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Drinking from the Tap

By Yellowbeard in Technology
Wed Mar 13, 2002 at 11:30:52 AM EST
Tags: Culture (all tags)

I published an article on beer making a few weeks ago. Several people wanted to know if this was an economic way to enjoy this wonderful beverage. Much discussion ensued. To tell the truth, I don't make beer all that often any more. I just buy Kegs. This seems cost prohibitive to most, but it is actually more economic than buying bottles - you just need to know some tricks. Below are some of the tricks I have figured out. No ranting follows.

You bring a possible sexual partner home from the bar one night.

"Do you want a beer?" you say.

"Sure," says your prospect.

Now, at this point, 99.9% of most of our living rooms, what follows is two cshnoook sounds and then the pink of a bottle cap on the counter. Drinking ensues, and then, hopefully, nocturnal activities to everyone's enjoyment.

Imagine my alternate scenario. When I ask a lady (as that's my sexual preference when not on the high seas. Come to think of it - it's my sexual preference even when I am on the high seas) if she wants a drink, what follows in my home is the clink of glasses, the near silence of the pull on the tap handle and then the incredulous, "you have beer on tap?!

Yes. Yes I do. And I can tell you, my status immediately jumps accordingly.

Now, the thing is, I am not rich, by any means. I don't even have a useful skill, like programming. I live in the bad beer wasteland between college and a real job. This is defined as a land where I will not pay more than $3.50 American for a sixer. Because I live in America, this means that my beer choices are basically suck or more suck. However, I have discovered a way to live in the wasteland still and yet also drink great beer. I have found an oasis, and it is called Kegged beer.

Now I'm not going to pretend - beer on tap requires an initially large outlay of cash, but if you like to drink good beer, you can make back that spent cash in two kegs (about 6 - 7 months of drinking, for me). Not do you get to pay cheaper, wasteland prices for good beer, but you also get the prestige and all the trappings which may accompany that prestige of having a keg on tap. Plus it's just damn cool.

What you will need: I only have one full sized (15 gallons) keg at a time. This does mean I am drinking the same beer for a couple of months, but I don't have room for more refrigerators in my apartment right now. If you can get a bigger fridge, or maybe an old deep freeze, you could probably do multiple Kegs. The following is for a one keg operation.

1 - old refrigerator 1 - 5lb CO2 canister 1 - gas pressure regulator 1 - CO2 keg tap 1 - drill 1 - 1 inch drill bit or hole saw 1 - beer faucet 1 - keg of your favorite beer

This is sooooo easy it's a shame. First things first: we all like our beer cold (shut up, you limey bastards, it's not cool and temperate here year round) so let's go find an old fridge. You might be getting a new one, but have an older model that's ok. You could use it. You might convince your significant other (before telling them your beer on tap plan - hey, wait a minute... how come you're trying to pick up chicks in bars if you're married? Anyway...) that you need a new fridge. Then just move the other one to the den. If you don't have one, go garage sailing some Saturday or check out your local Salvation Army. They probably have one at a decent price.

Now my fridge looked like crap (I got it out of a house my parents were restoring). It was an old Admiral. I like brushed metal, so I sanded all the paint off with a belt sander and then clear coated it - it has a nice "I live in the desert" feel to it - but I have since been thinking of covering it in something like shag carpet or wood paneling - whatever. Right now it's covered in magnetic poetry, which is pretty cool. But I digress. Get a cheap fridge. That's going to cost you 50-100 bucks American unless you're thrifty and coniving like me, in which case you'll search around til you find a deal at $25. If you're really fly, just skip the fridge and cool your beer like this

Now, you need other beer hardware. Go to your local welding supply company and buy a 5 lb aluminum CO2 tank - you can get one used (doesn't matter, you'll be trading it out every time you need a fill up anyway, probably) for around $70 where I live. Call around! You can probably get a better deal than that, can't you? Or check out ebay. They have most of what I am trying to get you to go out and buy. If you're patient, you can get a deal, but remember to count shipping!

While you're at the gas place (or on ebay), also buy a regulator. This is necessary for not letting all your gas out of the tank at once, and will run you about 30 bucks if you search hard and buy used. Make sure you get a test on your used equipment! While you're not dealing with flammable gasses (and thus probably won't get blown up) you don't want to get screwed, either.

Hoses, keg tap, and faucet: Go to your local beer distributor. If there's liquor in your area, then there's a distributor close by. These guys are really nice, usually - they have automatic, guaranteed business and they aren't all that busy. Also, they know that if you are buying tapping stuff, that they are going to be indirectly seeing your business in the near future. Make sure to know what kind of beer you want to drink before you buy this equipment. Not all taps fit all kegs, and beers like Guinness require special taps and faucets (not to mention gas - Guinness takes a CO2/nitrogen mix which will require a steel and not aluminum tank which is going to run you a bit more money. However, if you are certain you want to drink this fine beer the way it was supposed to be drunk, buy steel in the first place. You can put CO2 in steel but you can't put nitrogen in aluminum - I found this out too late). Ask the distributor - he will know. Also, verify the information with your favorite liquor store guy - he will also likely know at least some of which taps fit which kegs. Ebay is again a good place to look up different types of keg taps and get a good deal on them.

