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Keg system advice

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Sick of washing bottles, so hopefully going to put tax return $$$ on a keg set up. It’s well past time.

BUT, I might struggle for room in my garage fridge (full of food, my kids eat a lot) for a setup with 19l kegs. AND I don’t have enough room in the garage for another fridge just for kegging (full up with cars and kids bikes etc, a ridiculous waste of space if you ask me). Certainly no room to have a fridge dedicated to temp control brewing (dark ages I know), but south west vic is pretty good for ambient temp brewing.

I’ve been looking at some set ups with 9.5l kegs and 5l kegs. Obviously not as cost effective as 19l kegs, but I’m thinking a proper tap in the garage fridge for use with 9l kegs, and maybe getting 5l kegs as well to use with a picnic tap as I do like the idea of portable kegged beer. 

I’ve had a look at some gear on cheekypeak and triple j brewing, looks fine to me, but I don’t really know the difference between good gear and not so good. I’ve read up a bit online too, but would appreciate the wisdom of the authentic brewers here who know a lot more than me.

So if anyone can give me some tips on what might be best and traps to avoid that would be much appreciated.  Kegs, lines, taps, gas options, whatever you know and don’t mind sharing advice on. And also, is a carboy a big help too, or not necessary?

Thanks in advance all

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What would be the use of the carboy? 

When I set mine up I bought the best quality I could find for the most part. It costs a bit more initially but it's cheaper long term because you're not constantly replacing crappy gear. 

For beer and gas lines I have valpar flexmaster ii. Great stuff, still using the original lines from four years ago. I've got the 5mm ID/8mm OD line. About 2-2.5m of beer line per keg. I'd start with too much, maybe 3.5m per keg and trim to the required length. Gas line length doesn't matter, just whatever is needed to connect it. 

I use a micromatic CO2 regulator on a 6.8kg cylinder. I got the big cylinder because I don't have to swap n go as often with it. Taps are perlick flow control. 

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If you only want 1 tap it is not overly difficult to set up ... I picked up a couple of weeks ago a 25lt and a 13 ltr keg on marketplace ... great kegs had not seen them before but they are squat.

 

If you don't have room for a gas bottle could use one of the soda steam bottles and regulator.   As far as quality if you are only having 1 tap you will only need a few metres of  hose at the most and if you are using a party tap or a pluto gun you will need less . Also avoid the cheap plastic disconnects either get the Stainless ones or the plastic GDH or GHD or whatever they are called they are wonderful    ...  the pic of the keg in the fridge is the 13 litre and the one with the 19 litre corny keg is the 25 litre next to a corny so you can see the size difference.   

 

Can anyone tell me about those kegs, a brand name would be great ?

20190817_130329.jpg

20190817_130435.jpg

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I have the 9.5l kegs. I decided early on that I wanted to try many small brews rather than the 19l.  They fit better in my 200l kegerator and are easier to lift - only have one arm!  Can't recall the beerline - it's a hard plastic 6mm.  I started with a sodastream gas adapter but have a 2.5kg cylinder now.  I don't drink so much that I need bigger stuff.  I kept the sodastream system and I use it for party situations

Going with 11l batch size made my kettles cheap - 21L from BigW that I added an element to.  I enjoy the DIY stuff and I'm revising them to put a spigot in the bottom rather than on the side.  They'll stand on a frame that also has loadcells.  I'm making a cbpi controller that will use the loadcells to manage transfers.  Over the top I know but I'm a techhead.

You won't regret going to kegs.

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12 minutes ago, WildIslandBrewer said:

You won't regret going to kegs.

Ain't that the truth ....

 

I should have added that I have a 3 tap system with a 6.9kg gas bottle that I use externally. I set it up in my old beer fridge about 6 weeks ago but have since upgraded to an upright fridge, no freezer, that iIcan have 4 kegs in at a time, 2 x 19 Lt and the 25 and 13 litre kegs. The plan is to have 1 lagering at all time.  

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Cheers all

Obviously spend more on quality stuff from the get go, regardless of system size.

Otto, carboy query is because the only guy I know who kegs uses fv for fermentation, then carboy to condition, then kegs it. Wasn’t sure if it helped with better beers, maybe clearer with less residue in lines? I assume crash in fv probably does the same job, and then conditioning in the keg?

Marty, that 13l could be ideal, I’ll look into those.

Thanks everyone, should get some tax $ in next week or so I reckon, then shopping time.

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3 hours ago, Farls said:

Marty, that 13l could be ideal, I’ll look into those.

Unfortunately I can't help with any info on those not even a brand name ... 

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11 hours ago, Farls said:

Cheers all

Obviously spend more on quality stuff from the get go, regardless of system size.

