Author Topic: How expensive is kegging?  (Read 1808 times)

Offline deadpoetic0077

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How expensive is kegging?
« on: February 01, 2017, 10:01:32 PM »
Looking at getting a kegerator and starting to keg instead of bottling. I don't have a lot of space so I dont have alot of tools to do a custom set with a fridge.

Ive looked on craigslist and such and it looks like most people, just for the kegerator and co2 stuff its like $500 for an OK set. That doesn't include kegs, and I would probably want to replace the regulator and lines so that's an addl. $250ish right?

So what have you all experienced with the cost of kegging from the ground up? is $600-800 a reasonable expectation for the whole kit and caboodle? Seems like a lot of dough for saving time from bottling (which sucks but not as much as a $800 hit on my wallet would).

Also, how complex is it? Seems like its just as simple as fill up (as o2 free as possible), carb up, wait, serve, wash, rinse, repeat.


is there a less expensive way to get into kegging?

Offline Stevie

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Re: How expensive is kegging?
« Reply #1 on: February 01, 2017, 10:14:17 PM »
There's a million ways to get to the same destination.

I wouldn't pay that much for a used setup. Williams has newer Keg King keggerator that are all set for homebrewing and close to that price. I would check there. Costco as well, but those are made for commercial and will need changes and maybe a new tower.

$250 for regulator and lines is way too much. Brand new regulator, if needed, $50-60. Lines are $0.40-$1.00 per foot tops.

Offline klickitat jim

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Re: How expensive is kegging?
« Reply #2 on: February 01, 2017, 10:31:31 PM »
My suggestion, what I'd do if starting over.

Chest freezer kegerator (keezer) with plenty of room for 4 kegs and co2 bottle. Though I would only have two on tap probably. Then I could carbonate/condition two while pouring the other two. Get perlick faucets. And more beer has a great regulator for reasonable. Used kegs are fine but try to get all the same so you don't need 5 different poppets.

Offline Joe Sr.

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Re: How expensive is kegging?
« Reply #3 on: February 01, 2017, 11:03:47 PM »
I've had good luck with universal poppets, Jim.  Takes some of the nonsense out of maintaining kegs.

Jim's approach is a solid one.  If you have a spare fridge, you can start with just putting kegs in that.  Doesn't need to be dedicated or have external taps.  I serve from a side by side fridge and have my kegs tapped with picnic taps.  I do have a box of perlicks and shanks to be installed, but it's not necessary.

Or, get a small fridge (dorm size, no freezer) and get some smaller kegs.

So many ways to do it.
It's all in the reflexes. - Jack Burton

Offline HoosierBrew

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Re: How expensive is kegging?
« Reply #4 on: February 01, 2017, 11:16:54 PM »
I've had good luck with universal poppets, Jim.  Takes some of the nonsense out of maintaining kegs.

Jim's approach is a solid one.  If you have a spare fridge, you can start with just putting kegs in that.  Doesn't need to be dedicated or have external taps.  I serve from a side by side fridge and have my kegs tapped with picnic taps.  I do have a box of perlicks and shanks to be installed, but it's not necessary.

Or, get a small fridge (dorm size, no freezer) and get some smaller kegs.

So many ways to do it.



I agree, too. My first kegerator ( around '93ish) was a used $50 fridge that held used kegs with picnic taps. Ran the gas line through the side of the fridge to save fridge space. Then saved up enough $ over time for taps and shanks. The theme - start out cheap and small and add on as you get further into the hobby.
 
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Offline Phil_M

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Re: How expensive is kegging?
« Reply #5 on: February 01, 2017, 11:20:17 PM »
Well, I've had terrible luck with universal poppets, but now I think everything about the kegs they were used on sucks.

Don't buy anything Kegco. The aforementioned kegs were theirs, and I've had problems with Kegco regulators, sankey adapters, faucets, and beer line. Customer service just redirected me around in circles.
Corn is a fine adjunct in beer.

And don't buy stale beer.

Offline Stevie

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How expensive is kegging?
« Reply #6 on: February 01, 2017, 11:30:56 PM »
Not to get too off topic, not all universal poppers are the same. I don't buy unless I can inspect. My lhbs here has good heavy ones compared to some of the crap wire I've seen.

Back to topic. I wish I had a smaller two keg keggerator. It's a bit more classy than a freezer in the living room. Once I have space, I will likely get a dorm fridge type setup to have in the house and leave the keezer in the garage.

