If you brew beer you should probably be kegging since the increased efficiency makes life so much easier, making it more likely for you to actually take the time to brew your own.
When I first started brewing beer I was in high school. I don’t imagine that there were many other high school students who instead of being net consumers from their parents liquor cabinets saw the roles reversed. That suited me fine since while I like a drink or two, getting drunk has never been my style and I needed the beer consumed so I could try another batch.
At that point I was putting my beer in plastic PET beer bottles. That made sense since I was a poor student and I don’t imagine my parents would have been into having another fridge or freezer to keep kegs chilled with the bottles could easily go into the fridge door.
After getting my own place it wasn’t long before I took up kegging. Used 5 gallon soda kegs – particularly the seconds that I purchased were cheap. At $20 they were about the same price as 5 gallons worth of bottles. Sure I needed to add the CO2 tank, regulator, hoses and fittings but those added only slightly more than a hundred dollars more to the total. Toss in a used chest freezer and a temperature controller and I added another $100 to the cost.
So for a total cost of about $300 I secured a start-up for four kegs. What I got was a whole lot of efficiency.
My cleaning routine with the kegs is much simpler than with the bottles, and I can clean a bunch of kegs at once, close them up and have them ready to fill when it is time to rack the beer in.
The rest of the process is simply one of racking the beer from the carboy into the keg and pressurizing with CO2. Fast, simple and none of the mess associated with trying to get beer into the bottles, which all ways saw me spill beer no mater what fancy gadgets on the siphon I tried.
By making the brewing process so much more efficient I find myself continuing to brew in spite of having a lot more on the go. In fact, I still face the same challenge that I did in high school – getting the beer consumed quickly enough so that I can try the next couple of batches on my list.
So if you happen to be in the neighborhood maybe you can stop by to help me make room in my kegs for the next brew.
As a side note, the best place I’ve found for used kegs and the associated kit is Adventures in Homebrewing. Their offerings are great, service spotless and their prices are awesome. All of my kegs have been in sound condition and I’ve chosen the ones that they advertise as being the most dented and dinged! The good news… they still have used soda kegs – they will probably dry up sometime but if you drink beer and either brew now or want to then now is the time to pick them up.