Author Topic: Closed Transfer and Bottling for Small Batches  (Read 1876 times)

RPIScotty

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Closed Transfer and Bottling for Small Batches
« on: May 27, 2016, 01:23:34 PM »
After some PM discussion with some members here, I am considering purchasing some 1.75 gallon kegs (2-3), CO2 setup, etc for a couple reasons.

1.) I'd like to be able to ferment in a Keg and have the ability to do closed transfers.

2.) I like having the flexibility of either kegging or using a keg as a bottling bucket and transferring.

I am looking at either the 1.75 gallon Kegs at AIH or the 1.5 gallon torpedo kegs at More beer.

Why the small size? Just like everything else on my setup, I'm trying to keep everything manageable. I am a light drinker and lots of beer around means I brew less.

Any advice or experience is welcome as I plan the transition.

Offline 69franx

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Re: Closed Transfer and Bottling for Small Batches
« Reply #1 on: May 27, 2016, 01:35:21 PM »
Don't forget headspace requirements if you want to ferment in those kegs. You don't want to lose half of what you brew to blow off
Frank L.
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RPIScotty

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Re: Closed Transfer and Bottling for Small Batches
« Reply #2 on: May 27, 2016, 01:40:09 PM »
Don't forget headspace requirements if you want to ferment in those kegs. You don't want to lose half of what you brew to blow off

That's true. I'm thinking that I might get the 2.5 gallon kegs for my 1.5 gallon batches and  the 1.5 gallon kegs for my 3/4 gallon batches.

The 1.5 gallon setup would be my bottling setup and the 2.5 gallon setup would be for kegging my "larger" 1.5 gallon batches.

Thanks for the insight though Frank. I'm in a bit of a transitional period as I don't have the scratch to dump into tons of equipment right now but I see the need to upgrade in the near future. As such in in the planning stages.

Offline toby

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Re: Closed Transfer and Bottling for Small Batches
« Reply #3 on: May 27, 2016, 02:26:16 PM »
That's true. I'm thinking that I might get the 2.5 gallon kegs for my 1.5 gallon batches and  the 1.5 gallon kegs for my 3/4 gallon batches.

That's what I would suggest.  I put together a small system to brew 1.75 gallon batches (winds up right at about 1.5-1.6 gallons with trub loss).  I boil on the side burner on the back patio grill.  I keg in 2.5 gallon kegs.  That's what I use for experimental or single competition recipes.  I basically treat it as a pilot system for my regular rig where I brew 10+ gallon batches (I can brew up to 20 on it easily for average ABV beers for festivals and events).

RPIScotty

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Re: Closed Transfer and Bottling for Small Batches
« Reply #4 on: May 27, 2016, 02:30:28 PM »
That's true. I'm thinking that I might get the 2.5 gallon kegs for my 1.5 gallon batches and  the 1.5 gallon kegs for my 3/4 gallon batches.

That's what I would suggest.  I put together a small system to brew 1.75 gallon batches (winds up right at about 1.5-1.6 gallons with trub loss).  I boil on the side burner on the back patio grill.  I keg in 2.5 gallon kegs.  That's what I use for experimental or single competition recipes.  I basically treat it as a pilot system for my regular rig where I brew 10+ gallon batches (I can brew up to 20 on it easily for average ABV beers for festivals and events).

You hit it on the head. I'm planning on using my small kettle on the grill for now until I setup my PID controlled electric burner BIAB.

Offline narcout

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Re: Closed Transfer and Bottling for Small Batches
« Reply #5 on: May 27, 2016, 02:55:51 PM »
I'm thinking that I might get the 2.5 gallon kegs for my 1.5 gallon batches and  the 1.5 gallon kegs for my 3/4 gallon batches.

The 1.5 gallon setup would be my bottling setup and the 2.5 gallon setup would be for kegging my "larger" 1.5 gallon batches.

You could probably use the 2.5 gallon kegs for everything and not have to purchase two different sizes.
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Offline Joe Sr.

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Re: Closed Transfer and Bottling for Small Batches
« Reply #6 on: May 27, 2016, 03:25:41 PM »
I'm thinking that I might get the 2.5 gallon kegs for my 1.5 gallon batches and  the 1.5 gallon kegs for my 3/4 gallon batches.

The 1.5 gallon setup would be my bottling setup and the 2.5 gallon setup would be for kegging my "larger" 1.5 gallon batches.

You could probably use the 2.5 gallon kegs for everything and not have to purchase two different sizes.

I would recommend this.  At something smaller than 2.5g I think they're very limiting.  At 2.5, you can easily split a 5 gallon batch if you ever do one.  And for smaller batches, as long as you purge the kegs, headspace should not be an issue.
It's all in the reflexes. - Jack Burton

RPIScotty

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Re: Closed Transfer and Bottling for Small Batches
« Reply #7 on: May 27, 2016, 03:26:58 PM »
I'm thinking that I might get the 2.5 gallon kegs for my 1.5 gallon batches and  the 1.5 gallon kegs for my 3/4 gallon batches.

The 1.5 gallon setup would be my bottling setup and the 2.5 gallon setup would be for kegging my "larger" 1.5 gallon batches.

You could probably use the 2.5 gallon kegs for everything and not have to purchase two different sizes.

I would recommend this.  At something smaller than 2.5g I think they're very limiting.  At 2.5, you can easily split a 5 gallon batch if you ever do one.  And for smaller batches, as long as you purge the kegs, headspace should not be an issue.

Understood. I didn't think about it that way and I guess I was looking at it as saving gas going with smaller kegs for my micro batches.

Offline Joe Sr.

