Originally posted by
Very cool! I have made cider in the past and bottled it all and it was a total pain so I am thinking about kegging now... would love to hear your $.02 on it.
I got into brewing with a couple co-workers who were all grain brewing so I skipped the extract phase and went to all grain. Bottling was a PITA, but my co-workers went to kegging by the end of my 3rd batch. I instantly made plans to go to kegging. Sure you have to occasionally run cleaning agents through the lines and tower to clean the system, but it is miles easier than bottling.
Example: I have a really dirty keg that just dropped, here it what I do.
1) Remove from basement kegerator and take to bathroom
3) Fill with PBW
4) Let sit for a TV show
5) Take back to kegerator
6) Run PBW through tap
7) Take back to bathroom and dump
9) Fill with San-Star (no rinse)
10) Watch a TV show
11) Take back to basement and run San-Star through tap
12) Take to bathroom and dump
13) Run sanitized hose from fermenter (I use bottling buckets) to bottom of keg
14) Open valve
15) Fill keg
16) Close Valve
17) Seal Keg
18) Place Keg in kegerator
19) attach CO2
20) Attach tap
It seems like alot of steps until, but you know bottling you ~53 bottles is all the label peeling, soaking in a bathtub of bleach, rinsing, running through the dishwasher on sanitize, fill each one and cap. . . royal PITA. Honestly the hardest part of kegging is walking up and down the basement stairs so many times. Also truthfully I usually only do a keg rinse and san-star unless there is stuff that needs to be clean and I only clean the taps every few kegs.
Kegging allows you to dial up the pressure and carbonate faster, or roll the keg to dissolve CO2 into solution faster, or like I do (since I have 3 other taps) simply let it sit at serving pressure for 1-2 weeks.
As far as keg costs go you've got the kegs (I got mine for ~25 a pop years ago), hoses (cents per foot), a regulator (~45), a CO2 tank (I honestly forget the price), and a CO2 fill (it has been about 2 years since I filled mine, expect about 25 kegs out of a well sealed system or 125 gallons of beer), and taps (can go from party taps at a few bucks to $600 Perlick towers).
My buddy made his system out of a mini-fridge that he got for free and replaced the thermostat, 2 kegs, a CO2 tank and 2 party taps, you opened the door and grabbed a party tap to use. I converted a chest freezer, with a 4 tap tower, ect and spent much more on it.
Truth be told I probably have $3k in the hobby, including my old propane rig and my new all electric pump driven all grain rig.
In closing, a kegging system is worth every penny. Just make sure your partner gets something shiny to distract them from your new "investment"