Hands on Review: AMCYL Ball Lock Kegs!

AMCYL manufacturers compressed gas cylinders, kegs and brewing equipment.

According to AMCYL, as of this posting, their kegs are made of food grade 304 stainless and are NSF approved. They produce both sanke and ball lock style kegs. Their ball lock kegs are available in 2.5, 3 and 5 gallon sizes and come in single and double handle versions. This is a hands on look at the double rubber handle 5 gallon keg.

Hands on Review AMCYL Ball Lock Kegs

Here’s the box. This particular keg is showing as part # CK-N5-DRH-INX. Capacity 5 Gallons. Made in India.A look at the seam side of the keg. Generally speaking the body of a keg is cut from a sheet of stainless steel. A rectangle is bent into a cylinder and then welded. This vertical line is that weld.Close up of the T, where the vortical weld meets the top most weld.Top down view

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.


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Close up of the keg imprint. Model No. K2009(20. Max Capacity: 5 Gallons. Mad in India. Part # CK-N5-DRH-INX. Imported by AMCYL, LTD. 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.A look at where the top handle connects to the keg body. This also shows you a look at the top most weld.A closer look at the stainless keg body. This keg has more of a matte finish compared to a polished finish on something like an AEB keg.A look at the bottom of the keg. It’s nice and beefy. It did have a film on it. That wiped off easily enough.


Related: DuoTight Ball Lock QDs – lower clearance to allow double handle kegs to stack


A side view of the bottom of the keg. These notches are designed to allow for airflow. That’s a great thing. You can also get a good look at the bottom most weld.A look at one of the keg postsThis keg features 6 point 11/16″ posts. See: Hands on Review: “Ball Lock Keg Wrench” – 11/16″+7/8″ Ratcheting WrenchThe lid. Reads Maximum Working Pressure 130 PSI. Reminder… never exceed rated pressures on any component in your system.

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?The lid on my keg was…tight.  You can see the keg lid feet scuffing the top of the keg. I would rather have it too tight than too loose. My guess is that over time these will loosen up a little so the lid is easier to get on. The scuff is just plastic and can be cleaned off.Underside of the lidI’m not sure if you can pick it up, but the posts on this keg are slightly angled. My guess is that this is not a build quality issue, that it’s by design and related to the angle that the straight dip tube needs to be to hit the center of the keg. But, I will say that it looks a little wonky. No real effect on the function of the keg, just something I would normally expect to be straight.Like a lot of kegs these days, This AMCYL keg features universal poppets. Related: Universal Poppet Tips & TrickSince 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.Upgrading o-ringsGreen Gas O-Ring installed. Functionally, these are identical to the blue, gray and black options. But “Green for Gas” is meant to be a quick reminder so you can identify these.Blue Liquid Out O-Ring Installed. “Blue for Beer”Since doing my keg reguild post Valuebrew has introduced a second custom color scheme options. Gray and Black o-rings. As the picture indicates these are designed to match standard gray and black keg QDs.  These have become standard colors on ball lock, pin lock (usually the bottom portion of the QD) and even recently released Kegland QDs (center portion).A look inside the keg. You can see the straight liquid out dip tube. Some of the welds on this keg are less than A+ in my opinion, but the inside is where it really counts. and this looks great.AMCYL’s double rubber handle ball lock keg!

AMCYL Keg Dimensions

  • Dual Handle 5 Gallon Ball Lock – 8.50″ diameter x 25″ height < the keg reviewed in this post
  • Dual Handle 3 Gallon Ball Lock – 8.75″ diameter x 16″ height
  • Single Strap Handle 5 Gallon Ball Lock – 8.75 diameter x 25.5″ height
  • Single Strap Handle 3 Gallon Ball Lock – 8.75″ diameter x 16.25″ height
  • Single Strap Handle 2.5 Gallon Ball Lock – 8.75″ diameter x 14.25″ height

Conclusions

This is a good quality keg. I really like that it’s NSF certified. It does have a couple fit and finish issues as outlined in this review. Those are cosmetic and shouldn’t affect the function of these kegs in every day use. Like many things, your decision on which keg to buy will probably be influenced by cost vs quality and features. At the right price, these are a great option.

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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.

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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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