Category Archives: Top Posts

How Often Should I Clean My Kegerator Beer Lines?

Clean kegerator lines are a key part of serving delicious beer. Bacteria and mineral build in lines can cause off flavors, quick loss of head, under-carbonated beer due to rapid co2 loss and lack of legs forming on the inside of your beer glass.

How Often Should I Clean My Beer Lines?

The Draught Quality Beer Manual says… every two weeks.

That recommendation is for a commercial operation.  What about homebrewers?  We serve far fewer beer on our kegerators, but on the other hand, we can have been on tap and in lines 24 hours a day and 7 days a week.  Considering all of this, my recommendation is to clean home kegerator beer lines every 1 to 2 months.

Line Cleaning Options

Our Line Cleaning Builds:

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Using a CO2 Detector in Your Kegerator

INKBIRD WiFi Indoor Air Quality Monitor, CO2 Detector, Accurate NDIR Sensor, Temperature and Relative Humidity, Indoor CO2 Meter with Data Logger, for Cars, Wine Cellars, Grow Tents, Homes (INK-CO2W).Pictured: INKBIRD WiFi Indoor Air Quality Monitor, CO2 Detecto

Losing a tank of CO2 because of leak is frustrating. It’s a waste of time and money. Adding a CO2 monitor can help warn you of leaks minimizing loss, wasted money, wasted time and frustration.

A CO2 Monitor Alarm in Your Kegerator

Placing a CO2 Monitor with alarm inside of your kegerator can serve as another line of defense to protect against co2 leaks and loss. CO2 should not be building up in your kegerator. A CO2 monitor with alarm can alert you of this condition.

Options with WiFi and a companion app are nice because you can get notifications on your compatible phone.

Beyond CO2 Levels…

Some models display additional information that can be helpful information about your kegerator. These vary model to model and can sometime include temperature and humidity.

  • Temperature – monitor your kegerator temperature
  • Humidity – Help judge whether your Eva Dry (or similar) needs recharged for the purpose of handling excess kegerator and fermentation chamber wetness.  See: Damp Kegerator? Fix Kegerator Condensation

Not A Replacement for Checking for Leaks…

A do not consider a CO2 alarm as replacement for thoroughly checking for and addressing leaks. Rather this is another layer that could save you a trip to swap out a CO2 tank.

The Biggest Trouble Spot

Color coded post o-rings. From our Keg Rebuild Post – Jump To: Replace O-Rings

In my opinion the most difficult spot to check and the cause of many a lost CO2 tanks are… gas post o-rings.

Testing at this point using the “spray bottle method” (spray Star San everywhere and check for bubbles) is impossible or at the very least difficult and messy.  Leaks will only surface here when a gas QD is actually engaged.  The problem is, you can’t easily see that spot when a QD is on.

The problem stated more simply… You need a QD on to see if it’s leaking, but you can’t see it if a QD is on. You can use what I call the pressure gauge method to check for overall leaks. But even using that method you know that you have a leak but it gives no indication where it’s at.

Be quick to replace gas side o-rings… I’m quick to replace gas post (and gas dip tube) o-rings. Beyond slow and no-carbing beers, a bad gas side o-ring can lead to empty tanks. That’s a waste of time and money and it’s frustrating.

These o-rings cost pennies each when you buy them in bulk. Liberally replacing these can save time, money and frustration.

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The Most Difficult Spot to Check for CO2 Leaks

hard to find keg co2 leak

If you’ve found this article odds are pretty good you’re having trouble tracking down a pesky leaks.

Check for CO2 Leaks

First things first, if you haven’t already used traditional methods to try to track down your leak, check out my resources on the topic.

The Most Difficult Spot to Check for CO2 Leaks…

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Are Used Kegs Running Out??

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.

Homebrewers have since re-purposed these as homebrew beer kegs.



Are Used Kegs Running Out?

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Craft Cleaning Chart – Contact Times, Dosage, Temperate and More for Star San, PBW and lots more

Resource Posts on PBW and Star San

I have resource posts on Star San and PBW that have loads of information, tips & tricks.

Star San and PBW Tips and Tricks

About Star San

Star San is my homebrew sanitizer of choice.  When mixed properly, it’s food safe and no rinse.  Required contact time is five minutes.  It has worked very well for me for quite some time and I’m convinced that it’s one of the most economical solutions available if you’re using the “Spray Bottle Method” outlined here.



