First Kegging Experience

So, Friday night was my first true kegging experience. Yeah, I got to watch/help Garrett when he gave me my kegging demo, but this was my first time alone, without a net. Sure I could have used the phone-a-friend option if I ran into trouble, but I knew Friday night would be a bad night to call. The only mishap happened in the very beginning when I accidentally tipped over the CO2 tank with the regulator on it and smooshed one of the gauges – I’m hoping I can get that fixed inexpensively.


I probably got started about 7:30. I had already decided I was going to clean, rinse, sanitize, transfer, and carbonate two beers, while simultaneously cleaning, rinsing, and sanitizing the draft box to be used in conjunction with them. Really most of the kegging stuff is pretty simple and pretty boring, just like bottling. But, the good thing with kegging is you only have to do all of those procedures to 1 container instead of 50. Plus once the beer is transfered you are essentially done. Sure you still have to carbonate it, but during bottling you’d still have to fill and cap all 50 bottles.

kegweb3.jpgBasically the night went something like this: 1) Boil 6 gallons of water to add 3 gallons to each keg plus PBW. 2) Let keg sit for 30 minutes both upside-down and upright. 3) Flush hot PBW solution out of keg and through draft box. 4) Rinse each keg with hot water thoroughly, twice. 5) Flush hot rinse water out of keg and through draft box. 6) Fill each keg with cold water and sanitation solution. 7) Let keg sit for 10 minutes both upside-down and upright. 8 ) Flush cold sanitary solution out of keg and through draft box. 9) Now both kegs and draft box are clean, sanitary, and ready to be used. By this point it was magically 10:30 some how. Looks like the night was going to be longer than planned, but at least things were going well.

kegweb2.jpgNext it was time to transfer the beer and then to carbonate it. I guess old habits die hard, because even though I was kegging I was still planning on “stealing” a 6 pack of beer from each keg. Originally I thought I may be able to just set up the siphon with the bottling wand attached to the end and siphon directly to the bottles. Well, that didn’t work. Not that big of a deal, I just siphoned it into a pre-sanitized bottling bucket instead. Of course I didn’t know exactly how much a 6 pack of beer was going to be, so I pulled off like 3/4 of a gallon, which was a bit too much. The other thing I had to figure out was how to prime the bottles for carbonation. Fortunately I had planned ahead and bought a pack of Cooper’s Carbonation Drops. Supposedly these cough drop looking things are the perfect amount of priming sugar for on 12 oz. bottle. I have never used them, nor do I know anyone that has, so we’ll have to see what the results are. They tasted just like rock candy.


After the bottles, I could finally do what I’ve been wanting to do the whole night – actually keg the beer. I think I did everything right and pretty much kept my fingers crossed the whole time. I forgot how much sediment and debris can be left behind from dry-hopping, so whenever those first pints are pulled someone may get a slightly chunkier beer, oh well. The first beer I kegged was the Oaked C-Hop Pale Ale (I know incredibly original name). This was the beer that I had all sorts of trouble with on brew day. It has taken to just recently for it to finally clear and it was brewed back in March. But like I said before, there was a little bit too much beer taken for the bottles so there was enough for me to taste. And let me tell you, I was pleased. It is a very traditional West Coast Pale Ale style beer with a nice little bit of bite and nose from the oak to keep it interesting. I think this one is going to go on first and I bet it will go fast. The other beer I kegged was the SAW Pale Ale (I know another incredibly fascinating name). This beer is almost overwhelmingly over hopped. To me it’s good, to some it may be too much. It has tons of Simcoe, Amarillo, and Warrior hops in it so it’s picking up an intense-mellow bitter back-bone from the Warrior and Simcoe, and crazy flavor (think: orange juice) from the Amarillo and some depth from the Simcoe. I think it may be a hit or miss as far as a crowd pleaser, but I think those that do like it will really like it.

After that it seemed to be easy street. I hooked the CO2 up to both kegs (thanks again, Garrett, for letting me borrow some equipment!), dialed in the regulator, and it was a total set it and forget it moment. Supposedly after three days these bad boys will be already to go and I can start this whole process all over again, this time kegging the Hazelnut Brown and the Wit. After janitorial duties I finally went back upstairs to call it a night. When I looked at the clock it was almost 1AM! How did that happen? I really need to get a clock down in the basement, it’s like freakin’ Vegas down there.

2 Responses to “First Kegging Experience”

  1. eric Says:

    i feel like i may be a little late to this, but still want to congratulate you on your first kegging. Its been a few years since you wrote this post, are you still kegging? learned any new techniques. hope you got the gauge on the regulator fixed for a decent price, that could add up and be very irritating.

  2. Brian Says:

    Hey Eric, thanks. Yup, still kegging, no, no new techniques per say, just a more efficient approach at this point I suppose. Actually, I did get the guage fixed at a reasonable price, but maybe a year ago the adjustment screw on the regulator froze and then broke. I had the whole thing taken apart to be fixed, but no one really wanted to get into it, oh well.

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