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FedoraDave

Going to get kegging soon - advice requested

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What with squirreling away a set amount of money every week, along with a couple of windfalls, the Fedora Brauhaus Kegging System Fund has actually exceeded its goal, and is way ahead of time, so I'll be ordering the following system in a week or two.

http://beermeisters.com/product/dual-tower-with-black-door-homebrew-value-line-2-kegs-included

Since I'm sort of a worrier by nature (and have learned through bitter experience), I want to make sure that I am getting everything I need to hook it up and go. So I'd be most grateful for the assistance and advice of the experienced keggers on the Borg. Is this system entirely self-sufficient as-is? Or will I need to make additional purchases to my order before I can use it? I'm not talking suggested modifications. I may decide to add those later (in fact, I already know I want to have different tap handles). I'm talking about a situation such as a 5-gallon kit not including an airlock and bung -- something where, if it's not there, you're screwed.

Of course, helpful advice on additions and care and feeding is most appreciated, too, as future modifications are definitely not out of the question. But it's the essentials of the system itself I'm really concerned about.

Thanks in advance. I know you won't let The Hat down.

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Looks like a sweet setup and should be ready to go, after filling the Co2 tank. My advice would be to make sure all the Co2 connections are tight and that'll solve any leaking Co2 issues. Other than that, enjoy your new rig.

Oh and the Co2 tanks come stamped with the date of their inspection, which means they'll need to be retested 5 years from that date stamped on your tank. I was told that suppliers won't refill them unless they've been retested after 5 years for about the cost of a new tank. I've only had mine for 3 years now so I don't know this to be true by my own experiences but this is what I was told when I bought mine.

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No advice here as i am not kegging yet but very jealous that looks like a great setup. Best of luck with it . Let us know how it works please :cheers:

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Way to go Dave! You're going to love kegging. I was reminded last evening whilst bottling 5-gallons of Chocolate Stout just how much I enjoyed racking a batch of cold-crashed beer into a corny, sealing it up, purging it and putting it on gas compared to messing with 50-55 bottles.

What Screwy said about CO2 leaks is really important. When I hook anything up (like a fresh keg) or change up any connection, I spray it with Star-San and check for bubbles.

I use a little dehumidifier pack inside the keezer to soak up and condensation - THIS ONE

Before you pull the trigger, check with the vendor about:

1) the length of the beer lines. Most of those setups give you 5ft of 3/16" line. That often results in foaming problems, especially with the tower. See if they'll add an extra 5ft per line for just the cost of the line. It's a real challenge to keep the temp in that tower as cold as that inside the unit.

2) the specs on the faucets. If they're the generic cheapo chrome-plated brass ones, see how much it would be to upgrade at the start to Perlick 525SS all-stainless. The generic ones are notorious for not closing completely (and leaking) or becoming sticky and hard to open if not used for a couple days.

3) are the line disconnects threaded or barbed? You want threaded w/ barbed swivel nuts. It makes taking the lines off the disconnects for cleaning 100% easier.

4) the kegs. Check with them to see if, when they clean and test them, they install a new o-ring kit. If not, you'll have to buy a couple ($3-5 each) for sure.

If they won't or can't spec it out for you the way you want it, check on this setup from KegConnection - Two Faucet Tower I haven't bought from them before, but I'd expect that they'd be willing to set it up right for you. It doesn't come with the CO2 tank (new 5lb on eBay is $69 shipped) or kegs, but the kegs aren't hard to find (just pricey!).

Best of luck with this. :chug:

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The system looks complete, even with two kegs, I did see where they have been cleaned and tested. I would buy a couple sets of O rings and replace them as they don't say they did that. O rings can retain the odor and therefore flavor of the previous use (soda).

Did you look at prices on beveragefactory.com? Beveragefactory uses Sanyo refridgerators which are the best small fridges you can buy. I don't see what brand beermeisters is using. Also beveragefactory dispensers have a list of options before you buy giving you a chance to change things out while only paying the difference in price between what you traded and what you traded for. This really leaves you a lot of options for customizing to get exactly what you want. I am not seeing where beermeister does that.

As far as the line goes, I bought an extra 10 feet after I got my dispenser but never needed it. The 5 feet that came on it works perfectly.