About PBW

Five Star Chemicals PBW – Powder Brewery Wash – is my go-to brewery cleaner. It is a non-hazardous buffered alkaline brewery cleaner and it… works great.



Five Star’s Craft Cleaning Chart PDF…

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Fun with Carbonation Caps!

Carbonation caps are available in a number of styles and materials from various manufacturers. These are generally designed to thread into standard 1L and 2L PET bottles.

Sourcing a Carbonation Cap

FERRODAY Stainless Steel Carbonation Cap Forced Carbonation PET Bottle Filling 5/16 Barb CO2 Coupling to Carbonate Soda Beer Stainless Steel PET Bottle Carbonation Cap + O-ring + GasketWorks with both liquid and gas (double check current specs to confirm) – Ferroday Stainless Carbonation Cap Counter Pressure Bottle Filling With 5/16″ Barb – Hands on Review

Tee Fittings

These caps along with tee fittings have proven to be very flexible. Here are some application ideas…

PET Bottles as Growlers:

Fill up a 1L or 2L PET bottle with your favorite homebrew.  Put one of these on (purge the headspace by squeezing if you want to) and then pressurize for transport.  This should help to reduce oxygen pickup and maintain carbonation levels.

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What’s The Difference? Comparing AEB and AMCYL Ball Lock Kegs!

AEB and AMCYL manufacturer ball lock kegs, also called soda pre-mix tanks. Homebrewers use these for beer, cider and seltzer. Coffee shops use them for cold brew, Kombucha makers use them for kombucha and on and on.

A common question I see, or directly hear, is… what’s the difference between AMCYL and AEB?  It’s a great question. Both make new ball lock kegs, both go by abbreviated company names and both start with…. A.  Maybe they’re the same? This write up aims to answer the question and will give you a complete run down of what’s the same and what’s different.

Hands on Reviews of Both:

This post will give an overview of each keg with comparisons. If you want a deep dive into either one, I have in depth hands on reviews of both kegs.

AEB vs AMCYL Kegs, Compared…

Important Note: In this comparison, when two kegs are pictured, AEB kegs will always be on the left an AMCYL kegs will be on the right.

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Homebrew Keg Post Thread Size Reference

cln_img_3027It can be tough tracking down the right 

Keg Type Gas Post Size – Thread Liquid Post Size – Thread Product Link

  • Cornelius Spartan 19/32″ – 18 19/32″ – 18
  • Cornelius R (Pin Lock) 19/32″ – 18 (2 Pin) 19/32″ – 18 (3 Pin)
  • Firestone A (Pin Lock) 9/16″ – 18 (2 Pin) 9/16″ – 18 (3 Pin)
  • Firestone R (Pin Lock) 9/16″ – 18 (2 Pin) 9/16″ – 18 (3 Pin)
  • Firestone Challenger 11/16″ – 18 3/4″ – 18
  • Firestone Super Challenger 9/16″ – 18 5/8″ – 18
  • Firestone V Challenger 9/16″ – 18 5/8″ – 18
  • Firestone VI Challenger 9/16″ – 18 5/8″ – 18
  • John Wood 85 11/16″ – 18 3/4″ – 18
  • John Wood RA (Pin Lock) 9/16″ – 18 (2 Pin) 9/16″ – 18 (3 Pin)
  • John Wood RC (Pin Lock) 9/16″ – 18 (2 Pin) 9/16″ – 18 (3 Pin)
  • Super Champion 19/32″ – 18 19/32″ – 18
  • AEB Kegs 19/32” – 18 19/32″ – 18

Thanks to Keg Outlet for this information. They carry many of these options.

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Kegerator Draft Line Cleaning Options!

Clean kegerator lines are a key part of serving delicious beer. Bacteria and mineral build in lines can cause off flavors, quick loss of head, under-carbonated beer due to rapid co2 loss and lack of legs forming on the inside of your beer glass.

How Often Should I Clean My Beer Lines?

The Draught Quality Beer Manual says… every two weeks.

That recommendation is for a commercial operation.  What about homebrewers?  We serve far fewer beer on our kegerators, but on the other hand, we can have been on tap and in lines 24 hours a day and 7 days a week.  Considering all of this, my recommendation is to clean home kegerator beer lines every 1 to 2 months.

