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Newbie Kegging Questions

Posted: |03 Nov 2015|, 11:17
by Patrickivan
Hi

Second post here. I'm sifting through how to get into kegging and have a few questions.

Firstly, is buying a used keg any more challenging then buying a kit? Eg, someone near me is selling a simple 20l keg for $50 but I'd need the Sankey/ senki, (spell ckeck) coupler, lines, Co2 tank...

What size Co2 tank would I need?

Or should I just buy a Keg kit from one of the many home brew stores in Ontario?

Or try to scoop one up online?

There's also a fellow that sells refurbished corny kegs in markham but happens to live in Alliston (where I live). They're $65 and pressure tested, so that sounds like a good start? It's certainly convenient to buy if I went this route.

I really like the idea of kegging. I've bottled extract kits in the past and really hated it.

I'll keep looking online for info but any advice and tips for purchasing would be appreciated. Seems a lot have kits and lowest costs are re-furbished. The Co2 tank seems to be a giant cost depending on size of course.

Thanks

Ivan

Re: Newbie Kegging Questions

Posted: |03 Nov 2015|, 20:39
by Wingeezer
Patrickivan wrote:Hi

Second post here. I'm sifting through how to get into kegging and have a few questions.

Firstly, is buying a used keg any more challenging then buying a kit? Eg, someone near me is selling a simple 20l keg for $50 but I'd need the Sankey/ senki, (spell ckeck) coupler, lines, Co2 tank...

What size Co2 tank would I need?

Or should I just buy a Keg kit from one of the many home brew stores in Ontario?

Or try to scoop one up online?

There's also a fellow that sells refurbished corny kegs in markham but happens to live in Alliston (where I live). They're $65 and pressure tested, so that sounds like a good start? It's certainly convenient to buy if I went this route.

I really like the idea of kegging. I've bottled extract kits in the past and really hated it.

I'll keep looking online for info but any advice and tips for purchasing would be appreciated. Seems a lot have kits and lowest costs are re-furbished. The Co2 tank seems to be a giant cost depending on size of course.

Thanks

Ivan

I use ball lock corny kegs. There are also pin lock style available, equally as good I'm sure, but I think the pin lock are a bit wider and shorter - both hold 5 US gallons or 18.9 liters. (Coke used pi lock, Pepsi used ball lock).

Repair parts such as posts ,O rings, poppets. lids, are readily available if needed at any time for either type.

Ball lock seems a bit more popular but either would work - probably best to standardize n one style of you plan to get multiple kegs or you will need to be changing your connectors all the time - they are of course different for each style.

A plus for the ball lock style is thatchy have a ring pull safety valve so yo can easily reduce pressure to remove the lid once empty. Pin lock kegs have a safety valve but I don't think it can be just pulled to open - you would need to put a loose connector on thetas post to receive the pressure I guess (Not 100% sure of this though - never seen a pin lock keg!

I have seven kegs at present, 4 I bought used and three new (I lucked out got a great deal on three new ones at a flea market or otherwise I would have just bought more used ones.

If you buy used ones from a source such as Ontario Beer Kegs (Where I got mine) they are generally tested and have new O rings as needed when you get them.

The only minor problem though is that used ones that have come directly from soda pop service will really need a good clean to get rid of the sweet soda smell - not really a problem, just work!

If you got your kegs used from a fellow home brewer, he/she would likely have done all the cleaning!

Also used kegs may be a bit banged up and have numerous stickers on them - you can remove the stickers, but not much you can do about dents - but again, not a problem, just cosmetic.

I bought ball lock kegs mainly because I knew I could fit two at a time into the kegerator I made from a bar fridge - two pin lock kegs would not fit. This might be important to you if you want a compact kegerator with two taps.


As for CO2 bottles - standard smaller sizes are 5#, 10#, and 20#.

You will save a little $ per lb of CO2 if you buy the larger sizes, but on the other hand, if you spring a leak someplace -as has happened to me a couple of times, you feel better losing just 5# of CO2 rather than 20# Even the 5# size lasts a long time, as long as you don't get a leak! Once have carbonated my beers and they are in the kegerator, I open the cylinder valves only when having a "session" then close them after t minimize chances of gas loss. Course if the session is too long, sometimes I forget!

I have three 5# bottles that I use. For me, another plus is that with the smaller size, i can throw one in my motorcycle bag and take it to get a refill rather than a more costly and less enjoyable trip in our 3/4 ton truck!

Hope that is some help!

Brian.

Re: Newbie Kegging Questions

Posted: |03 Nov 2015|, 23:43
by OldNelly
I would recommend a Corny keg over Sankey for your first kegging setup. Cleaning a Sankey keg requires more effort and usually some heavier cleaning chemicals. Corny kegs, you just pop the lid off and clean away. Most people can fit their arm inside a Corny to give it a good scrub. Other than that I think Brian has it pretty well covered.

Re: Newbie Kegging Questions

Posted: |04 Nov 2015|, 06:23
by bellybuster
Lawson kegs is right near you, they have used kegs for $60

As far as CO2, I laid out an initial $200 for a 20 lbs tank from TSC and refills aren't much more than my 5lbs tank. With TSC it's a simple exchange

Re: Newbie Kegging Questions

Posted: |04 Nov 2015|, 08:58
by Reignman
The kid at our local TSC store told me that their C02 is not food grade. He said it was for pigs. I assume you do an exchange with TSC, so no problems? I didn't argue with the kid, just left. Praxair charges me $63.00 for an exhange of C02, what does TSC charge?

Re: Newbie Kegging Questions

Posted: |04 Nov 2015|, 10:34
by Patrickivan
bellybuster wrote:Lawson kegs is right near you, they have used kegs for $60

As far as CO2, I laid out an initial $200 for a 20 lbs tank from TSC and refills aren't much more than my 5lbs tank. With TSC it's a simple exchange
Thanks for the heads up. Contacted Lawson Kegs- hope to hear from them. A little concerned about their pricing being in USD... $60 a year ago was fine... But our dollar being at $0.65 makes $60 USD a hard pill to swallow.

We'll see. They're nice and close.

Re: Newbie Kegging Questions

Posted: |04 Nov 2015|, 12:35
by Patrickivan
Looks like I'm getting the used ball lock 20l keg from Lawsons. $65. They don't have a "store", but the fellow who works there lives in Alliston (probably the fellow I emailed...), and will be making arrangements to meet in town.

Now to hunt down the rest of the stuff I need without breaking the bank. I'm surprised my wife is letting me go for this. But I hated bottling in the past, so this feels right!

OH- question (if people aren't getting bored of this): Once I get the keg, and clean it, if I don't have the rest of the set up (co2 tank, lines, et c), can I still put the beer in it, or should I just keep it in my carboy until the tank is all set up?

Thanks again

Re: Newbie Kegging Questions

Posted: |04 Nov 2015|, 15:11
by kombat
I would leave it in the carboy. When you rack it to the keg, you're going to need a way to purge the oxygen in the headspace of the keg to prevent your beer from oxidizing and staling. In addition, often the seals on the kegs aren't airtight unless they're under pressure, so there's the risk of ongoing gas exchange oxidizing the beer even further. It'll be fine in the carboy for a few weeks until you get the rest of your setup.

Re: Newbie Kegging Questions

Posted: |04 Nov 2015|, 17:26
by bellybuster
I've had no issue with the TSC CO2, been using it for 9 years. Pretty sure a 20 lbs exchange is under $50.

Re: Newbie Kegging Questions

Posted: |05 Nov 2015|, 07:35
by Reignman
Thanks. I'll give them another try since the price is right, just like the Habs goalie.