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Category: Kegs

Kegging Home Brewed Beer

Why Keg Your Home Brewed Beer

Kegging Beer

 

 

In my opinion, one of the worst aspects of brewing beer is having to bottle it.  First you need to either purchase or collect a large number of bottles.  Then you need to clean the bottles and potentially strip off a bunch of labels.  Next you need to rinse and sanitize your bottles.  After that you need to add sugar to the beer (hopefully getting the quantity correct for your style) and then fill your bottles. Finally you cap the bottles and then you must wait for the beer to carbonate in the bottle hoping that it fully carbonates and if so that it does not explode your bottle from over carbonation. Knowing how easy it is to keg, I doubt that I will ever go back unless it is for a specialty batch where the bottle adds aesthetics or the ability to age the beer in a way that would be difficult to achieve via kegging.

 

For the folks who are new to home brewing, here are some of the benefits of kegging your home brewed beer over bottling it. When you keg your beer, it is ready to drink faster than bottled beer.  There are a variety of techniques available for carbonating your beer with a Co2 tank and some methods can have your beer fully carbonated in a matter of minutes as opposed to days. Additionally, when you keg your beer you can carbonate to any level you desire. Perhaps most importantly is the time savings.  When you keg, you only need to clean and sanitize one vessel as opped to 20 or more.  Kegs are also easy to store and far less fragile than a glass bottle.

 

If you are looking to start kegging your beer for the first time, there are some great starter kits available that will provide you with everything that you need to get up and running.  Here is a great place to start:

 

Click Here for Beer Kegging Equipment

Keg

Kegs are cylindrical beer storage vessels that are typically constructed out of stainless steel or aluminum. They come in a variety of sizes from 2 gallons all the way up to a full size 1/2 barrel keg at 15.5 gallons.

I like to consider a keg to be a home brewer’s best friend. The primary benefit of a keg over bottles is the convenience. There is only one container to clean, sanitize, fill and carbonate; kegs are also very durable and allow you to modify your carbonation level if desired.

Most home brewers use a version of a 5 gallon keg known as a corny keg or Cornelius keg. Below is a photo of three varieties of 5 gallon kegs. On the left is a 5 gallon ball lock Cornelius keg, in the center is a 1/6th barrel keg (that you would typically receive from a large scale or craft brewery) and to the right is a pin lock conversion keg; all hold approximately 5 gallons of beer.

The ball lock kegs tend to be most common and prized by home brewers. I personally use both ball lock and pin lock kegs that have been converted to ball lock so that they are compatible with my CO2 system. I use my pin lock conversion kegs as fermentation vessels in my temperature controlled fermentation freezer. The pin lock kegs are shorter and wider which allows me to fit them in my fermentation freezer without the need of a collar extension for the freezer.

Special air locks are available for use with the keg-style fermenters; I only use them as a secondary fermenter due to the reduced head space available for the foam created during primary fermentation.

 

Below are three varieties of 5 gallon kegs.

Different Types of 5 Gallon Beer Kegs

Different types of 5 gallon beer kegs.

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