Now, make sure to tell whoever you buy your faucet from that you will be mounting it to your fridge - that way they will give you a nice long one that will go through your fridge door. Take all this newly acquired crap home. Figure out the optimal place where, when you are standing in front of the fridge, you can comfortably pour a beer. Alternatively, since we are dealing with mass quantities, here, pick a place on the fridge that you can still reach from your knees - this is more inconvenient when sober, but utterly necessary for when blasted.

Drill a big hole in your fridge. Surely all of you can use power tools. I am not going into how to do this - but we want a hole all the way through the fridge. Now you can finally see whether or not the light stays on when you close the door!

Mount the faucet in the hole. I found, after much deliberation, that the best place to drill the hole and subsequently mount the faucet is on the door. For me, this was due to space considerations. Individual performance may vary.

You now have what looks like a kegerator. But no beer comes out! Hook the hoses to your faucet and plug in your kegerator. It needs to get cold while you go to the liquor store. At the liquor store, you may find that the exact beer you want is not carried in stock all the time in kegs. You might also find that the exact beer you want just does not come in a keg. This would have probably been a good thing to check on before you did all this work, but sod it; you have a kegerator now, and by the Gods some beer is going in there.

Order the keg you want, or, if you absolutely cannot wait, buy one of the cheap kegs that they have on hand. Once you do the math, you will find that kegged beer is usually less than half of what you would pay for an equivalent volume of bottled or canned beer. It also tastes better (in my opinion). You also get the bonus of being able to say, "I have beer on tap," which is always impressive. Imagine the next time you're at a club, saying, "Wanna come back to my place? I have beer on tap," or something to that effect.

This is the key to drinking good beer at wasteland prices. Of course, it's up to you to set your own wasteland price - maybe it will be higher or lower than mine. If you figure up costs, by your third keg you should have made back everything you spent on the kegerator and will just be saving money from then on. What you are taking advantage of here is the buy-in-bulk-and-save principle. Oh, and don't worry about your beer going bad. As long as you keep it pressurized with CO2 and keep it at a steady, cool, temperature, a keg of beer should still taste good 3-4 months after purchase at least (I haven't had one last longer than that, yet, but it was about as good at the end as at the end).


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What would a good poll question for this article have been?
o Do you like tap beer better than bottled or canned beer? 20%
o Will chicks dig you if you have beer on tap? 19%
o Will Dudes dig you if you have beer on tap? 4%
o What's the most you would pay to have beer on tap? 2%
o What would a good poll question for this article have been? 51%

Votes: 81
Results | Other Polls

Related Links
o bad beer wasteland
o Salvation Army
o this
o ebay
o Guinness
o Also by Yellowbeard

Display: Sort:
Drinking from the Tap | 87 comments (76 topical, 11 editorial, 0 hidden)
Wohoo! (3.40 / 5) (#1)
by rcarver on Wed Mar 13, 2002 at 10:38:43 AM EST

I've recently aquired my first very own apartment, and now I know what I'll have to set up in the kitchen! Thanks! :)

Eh? (4.33 / 15) (#2)
by FredBloggs on Wed Mar 13, 2002 at 10:39:40 AM EST

You`ve found a lady who is impressed that you drink a lot of beer? Does she have a sister?

Ok, so now we have a fancy beer tutorial... (4.27 / 11) (#3)
by mikael_j on Wed Mar 13, 2002 at 10:40:07 AM EST

So when will "The K5 guide to growing marijuana in your backyard" be ready?

We give a bad name to the internet in general. - Rusty
Here (3.50 / 4) (#20)
by craigtubby on Wed Mar 13, 2002 at 11:54:54 AM EST

Buy Heat lamps.
Buy Earth and Tray.
Aquire seed.
Plan each seed about 20/30cm apart.
Water regulary.
Allow to grow.
Pick leaves.
Roll and smoke.

Insert at some point above - Get caught by police, go to jail, do not pass go and do not collect 200.

try to make ends meet, you're a slave to money, then you die.

* Webpage *
[ Parent ]

Uhhhhhh (5.00 / 2) (#21)
by Yellowbeard on Wed Mar 13, 2002 at 11:59:13 AM EST

Dude. We usually smoke the buds - not the leaves. There's a lot more THC in the buds than in the leaves. Just remember Bob Marley's advice: Smoke the weed. Don't smoke the seed.

"Whenever there is any doubt, there is no doubt." - Deniro in Ronin

[ Parent ]
He won't get buds (none / 0) (#24)
by georgeha on Wed Mar 13, 2002 at 12:08:35 PM EST

as I see no mention of a timer, I've heard that you need one.

[ Parent ]
Heheh (none / 0) (#27)
by Yellowbeard on Wed Mar 13, 2002 at 12:15:10 PM EST

Well, I've never actually /grown/ it, but, you are right, for any plant growing using the setup he's talking about, you need the timer to make the lights go on and off (and especially if you're a pot head, because you'll /never/ remember to do it on your own).

"Whenever there is any doubt, there is no doubt." - Deniro in Ronin

[ Parent ]
More than that, I believe flowering plants (5.00 / 2) (#28)
by georgeha on Wed Mar 13, 2002 at 12:18:06 PM EST

get their cue to flower from the decreasing length of daylight. From what I've read, if you keep your potlights on 16 hours day, you get big leafy plants. If you keep them on only 11 hours a day, buds start to appear. All theoretical perhaps, and dangerously close to terrorism talk.