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Re: Closed Transfer and Bottling for Small Batches
« Reply #8 on: May 27, 2016, 03:33:05 PM »
Of all the things you'll be buying, gas is the cheapest.

Don't buy a new tank.  It's a waste of money.  Also, where I get mine filled it costs the same to fill a 5, 10, and 15 lb tank.  Above that, there's a price jump.  I also don't think there's a price cut if you ask them to fill a paint ball tank, so there's no big savings on going smaller with the gas tanks.
It's all in the reflexes. - Jack Burton

Offline erockrph

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Re: Closed Transfer and Bottling for Small Batches
« Reply #9 on: May 27, 2016, 05:24:40 PM »
Look at the price point of the various kegs you're looking at. Generally, there is little to no cost savings at the smaller sizes. In fact, a new 5 gallon keg often goes for the same price as a new 2.5 gallon one. You're not saving much by going to the smaller size, and you'll be kicking yourself the one time you need a 2.5 gallon keg and only have a 1.75 free. The only reason I'd want the smaller keg is if I was under space constraints and that was the only size that would fit.

As a matter of fact, if you're planning on fermenting in them, then I'd just spring for a 5-gallon right now so that you could move up to 3 gallon batches at any time if you ever felt like it.

If you're looking to pull the trigger right now, I think Austin Homebrew Supply has the best deal currently. New 2.5 and 5-gallon kegs are $79.99, which is the same as when AiH goes on sale. They also have a free shipping promotion for orders over $50. Kegs are excluded, but you can do what I just did and buy your kegs on one order, then place a second order for all your supplies - taps, hoses, disconnects, spunding valve, etc.

I'd also recommend one of the small portable CO2 chargers that runs off the 16g CO2 cartridges. One of the big advantages of small kegs is that they are easily portable. The mini chargers are great for bringing a keg to a party, tailgating, etc.
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RPIScotty

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Re: Closed Transfer and Bottling for Small Batches
« Reply #10 on: May 27, 2016, 05:27:35 PM »
Look at the price point of the various kegs you're looking at. Generally, there is little to no cost savings at the smaller sizes. In fact, a new 5 gallon keg often goes for the same price as a new 2.5 gallon one. You're not saving much by going to the smaller size, and you'll be kicking yourself the one time you need a 2.5 gallon keg and only have a 1.75 free. The only reason I'd want the smaller keg is if I was under space constraints and that was the only size that would fit.

As a matter of fact, if you're planning on fermenting in them, then I'd just spring for a 5-gallon right now so that you could move up to 3 gallon batches at any time if you ever felt like it.

If you're looking to pull the trigger right now, I think Austin Homebrew Supply has the best deal currently. New 2.5 and 5-gallon kegs are $79.99, which is the same as when AiH goes on sale. They also have a free shipping promotion for orders over $50. Kegs are excluded, but you can do what I just did and buy your kegs on one order, then place a second order for all your supplies - taps, hoses, disconnects, spunding valve, etc.

I'd also recommend one of the small portable CO2 chargers that runs off the 16g CO2 cartridges. One of the big advantages of small kegs is that they are easily portable. The mini chargers are great for bringing a keg to a party, tailgating, etc.

I think 2.5 gallon (about 3-4 kegs) is the way I'm going to go. I'm honestly not going to ever exceed 1.5 gallon batches. It's just right in my wheelhouse.

2.5 gallon kegs are going to be perfect for me.

Offline Joe Sr.

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Re: Closed Transfer and Bottling for Small Batches
« Reply #11 on: May 27, 2016, 05:31:17 PM »
I love my 2.5 and 3 gallon kegs. Wish I had more.  I think they're a great size and very useful.
It's all in the reflexes. - Jack Burton

Offline Stevie

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Re: Closed Transfer and Bottling for Small Batches
« Reply #12 on: May 27, 2016, 05:47:22 PM »
For me the big benefit would be interchangeable parts.

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Re: Closed Transfer and Bottling for Small Batches
« Reply #13 on: May 27, 2016, 07:10:19 PM »
If you're looking to pull the trigger right now, I think Austin Homebrew Supply has the best deal currently. New 2.5 and 5-gallon kegs are $79.99, which is the same as when AiH goes on sale. They also have a free shipping promotion for orders over $50. Kegs are excluded, but you can do what I just did and buy your kegs on one order, then place a second order for all your supplies - taps, hoses, disconnects, spunding valve, etc.

AiH has slightly better prices, but don't have free shipping.
http://www.homebrewing.org/AIH-New-Double-Rubber-Handle-25-Gal-Keg_p_5101.html

Should be the exact same kegs.  AiH bought Austin last year.

Offline erockrph

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Re: Closed Transfer and Bottling for Small Batches
« Reply #14 on: May 27, 2016, 07:45:53 PM »
If you're looking to pull the trigger right now, I think Austin Homebrew Supply has the best deal currently. New 2.5 and 5-gallon kegs are $79.99, which is the same as when AiH goes on sale. They also have a free shipping promotion for orders over $50. Kegs are excluded, but you can do what I just did and buy your kegs on one order, then place a second order for all your supplies - taps, hoses, disconnects, spunding valve, etc.

AiH has slightly better prices, but don't have free shipping.
http://www.homebrewing.org/AIH-New-Double-Rubber-Handle-25-Gal-Keg_p_5101.html

Should be the exact same kegs.  AiH bought Austin last year.
Pics on AHS site show the same make/model as the ones I got from AiH last year, except the new ones are NSF 9001 certified. I didn't know they were bought by AiH. That's good to know.

So, buy the 2.5 gallon kegs off AiH and the supplies from AHS. :)
Eric B.

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