Hands on Review: AEB Italian Made Ball Lock Kegs!

AEB has been manufacturing stainless steel drums, tanks and… kegs in their facility in Andalo Valtellino, Italy for over 30 years.

AEB leans hard into their Italian roots… “THE MADE IN ITALY IS OUR IDENTITY” can be seen plastered on their website in all caps. If I were to take a read on homebrewing, my read is that the general sentiment is that AEB kegs are among the highest quality kegs available to homebrewers. Just a guess and certainly a generalization.


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  • Shipping is flat rate, no matter how much you order, to US addresses
  • No coupon code required, discounted prices reflected on each product page.
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Both of these deals apply to brand new AEB and AMCYL Kegs! – remember coupon code HBF5OFF for the stacking deal

Also: Hands on Review: AMCYL Ball Lock Kegs


Hands on Review AEB Ball Lock Kegs

A look at the boxA.E.B. Made in Italy. AEB leans heavily on their Italian identity. That makes sense to me as I generally think Italian made = high quality. That’s a broad stroke, but my espresso machine was made in Italy and it’s amazing. So, fair or unfair, that’s where I’m at.Close up of the keg imprint. NSF P/N 29744PS, Max Capacity 5 GAL, Year 2020, A.E.B. Made in Italy, N 004420, Warning, Never Exceed Maximum Working Pressure of 130 PSI.

Tip: If you’re looking for replacement parts look for your keg’s imprint. It should show the manufacturer and model number.


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Closer look at the handle. Really nice looking stainless and rubber here.

Single Handle vs Double Handle: There are two main styles of keg handles – double rubber handles and single strap handles. I prefer double handles because… you’ve got two handles 🙂 and, more importantly, the even top means you can invert a keg to drain or dry and potentially stack kegs. Single strap handle kegs are tougher to invert, but they’re also generally a little less expensive.Related: DuoTight Ball Lock QDs – lower clearance to allow double handle kegs to stackA look at the base.  Again… looks great. These notches are designed to allow for airflow.A look at the bottom of the keg. So shiny you can see the reflection of my ring light.Top down viewThis has some imprints on the top of the keg designating IN and out posts.A look at the IN/gas post. See the notches at the bottom. That’s an indication this is a gas post.Out post imprintA look at the OUT/beer post – see… no notches. I have an upgrade I do to all my kegs to easily and quickly tell which post is which. Keep reading for more on that.Like other AEB kegs I have, this one has 7/8″ x 6 point posts. See: Hands on Review: Craftsman Deep Well Sockets for Ball Lock Keg Posts – for more about keg posts and toolsA look at the gas post & dip tube. Unlike a lot of the newer kegs this keg does not feature universal poppets. Related: Universal Poppet Tips & Tricks. The poppets are also… non-removable


AEB Poppets and Warranty

Most of the AEB kegs I’ve seen have permanently installed/non-removable poppets. There has been a general belief on the message boards that removing poppets voids AEB’s warranty.

Here’s what I found from AEB’s Keg Operating Instructions:

A.E.B. srl declines any liability for any damage caused by any change in the product or in parts of it made outside A.E.B. plant.

It doesn’t specifically talk about poppets, but I could sure fit those in that statement if I tried. I think that removing permanently installed poppets probably does void the warranty… of the poppets.

Permanently installed/non-removable poppets are not my favorite. I like to remove the innards for cleaning and sanitizing. But, look at the upside. AEB is making these commercial quality kegs so they can be used for soda distribution. Pepsi doesn’t need removable poppets and, frankly, I’m guessing they don’t want them. They have a machine that cleans and sanitizes kegs and would, probably, rather not lose poppets. Pre-mix soda doesn’t have hop and yeast trub.

So, the upside here is that this is an indication (at least to me) that these are meant to be heavy duty, commercial kegs meant for years of use.

Some Options:

  • Wait until the warranty period is up (usually 1 year) to replace OEM poppets you won’t be losing anything.
  • Use Mark’s Keg and Carboy Washer – That allows you to clean in place and should be able to thoroughly clean and sanitize non-removeable poppets.
  • Replace poppets with high quality replacements anyway!

Does all of this matter? In my opinion, not really. I just don’t think it’s a problem, the rest of the keg should still be under warranty and, I’m guessing, the vast majority of people are never ever going to file a warranty claim on these kegs. I personally will have no problem swapping these poppets out for high quality replacements in the near future.

Related: Removing Hard to Remove Poppets – Universal Poppet Tips & TricksHands On Review: Mark’s Keg and Carboy Washer


A look at the keg lid.