[ Parent ]
For SHAME! (5.00 / 3) (#36)
by Yellowbeard on Wed Mar 13, 2002 at 01:35:36 PM EST

If you ever grew pot for home consumption or, Gods forbid, SALE, you would almost certainly immediatley use all your profits to blow up important shit. It's just the way things are.

"Whenever there is any doubt, there is no doubt." - Deniro in Ronin

[ Parent ]
Wrong! (4.77 / 9) (#41)
by elefantstn on Wed Mar 13, 2002 at 02:04:56 PM EST

  1. Drug dealers funnel money to terrorists.
  2. Buying from drug dealers give them money
  3. Ergo, buying from drug dealers aids terrorism.
  1. I [hypothetically assuming I grew and sold drugs] don't give money to terrorists
  2. Growing my own and/or selling it doesn't give money to terrorists
  3. I am depriving terrorists of profit both directly (lower sales) and indirectly (greater supply == lower profits for what the terrorists do sell)

[ Parent ]
FIGHT EVIL! (5.00 / 4) (#53)
by vile on Wed Mar 13, 2002 at 03:36:00 PM EST


The money is in the treatment, not the cure.
[ Parent ]
Not to mention... (5.00 / 1) (#59)
by synaesthesia on Wed Mar 13, 2002 at 04:48:24 PM EST

  1. Drug dealers fund money to terrorists
  2. People buy drugs from dealers because drugs are illegal
  3. Alcohol and tobacco aren't illegal
  4. People buy alcohol and tobacco from breweries and tobacco companies
  5. Breweries and tobacco companies fund money to governments
  6. Terrorists are evil because they bomb innocent people
  7. Governments are good because they... oh, hang on.

Sausages or cheese?
[ Parent ]
KGB (4.80 / 5) (#42)
by prana on Wed Mar 13, 2002 at 02:07:22 PM EST

Here's how to grow the kind buds you're looking for:

Buy high-wattage HID lamps (sodium or metal halide).
Acquire earth, pots, and seeds.
Germinate seeds between warm wet paper towels.
Plant seeds in rockwool and grow under 24hr light until 4" tall.
Transplant to pots and grow under 24hr light until about 12" tall.
Switch lights to 12hr on, 12hr off to induce flowering.
Kill the male plants as soon as identifiable (they grow "little nuts" instead of flowers). Otherwise your females will grow seeds instead of kind buds.
Harvest when majority of buds are mature.
Cure in a cool dark place.
Have some friends over, pack the 4' bong, bust a lung, and collectively ponder the illogic of the fact you are now a felon, along with your fellow victimless criminals chilling on the couch.

[ Parent ]
Hang on (5.00 / 1) (#47)
by Yellowbeard on Wed Mar 13, 2002 at 02:50:58 PM EST


"Whenever there is any doubt, there is no doubt." - Deniro in Ronin

[ Parent ]
overgrow.com (5.00 / 1) (#57)
by hercules grytpype thynne on Wed Mar 13, 2002 at 04:24:26 PM EST

Check out overgrow.com, should take care of your curiosity! "Overgrow the government!"

[ Parent ]
Oh don't worry (none / 0) (#60)
by mikael_j on Wed Mar 13, 2002 at 04:53:40 PM EST

I've visited overgrow, not a grower though... (any more that is) ;)

We give a bad name to the internet in general. - Rusty
[ Parent ]
when exactly will it go bad? (4.00 / 9) (#5)
by scatbubba on Wed Mar 13, 2002 at 10:44:03 AM EST

I'd like to put a keg under the bar, but i'm not a huge beer drinker. I might drink 5 in a week, if it was always available. Does anybody know the shelf life of a properly cooled and pressurized keg? Of course, once word got out about my beer on tap, maybe the visitors would make shelf life irrelevent.

More then 6 weeks (3.50 / 2) (#13)
by georgeha on Wed Mar 13, 2002 at 10:58:24 AM EST

for my 1/4 keg full, as that's about how long it takes for me to empty one. You don't need to get a half keg, many good beers come in the 1/4 keg size, which is also much easier to handle.

[ Parent ]
Not 1/4 keg. (4.50 / 2) (#22)
by special ed on Wed Mar 13, 2002 at 12:00:34 PM EST

A pony keg, which I think you mean, is actually a 1/2 keg. A full keg is 1/2 barrel, so a pony keg is 1/4 barrel. A barrel is 31 US gallons, a keg 15.5, and a pony keg is 7.75.

Meanwhile, the world turns foolishly on and ants tickle his butt.
[ Parent ]
Excellent (3.00 / 6) (#7)
by jodys on Wed Mar 13, 2002 at 10:45:02 AM EST

Sometimes, in a dark mood, I wonder if the web is really helping me at all. If really it is, when I get down to it, helping me become a better human being, more aware of the problems in the world. Then of course I realize "No, I'm not, in fact I'm more of a lazy bastard than I was before". So thank you, now I've got something to do, while being a lazy bastard :)

Homebrewing with a keg is very easy (4.00 / 5) (#12)
by georgeha on Wed Mar 13, 2002 at 10:52:55 AM EST

Something to consider someday. Just keep one of the kegs when empty, clean it out, and pour your homebrew in it. I do this with my 1/4 keg 2 prong system.

