0 (no kegerator) - 30%
3-4 - 27%
2 - 23%
1 - 7%
5-6 - 5%
10-15 - 2%
7-9 - 2%
15+ - 0% (3 votes)
My kegerator has two normal taps (Perlicks), which is about right for my level of consumption. I like the forward seal faucets because they don’t stick, even if they don’t get used for a week. The beers I put on tap tend to keg are either low-moderate alcohol, or hoppy because these are the brews that I want to drink fresh. Much like a good beer bar, I tried to avoid installing more taps than needed. Since I am kegging fresher-is-better batches, I want to avoid letting them sit around too long. If it is a beer I want to drink over the course of months or years, I’d rather bottle.
When I want to put a sour beer on tap, I use a picnic/party/cobra tap to ensure that I don’t mix up the lines (or drink it too quickly). I tend to only keg dry hopped sour beers and other batches that are not my longest-aged most complex creations. Some people are a bit disturbed by the perceived risk of spilling microbe-laden beer in my kegerator, but since the kegs are airtight I don’t see it as a major concern.
As a longtime holdout to kegging, the last two and a half years with my kegerator have been eye-opening. As much as people try to sell kegging as labor and time saving compared to bottling, I’ve found that the real benefit is to the quality of my beers. Kegs can be flushed with CO2 to reduce the oxygen exposure (especially beneficial for hoppy beers). The carbonation level can be dialed in precisely, and there is no risk of over-carbonation because excess pressure can be vented easily. After sucking out the trub on the first few pints the beers tend to pour pretty clear.
However, kegs are not as hassle-free as some people make them out to be. It takes a decent amount of effort to keep them (along with the lines) clean and sanitized. Kegging systems have lots of small areas where microbes can fester. I recently bought Mark’s Keg Washer on a friend’s recommendation. It is essentially a sump pump with a long stem that sprays cleaner, and then sanitizer, on the interior of the inverted keg (or fermentor). I also bought the fittings to attach the pump to the liquid post to clean the dip-tube without disassembling the keg.
I try to minimize mold and moisture in my kegerator with a bucket of DampRid, but despite its best efforts once every six months I still need to pull everything out and bleach the interior. With such a small chest freezer the main issue is the area below the kegs, next to the compressor bump, where moisture pools. Cleaning the kegerator is just another one of those little things that many people fail to mention when promoting the benefits of kegging.
I usually get about nine months out of each five pound CO2 tank fill, probably seven or eight batches depending on whether or not I am keg conditioning or force carbonating, and how diligent I am about double purging both before and after filling. Sadly the DC metro-area only has one shop that is open on weekends and willing to fill tanks. There are a few places closer to my house, but they either close by the time I could get to them after work, or only do tank exchanges (I want to keep my aluminum tank).
For the test batches I have been brewing for Modern Times Beer, I have been using a Blichman Beer Gun to bottle from the kegs. So far it has been pretty easy to use, and Jacob told me that even the hoppy beers I have sent held up pretty well for a month in the bottle. This bottler connects to both the liquid out of the keg, and CO2; a button flushes the bottle with CO2, then the trigger dispenses the carbonated beer. The included liquid tubing is long and narrow enough to bottle well carbonated beers without much foaming, but using chilled wet bottles certainly helps as well.
If nothing else, serving your homebrew on draft fun. Being able to perfectly fill any sized glass, or just have a small taste of a beer without drinking a whole bottle. Although conversely, I sometimes run out of a beer when I’m not expecting to (either kicking a beer I was really enjoying, or having to knock through a mediocre batch to make room for something else). If you have the room, kegs are certainly worth the investment, but don’t think of them as a cure-all if bottling isn’t your favorite part of the hobby.
Monday, May 14, 2012
0 (no kegerator) - 30%