Offline natebrews

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Re: How expensive is kegging?
« Reply #7 on: February 01, 2017, 11:32:46 PM »
When I started kegging, I got a 7 cu ft fridge from sears (150 on sale I think) and I got a few used kegs from homebrewing.org.  They worked fine but had some cosmetic problems, but who cares about that.  Then I just used picnic taps for a good long while, kept it cheap.  Eventually I went to faucets, but that was years later.

Total cost breakdown (more or less):

Freezer:  150
Kegs: 60
CO2 Tank: 105
Regulator/tap starter kit: 80

So all told I got into kegging for under 400 bucks with 4 kegs.
Risk of failure should be no deterrent to trying.

Offline klickitat jim

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Re: How expensive is kegging?
« Reply #8 on: February 01, 2017, 11:41:20 PM »
Don't buy a co2 tank. Almost always more expensive than a deposit and you almost always hand over your shiny new one in exchange for the beat up full one.

Offline HoosierBrew

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Re: How expensive is kegging?
« Reply #9 on: February 01, 2017, 11:54:41 PM »
I wish I had a smaller two keg keggerator. It's a bit more classy than a freezer in the living room. Once I have space, I will likely get a dorm fridge type setup to have in the house and leave the keezer in the garage.

Quick derail - After my last fridge kegerator burned out, I went this route. My wife bought me the 2 keg Danby kegerator from Costco and I keep it in the living room corner behind a folding room divider (wife's compromise). The 3 tap kegerator in the garage. Wouldn't necessarily have bought this particular kegerator on my own but it works really well. Did replace the single tap tower with a double, though.
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Offline natebrews

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Re: How expensive is kegging?
« Reply #10 on: February 01, 2017, 11:59:34 PM »
Don't buy a co2 tank. Almost always more expensive than a deposit and you almost always hand over your shiny new one in exchange for the beat up full one.

For clarity, I didn't buy the tank but rather that was the cost of the first one that I got and then I exchange it each time I bring it in.  So, it was 100 bucks without an exchange and it is 24 with.
Risk of failure should be no deterrent to trying.

Offline klickitat jim

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Re: How expensive is kegging?
« Reply #11 on: February 02, 2017, 12:03:56 AM »
Wow, I get lucky I guess. My propane guy does gas too. My 20lb co2 deposit was $40

Offline IPAnic

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Re: How expensive is kegging?
« Reply #12 on: February 02, 2017, 12:14:58 AM »
I live in a Northern State and intentionally started kegging in the winter so I could store my keg in my garage (never freezes) without refrigerators/kegerators etc. I bought a used keg ($30?) a regulator ($40?) a used steel Co2 tank and a new picnic faucet. Of course this was close to 30-years ago (I still use that keg and regulator). Like everyone else in this post, I added kegs, keezers, regs. etc. Obviously everything is more expensive now...but the point is you can start kegging relatively inexpensive if you are creative and are a "toe dipper" (cheap) like me.

Offline Joe Sr.

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Re: How expensive is kegging?
« Reply #13 on: February 02, 2017, 12:17:37 AM »
I bought a shiny 5 lb aluminum tank when I started. I think it was $80. It got swapped ages ago. So sad.

However you start (and I agree you can start for under $400 if you're thrifty though keg prices have gone up) you're likely to accumulate more equipment.

I've got about 20 kegs. Two beer fridges (one is unplugged an was last used a a fermentation chamber), four or five tanks, two regulators, a bunch of taps, a rolling two tap party bar, etc etc.
It's all in the reflexes. - Jack Burton

Offline kramerog

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Re: How expensive is kegging?
« Reply #14 on: February 02, 2017, 01:25:11 AM »
I live in a Northern State and intentionally started kegging in the winter so I could store my keg in my garage (never freezes) without refrigerators/kegerators etc. I bought a used keg ($30?) a regulator ($40?) a used steel Co2 tank and a new picnic faucet. Of course this was close to 30-years ago (I still use that keg and regulator). Like everyone else in this post, I added kegs, keezers, regs. etc. Obviously everything is more expensive now...but the point is you can start kegging relatively inexpensive if you are creative and are a "toe dipper" (cheap) like me.

That's pretty much how I started.  I got a deal on some used kegs.  I then started kegging dark beers and keeping the keg in a cold part of the basement in the winter.  My neighbor got rid of his fridge; I fixed it..... I still do keep dark beer outside the fridge.  I have never used faucets because I like the simplicity and ease of cleaning with picnic taps.