Two kegs? (none / 0) (#71)
by Devil Ducky on Thu Mar 14, 2002 at 10:38:51 AM EST

I'm not seriously considering all of this (my wife would kill me) but is it possible to get two 1/2 kegs (often called 1/4 kegs, but really 1/4 barrels) into one fridge? The delight of this is that you would have similar overhead costs (fridge, electricity, CO2?, etc.), double the cost of the kegging equipent, but keep one keg and brew in it.

While that keg is brewing for 6-10 weeks, buy a keg of Yeungling or something. Once the homebrew is ready for consumption you don't have to replace the opther keg, so you're only buying it once you run out of homebrew... You could also homebrew two kegs, I suppose, but this more easily covers the situation of completly running out of beer.

Of course all of this comes down to the possibility of sharing the space in a fridge, I don't know if it will work. How much space does a 1/2 keg + equipment take? I was also thinking that you could share the CO2 equipment by using a splitter that goes to both kegs at once... Am I nuts? About this, I mean...

Devil Ducky

Immune to the Forces of Duct Tape
Day trading at it's Funnest
[ Parent ]
It would largely depend (5.00 / 1) (#72)
by Yellowbeard on Thu Mar 14, 2002 at 11:17:49 AM EST

on the size of the fridge, but I think I could do it in mine, given some suitable 'tween keg engineering - and I have a small refrigerator. If I were doing it, I would stack the kegs with a sort of shelf/divider area in between them so I could squeeze my CO2 tank in there. This would also allow the hook-up of the CO2 to the lower Keg. You could certainly split the lines post regulator, but you would have to make sure that each beer required equivalant pressure - not necessarily all that hard to do.... Hmmm.. I think I am going home for a bit - back later.

"Whenever there is any doubt, there is no doubt." - Deniro in Ronin

[ Parent ]
Sure, with a regular sized fridge (none / 0) (#75)
by georgeha on Thu Mar 14, 2002 at 02:04:49 PM EST

you can fit two 1/4 barrels in it, my relatives do this all the time.

I can only fit one 1/4 barrel in my fridge, so I either live on bottled for a week or two, or keg up the beer and let it set. If it's been sitting in a carboy for 6 weeks at cellar temperature, one extra week or two in a keg at cellar temperature won't be bad.

Rereading your post, I'm not understanding your thoughts totally. Unless you wanted to have two beers on tap, you wouldn't need a splitter, the kegs aren't hooked up to C02 while being transported, or waiting to be sold. Similarly, you would only need two kegs in a fridge is you didn't want one to get warm, or if you were into serious lagering, most fermenting can take place between 70 F to 40 F,depending on the beer.

[ Parent ]

I think his point was (5.00 / 1) (#76)
by Yellowbeard on Thu Mar 14, 2002 at 02:10:00 PM EST

wanting to have 2 beers on tap - say a dark and a light.

Thinking more about 1/2 kegs... There are several shapes of kegs out there. There's one that's the same diameter as a normal keg but really short. then there are the ones that are shaped like 5 gallon coke canisters... It would depend on which ones are being used.

"Whenever there is any doubt, there is no doubt." - Deniro in Ronin

[ Parent ]
Yeungling! (none / 0) (#81)
by tzanger on Sat Mar 16, 2002 at 02:16:41 PM EST

Now there is a beer I really enjoy when I'm in the Pittsburgh area! Unfortunately I keep forgetting to bring some back home to Ontario with me. A 1/4 barrel of that would be very nice to have on tap. Is it "kosher" to claim kegs when coming across the border?

[ Parent ]
The Anti-Drug (4.00 / 6) (#15)
by jabber on Wed Mar 13, 2002 at 11:07:55 AM EST

The Onion comes through once again, with a timely, appropriate and strangely relevant piece.. Did you consipire with them?

[TINK5C] |"Is K5 my kapusta intellectual teddy bear?"| "Yes"

Not just liquor stores (4.00 / 7) (#19)
by vambo rool on Wed Mar 13, 2002 at 11:38:57 AM EST

Don't forget your local microbrewery, if you have one. Most make excellent beers and are more than eager to help you in aquiring whatever beer suits your fancy. And, you'll probably get a better deal since there's no middleman/wholesaler. Sadly, brewpubs rarely sell retail.

Yes, I Am A Wet Blanket (3.88 / 9) (#25)
by Lagged2Death on Wed Mar 13, 2002 at 12:10:45 PM EST

New refrigerators consume around $60-$100 worth of electricity per year. An older one like you suggest may cost you $150 or more - maybe a lot more - per year. Enough to offset quite a lot (all?) of your savings from buying beer in huge quantities.

But then, energy efficiency never was cool.

Starfish automatically creates colorful abstract art for your PC desktop!

That would offset about 1 keg (4.66 / 3) (#26)
by Yellowbeard on Wed Mar 13, 2002 at 12:13:31 PM EST

Actually, I worried about this very thing, but I haven't noticed much difference in my electricity bill - and I was looking. Certainly there isn't a $10/month difference. However, if you are a serious beer drinker anyway, you already have a second fridge for your beer anyway - I'm just converting that fridge into something else. Also, remember this: Bottles and cans cost money and energy to produce too. Kegs are /always/ recycled.

