HOMEBREW Digest #23 Fri 09 December 1988
FORUM ON BEER, HOMEBREWING, AND RELATED ISSUES
Rob Gardner, Digest Coordinator
yeast and and kegging (Jeff Miller)
Vierka and Kegging systems (Jay Hersh)
re: kegging systems (Darryl Richman)
keg (Earl Kieser)
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Date: Fri, 9 Dec 88 9:48:51 CDT
From: Jeff Miller <jmiller at unix.eta.com>
Subject: yeast and and kegging
First an enthusiastic request for Dave Baer to post his information on
using and culturing liquid yeast. I have been really hot on trying this
myself but I'm not quite sure how to procede. Charlies book talks about
beer bottles and other books talk about agar and slants. I'm all ears
for anyone with experience.
Now for Bo's queuestions about kegging. I got tired of bottling last
year and got set up with a kegging system and these are my thoughts on
My setup included a 5 gallon cornelius keg, 5lb CO2, preasure regulator
with only a supply guage, a fridge mount tapper, and all the fittings and
hoses. I got my setup through a local restuarant supplier and I turned
him onto homebrew in the process. I think the system cost just over $200
so $170 sounds like a good price.
I got everything done locally because I wanted to have immediate access
for questions and also wanted to get the setup as soon as possible. As
it turned out, since this guy was used to pop in cornelius kegs and beer
in other kegs we both had to go through a learning curve and it took
numerous attempts to get everything to work. If I were to do this again
I would go with a supplier that has done this thing before.
Cornelius kegs have advantages in that parts are easily available, they
are a good size, and they are easy to clean. Some bad things that I have
against them is that the quick connects (at least mine) are really hard
to work and I hate strugleing with them. They are especially a problem
when my keg comes out of the fridge and I end up unscrewing the disconnects
and using hot water to expand them enough to come apart. Another problem
is that they are very tall and will eat your entire fridge. I didn't think
this would bother me but I really do like to have an extra fridge for those
beers that happen to be in bottles. The most annoying problem is that
the keg itself costs alot! In order to really get away from bottling
you should have a number of kegs so that you can at least have a brew
conditioning while you are drinking the previous. Well when I priced this
out I worked it out to be between $70 and $100 per extra container depending
if you add in extra taps or not. The story of reconditioned kegs seems
to be a false lark around here. The reason is that the pop suppliers now
own the kegs and they don't give them up vary often. When purchasing a
reconditioned keg instead of a new one from the supplier the cost reduction
still put the keg up over $50.
I am currently in the process of scoping out a switch to a more traditional
keg. I have been looking for some 4.5 gallon kegs but not too many people
have them and I currently have an 7.5 but I have to get a bung. Advantages
of the keg seem to be that they cost a lot less ($10 deposit), they come
in 4.5, 7.5, and 15.5 gallon sizes, and the taps are also usable on
production beers. Disadvantages seem to be cleaning and often they are
aluminum instead of stainless. (If I die of Alzheimers you know what happened).
The kegs are also more difficult to carry then the cornelius.
To end this disertation I have a few opinions about the gas bottle. I was
never so sad as the day I turned in my bright brand new bottle for an abused
but full bottle. Don't spend the bucks on a new container when you can get
a used one because you will just turn it in when you get it refilled. Also,
if at all possible in the budget, get a 10lb instead of the 5lb. The 5lb
is just to small and if you end up kegging a lot you end up going to the
refill place far too often. I have been trying to motivate toward a 10lb
main system with the 5lb around in case I run out in the middle of a keg.
Placement of the supply is something you may want to think about. I put
mine inside the fridge because the compressor buldged up the floor and
made a perfect place for the canister. On later thought this wasn't a
good place becaus you have to open the door to monitor the guages and
turn it on and off. I plan on moving it outside of the fridge at some
Anyway, I hope this helps.
Jeff Miller (jmiller at eta.com)
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Date: Fri, 9 Dec 88 11:31:16 est
From: jhersh at yy.cicg.rpi.edu (Jay Hersh)
Subject: Vierka and Kegging systems
to the person having slow starts with vierka. Vierka is an excellent dry
yeast but you must treat it right. 1) don't just toss it in and throw the
whole thing into the cold or it will always take 4 days to start.
In order for the yeast to reproduce it needs warmer temperatures. I have been
using vierka for a while and have found the way to cut lag time down below
8 hours (consistently), and frequently as low as 2 hours is this.
