Why I keg beer?
The common batch of homebrew makes near 5 gallons, that is more than 50 12oz cans. Why waste hours washing along with readying all those individual cans when you could easily place it all directly into 1 corny keg? Unsurprisingly, almost all homebrew ingredient kits are built to make around 5 gallons, the exact same size as the corny keg.
Precisely what tools should I buy to keg beer?
The start-up price is generally between $150-180 US on an initial setup to keg beer. This could seem high, but when you factor in the advantage as well as the time saved, it truly is far more than a worthwhile purchase. It is also a smart idea to possess a refrigerator or altered freezer to keep any kegged beer cold. A used fridge can be purchased for as cheap as $30, or sometimes even for free, on sites just like craigslist. Obtaining a fridge to store the kegged beer is highly advised.
Common equipment essential to keg beer in more detail:
Cornelius Keg - Also referred to as a corny keg or soda keg, it's a stainless steel container which has been initially used by the soft drink industry, but now is largely used to store homebrew beer. They are quite simple to clean a result of the significant opening at the top. If well taken care of, they're able to store beer for long amounts of time. Most home brewers purchase the five gallon size, but they also can be found in sizes of 2.5, 3 and 10 gallon. The smaller ones are occasionally used for root beer or even for easy transportation.
CO2 Tank - CO2 is preferable to dispense the beer since the oxygen in plain air will chemically interact with the beer resulting in it to be stale. CO2 tanks are available in sizes of five lb, ten lb and twenty lb. It is usually rather easy to pinpoint a local spot to top off your tank at a good price. Large tanks usually are better if you possess the space mainly because they will need less re-filling and also tanks cost about the same to fill up regardless of the size.
Regulator - The initial CO2 tank pressure is typically close to 800 psi however, you want to serve somewhere between eight and fifteen psi for many beers. This is when the regulator is needed. It is attached to the CO2 tank and the little screw or dial on the front of the regulator lets you choose at exactly what pressure to dispense the CO2 if you keg beer. A good number of regulators furthermore have a cut-off valve as well as a pressure release valve in the event the pressure gets way too high. You really should get yourself a dual gauge regulator. The high pressure gauge shows the pressure within the tank, and the other displays the output pressure to the keg. It is recommended that you have got both for you to more easily check if there's a leak within either side of the system.
Gas Hose - A clear or colored 5/16' I.D. (inner diameter) vinyl hose that connects the regulator into the gas input for the Cornelius keg. A clear hose is well-liked by a lot of home brewers as it would be easy to visually discover complications such as beer back-up or moisture in the gas line.
Beer Hose - A clear 3/16' I.D. vinyl hose which links the Cornelius keg to the tap. The length is very important to insure proper dispensing with minimal foam. If making use of 3/16' hose, the hose should not be in excess of 6 ft.
Keg Couplers - These are the fittings that will connect the vinyl hoses to the keg itself. They come in two types - pin lock and ball lock connectors. Make certain to obtain the sort that will fit the particular kegs that you're getting. Ball locks will be themost commonly seen, but be sure to check before placing your order. Regarding the ball lock, make sure you get the liquid-out fitting and also the gas-in fitting. They are 2 distinctive sizes to ensure that they are connected correctly.
Tap (Faucet) - This will dispense that flavorful beer you have worked so hard to brew and store. Taps will vary in price and quality from as cheap and simple as a plastic picnic tap for approximately $5.00 to the stainless steel tap faucet which could cost as much as $100 that lets you regulate the flow of beer and also top it off with the perfect amount of head. Nearly all home brewers start with a plastic tap for simplicity and cost.
Refrigerator - A refrigerator isn't specifically required, but it is strongly suggested when you keg beer. Not only do the majority of people enjoy their beer cool, but it is much easier to carbonate at reduced temperatures. Carbonating beer at room temp uses a much higher pressure and it'll have to have a longer beer hose to compensate for that higher pressure. When carbonating cold beer at a temp of around 40 F, a pressure of approximately 10-12 psi will be required. In the event that you were to carbonate that equivalent beer at room temperature, somewhere around 70F, you'd probably require a pressure of about 30 psi. That is more than twice the pressure. A used refrigerator can be purchased at under $40 on websites just like craigslist and it's strongly recommended.
Looking over the system
After all the equipment you have ordered to keg beer arrives, inspect it to ensure that there are not any obvious problems. Next you will want to take the CO2 tank to be filled. This can be done at a variety of places including a neighborhood welding shop. Don't think just because a place makes use of CO2 that they will fill your tank. Call around to make certain the place fills up tanks prior to driving over.
After getting filled up, the tank is going to be cold as a result of cold liquid gas that's currently within the tank. Allow it rest over night and allow it to heat up to room temp. Onceit is at room temp, rotate all the valves in to the off position, generally at 90 degrees to the valve opening, and connect the regulator. I encourage using Teflon tape on the threads to guarantee a strong seal. Connect every one of the hoses to an empty keg and test for leaking by opening the valves and gradually turning the pressure up to approximately 10 psi. The best way to search for air leaks is usually to rub soapy water on every one of the points of connection. If there is a leak, the soap will bubble. If you don't see any leaks and the pressure on the regulator seems to be stable, then turn off the gas and release the pressure inside the keg. This is done by pulling up on the pressure relief valve on top of the keg. The pressure relief valve is a little key ring on the top of the keg.
