October 2015

Just brought in my new stock of dispensing equipment and this batch includes some stout taps, see picture below.  A few beer brewers are venturing into this adventurous part of dispensing, but it is mostly the nitro coffee that has stimulated this demand.  Nitrogen, unlike carbon dioxide (where fire extinguishers can be used), is supplied in gas cylinders that must be rented from gas suppliers.  They charge in the region of about R150 per month rental excluding the gas.  Also a nitrogen regulator is required as the N2 gas is stored at higher pressure than CO2. These gas cylinders contain pure N2 or pure CO2, and typically mixtures of 30% CO2 and 60% CO2, with N2 comprising the balance are also available.  Nitrogen is a relativley inert gas (80% of the air we breath is N2) and does not significantly affect the flavour and is used more as a 'propellant' or to create the 'theatre' when a pint is pulled through a stout tap with lots of rising bubbles and the typical head.  Anyone seen a Guinness pint pulled would know this. This is a whole new world of beer dispensing not to mention the brewing.  A good stout is a great accompaniment to such theatre.

 

 

 

September 2015

After a quiet winter keg sales have kicked off with the hint of spring.  Stocks are running low but I have ordered another batch to arrive hopefully in October.  The bad news is the exchange rate!  My last import was at about R10.50, now we are looking at R13.50!!  I will need to check the final cost after clearing agents, SARS etc but an increase is inevtitable.  However I still have stock at my old prices so early birds best get your kegs and other items now to avoid a posisble steep increase in prices!

 

26 May

Just collected and setup this counter pressure bottle filler.  Works like a dreram.  Check it out on this youtube video:   

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=2bBh4AvlkDM

It works for PET bottles and by inserting a small stainless steel spacer it can be used for glass bottles as well.

 

 

Log onto my Kegsolutions Facebook page https://www.facebook.com/pages/Keg-Solutions/843253542415250?ref=profile to see the bottle filling in action with the small stainless steel insert on a normal glass bottle.

22 May 15

Just off loaded more stock lots more new goodies!!  I have a few new small stainless steel drip trays, a nice faucet wrench this makes makes removing your tap for cleaning very easy.  Also a spout extension if you want a longer spout on your taps.  A different tap plug, with a small brush to keep the spout clean and free of bugs.

Splicers for joinng beer line and joining different diameter beer lines.

Non-return gas shut off valve so you can't accidently push beer back into your regulator.

5 May 2015

I have had several queries for couplers for other kegs aside from my normal pin lock corny's.  I now stock a limited supply for S type (mostly Heineken, Windhoek & Amstell) and G -type, (mostly for SAB & Brewhouse), see my products tab For sale for prices and pictures.

 

Check your keg top to see the type of coupler you need.

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Kegerators and keezers

Serving beer cold is essential.  The best way to do this is to dispense and store it in a fridge.  It keeps the beer at a constant cool temperature, this extends the shelf life; remember your beer is unlikely to be pasteurised and could 'go off'.  Keeping it cold also stabilises your carbon dioxide saturation and ensures consistent foam free pouring.  More importantly your beer is also at an ideal drinking temperature.  Cold plates and jockey boxes are fine for outdoor events but are not that practical for home dispensing.

The best and most cost effective option is a chest freezer.  These come in a range of sizes holding from 2 to 5 or more kegs.  Some of these units are sold as fridge/freezer and simply adjusting the thermostat will change it from a freezer to a fridge.  The thermostat on a freezer may not accommodate the warmer temperature range required for a fridge range so you may need to ask someone to install a new fridge or cold-room thermostat to increase the temperature range.  There is a small risk to this conversion, the cooling pipes in a freezer remain permanently iced and this extends the working life as corrosion is virtually zero.  Converting to a fridge, especially an older unit, means the pipes repeatedly freeze and defrost; this increases the rate of corrosion and can lead to a shortened life of the freezer.  So what are the options?  It is probably best to 'convert it' and operate it as a fridge; if and when the cooling system fails, take it to a fridge repair specialist and install a cold plate inside (like the one in the back of your fridge) and voila you have a proper chest fridge.  

