Kegging Beer or Soda Pop
Once the beer or soda pop is made you can either bottle it or put it into a keg. Hmmm washing and rinsing lots of bottles doesn’t appeal to me. 1, 2 or 3 liter bottles for soda pop are much better but bottles are such a pain. The easy way is to put it in a keg!
The kegs we are talking about are actually soda kegs know as Cornelius Kegs or Corney Kegs for short. Up until a few years ago every restaurant, store or anyone that served soda used this stainless steel Corny kegs. Corny kegs held the soda syrup that was mixed with water and CO2 as it left the machine to be dispensed as your glass of soda. Smaller stores used 3 gallon kegs and larger stores used 5 gallon kegs. Now the syrup comes in sealed plastic pouches so all the corny kegs went to recycling centers or to landfills. Those people smart enough to collect them sold them to home brewers to keg their beer and soda. They are a bit pricey but will pretty much will last forever. Beer kegs also come in 10, and 15 gallon sizes.
The picture on left shows two kegs. On the left is a 3 gallon keg on the right a 5 gallon keg.
To the right is the lid. Both sizes have similar lids. The lid has a release bail and a pressure relief valve with a pull ring.
Below and to the left are the post plugs, They can be seen sticking up on the sides of the 3 gallon keg. These plugs are for ‘Gas In’ for CO2 and ‘Liquid Out’ for dispensing of beer or soda. These are known as ball lock posts which where used by everyone except Coca Cola back in the day.
They look the same in the picture but they are not. You can not mix up your hoses because the ‘Gas In’ post and the ‘Liquid Out’ posts are different sizes.
To the right is a poppet valve. It goes up the center of the post. Where you can see the little circle on top of the post – that’s the top of the poppet valve. They are spring loaded and act like a check valve to stop leakage of gas or beverages when not in use.
These are ball lock MFL disconnects. You pull up on the small ridge and the little ball bearings slip over the post. When you let go it locks in place. At the same time t pushes in the poppet valve allowing flow through the hoses. Grey is for ‘Gas In’ and Black is for ‘Liquid Out.’ They also come with barbed fitting but MFL threaded fittings are more secure.
Swivel Nuts are used to connect the hoses to the disconnects. One end screws onto the disconnect and the other end is barbed to accept the hose.
Hoses are food grade ¼ inch and clear for liquids and can be clear or red for gas.
Gas manifolds are to divide the CO2 between multiple kegs. Think you only need one? Think again! Most brewers, brew several batches over a weekend whether it’s beer or soda pop. Get at least a dual manifold. Small refrigerators can hold up to 3 kegs so keep that in mind.
Gas regulators are for regulating the CO2 to you beer or soda. One gauge will tell you how much is in the gas bottle and the other will tell you how much is going to the keg. It’s a good idea to get one with a pressure relief valve.
The large brass nut threads into the CO2 bottle and the smaller barbed end to the hose which goes to the grey ‘Gas In’ disconnect.
Faucets come all many sizes shapes and prices. The cheap party faucets are fine to get started with and only cost about $10. The Pretty brass or chrome faucet taps like you see at the pub start at $29 and could go into the hundreds, You’ll also need to by a handle for those.
CO2 bottles come in 5, 10 and 20 pounds. I’d go with 20 pounder because they cost almost as much to ship and fill and last twice as long!
You can also get 12, or 16 gram or 20 ounce tanks which were originally used for paintball until someone figured out how to use them for kegs.
I use a 16 gram charger for pumping out beer and soda when I am bring it out of the house. They are small and light weight and easy to use. I got mine from Brewers Discount I love this little thing! Make sure to get the 16 oz. model it
lasts a lot longer!
Sanitizers are used to clean and sanitize your equipment before use. Some sanitizers contain bleach or iodine. Bleach requires lots of rinsing and leaves a film. Some people myself included are allergic to iodine so this is what I use. After washing soak the equipment in One Step for 2 minutes and your done. No rinsing is necessary! I keep a bucket of One step mixed for sanitizing utensils between use. Use is 1 tablespoon per gallon of water so a little goes a long way.
If all this seems intimidating you can just buy a kegging kit for around $130 from most Homebrew suppliers.
Kegging the Brew
Now you’ve got you gear and brewed your beer or soda. All you have to do now it rack your beer into the keg using a racking cane or just pour it in if it’s soda. Hook up your CO2 and pump it in to about 30 PSI. Turn off the CO2 and pull the relief valve and do it again. We want to purge all the oxygen and replace it with CO2. DO this about 3 times then set you CO2 level to about 15 PSI and leave it. For soda leave it for a few days for beer follow your recipe directions.
Cold liquids will absorb more CO2 than warm one and the bubbles will be smaller. After a few day
That’s it! Have fun
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December 19, 2008
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