"Whenever there is any doubt, there is no doubt." - Deniro in Ronin

[ Parent ]
A difference (4.80 / 5) (#31)
by elefantstn on Wed Mar 13, 2002 at 12:47:04 PM EST

I think that number will be significantly lower for a beergerator. With a normal fridge, you're constantly opening it, holding the door open to look in it, and putting warm/room temperature things inside of it. All of those things raise the temperature inside the fridge, which makes it use energy to bring the temp back down. With the kegerator proposed here, the door is only opened every 3-4 months, and the keg that goes inside is already cold (they're always kept in cold storage at my local distributor anyway). The only energy expenditure is compensation for whatever heat makes its way through the insulation. The electricity cost should be much lower than that.

[ Parent ]
insulate it perhaps (2.50 / 2) (#62)
by rebelcool on Wed Mar 13, 2002 at 05:23:36 PM EST

Depending on where you keep the thing, it may well pay to wrap some insulation around it. The door would only rarely be openned, so the loss of the cold air would mostly be by radiating out the sides of it.

COG. Build your own community. Free, easy, powerful. Demo site
[ Parent ]

Restoring existing system? (3.00 / 5) (#29)
by jnicholas on Wed Mar 13, 2002 at 12:20:29 PM EST

This article is perfect timing for me.

I just bought an old fixer-upper house. In the gameroom there is a massive bar that is set up with dual keg fridges with taps, and even the guns for sodas and liquors. My understanding is that none of this has been operational for possibly 20 years. Is this possible to restore to working order? It's just tubes and stuff right?

I've been to busy tearing up floors and replacing windows to give it a close look but in another couple of weeks I can take it all apart.

Depends on condition (4.00 / 2) (#35)
by Yellowbeard on Wed Mar 13, 2002 at 01:33:22 PM EST

But I would say almost absolutely - especially if you're as handy as you sound. First - check your fridges - this is easy, just plug them in and see if they get cool. Your Guns probably work off similar mechanisms to the keg principles I describe (just coke kegs full of carbonated water, I would guess - but that's only a guess).

Replace all your lines! Go to your local hardware store or home improvement megamart (which, though I love a good old hardware store, is probably cheaper) and look at their high pressure clear tubing - it's cheap. Make sure to CLEAN everything - soak it in a bleach and water solution or iodine and water solution overnight and then scrub it with a toothbrush.

Good luck!

"Whenever there is any doubt, there is no doubt." - Deniro in Ronin

[ Parent ]
My tap/regulator is probably 50 years old (4.50 / 2) (#37)
by georgeha on Wed Mar 13, 2002 at 01:36:20 PM EST

as I inherited it from my parent's friend's dad. I will look at the copyright date on the manual.

Most of my relatives have tap/keg systems, and I don't ever hear about them having to replace them. With care and replacement of gaskets and hoses, it may last forever.

[ Parent ]

About the fridge... (4.50 / 8) (#30)
by anno1602 on Wed Mar 13, 2002 at 12:38:52 PM EST

... just remember that a fridge has to rest about 24 hours after you moved it before you can turn it on. You may break it otherwise (chances are you will not, but you are running the risk). I don't exactly know why - something to do with the coolant, air bubbles in it needing to move to the top away from the compressor, and the compressor running hot - but I got it from someone who repairs this stuff for a living, and he'll know, I guess.

"Where you stand on an issue depends on where you sit." - Murphy's Law
CFCs (none / 0) (#48)
by sgp on Wed Mar 13, 2002 at 02:50:59 PM EST

I thought it was something to do with the CFCs in it? I could be wrong

There are 10 types of people in the world:
Those who understand binary, and those who don't.

[ Parent ]

Yeah (none / 0) (#65)
by mindstrm on Wed Mar 13, 2002 at 09:18:58 PM EST

THat's what the Coolant is :)

[ Parent ]
Letting a fridge settle after moving (none / 0) (#87)
by Mitheral on Tue Mar 19, 2002 at 04:13:12 PM EST

<puts on former appliance technician hat>
The reason for letting a fridge sit is to allow the non suspended oil to settle back into the compressor. Professionals who know how to move refrigerators can avoid this wait period; however, it doesn't hurt to wait and every unit should be handled differently. 24hrs is probably cautiously excessive; I used to recommend waiting an hour.

[ Parent ]
Homebrew is very tasty and cheap (3.00 / 3) (#32)
by smkndrkn on Wed Mar 13, 2002 at 01:19:08 PM EST

I'm a homebrew newbie if you will. I'm currently on my 4th batch of high quality brew. I started because a friend of mine offered up his equipment if I just purchased the beer kit. I was a bit worried about the results of brewing beer in my home but soon found that it is cheap, easy and very very tasty. I just started an India Pale Ale and my Irish Red I started about 6 weeks ago is now ready to drink ( and very tasty ). The way I look at it, this is the only way to go. I'm moving on to kegging as soon as I can find the space. Most likely when I move into a house next year since I don't have room for a 2nd fridge. I highly recommend brewing your own beer you'll be very happy with the results! Gary

I find this corpse guilty of carrying a concealed weapon and I fine it $40. -- Judge Roy Bean, finding a pistol and $40 on a man he'd just shot.
I agree, but (none / 0) (#34)
by Yellowbeard on Wed Mar 13, 2002 at 01:28:54 PM EST

the reason I meved to just buying a keg is because it costs the same and you never get a bad batch - plus you don't have to spend the time (If you figure time in, it costs a lot less). On the other hand, brewing is a very satisfactory hobby in it's own right.