I am also seeing they are charging you $90 for the two kegs. This is the same unit without them.
http://beermeisters.com/product/dual-tower-with-black-door-value-line

The package does look complete but I seriously would check this one out before you buy. It is the same refrigerator that I got and I am extremely happy with it. It has the power to actually freeze my beer if I wanted it to.
http://www.beveragefactory.com/refrigerators/beer/sbc500bv-2.shtml

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Now this is a setup I can fit into my dinky house. Keep us posted on what, when, how, where, and why. Nothing but envy for you guys with setups like this.

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"Screwy Brewer" post=354210 said:

Oh and the Co2 tanks come stamped with the date of their inspection, which means they'll need to be retested 5 years from that date stamped on your tank. I was told that suppliers won't refill them unless they've been retested after 5 years for about the cost of a new tank. I've only had mine for 3 years now so I don't know this to be true by my own experiences but this is what I was told when I bought mine.

True dat. But many places that fill also do exchanges. Exchanging your tank means never having to buy a new one, because you will always have a certified one from the exchange provider. Just make sure that if you give them an aluminum tank, that the do not give you a cheaper steel tank in return. It can happen, but it's usually an accident. If you point it out to them, you won't get any grief.

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I also went with Beverage Factory that Gymrat mentioned. I have been very happy with that decision. I liked the many upgrade options that they offered and it was very integrated into the shopping cart experience. For example, it was only $15 extra to upgrade to their top-of-line dual gauge regulator with dual hose attachments. Upgrading to Perlick faucets was a breeze, plus I still got the standard faucets as backups (I'm not sure if that was intended or not). You can easily switch between the commercial couplers and homebrew setups at no extra charge (I opted to get 1 commercial coupler as from what I found the commercial couplers seem to cost more than 2 ball-lock connectors). The shipping cost is also $99 like BeerMeister, but there was not an extra cost for lift-gate service.

It looks like BeerMeister includes everything you need (I like the dual keg for $90 option). I do wish their website had everything listed itemized so you could click on it and see the standard option and the upgrade options. I would recommend giving Beverage Factory a look.


Rick

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Congrats on the money you've set aside for your kegerator Dave! A very worth while investment for sure. I would recommend getting keg lube for the seals and posts. I would also recommend a couple full seal kits. When the kegs show up, change the O rings if they have any smell of soda. If you can smell it, you will taste it in the beer. As far as hose length, try the system first. You can always change the serving hose out cheap if it causes foaming. Best of luck on your purchase. Can't wait to hear about that first pour from the tap!

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Looks nice! Just make sure like said the tower is not cheap plastic coated chrome and has good taps. I like my perle.

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Looks nice! Just make sure like said the tower is not cheap plastic coated chrome and has good taps. I like my perle. Might even get them mounted some day.... LOL, so many things to do...... so little time....

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Great input so far so I'll add mine and echo a few for emphasis.

1) Buy new O-ring replacements 'kits'. They are cheap and well worth doing.

2) Get some Keg Lube

3) Replace the lines with 10 foot lines. The WORST that happens is the beer pours slow but you'll avoid the nightmare of foamy pours up front

4) CO2 tanks ship empty. Plan on getting it filled when you get it. And if you like your pretty, shiny new tank make sure the place you go to FILLS and doesn't EXCHANGE. If you don't care either way, don't sweat it.

5) CO2 gauges don't work well in the cold. When you store the CO2 in the fridge the gauge will immediately drop from full to about half. This is normal (although for the life of me I can't figure out why somebody can't make an accurate cold-temp gauge....)

Cheers!

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Buy the rubber protector s for the gauges. I've knocked over the co2 tank before and had to replace the gauge

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"Kealia" post=354323 said:

5) CO2 gauges don't work well in the cold. When you store the CO2 in the fridge the gauge will immediately drop from full to about half. This is normal (although for the life of me I can't figure out why somebody can't make an accurate cold-temp gauge....)

Cheers!


Actually its not the gauge, it is reading accurate. When you chill the co2 in the fridge it will condense and lower the pressure. Best to keep it out and at about 88*F or above to keep it in a gas state.

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Way to go Dave! Now save up some more money and since that box can hold 3 corny's get a tri-tap and be the envy of all.
I can't add much advice as what's been said already has been right on based on my experiences.

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Well, I had some difficulty placing my order for this. I've been meaning to call them and see what can be done about it, but I've been too busy at work to do it.

But it's given me time to reflect, and I think I might go with the Beverage Factory SBC-500B that Gymrat recommended. It seems to have more options, and so now I'm asking about these options.