An upright fridge can also be used, they are a little more difficult to load the full kegs into and can only hold one keg (small bar fridge) or up to two for a larger upright unit.  If you want an external tap this is best installed through the door where there is less risk of puncturing a cooling pipe, which if you do so, will effectively write-off the fridge.  I stock a slightly longer shanks for this purpose.

Picture of a simple one tap conversion in an upright fridge door with drip tray

If the fridge is tucked away out of sight, appearance is not important but if you wish to make it a showpiece you can panel them with wood, wrap them in copper or stainless steel sheet, paint them, or whatever fits your décor.  Check out the nice designs on the web.  

To modify the chest units for dispensing, there are 2 options

  • Remove the lid and hinges and insert a spacer (100 to 150mm high), normally wood is used; and replace the lid on top of the spacer.  You can safely drill through this spacer to attach your taps, gas lines etc. without risk of damaging the fridge’s cooling system.  A standard shank can be used for this.

Picture of spacer insert with taps

  • The second option is to add a beer tower through the lid, there is little risk of puncturing the cooling lines as most chest freezers do not have cooling pipes in the lid.  Simply drill holes for your beer line and mounting bolts.  If using a 76mm column tower use a column shank.

Picture of tower conversion on a large unit with 2 towers.

I sometimes have stock of 'keezer units' and I manufacture a range of beer towers to use on the 'kegerators' or 'keezers' see For sale.  These are either mild steel or polished stainless steel (76mm diameter) and can accommodate one or two beer faucets or taps.  The mild steel version should be epoxy coated to prevent it rusting and can be finished in a range of colours or even rough polished and then lacquered.  The shanks for the beer taps are specifically designed for these beer towers.  

I custom manufacture my signature Wine Barrel beer dispenser or ‘kegerator’.  It consists of an insulated fridge that fits snugly inside the barrel with a 2kg CO2 cylinder and regulator. The wine barrel is an attractive feature in the home so rather than 'hiding' your beer dispensing system in the laundry or some back room, make it the centerpiece in your living room. 

Wine barrel beer fridge

I am a home brewer, having started like most home brewers with brew kits.  Over the years I have built my own brewing system, mostly from parts salvaged from home, friends or 'scrap'.  For me brewing beer to my taste is one of the reasons I brew.  Understanding how systems work is also important but brewing and dispensing cost effectively is critical as well.  With these objectives I have put together this site to share my stories, provide products and help home brewers find affordable kegging solutions.

I am based just outside Cape Town in Somerset West and operate from home to reduce overheads and pass on the savings onto brewers.  I carry a product range with backup advice for the home brewer wishing to keg their craft beer directly from corny kegs.  It all started when I could not find corny kegs for my home brew after the tedious task of bottling and did not want to use kegs I could not open, look inside and clean with everyday items.  After extensive searching and using some 'contacts' I managed to import some used Coca Cola kegs at a reasonable price.  I then discovered that much of the dispensing equipment available locally is not aimed at the home brewer but rather large volume commercial pubs and breweries.  The home brewers setups are small, usually with short gas and beer lines and using carbon dioxide only rather than Suremix, which is a mix of carbon dioxide and nitrogen.   

The carbon dioxide side of the dispensing is easy with affordable equipment as home brewers around the world use carbon dioxide fire extinguisher (2 or 5kg) to carbonate their kegs.  This is achieved through a simple connector and a 2 stage regulator that allow pressure setting between 0 and 5 bar.  

On the dispensing side, the range of products was more limited.  So I have imported a range of home brew products.  These include: variable flow and standard taps (in stainless steel or brass) and very importantly small internal diameter beer line and connectors, see our range under Products.  If the system is balanced using properly sized beer line (see Balancing your system) and cleaned & maintained regularly (see Caustic soda cleaning), foam free pouring is not a problem.  Ideally the beer should be stored and dispensed from a fridge (Kegerators and keezers).  I provide advice on setting up these systems and supply affordable drip trays and locally manufactured beer towers.  

I stay on a smallholding just outside Somerset West on the R44 on the Stellenbosch side and can be visited by prior arrangement at most reasonable hours, call me to check what I have in stock, or to arrange a time to pop in.  

 

Cheers,

Richard