"Whenever there is any doubt, there is no doubt." - Deniro in Ronin

[ Parent ]
Advice: 6 wks -> 10 wks (4.66 / 3) (#44)
by opendna on Wed Mar 13, 2002 at 02:38:18 PM EST

I spent some time working as a wine & beer maker at a U-VIN/U-BREW in Vancouver (BC). Having made my fair share of home brew, I advise that you age your beer past the 6 weeks.

Obviously you won't drink the *whole* batch as soon as the instructions say its "ready", but a little extra aging will do wonders to an already good beer. I think you'll find turning 6 weeks into 10 does wonders.

[ Parent ]

I agree (none / 0) (#73)
by smkndrkn on Thu Mar 14, 2002 at 11:42:50 AM EST

I would agree with you. After the six weeks, which was about 5-6 days ago, I found that while tasty it still needed another week at least. In fact I said to my g/f "Another 2 weeks or so and this stuff is going to be great". I'm going to a LAN at the end of this month and my Irish Red is for that event. I think I timed it well :) Again I'm still a newbie at this but its great fun and while the waiting is the hardest part it also makes that much more rewarding. Gary

I find this corpse guilty of carrying a concealed weapon and I fine it $40. -- Judge Roy Bean, finding a pistol and $40 on a man he'd just shot.
[ Parent ]
Been drinking this morning? (4.71 / 7) (#33)
by abdera on Wed Mar 13, 2002 at 01:20:02 PM EST

... but it was about as good at the end as at the end

Have another beer. Cheers.

#224 [deft-:deft@98A9C369.ipt.aol.com] at least i don't go on aol

*Hic* (5.00 / 6) (#38)
by Yellowbeard on Wed Mar 13, 2002 at 01:36:27 PM EST

*hic* I'm not as think as you drunk I am.

"Whenever there is any doubt, there is no doubt." - Deniro in Ronin

[ Parent ]
It's just (5.00 / 6) (#46)
by sgp on Wed Mar 13, 2002 at 02:47:53 PM EST

the drunker I sit here, the longer I get

There are 10 types of people in the world:
Those who understand binary, and those who don't.

[ Parent ]

Drinking Humour (3.00 / 2) (#83)
by Robert Uhl on Sun Mar 17, 2002 at 01:04:57 AM EST

I think I've had too many wines of glass.

[ Parent ]
All that... (2.33 / 3) (#39)
by lithmonkey on Wed Mar 13, 2002 at 01:41:53 PM EST

..And no pictures? What gives?

I actually considered this... (none / 0) (#40)
by Yellowbeard on Wed Mar 13, 2002 at 01:57:02 PM EST

but I wrote this article from my desk at work, and had I run home to take pics, I would no doubt have gotten enamored with the Admiral (my kegerator) and then I would have had to have just one quick beer, you know, because, as people have pointed out: since I wrote this article I must be a total drunk, and then I would have had more, and then I wouldn't have come back, and then I'd've gottne fired, and then I wouldn't have a place to come write K5 articles.

"Whenever there is any doubt, there is no doubt." - Deniro in Ronin

[ Parent ]
Well... (none / 0) (#50)
by DarkZero on Wed Mar 13, 2002 at 02:55:26 PM EST

If you're planning on putting pictures anywhere, please tell us. I'd really like to see pictures of this.

[ Parent ]
OK Sure. (5.00 / 1) (#51)
by Yellowbeard on Wed Mar 13, 2002 at 03:13:28 PM EST

I'll take the digital camera home and take pics of everything and post them as a Diary.

"Whenever there is any doubt, there is no doubt." - Deniro in Ronin

[ Parent ]
co2 can be gross (4.42 / 7) (#43)
by bmmaus on Wed Mar 13, 2002 at 02:22:03 PM EST

Eeek! co2 that isn't food grade has lots of *stuff* in it like metal shavings and oil. I wish I had pics of a filthy regulator that ran nothing but co2.

Get a brand new tank and use food grade co2 fills!

That's just flavor (5.00 / 1) (#49)
by Yellowbeard on Wed Mar 13, 2002 at 02:52:47 PM EST

I like a little industrial waste in my CO2. Yummy!

"Whenever there is any doubt, there is no doubt." - Deniro in Ronin

[ Parent ]
Kegworks (4.25 / 4) (#45)
by MicroBerto on Wed Mar 13, 2002 at 02:45:53 PM EST

This is an excellent article, and I'm probably going to end up doing this BEFORE I graduate from school. One site that I always like to drool over is kegworks.com. The have all the stuff imaginable.