More About Keg Lids: One difference between Pin Lock and Ball Lock kegs is the type of lids that come with each.  Ball Locks, generally, have a manual PRV valve, while Pin Locks do not.  Ball Lock style lids are, in my opinion, superior because the manual PRV allows you to easily vent your keg as needed.  The good news is that, for standard kegs, the lids are the same size and can be interchanged.  That means you can use a Ball Lock style lid in a Pin Lock Keg.  See: What’s the Difference Between Ball Lock Kegs and Pin Lock Kegs?Closer Look at the PRV. Looks to be mostly metal, I’m guessing stainless steel. The imprint says maximum working pressure 130 PSI. Reminder: Never exceed rated pressure.This lid has a large enough bale that you can hang it from a post when not installed.Since doing my post on reconditioning kegs, I’ve gotten into the habit of immediately replacing all o-rings with Valuebrew Food Grade Gaskets. I use green and blue for the posts to make identification quick and easy… green = gas, blue = beer. It’s worth noting that this isn’t something you have to do, I prefer food grade silicone and the color-coding and I have these on hand since I picked them up in bulk. Very little cost on a per o-ring basis making these upgrades.High visibility blue for beer.High visibility green for gas.Replaced lid o-ring. Whammo!A look inside the keg. This is always a hard picture for me to take with regards to lightning, but this one turned out pretty well.  The inside looks beautiful.Great looking welds


AEB’s Laser Welds

From MoreBeer’s 2.5 Gallon AEB Keg Description:

The quality of these Italian-made cornelius kegs is undeniable. They are welded by laser under inert gas which means there are no nooks or crannies where bacteria can hide. They may cost more than kegs made in China but the quality difference is a perfect batch versus a ruined one. Quality is important because your beer may sit in these kegs for months. If bacteria gets into a bad weld they are going to very hard to kill.


Completing a Pressure Test with a DuoTight Gauge – Hands on DuoTight FittingsA look at this beautiful keg

Dimensions

The dimensions of this particular keg are 25″ Tall X 8.5″ Wide. Weighs 7.6 LBS empty

As far as the rest of the homebrew lineup here are the general dimensions and specs for AEB’s line of Ball Lock Kegs via Keg Outlet

Commercial Quality

The containers we call Ball Lock and Pin Lock Kegs come from the soda industry.  Also called Cornelius Kegs, Corny Kegs and Corney Kegs, they were originally intended to store and distribute soda pre-mix.  The big soda companies decided on different style containers for their pre-mix.  Pepsi landed on the Ball Lock style while Coke uses the Pin Lock style.

That’s an excerpt from my Ball Lock vs Pin Locks Post. The reason that I bring up this history is that AEB… still manufactures tanks for the soda industry. A lot of the kegs we use today, are manufactured for homebrewers to homebrewer standards. That’s great, that’s what we need. My point is that AEB is cranking these things out for commercial use. That means something.

Conclusions!

I’m guessing I’ve had 25 kegs go through my home brewery. Not that I have 25 now, I probably have a dozen. I’ve had shoddy kegs that needed bunches of parts, I’ve had kegs with lots of potential that needed to be rebuilt and I’ve had very nice kegs.

After taking a close look at a brand new AEB keg, I think what I would call the general consensus is correct. AEB is making the highest quality kegs out there.

This isn’t to say that some of the brands that we know and love aren’t great. There are some homebrew specific makers that are making outstanding kegs.

Final decisions often involve a balance of price, quality and features. If a slightly lower quality option is out there for significantly less, it’s probably worth it. As I write this, there are no longer any options for $60 to $70 new kegs. So, when it comes to making your choice, the price difference may be minimal or non-existent.

AEB is making high quality kegs that meet commercial requirements and deserve a hard look when your considering new kegs.

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Rebuild Your Kegs

A keg that I reconditioned (Left) next to this brand new AEB keg (Right)

Should I buy a New Keg or a Used Keg?

Used kegs are generally sourced from soda bottlers.  They are built with commercial use in mind and designed to last for many years of rough duty service.

Brand new ball locks may not be made to the same standards.  However… We also don’t generally put our kegs through the same abuse that a soda distributor would.

Not withstanding price.  I think both options are valid.  If you’re up for a little elbow grease and replacing a few parts, used may be the way to go, if you’re more interested in convenience brand new is a good choice.  Practically, at least as of this posting, I think price will cause many to go the used route.

Rebuild Your Used Kegs

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Special thanks to Keg Outlet for providing the keg used for evaluation in this review.

Price, promotions and availability can change quickly. Check the product page for current price, description and availability.

Make sure the components you use are compatible and rated for your intended application.  Contact manufacturer with questions about suitability or a specific application.  Always read and follow manufacturer directions.  review:aebkeg tag:tpr

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