From the HBD Archive
Subject: Some kegging tips
Date: 1990-01-05 14:58:07 GMT

I used to build and distribute home CO2 systems (for commercial beer) and
have been using my own for about 5 years - here are some tips I've learned
about dispensing beer from such a system.

> Now say I were to get a c02 kegging system. If I tapped a keg and had
> a few beers tonite, how long would I have to use up the rest of the beer?
> If I don't drink any more for a week, how will it taste? How about a few
> weeks? Will the c02 affect the flavor, or the aroma of the beer?
> What about sediment? If my bottles have sediment in them, won't the
> keg have some too? How do you keep this from being kicked up?

I've had kegs that were perfectly good 5 or 6 weeks after being tapped, and
in some cases actually thought the beer tasted _better_ at the end of the
keg than at the beginning. As for CO2 affecting the taste of homebrew, I
don't know, but I would guess that it wouldn't be a problem. As for sediment,
yes there will be some of course, but the kegs I've seen all run a pipe from
the top down the center of the keg to just off the bottom - perfect for
homebrewers (I don't think the soda kegs work this way). I would let the
keg sit for a while before tapping to let the sediment settle. One problem
with using beer kegs is that the sizes are not convenient (7.8 and 15.6 gal.).

I was told by the distributor I worked for that 12.5 psi is the proper
amount of pressure for a keg. My experience is that this is about right,
although if you want to play with the pressure, go down, not up.

Other tips:

- never, never, EVER roll a keg. Always carry or use a handtruck. Be as
gentle as possible - it will pay off.

- when pouring, always open the tap *all* the way. Trying to slow the flow
of beer by opening the tap just a little will guarantee foam. If foam is
a problem, change the pressure, clean the lines, clean the tap, but don't
play with the tap itself. This was one of the most common problems I
had with the folks I put systems in for.

- Don't put your CO2 tank in the fridge. The liquid CO2 may freeze and that
don't help nuthin. I either drill a hole in the fridge, or run the line
out the side of the door. Currently I run both beer and CO2 out the door.

- Hardcores say the system needs to be cleaned once a week. As long as the
system is used regularly, I never had to clean more than a couple times
a year. Cleaning never hurt, though.

When purchasing a system, make sure that there is a way to release pressure
directly from the keg. Most systems should have this, however I have seen
two-prong tap heads without a release value, and boy is this a pain. If you
can't blow all the pressure off the keg and start over again, you'll have a
lot of difficulty dealing with foam problems.

Hope this is of some use. I've learned a lot from recent digests about
kegging homebrew, and am very excited to give it a shot. My own beer coming
from my tap will be a very good thing indeed. Cheers! - Gregg

Gregg TeHennepe | Minicomputer Specialist
gateh@conncoll | Connecticut College, New London, CT

"...I don't know, maybe it's Utah." - H.I. McDonaugh

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