Make Smoke, Boil Water!
Join Date: Jul 2007
Location: In the windy Columbia Gorge area of Washington, the state
Re: Beer Keg/kegerator/beer meister question(s)
I had a beer fridge for 15 years or so, until it got impractical. It was just a 5-foot-tall Frigidaire from the late '60s, before they got bought by White and went cheap on everything. Upper middle of the door was drilled for the faucet. I used to use 15.5 gallon half-barrels, the cost was substantially less per ounce than pony kegs. I pretty much stayed domestic; I used to be able to get Rainier for $25 per half-barrel, Budweiser for $32, Michelob (for special occasions) for $39, when buying from a Distributor. Those days are long, long, long gone.
Some thoughts for you:
You should never have to clean the lines, as long as they stay cold. Sanitize them once and rinse out really, really well, before the first use; otherwise ignore.
The faucet is a much different matter. Take it apart and clean it, every keg change. Get a bottle brush. Take the faucet off, go to the sink and tear it apart. Clean everything super-well, make sure you clean the relief port (you'll see it), using dishwasher soap dissolved in hot water, then rinse really well. I used to soak mine in the soap mixture for fifteen minutes, then brush out really well.
Opinions vary on the use of CO2 versus Nitrogen. I talked to a couple guys in the know and if your product is going to be under pressure for (I want to emphasize this) months at a time, it will get a slight bitter tang from CO2, and you might consider Nitrogen in this case. I found I went through product substantially quicker than that, so I used CO2. Never had an off-taste, and it was WAY cheaper. If you're buying a bottle, consider a fire-bottle size. It lasts WAY longer and is much cheaper and easier in the long run to exchange. Welding shops will always have a fire-bottle size of CO2. Always use the new gasket included. Using a used gasket is asking for leaks. Yes, the CO2 should be upright, if for nothing else than to protect the reduction valve.
Make sure you have a really good reducing valve with a gauge. I used to use about 8-12 PSI, it keeps the bubbles in and doesn't saturate the product with CO2. You might want to check with the seller to see what they recommend for a short draw on the tap. Some products require a higher pressure, and it would if you had a long distance for the draw.
Hope that helps.
Always do the right thing; not because it's easy, but because it's harder.
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