Line Cleaning Options

Our Line Cleaning Builds:

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Keg O-Ring Materials Selection! – EPDM, Silicone and Buna-N?

See More About O-Rings in our Keg Rebuild Post – Jump To: Replacing O-Rings

Selecting the Right Material for Keg O-Rings

I would venture a guess that Silicone and Buna-N are the two most commonly used compounds for keg o-rings. EPDM, which has been the choice of professionals for a long time, is probably a distant third, but coming on strong since they’ve become more accessible to homebrewers.

This post is going to take a look at all three, with the goal of helping your choose the right material for your application.

But first things first, let’s talk about food safe materials…

Food Safe Materials for Keg O-Rings?

Most of the o-rings that are marketed to homebrewers do not claim to be food safe.

In my experience, it’s extremely difficult to find offerings that claim to be safe for food contact.  Maybe some of the o-rings that are available are food safe, but very few are actually labeled as such.

But why?  One possible reason… they aren’t food safe.  Beyond that, one industry insider I spoke with said suppliers have a potential problem with fulfillment.  Since many options and materials are available, It’s difficult for some distributors or sellers to guarantee you’re getting a food safe option.

  • Just because an o-ring is marketed for use in a keg doesn’t automatically mean that the materials and production processes used are food safe.
  •  If you think about it from a random supplier or manufacturer’s perspective… they don’t know what you’re putting in your keg, maybe it’s not even food.  The problem that we, as homebrewers, have is is… beer is food and meant for human consumption.
  • You cannot say all o-rings made from [fill in material here] are food safe.  Certain quality standards and processes are required.

One notable supplier features all food safe o-ring offerings.

Generally speaking, food safe o-rings may cost a little more, but, we’re, generally, only talking a few cents per o-ring.  It’s worth it.

If you’re using your keg for anything food related (beer=food)… My recommendation is to purchase o-rings made out of material safe for food contact.

Compound Selection – Comparing EPDM, Silicone and Buna-N

Terminology

  • Compression Set Resistance – A measurement of the ability of a substance to return to it’s original thickness after long term compression.
  • Compressibility – How well can a material compress to make a quality seal? This is related to hardness, but practically it’s not exactly the same thing. Most keg o-rings are the same hardness, 70A, yet we see Silicone sealing better than Buna-N.
  • Permeability – How well can well can air or oxygen transverse a compound. This is measured in different ways, I’m going to generalize labeling materials excellent or good.
  • Typical Durometer – A measurement of the hardness of a material

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Our Huge Collection of DuoTight and EVABarrier Resources!

duotight evabarrier reviewKegland’s DuoTight Fittings are designed to work with EVABarrier Double Wall Tubing.  They offer quick, reliable connections, easy implementation, a variety of fitting options and feature amazing versatility.  They’re also, generally speaking, very well priced.  DuoTights are push to connect fittings and require no tubing clamps.

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Cleaning Multiple Kegerator Lines at the Same Time

Regularly cleaning beer lines is an important part of serving tasty beer from your kegerator. Homebrewers use a number of methods to accomplish this from removing tubing to soak in cleaning and sanitizing solutions to DYI pumps to commercial solutions.


Limited Time Deal:

Stainless steel ball lock jumper from Valuebrew. This works with both gas and liquid QDs. That means you can jump from keg line to keg line for cleaning and also hook up to the liquid side of your keg to purge with CO2 from the top to the bottom.

These also feature Valuebrew’s Food Grade Silicone Post O-Rings. Blue are pictured, but color can vary.

Valuebrew has generally struggled keeping things in stock and they’ve… specifically struggled to keep these in stock. As of this posting, these are in stock and on sale. Beyond the discounted price, you can add a second jumper on for even less.

Valuebrew is offering a pack of two jumpers and 25 replacement o-rings for $32.97. Coupon code JUMP discounts the combo by a whopping 32%.

Double Jumper Special! < note that you must use this link along with coupon code JUMP to get the deal, the standard product will not get you the discount


I have a number of builds/mods for cleaning and flushing lines…

Also: Hands on Review: Kegland Ball Lock Cleaning Kit

Saving Time by Cleaning Multiple Lines

Being able to clean multiple lines at the same time is a big time saver. In years past this would have involved stringing together multiple fittings or partially disassembling your setup.