1) Boil down a glass jar for a half hour
2) boil down 2 cups water and 1 cup dextrose or light dry malt
3) put the water/sugar or malt in the jar and cool to 85-95 F
4) add the vierka
Do this before starting to brew. The 3 hours or more you give the yeast
will allow it to rehydrate and begin reproduction. Then add it to your
brew (hopefully you've chilled the wort) and leave this at room temperature
overnight or so until you see fermentation has begun (you may want to have
a blow off rig set up as even lager yeast will blow off when worked at room
temp). Now if you follow the vierka package directions you'll leave this
at room temp another 5-6 days and the move to the cold. I do it different.
As soon as I see active fermentation I move it to my 45-50 F cold room.
It will ferment at a fairly constant clip for days. I leave it in the primary
as long as 2 weeks then rack to a secondary for another 2-3 weeks. Then into
the bottles and another 3-8 weeks before it will condition properly. Every
beer (~6 batches) made this way has come out soooooo smoooooth!
One of our club members has the cornelius system. He paid slightly less
than what you qouted and got it through a local restaurant supplier. The
only problem he had was that after allowing the beers to carbonate properly
it was necessary to get them cooled to a proper temperature so that the
CO2 dispensation system wouldn't cause them to foam. He really likes his
system now that he has the hang of it. If only I had the $$$.
- jay h
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Date: Fri, 9 Dec 88 08:41:12 PST
From: Darryl Richman <darryl at ism780c.isc.com>
Subject: re: kegging systems
I outfitted myself for Cornelius kegs for about $100 from scratch. Look in
your phone book under bar fixtures for a company that specializes in draft
equipment. I bought a new 5.5 lb CO2 bottle, a used regulator, appropriate
hoses and a tap for about $80. The bottle is good for about 4 or 5 kegs and
costs $6 to refill. I bought a keg from the local homebrew shop to get started,
but I found various surplus stores had mounds of them for about $10-15 a piece.
Be aware that there are two different Cornelius fittings that are not
interchangable. (The "Coke" style has 2 pins on the inlet and 3 on the outlet
that the fittings lock on to; the other style has no pins at all and, since
I don't use it, I don't know how they lock down.) I recently bought a tee
fitting and some more gas line and another tap and now I can have two beers
on tap. My refrigerator can still lager a 5 gallon carboy with two kegs in it.
(As an aside, this began when I had a windfall of $100 that I decided was going
to get me a lagering 'fridge. I found one, older than myself, for $10 that has
run very strongly for the year that I've had it. What, oh what to do with that
other $90 burning a hole in my pocket...)
Beware of the large O-ring that seals the top. My experience is that it won't
seal without some pressure behind it. After I fill the keg with the primed
beer, I close it and hook up the CO2 bottle, and crank it to about 15psi. This
locks the top tight. I would replace all of the rubber O-rings and seals when
I got the keg because they never seem to give up the flavor of whatever soda pop
was in the keg.
For serving, I usually leave the regulator at about 10-15psi. This seems right
for Ales served British-style. I haven't had the opportunity to try a lager
out on it.
Now I've found a chest freezer that is going to serve as my lagering chamber
(for free, no less), and I'm considering a third tap. The two taps I currently
use have Anchor Steam and Porter tap handles that I got at the brewery. I
guess I'll have to go back to get a Foghorn tap or something... This brewing
thing is just too complicated. ;-)
(Secretary for the Maltose Falcons Home Brewing Society)
(Sysop of the Falcon's Nest BBS 818 349 5891)
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Date: Fri, 9 Dec 88 16:38:40 PST
From: Earl Kieser <ek at hpdstma>
> Subject: Kegging systems for the home
> 2. Is it likely I could find some of the major components such as the Cornelius
> keg or the CO2 bottle from a local supplier or restaurant for much less?
> If so, ordering just the regulator ($40) and some fittings/hoses could get
> one an equivalent system for much less than $170.
> 3. Does anyone use a kegging system of their own design? How much did you
> invest and do you prefer it over bottling?
I have a keg system that I have used on comercial beers for years.
DON'T WASTE YOUR MONEY on a prefab system! Your local beer distributor
will be glad to sell you all of the tap hardware, your local welding supply
will furnish the CO2 - tank - regulator system and that's all you need.
I recomend that you use a "TRI-TAP" system. This is use on Bud and Coors
and the kegs cheap and easy to clean (a snap ring removes the bung). Be
sure to ask the distributer for a Tap Handle (try for an antique).
The CO2 regulator that is sold says "NOT FOR USE WITH BEER". This refers to
a liability problem according to the manufacturer. The regulators are designed
for "beverage despensing" and will work well for beer.
The last thing is that you should mount the tap in the side of the frig
(if possible) to allow access to the frig for other items.
earl at hpdstma
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