- GAIM: MicroBerto
Bertoline - My comic strip
hmm.. kegged beer is cheaper ? (4.00 / 1) (#52)
by wotge on Wed Mar 13, 2002 at 03:27:32 PM EST

I wish this were true in Holland, here you pay avg. 9.07 for a 24 * 0.3L crate, and avg 68.00 for a 50L keg. Both are (of course) an a-brand, in this case Grolsch, but i guess he same applies for Heineken. Anyway, this sums up to a slightly higher price per liter. Add to that the 10 per 8KG of CO2, and the most important part, the 125 "deposit" per canister, and the 25 for a keg. it will cost you more than you think. w/ of course that with Grolsch being a very good (i.e. pure) beer, an opened keg will last you max 3 weeks, and that is if you turn of the CO2 every time you don't use it. ah well, just my 2 (1st 2 actually) cents,

Could this be... (none / 0) (#78)
by inpHilltr8r on Thu Mar 14, 2002 at 07:21:20 PM EST

...a tax thing? How heavily is alcohol taxed in Holland? I know it's through the roof in the UK, but I think it's pretty low in the US, thus allowing economies of scale to kick in.

[ Parent ]
ah, the kegerator... (3.00 / 1) (#54)
by chopper on Wed Mar 13, 2002 at 03:43:13 PM EST

a friend of mine is head brewer at a brewpub in Arlington, VA. he makes some of the best beer i've ever tasted.

he also has a basement bar ('Beelzepub') and a kegerator with i think two handmade beers on tap.

needless to say, i really envy his roomates. he also says it took very little work.

give a man a fish,he'll eat for a day

give a man religion and he'll starve to death while praying for a fish

You will all get FAT! (4.00 / 4) (#55)
by omidk on Wed Mar 13, 2002 at 04:17:02 PM EST

Warning to you all. I had a kegerator and i put on 15 pounds in 3 months.....its so tempting to just have "one beer" when you get home (turns into 4) and before you know it you have consumed 1000 empty calories. Just stick to the hard stuff and save yourself the cash it will cost you when you have to buy all new pants.

I also drink wine.... (4.00 / 2) (#61)
by Yellowbeard on Wed Mar 13, 2002 at 05:01:57 PM EST

Fat Bastard

"Whenever there is any doubt, there is no doubt." - Deniro in Ronin

[ Parent ]
Anti-Foaming can be a bit complex (4.25 / 4) (#56)
by ehintz on Wed Mar 13, 2002 at 04:21:55 PM EST

Not too terrible, but you do need to be cognizant of keg pressure, resistance of the beer lines, gravity, and temperatures. May take some fiddling to reach balance-I'm still working on it with my kegerator system. The good folks at Beer Beer and More Beer have a nice FAQ about kegerators that goes into exhaustive detail about foaming calculations. Disclaimer-I have no affiliation with B3 other than being a very satisfied customer.

Ed Hintz
While we're on the subject of kegs... (4.50 / 6) (#58)
by DJBongHit on Wed Mar 13, 2002 at 04:33:48 PM EST

Tip the fucking guy who brings the keg out to your car! Those things are heavy. If you don't, don't be surprised if the next time you buy a keg there, it's all foam.


GNU GPL: Free as in herpes.

ha (none / 0) (#79)
by hurstdog on Thu Mar 14, 2002 at 07:44:11 PM EST

Spoken like a true professional :-)

When I lived in the dorms in college I once carried a keg across a parking lot and up 2 flights of stairs by myself, to the room where we had a party that night. Course, the floor supervisors didn't like it when they caught us doing kegstands, but I didn't get in trouble ;-)

[ Parent ]
what about non-beer beverages? (4.00 / 2) (#63)
by spilk on Wed Mar 13, 2002 at 06:40:17 PM EST

do you have any idea if it is similarly possible to set up such equipment to dispense beverages such as coca cola? are there even ways for mere mortals to obtain the syrup? i drink so damn much of the stuff that i could potentially be seeing similar savings. any ideas? -a

re: (4.00 / 1) (#64)
by wotge on Wed Mar 13, 2002 at 08:36:27 PM EST

sure, you can get the postmix syrups at your local friendy supplier, in Holland that is, problem is that the postmix machine used to mix the syrup with the water and the CO2, after filtering the water, is _very_ expensive. You can on the other hand buy a 10L Pepsi (or Coca) cola Bag-In-Box for about 74 euro's (inc tax). The post-mix syrup mixes at a 5:1 ratio so a 10L box will give you 50L of Cola, which comes to 1.5 euro for a liter of cola, without the CO2. Here Coca Cola costs you about 1 euro per liter, so it really isn't worth your while. ps; the mixture without CO2 tastes really awful, so you don't wanna do that... ;)

[ Parent ]
bah. (none / 0) (#66)
by spilk on Thu Mar 14, 2002 at 04:01:59 AM EST

heh, that's what i was afraid of... i pay anywhere from US$0.79 - $0.99 for 2-liter bottles of coke products around here. the problem is that it's such a pain in the ass to go to the store every couple days when my stock runs out. yes. i am that lazy. heh.

oh well.