Otto, carboy query is because the only guy I know who kegs uses fv for fermentation, then carboy to condition, then kegs it. Wasn’t sure if it helped with better beers, maybe clearer with less residue in lines? I assume crash in fv probably does the same job, and then conditioning in the keg?

Marty, that 13l could be ideal, I’ll look into those.

Thanks everyone, should get some tax $ in next week or so I reckon, then shopping time.

IMO he's wasting his time, and making more work unnecessarily. You can just as well condition beer in the kegs themselves, and you don't really get any sediment in the lines once the first little bit is cleared from the immediate area around the dip tube. Cold crashing in the fermenter helps too as obviously less yeast is put into the keg, and I also clear the fermenter tap area by pouring a couple of schooners before filling the keg. 

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15 hours ago, MartyG1525230263 said:

Unfortunately I can't help with any info on those not even a brand name ... 

No worries Marty, good tips overall, slainte.

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7 hours ago, Otto Von Blotto said:

IMO he's wasting his time, and making more work unnecessarily. You can just as well condition beer in the kegs themselves, and you don't really get any sediment in the lines once the first little bit is cleared from the immediate area around the dip tube. Cold crashing in the fermenter helps too as obviously less yeast is put into the keg, and I also clear the fermenter tap area by pouring a couple of schooners before filling the keg. 

Thanks Otto, carboy off the list means a bit more coin for keg gear.

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19 hours ago, WildIslandBrewer said:

I have the 9.5l kegs. I decided early on that I wanted to try many small brews rather than the 19l.  They fit better in my 200l kegerator and are easier to lift - only have one arm!  Can't recall the beerline - it's a hard plastic 6mm.  I started with a sodastream gas adapter but have a 2.5kg cylinder now.  I don't drink so much that I need bigger stuff.  I kept the sodastream system and I use it for party situations

Going with 11l batch size made my kettles cheap - 21L from BigW that I added an element to.  I enjoy the DIY stuff and I'm revising them to put a spigot in the bottom rather than on the side.  They'll stand on a frame that also has loadcells.  I'm making a cbpi controller that will use the loadcells to manage transfers.  Over the top I know but I'm a techhead.

You won't regret going to kegs.

Sounds like you definitely know what you’re doing, thanks for the tips!

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3 hours ago, Farls said:

Sounds like you definitely know what you’re doing, thanks for the tips!

Dunno if I'd go that far!!  I'm an electronics engineer I guess you'd say - hence the techy stuff.

I'm still relatively new to brewing, probably done 20 or so batches but had a decades break in the middle.  As soon as I started again the bottles drove me mad.  Kegging wasn't readily available in country Oz back in the 80's but it's easy now.   I live in Hobart now and the climate is perfect for brewing.  I got the minikegs new from RCModel on EBay - they are very well made with good fittings.  I got one 19l but it's fittings had to be replaced. 

I do extract and AG and combinations.  Crash and gelatine clarify in the fermenter then condition and naturally carbonate in the keg.  Tried pressure carbonation but I find the natural carbonation better, with richer bubbles and head for the darker beers I like. That might just be in my head though.  Like OVB said - any crud in the keg is gone in the first pour.

I try to not let 'hobby creep' get to me - you know how every hobby can blowout - in both processes and dollars!

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2 hours ago, WildIslandBrewer said:

'hobby creep'

What is the strange concoction of words you say WildIslandBrewer? 

Strangely familiar yet not unlike obsessive. 

My brother comes round sometimes laughing at my saying, “remember when you said you were going to stick to kits and bits?” “You’re outta control mate!”

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23 minutes ago, The Captain!! said:

Strangely familiar yet not unlike obsessive. 

That's the one!  If you want to see hobby creep then dip your toes into photography!  An entire industry built on a finely tuned tier of upgrades.

I justify my electronic brew gear as a brain exercise - had a stroke a few years back and it's good to tax the mind. That's my story and . . . . .  now what was I saying???

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I decided to move to kegs too, after some encouragement from my landscaper, who used to keg. He is going to sell me a couple of his (19L) kegs, to help me get started, and I think I will spring for a new 6L keg, so I don't have to bottle, and for taking places. Going to use the old chest freezer I am currently using as a fermentation chamber for the kegs, as it's taller than the mini freezers they make now.  Trying to figure out what gear I will all need. Just ordered a regulator today. It will take me a while to assemble all the necessaries as I pretty much have to order everything except the CO2 tank online; my LHBS doesn't carry much in the way of kegging supplies. I may have some questions coming. 

Cheers,

Christina. 

 

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On 8/20/2019 at 11:24 AM, ChristinaS1 said:

It will take me a while to assemble all the necessaries as I pretty much have to order everything except the CO2 tank online;

I ordered EVERYTHING online, even the (full) bottles.

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