Author Topic: (Maybe) Buying my first kegs, anything I should know?  (Read 1215 times)

Offline jivetyrant

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(Maybe) Buying my first kegs, anything I should know?
« on: May 12, 2011, 07:10:34 AM »
     So 2 used corny kegs just popped up on craiglists about 10 miles from my house, $25 apiece.  The seller says they have new seals and hold pressure just fine.  He does not specify if they are ball or pin lock style.  Any quick tips or words of warning before I take the dive and start kegging?

Offline dak0415

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Re: (Maybe) Buying my first kegs, anything I should know?
« Reply #1 on: May 12, 2011, 07:18:34 AM »
Yes, as soon as your friends hear that you have beer ON TAP, you will have to brew more often!
Dave Koenig
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Offline Joe Sr.

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Re: (Maybe) Buying my first kegs, anything I should know?
« Reply #2 on: May 12, 2011, 09:11:04 AM »
$25 is a good price.  Even if you wait to accumulate a regulator and tank, this is a deal I would jump on.

If you're just starting, I don't know that pin vs. ball lock matter much.  Mine are all ball lock. I've got 10 or so, so it makes it much simpler to stay with one style.
It's all in the reflexes. - Jack Burton

Offline SpanishCastleAle

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Re: (Maybe) Buying my first kegs, anything I should know?
« Reply #3 on: May 12, 2011, 09:43:24 AM »
Some of the real old kegs are harder to find replacement parts for. If the posts just have poppets inside and the dip tubes use o-rings then that is a more modern, easily refurbed keg.  If it has a nylon spacer inside the post (in addition to a poppet, they'll all have poppets) and/or uses flat gaskets for the dip tubes (often utilizing a plastic gas dip tube) then it's an older style.  The older ones work fine but imo the newer ones with less (and more easily replaced) parts are more desirable.  But you can't really check this without removing the posts.  If it has a 'racetrack' lid instead of the typical oval lid it's an older design.

The o-rings for the more modern kegs are available in bulk and fairly cheap from McMaster-Carr.  With the older kegs you have to buy the special gaskets from homebrew stores and they cost more.

Ball locks have a smaller footprint but are taller.  I use a Magic Chef 7.2 cu ft chest freezer with a collar.  It fits 6 ball locks perfectly but would only hold 4, maybe 5 pin-locks.


Offline bluesman

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Re: (Maybe) Buying my first kegs, anything I should know?
« Reply #4 on: May 12, 2011, 09:52:17 AM »
I like to pressurize my kegs to 30psi and then leak test them using a starsan solution. I spray the starsan solution in and around the posts and the lid sealing area. If there are no bubbles forming while the keg is pessurized, your good to go. Ask the seller if he can pressurize the kegs prior to getting there and bring a spray bottle of starsan or soapy water to test for leaks before you purchase them.
Ron Price

Offline Joe Sr.

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Re: (Maybe) Buying my first kegs, anything I should know?
« Reply #5 on: May 12, 2011, 11:06:24 AM »
Ron - I agree that pressure testing is a good idea, and I also use a bottle of star san for this. 

However, IMO a leaky poppet or a lid is typically a pretty simple fix and I wouldn't walk away over a minor and fixable leak. 

I've heard of bends on the keg mouth that don't allow a seal, but I've yet to encounter a leak in my kegs that can't be fixed easily - poppets and gaskets, mostly, though I have also replace one or two pressure relief valves.

In the last 60 days or so, I've been quoted $60 and $65 a keg for used kegs at the LHBS and the gas supplier.  This is a huge jump from the approx. $30 they were going for last summer.

For $25 a piece, I'd grab them (assuming there's no major damage).  And, I'd recommend at some point stocking up on a few spare parts - gaskets (McMaster Carr is the place) and poppets, for sure.
It's all in the reflexes. - Jack Burton

Offline weazletoe

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Re: (Maybe) Buying my first kegs, anything I should know?
« Reply #6 on: May 14, 2011, 08:50:46 PM »
Yes, as soon as your friends hear that you have beer ON TAP, you will have to brew more often!
+1      See this thread. http://www.homebrewersassociation.org/forum/index.php?topic=7491.0

Besides that, when you set up you tap, think about getting the threaded popits. That way, you can mix and match you kegs. Ball lock, and pin lock, with ease.
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