Pin-lock, ball-lock, or default?

Single-gauge regulator or double-gauge?

What would the pros and cons of each option be?

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Dave,

I also ordered from The Beverage Factory. When I placed my order, I was able to choose two connectors. For one, I went ahead and kept the default commercial coupler (D System) just in case I ever wanted to get a commercial keg to drink. From what I found, these couplers run a little more money than purchasing a ball-lock setup online or at my LHBS even. For the 2nd line, I went with the ball-lock setup, as I already had the tail-gate keg which was ball-lock. And as mentioned, I purchased another ball-lock set from my LHBS for less than $10.00.

For the regulator, I went ahead and upgraded to the dual gauge regulator. It is nice to be able to see how much co2 you have left in the tank.

As for pros and cons on the ball-lock vs the pin-lock, I can't really provide much there. Overall, I don't think there is much difference. Used pin-lock kegs can be found for less than used ball-lock kegs. When it comes to new kegs, it seems there are more options for the ball-lock kegs.


Rick

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Yea, agreed, u want the dual guage. You need to know how much C02 is in the tank.

Ball/Pin, personal preference. I have all ball lock but no probs with anyone using pin. Whatever is more available to you in your area would probably be best, or should say, easiest to find/repair, etc. Good luck with it.

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Rick, John, thanks for the quick responses.

I think it would be good for me to go to the local compressed gas supplier and see if they carry replacement parts, or if they just fill the CO2 tanks. It would be good to know ahead of time what's available locally for parts and repairs.

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"FedoraDave" post=361494 said:

Rick, John, thanks for the quick responses.

I think it would be good for me to go to the local compressed gas supplier and see if they carry replacement parts, or if they just fill the CO2 tanks. It would be good to know ahead of time what's available locally for parts and repairs.

Good idea. I went ahead of time to my only gas supplier and asked questions. I wanted to get a nice n light aluminim tank. They told me I would probably not see it again.... grrrr. They said all they will do is exchange tanks and will not guarentee I would get mine back, so I said eff it and bought a heavy steel 10 pounder. It's a pain to lug around, but it's all I can get from them.

As far as kegs, check locally if you have some, I don't have any close buy so I just ordered ball locks. Don't forget to get extra o-rings just in case. Also get the o-ring lub, food grade. Sure makes a heck of a difference when sealing it up.

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"Screwy Brewer" post=354210 said:

Looks like a sweet setup and should be ready to go, after filling the Co2 tank. My advice would be to make sure all the Co2 connections are tight and that'll solve any leaking Co2 issues. Other than that, enjoy your new rig.

Oh and the Co2 tanks come stamped with the date of their inspection, which means they'll need to be retested 5 years from that date stamped on your tank. I was told that suppliers won't refill them unless they've been retested after 5 years for about the cost of a new tank. I've only had mine for 3 years now so I don't know this to be true by my own experiences but this is what I was told when I bought mine.

Screwy is correct on the leak testing, I went through a 5 lb tank of CO2 for three 5 gal batches and discovered that I had a couple of leaks.

When you get ready to have a tank hydro-static tested in 5 years you need to shop around. Welding shops, scuba shops or Fire extinguisher companies. I was in the medical equipment business for years and I only paid $15.00 for the test.

Congratulations on the kegging!

:chug:

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The place I get mine does the testing as needed. Everytime I go in to trade for a full tank, I get a different one back. I bought mine from the gas supplier, already filled/stamped. Doing it this way I don't have to worry about the testing. Ask them about that FD.

Good advise on checking for leaks. I sprayed soapy water all over mine, every connections, even the tank to verify no leaks.

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Highly recommend the dual regulator. I made the mistake of only getting a single and I regretted it immediately. When you have a dual reg you can be force carbing a keg and at the same time have one set at serving pressure.

I bit the bullet and just bought a dual reg. I wish I had done it from the start. Live and learn.

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Well, I started filling up my shopping cart, and came to the realization that I'm not as ready to pull the trigger on this as I thought. Not because of any trepidation, or even logistics at this point, but because I'm a good $300 short of the cost. So I really can't order anything yet, unless I left the actual kegs and other extras off the order and got them later, but what's the point in that?

I need to look into payment options, too, as I'm pretty sure my bank card won't float any amount over $1,000.

