Tired of scrounging, washing, sterilising, filling, charging and capping bottles (and still having cloudy beer with a sediment), then kegs are the way to go. Bottles are cheaper but more hassle. So what do you need to convert to a keg dispensing system?
- Keg connectors
- Beer tap and shank
- CO2 cylinder (CO2 fire extinguisher)
- CO2 regulator
- Beer and gas line
- Fridge or cold plate or jockey box
Several different types of kegs are available on the market but I only stock 18 and 19 litre used pin and ball lock corny kegs but you still require all the above items no matter what keg is used. These kegs are ideal for the home brewer; you can open them and ‘look inside’, get your hand in and clean them and they are a ‘typical batch size’. These were used for Coke (pin lock) and Pepsi (ball lock) in the 70’s, 80’s and 90’s but they no longer use them and they are availble to brewers although they are increasingly difficult to obtain. They are robust and made from good quality stainless steel. Many are battered, dented and may have the odd weld but they are all suitable for beer. I guarentee that all the kegs will hold pressure and if not will exchange them. The main lid O-ring is usually where they leak or the poppets, but also ensure the post O-rings are not leaking. On pin lock kegs these are 2,5 X10mm O-rings and can be obtained from BMG. I replace the post and dip tube O-rings on all the refurbished kegs and the main lid O-ring. The small poppets located inside the post are another area where leaks occur. There are several different sizes of poppet valves depending on the make of the keg, but there is a universal poppet which fits all kegs including ball lock.
As with many ‘things’ you can get the minimum entry level or go ‘top of the range’ – you get what you pay for. Picnic taps are very cheap and do the job. Three options are listed below to give you an idea of what you options there exist, either entry level, mid price or top end. Don’t forget you need to chill the beer as well.