There are many advantages to kegging your beer. It can be ready to drink faster with forced carbonation (with help from carbonation stones). More control over precise levels of carbonation. No more guess work that may come with natural carbonation. It can also be a time saver without having to sanitize, fill and cap many, many bottles of a batch of beer. Just one container and you're all set.
Equipment & Supplies:
- Cornelius (Corny) style keg
- 6 ft - 3/16" Inner Diameter (I.D.) Bevlex Beverage Line
- 4 ft - 5/16" Inner Diameter (I.D.) Ultraflex CO2 Gas Line
- Gas-In (White) Quick Disconnect
- Beverage-Out (Black) Quick Disconnect
- Handheld Faucet, Pass-Through Faucet or Beer Tower
- CO2 Tank - 5 lbs, 10 lbs or 20 lbs
- CO2 Regulator
- Refrigerator (or Chest Freezer with Temperature Controller)
- Powdered Brewery Wash (Five Star PBW)
- Star San Sanitizer (Five Star)
- Faucet Brush
- Deluxe Faucet Wrench
You May Also Need:
- Keg Lube
- Replacement Keg O-Ring Sets
- Replacement Universal Poppets
- Replacement Gas / Beverage Posts
- Manifold (Gas Distributors for Mulit-Tap Setup)
- Carbonation Lid (with .5 Micron Carbonation Stone)
The Cornelius Keg
Cornelius (Corny) kegs are made from stainless steel and are designed to hold up to 60 PSI (pounds per square inch) of pressure. Most commonly found kegs are made to hold 5 gallons of liquid. There are some other smaller volume kegs available (2.5 Gallon & 3 Gallon) for those who brew in smaller sizes or like to split batches.
Anatomy of a Keg
- The Keg -- The bare body of the keg holds the liquid and made of stainless steel. The top has an opening for the lid, threaded connections for the gas posts, and typically handle(s).
- The Lid -- This oval piece fits through the opening of the top of the keg, with legs to prevent from falling past the opening. Typically they feature a pressure relief valve in the center of the part. Keg lids are interchangeable between other kegs (unless it is a less common keg like the "racetrack" lid). A large keg o-ring always accompanies the keg lid when putting in place. *Note: The legs of the keg are not there to hold the lid in place for a seal. Lids can only be sealed by applying pressure to the keg. This will seat the lid in place, only then should the legs be snapped into place.
- The "Gas-In" Post (Body Connect) -- This is the part that the White Gas-In Quick Connect fits on. The fitting is commonly identified by having either a star pattern and/or has marks along the base of the post. Usually required for removal or tightening, is a 7/8" or 11/16" wrench.
- The "Beverage-Out" Post (Body Connect) -- This is the part that the Black Beverage-Out Quick Disconnect fits on. This will not have the star pattern or hash marks for identifying. Just plain.
- Universal Poppet -- Inside of each post requires a poppet. These are spring loaded and the part that allows either gas in or the beer out when the Quick Disconnects are attached to the posts (body connects). They sit on top of the tip tube flanges for each Gas / Beverage side.
- Gas-In Dip Tube -- Typically 1 to 2 inch in length, these are stainless steel short tubes that form a seal with the help of a small o-ring which slides into the keg body through the threaded connections also used for the posts. This is how gas enters the keg.
- Beverage-Out Dip Tube -- These are on the opposite side to the gas. These are longer dip tubes which reach close to the bottom of the keg for when the liquid is pushed out. They too help form a seal with help of a small o-ring above the threaded connections where the beverage post is connected. Made of stainless steel and can either be curved or straight.
- O-Rings -- There are 5 o-rings on each Cornelius keg. One for the lid, two for each post (body connect), and two for each dip tube. O-rings will occasionally need replacing if the keg was used for something other than beer if there is a noticeable odor (usually soda). Periodically it is a good idea every couple years after that, depending on usage and storage. We also recommend using keg lube whenever possible with o-rings, this helps prevent the o-rings from cracking and also make putting the quick disconnects onto the keg easier.
- Completely disassemble the keg by taking off the posts (body connects), dip tubes, o-rings, keg lid, etc and put all the these fittings into a solution of PBW (Powdered Brewery Wash) and warm water to soak.
- If the keg is dirty from previous use or has any leftover residue, use some brewery cleaner such as PBW and some warm water and fill to at least half way. (Mixture instructions for PBW included with product.)
- Use a soft scrub pad, brush, or cloth (not steel wool) to clean the inside and outside of the keg, paying close attention to the areas that are hidden to ensure cleaned thoroughly.
- Clean and inspect all pieces such as o-rings, poppets, posts, etc, for signs of wear and tear or breakage. Replace if needed.
- Drain the keg. Rinse of keg as well as all small parts.
- Reassemble the keg.
- Fill the keg completely with a sanitizing solution. We recommend Star San. Follow the directions for dilution for the sanitizer you use.
- Let the sanitizer sit in the keg for recommended contact time (typically two minutes for Star San).
- Put the lid in a separate bowl filled with sanitizing solution and let sit as well.
- Once lid has soaked for required time, put into the filled keg and close it so that it is sealed correctly.
- Flip the closed and sealed keg over and let sit for an additional 1-2 minutes. This will allow the sanitzier to reach all areas inside the keg including dip tubes.
- Drain the keg. When using "no-rinse" sanitizers, such as Star San, foam that is left behind will not impart any flavours or orders. Don't fear the foam! You can drain the keg either by: a) Opening the keg and setting it upside-down for 5-10 Minutes. b) Siphoning the sanitizer out with a siphoning set-up. c) Pushing the sanitizer out with CO2. This is the recommended way as will sanitize serving lines as well as fill the keg with CO2 rather than air.