/tap system Questions
« Reply #10 on: December 09, 2014, 07:53:26 PM »
One thing I see is a need for backup gas canisters. I think its a 45 minute drive to the nearest place I can get them filled.

A back-up CO2 tank is a great idea. My primary tank is a 20#, which literally lasts me YEARS, but I also have a 5# for back-up. It's my experience that, when a tank empties, it tends to go from 800 psi to zero very quickly, and usually at the least convenient time. Having a spare 5# will let you carbonate and serve for quite a while, til you can get around to refilling the primary.
And if you're new to kegging, then you WILL have a leak that drains your full CO2 tank at the worst possible moment. It's nice to have some insurance.

+1 so true and great advice. purchasing my third tank -20# exclusively for the primary draft system.
Ken- Chagrin Falls, OH
CPT, U.S.Army
https://www.facebook.com/pages/Harveys-Brewhaus/405092862905115

http://braukaiser.com/wiki/index.php?title=The_Science_of_Mashing

Serving:        In Process:
Vienna IPA          O'Fest
Dort
Mead                 
Cider                         
Ger'merican Blonde
Amber Ale
Next:
Ger Pils
O'Fest

Offline pete b

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Re: Kegging/tap system Questions
« Reply #11 on: December 09, 2014, 08:45:14 PM »
One thing I see is a need for backup gas canisters. I think its a 45 minute drive to the nearest place I can get them filled.

A back-up CO2 tank is a great idea. My primary tank is a 20#, which literally lasts me YEARS, but I also have a 5# for back-up. It's my experience that, when a tank empties, it tends to go from 800 psi to zero very quickly, and usually at the least convenient time. Having a spare 5# will let you carbonate and serve for quite a while, til you can get around to refilling the primary.
And if you're new to kegging, then you WILL have a leak that drains your full CO2 tank at the worst possible moment. It's nice to have some insurance.

+1 so true and great advice. purchasing my third tank -20# exclusively for the primary draft system.
I live in the boonies, at least by east coast standards, and am definitely into having backups of everything. I think that I may get the nitro for mead as we make a ton of it and bottling is quite a project, we usually are corking 75-100 bottles, so kegging would be great.
I must say I am a bit fearful of having such easy access to one more glass. Not too fearful though...
Don't let the bastards cheer you up.

Offline Wort-H.O.G.

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Re: Kegging/tap system Questions
« Reply #12 on: December 09, 2014, 08:58:18 PM »
One thing I see is a need for backup gas canisters. I think its a 45 minute drive to the nearest place I can get them filled.

A back-up CO2 tank is a great idea. My primary tank is a 20#, which literally lasts me YEARS, but I also have a 5# for back-up. It's my experience that, when a tank empties, it tends to go from 800 psi to zero very quickly, and usually at the least convenient time. Having a spare 5# will let you carbonate and serve for quite a while, til you can get around to refilling the primary.
And if you're new to kegging, then you WILL have a leak that drains your full CO2 tank at the worst possible moment. It's nice to have some insurance.

+1 so true and great advice. purchasing my third tank -20# exclusively for the primary draft system.
I live in the boonies, at least by east coast standards, and am definitely into having backups of everything. I think that I may get the nitro for mead as we make a ton of it and bottling is quite a project, we usually are corking 75-100 bottles, so kegging would be great.
I must say I am a bit fearful of having such easy access to one more glass. Not too fearful though...

with great power comes great responsibility.... ;D    hahaha enjoy!
Ken- Chagrin Falls, OH
CPT, U.S.Army
https://www.facebook.com/pages/Harveys-Brewhaus/405092862905115

http://braukaiser.com/wiki/index.php?title=The_Science_of_Mashing

Serving:        In Process:
Vienna IPA          O'Fest
Dort
Mead                 
Cider                         
Ger'merican Blonde
Amber Ale
Next:
Ger Pils
O'Fest

Offline pete b

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Re: Kegging/tap system Questions
« Reply #13 on: December 09, 2014, 09:02:39 PM »
One thing I see is a need for backup gas canisters. I think its a 45 minute drive to the nearest place I can get them filled.

A back-up CO2 tank is a great idea. My primary tank is a 20#, which literally lasts me YEARS, but I also have a 5# for back-up. It's my experience that, when a tank empties, it tends to go from 800 psi to zero very quickly, and usually at the least convenient time. Having a spare 5# will let you carbonate and serve for quite a while, til you can get around to refilling the primary.
And if you're new to kegging, then you WILL have a leak that drains your full CO2 tank at the worst possible moment. It's nice to have some insurance.

+1 so true and great advice. purchasing my third tank -20# exclusively for the primary draft system.
I live in the boonies, at least by east coast standards, and am definitely into having backups of everything. I think that I may get the nitro for mead as we make a ton of it and bottling is quite a project, we usually are corking 75-100 bottles, so kegging would be great.
I must say I am a bit fearful of having such easy access to one more glass. Not too fearful though...

with great power comes great responsibility.... ;D    hahaha enjoy!
Agreed. 15 years ago this would have been a bad idea.
Don't let the bastards cheer you up.