EDIT:

Okay, I can order by mail and send a cashier's check, and that'll only take one day to clear, so easy-peasy lemon-squeezy on that.

Back to squirreling away my money for a couple more months. Fortunately, I'm likely to get more tips this time of year, so it may add up more quickly.

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Get it a little at a time, it's less painful. I picked up just what I need to keg & force carb. I'll pick up a keg-o-rater later.

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Dave,

Are you talking about a dual-gauge regulator or a dual-pressure regulator?

The dual gauge is nice if you want to know how much CO2 you have left (as others have pointed out). Be aware though that they read very low when kept in the kegerator - meaning that they don't do you much good in there.

The dual-pressure regulator allwos you to set two different pressures to two different beers/styles.

So if you want to carb your *cough* steam beer to 2.8 volumes while at the same time carbing your amber to 2.4 you can do that by having two different psi settings running at the same time.

I like all my beers carbed pretty much the same so I didn't get the dual-pressure and I don't regret it. I have yet to have the issue of wanting two different carb levels running at the same time but this is Brewer's ChoiceTM, of course.

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Also remember that the second gauge on a dual-gauge regulator only shows how much PRESSURE
is in your tank. If you want to know how much gas is in it you have to weigh it. Trust me, I learned the hard way with a leak and a 20lb tank. It showed 3000 psi till three days before it went empty.

A hanging fish scale works great. There will be a TW(tare weigh) stamp on your tank. this is the weigh of the tank empty. Weigh just the tank, the total weight less the TW is how many pounds of gas is in the tank. Then weigh it with the guage on it, for every amount of gas you use it will that much less. Make sense?

I have a dual pressure regulator and love it. My tank is out side my keezer and it gives me an extra port to work with without opening or disconnecting anything. I have a tee in the line with a gas and liquid connector on it. I can use the liquid to purge the keg with cO2 and then seal the lid with the gas connector.

With that said there is no wrong way to keg. Just how you want to do it.

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+1 what the tattooed guy in the shower holding a beer and a naked cat said! Wait! What? :ohmy: LOL!

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I have 3 gauges. One for the tank pressure kinds useless really as inkleg said they are filled by weight. One for each regulator. Keep my tank in the frig so the tank gauge always reads in the red. I have been on the same tank since August of last year. I go thru a 5 gallon keg in about 2 months unless I have company. I usually put a keg in for 1 or 2 days @ 30 PSI to put a carb charge on it than let it condition @ cellar temps till need currently 4, 5 gallon kegs full 2 in the frig for drinking, 2 conditioning, 2 waiting to be filled, sold 2 of the kegs I had 8

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I'll look into the two types of gauges. I can see where both might be handy, although my tendency is to carb most of my beers around the same, anyway.

I think the CO2 tank sits on the outside of this particular unit; at least that's what it seems from the pictures.

I have all the stuff in my shopping cart, and I won't be ready to order for a while, so I can make changes if I have to. I like having all the stuff in one sock so I can review it. Makes any changes I have to make easier for me.

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On mine the C02 tank sits inside. It is no big deal to me as 3 corneys will still fit in it. But when the warranty expires I might think about modifying it. I don't know why though.

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"FedoraDave" post=361470 said:

Well, I had some difficulty placing my order for this. I've been meaning to call them and see what can be done about it, but I've been too busy at work to do it.

But it's given me time to reflect, and I think I might go with the Beverage Factory SBC-500B that Gymrat recommended. It seems to have more options, and so now I'm asking about these options.

Pin-lock, ball-lock, or default?

Single-gauge regulator or double-gauge?

What would the pros and cons of each option be?

Dave,

I'm not familiar with the kegerator Gymrat recommended, but the one you linked to looks exactly like my Danby. It's setup so that I can keep my Co2 tank either inside or outside. It originally came with one tap, but I modified it to support three.

One major difference between ball locks and pin locks is that ball locks are taller and skinnier. This allowed me to get three kegs inside my kegerator. I have three taps, but you could always go with two taps and use the third keg for lager fermenting.

Don't waste your money on the standard taps, if you can order the kegerator with Perlicks, do so. Mine came with a standard tap, and if I let it sit for more than a week, it was completely stuck closed.

Perlicks, like good beer are a gift from the gods... :cheers:

[attachment=12770]tn375_large_danby_3tanks080310145523_2013-04-13.jpg[/attachment]

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