It didn’t take very long to get into kegging. In fact, I had purchased my kegs before ever brewing my first beer. A lot of guys bottle their beers but I don’t find bottling as sexy as kegs. If someone were to say I could get my bottles of Dark Lord in a keg instead, I’d prefer the keg. No light hits the beer, temperature stays stabilized for longer in the event that you have fluctuations and you have more of it. Kegs are superior to bottles in every way but portability. You can’t carry a keg over to a friend’s house easily unless he has a way to dispense it but the keg can be tapped any time and, as long as you replace the space with CO2, the beer will continue to age for years. It’s superior to bottling. Bottling also takes a lot of time. You must fill, prime and cap bottles (or cork them) and then wait for carbonation which could take a month. You then must clean them after finishing, wash well and possibly re-label if you label your home brews.
With kegging, you brew beer and then once it has fermented, siphon it into a sanitized keg, seal and then replace the O2 with CO2. You can slowly carbonate the beer in two weeks (still faster than bottle carbonating) or carbonate in a day if you follow a few tricks. The only issue with day carbonation is you potentially run the risk of over carbonating the beer which equals a glass full of foam when you pull on the handle.
Here’s a photo of the hand-me-down kegerator I bought from a guy on Craigslist for $400. it runs ice cold and holds 2 half kegs of commercial beer or 4 Cornelius kegs for my home brewing. It also came with all of the hardware I need for 2 keg and a cleaning setup.
I promptly ordered hardware for a total of 4 taps with two additional kegs. Now, I can have 4 home brews going at all times with hardware to swap out those 4 for 2 commercial kegs if I was feeling lazy.
On tap currently:
- Double IPA
- Maple Wheat
On Deck (currently fermenting for the next week)
- Chocolate Russian Imperial Stout
- Dry Hopped American Pale Ale
Those two beers should be ready to keg at about the same time that the two extra taps arrive so it’s all working out pretty well! For reference, here’s what I ordered from Midwest supplies to complete my kegerator setup to 4 taps. The only thing I’d love to replace down the road is the 5 gallon CO2 for a 10 gallon tank just so I don’t have to visit the store too much for refills.
The adventures in home brewing continue! I’ll post more photos of the 4-tap setup in the coming weeks.