Clean and Sanitize All ToolsWhen you keg beer, the tools ought to be cleaned and sanitized. Do not ever use bleach because kegs are constructed with stainless steel and can react with the bleach. I advise Clean Flo. It has worked well in my opinion and seems to effectively breakdown sediment and clean the gear. With regard to a sanitizer, I prefer Star San, but iodine could also be used. Iodine can certainly be found at any grocery store. Star San is known to be a great sanitizer. Adhere to the instructions on the package carefully to ensure the proper dilution of the chemicals.
Take apart the keg so all components may be cleaned thoroughly. Soak the keg pieces together with the hoses in a container filled with diluted Clean Flo solution. Fill up the keg with the same solution. To make the process simpler, the components may be placed within the keg while it soaks. After each of the parts have completely soaked, for a minimum of 5-10 minutes, rinse off every little thing and reassemble.
Now it's the perfect time to sanitize. Pour a diluted solution of iodine or Star San into the keg. Lock the cap into place and shake the keg for a couple minutes. Hook up the hoses for your beer and gas lines. Open the valve for the regulator allowing the CO2 to flow into the keg, moving the sanitizer in the beer line. As soon as most of the sanitizer has passed throughout the beer line, turn the regulator valve to the off position and take the cap off the keg. Now you are ready to keg beer using a clean and sanitized keg.
Fill up the Keg
This is the magic behind kegging beer vs. bottling beer. Anytime you keg beer, all you need to do is siphon the beer from the carboy or bucket into your keg. Be absolutely sure whatever will probably touch the beer is sterilized for example the siphon. It can make things much easier to place the carboy/bucket on a table to make certain that gravity can help the beer into your keg. After all the beer is relocated, either moisten the O ring with water or apply a little keg lube to guarantee a good seal, and place the lid on the keg. Give the keg a shot of high pressure, around 20 psi, to guarantee the lid has been seated the right way on the keg. Discharge the pressure then apply about 10 psi of pressure to the keg. Repeat 3-4 times to make sure all the air is out of the keg. This is often generally known as 'burping' your keg.
If you keg beer, there's 2 alternatives for carbonating the beer, one of those is natural carbonation. Natural carbonation can be attained using corn sugar. About 1/3 cup ought to be used for a 5 gallon batch. On the other hand, there are some disadvantages to natural carbonation. If you naturally carbonate you are depending on the residual yeast to ferment for a second time in the keg. The issue is that the yeast might be done fermenting, especially in higher gravity beers of over 1.060 which will be responsible for under-carbonation. One more concern is that this approach will leave sediment. Luckily, whenever you keg beer, almost all of the sediment remains within the keg, but it still leaves the potential of some entering into the beer that you're drinking. Even though sediment may give flavor, and is normal, this is a significant turn-off to a lot of beer drinkers.
The other option for carbonating the beer is cleaner, faster along with the more popular method. Using this approach, you 'force carbonate' the beer using the pressure from the CO2 tank. The pressure is dependent around the temp as well as the kind of the beer. As stated earlier in this article, CO2 dissolves considerably more easily in cold beer than warm beer and dissolves more completely. This is the reason it is recommended to carbonate in the fridge. Many home brewers keep his or her refrigerators close to 40 F at a pressure close to 10-12 psi.
There's 2 common approaches to force carbonate. The easiest, and preferred approach, would be to place the beer inside the refrigerator, set the regulator on the appropriate pressure and leave it alone for several days. This pressure may be seen using an online tool such as BeerSmith to determine the carbonation pressure required for a given CO2 level and temp. After seven days the CO2 is going to be almost entirely dissolved. If it looks to be over carbonated you could turn the CO2 pressure down a little bit and relieve some pressure from the keg. In cases where you have the opposite problem and it is under carbonated then merely turn the CO2 pressure up somewhat and/or allow it to sit for a 3-4 additional days.
For anyone who is either too eager or in too much of a rush to wait a week for the beer, you could use this second method although it isn't encouraged. Set the CO2 regulator to some very high pressure close to fifty or sixty psi, or as much as it'll allow, then load the tank until you hear or feel the gas discontinue. Detach the keg and shake vigorously for about 5 minutes. Repeat this method until the keg takes no more gas. After this is done, set the regulator to your constant pressure of approximately ten-twelve psi and let the keg settle for a couple of hours.
Both ways work, nonetheless would suggest using the slower method. Not only does one lower the danger of hurting yourself, but why would you choose to shake and mistreatment that yummy beer you worked so hard to make?
Potential future Preparation
Once you learn to keg beer and come to be more comfortable with one keg, or maybe you already know you would like to have several beers readily available at all times, then you may desire a larger setup. Additional kegs, taps, as well as some extra hose and fittings can be bought to achieve this. You may choose to build a kegerator with a kegerator conversion kit. Not only is it awesome to have a designated beer dispenser, but they look great when done correctly and your buddies will be envious