[ Parent ]

Coke, etc. (5.00 / 1) (#80)
by igor on Fri Mar 15, 2002 at 05:38:36 PM EST

At my fraternity, we have a post-mix Coke system, which consists of the following parts:

CO2 cylinder
Carbonation unit
6 syrup packs
6 CO2-powered syrup pumps
Big refrigeration/dispensing unit
Lotsa hoses
Water hookup
6 boxes o' syrup

All equipment is owned by us, and we get regular deliveries of new syrup packs/CO2 from Coke.

Total cost: $2000 USD.
Cost per cup: 0.01-0.02 depending on size :-)

A water filter will also make your coke taste better.
Talk to your local coke distributor, as they'll probably be happy to arrange installation.

[ Parent ]
Only works with dead beer (4.33 / 3) (#67)
by hughk on Thu Mar 14, 2002 at 04:32:02 AM EST

I live and work in a beer heaven - Germany. Some things suck here, but the beer is definitely ok. Our bottled beer is quite cheap, about 30 cents per half litre in small quantities (cheaper than bottled water), but even that has a shelf life of about 3 months maximum.

Opened kegs here generally have a life time of a couple of weeks. If kept in a cold room, maybe one month max. Closed kegs have a shelf-life analogous to the bottled beer.

Good beer has no special chemicals in to preserve it. Unfortunately that means that it is a target for bacteria. Any beer delivery system must be kept very clean so that the flavour is not disturbed and that you do don't get ill.

So the idea of keeping our kind of fresh beer for long periods in a delivery system isn't going to work. Even with chemical beers, the idea of having pipework that isn't kept extremely clean gives me problems.

But remember (none / 0) (#68)
by wiredog on Thu Mar 14, 2002 at 08:11:07 AM EST

This is seen as an inexpensive alternative to Budweiser, Coors, and other American beers. Which would you rather have, a German beer that's gone off a bit, or a fresh Budweiser?

Peoples Front To Reunite Gondwanaland: "Stop the Laurasian Separatist Movement!"
[ Parent ]
Yeah (5.00 / 1) (#69)
by Yellowbeard on Thu Mar 14, 2002 at 09:37:07 AM EST

Hey, If I was lucky enough to live in Deutschland, I would drink bottled beir to my heart's content from the beir automat. Vortrefflich! Until you have had a case of Hamms, you can't understand what Americans do to beer.

"Whenever there is any doubt, there is no doubt." - Deniro in Ronin

[ Parent ]
Verdammen! (5.00 / 1) (#70)
by Yellowbeard on Thu Mar 14, 2002 at 09:38:45 AM EST

Bier! nicht beir!

"Whenever there is any doubt, there is no doubt." - Deniro in Ronin

[ Parent ]
That's odd, my kegged homebrew lasts (none / 0) (#74)
by georgeha on Thu Mar 14, 2002 at 01:59:24 PM EST

about a month before I drink it all, with the last glass as good as the first.

My bottled homebrew tastes good a year or two after being bottled.

I use bleach for sanitary precautions, and take no steps to make the beer dead.

[ Parent ]

what about the alcohol? (none / 0) (#77)
by goosedaemon on Thu Mar 14, 2002 at 06:59:11 PM EST

i thought that alcohol killed bacteria and the like.

[ Parent ]
I finally know (none / 0) (#82)
by carwashi on Sat Mar 16, 2002 at 10:44:04 PM EST

Thanks for the article. Now I know how to get this done and i will be doing it soon.

brewing supplies (none / 0) (#84)
by bcbrew on Mon Mar 18, 2002 at 10:24:21 AM EST

A good place to buy parts needed to make a keg box is resturant supply stores. Much cheaper than ebay. go to http://www.superprod.com/ and order the free catalog. If you want to learn about brewing, the place on the internet is www.brewery.org.

Very cool (none / 0) (#85)
by bojo on Tue Mar 19, 2002 at 01:05:35 AM EST

The aforementioned beer thread, and this one, have seriously made me consider how I will drink beer in the near future. Thanks for the tips!

A few other tips (none / 0) (#86)
by ks1178 on Tue Mar 19, 2002 at 09:32:39 AM EST

Great article. Good to here I'm not the only one with a kegerator in my house :)

A few other tips for those of you that are thinking of building one.

First off, you might not want to use a full sized fridge, they're big and take up a lot of room, and a pain to move. Half sized fridges with no freezers are the perfect size for a keg and co2, and you can place the tap on top for bar top serving.

Another convenient thing to do is run plastic piping out of the kegerator and place the tap over a sink. This way you can let any extra foam run out, and catch spillage.

The third thing to remeber is to clean out your kegerator about monthly or so. A lot of bacteria build-up will occur in the piping, thus tainting the quality of your beer. You probably won't notice it because it happens gradually, but when you clean it out you will definatly notice the difference.

I tend to just run anti-bacterial soap through it a couple of times, then water, then air it out by letting a little co2 run through it.

Also, if you don't drink large quantities of beer I'd suggest just buying ponies (1/4 barrels), because the quality of the beer will decrease the longer it's been tapped. (I tend to try to only keep a keg for 3 to 4 weeks max). But I'm a pretty picky drinker with my beer :)

Plus, let your kegs set a while before using them, when badly shaken (i.e. driving from the store to home) they tend to foam alot when you first tap it. But if you let the keg settle, it won't foam any where near as badly.

Drinking from the Tap | 87 comments (76 topical, 11 editorial, 0 hidden)
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