Well, I finally took the plunge and have added kegs to the brewing arsenal. Thanks to Santa and some post-festive spending I now have a gas cylinder, Micromatic regulator, gas and beer lines, beer gun and two 19L Cornelius kegs.
Certainly kegging isn’t the cheapest thing ever – there’s the startup cost of all the gear. But in the grand scheme of things it’s not too dear – kegs were $60 each, reg for $70, beer gun for $70 and another $40 or so for lines and disconnects. The expense that normally makes people go weak at the knees is the cylinder. Buy it yourself and it will set you back $300! And that doesn’t include gas. But I found a better, unbeatable option…
Stargas do rental for $60pa and refills for $20. That means that you’d have to own for 5 whole years before coming close – and all that time you haven’t had the money sitting in your pocket. It’s a swap service so you never have to be responsible for the condition of your cylinder and periodic testing/certification. The guy delivers to your door same day – which means that not only are the refills CHEAPER than owning your own, but you don’t have to drive anywhere to get them! Really, this deal is killer.
Cleaning kegs is so much better than bottling. You leave the empty keg gassed up and dirty until you want to use it, then give it a rinse out and dose it with starsan and it’s ready to go again. Kegging also gives you far better control over carbonation than an in-bottle secondary ferment. And you don’t have to wait two weeks for it to happen. I took Dave’s advice and bought threaded disconnects (instead of barbs) and threw on some John Guest press-fit fittings. Now to carb I can easily swap my disconnects to put gas through the dip tube and give it a good shake – instant carbing!
But best of all is simply the luxury of having draught beer on tap at home! But I can see two kegs will soon have to become four… Cheers!