For ball lock keg users – Ball Lock vs Pin Lock – there is an easy solution available that allows you to clean multiple lines at the same time with minimal effort.

Valuebrew Stainless Steel Ball Lock JumpersHands on Review

This allows you to connect multiple ball lock kegerator runs by simply snapping them into the jumper. There are a few similar models available. Valuebrew’s features stainless steel construction, food grade o-rings and… it works with both gas and liquid QDs.

Here’s the jumper in action. I’ve tried this with both my Recirculating Draft Line Cleaning Pump and Simple Ball Lock Draft Line Flushing Setup

Two lines being flushed by my Simple Ball Lock Draft Line Flushing Setup – keep in mind this particular build is pump free, this is happening all under CO2 pressure

This makes connecting two lines very simple. Connect the two ball lock lines and push cleaning solution through one of your faucets.

How about 3 or more lines?  The QD side is easy, you’ll need 1 jumper for 2 lines, 2 jumpers for 3 lines and so on.  For the faucet side, you need to cut a small piece of tubing to jump between faucets as needed. Keep in mind that each line you add increases resistance. Your pump may do great with two or three lines, but as you add lines, it will have to work harder.

Flushing Lines with CO2: This jumper allows you to connect liquid AND gas lines. That means you can flush lines with CO2 to push out any remaining cleaner or sanitizer and purge O2. Cleaned > Rinsed > Sanitized, Dried  and Purged lines! Make sure to use a low pressure that’s compatible with all components in your system if you do this.

Check Current Price & Availability:

Ball Lock Jumpers – via Valuebrew

How About Pin Lock and Sanke Setups?

KOMOS® Draft Line Cleaning Coupler

This a male beer thread jumper. You would unthread tail pieces and use these jumpers to connect lines together. This is a bit more work that the ball lock jumper for ball lock setups and it wouldn’t include all of your faucets, but it’s a good choice of you use pin lock or sanke connections.

KOMOS® Draft Line Cleaning Coupler – via MoreBeer

Draft Line Cleaning Solutions and Sanitizers

All Our Builds & Related Resources

Keg Deals!

keg deals

Rebuild Your Kegs!

More Homebrew Finds!

Recent Deals!

10 Most Recent Homebrew Resource Posts & How-To’s!

We are Homebrew Review HQ!  Our 10 Most Recent Reviews

Also: Kegerator Tips & Gear | Keg Repair Part #s | Recent Keg Finds

Our Top Draft Resources!

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. top:cleanmultiple tag:tpr

Why Do I Have Bubbles in My Beer Line? Diagnosing and Fixing Kegerator Foam Problems

Thanks to u/Procrastinator548 on Reddit for this photo

Got Bubbles?

Bubbles in your beer line can point to a several potential problems. These problems can lead to small bubbles… foam or larger CO2 bubbles breaking out of solution. These issues can occur at different points in your kegerator. The point at which they occur and specific behaviors can help us to track down the problem.

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Three Top Tips for Keezer Conversions!

keezer conversion tipsChest freezers are great. They’re generally well priced and they’re space and energy efficient and can be easily had.

The primary idea with a chest freezer is to… freeze food. Also referred to as Deep Freezes, most models do not go through a defrost cycle. That’s a bummer come manual defrost time but outstanding for energy savings and food preservation.


Side note… Because of the lack of a defrost cycle, chest freezers are great for storing hops – our hop deals roundup


Many people including myself have repurposed chest freezers as kegerators or “keezers”.

What does Keezer mean?  Keezer = kegerator + freezer.

To do the conversion you basically add a compatible temp controller – Inkbird deals and reviews – that will allow you to operate a chest freezer at fridge temps.  After that add some taps, maybe a collar, some kegs and a CO2 tank and you’re off and going!

The problem: Chest freezers are generally meant to operate at freezing temperatures, not beer serving temps. This causes issues with condensation and airflow. Left unhandled these issues can cause other problems, like sanitation issues.

Through several iterations of my own keezer, I’ve experienced all of these problems. I have a library of tips and resources that specifically apply to serving draft beer, but these are the top three when it comes to keezer conversions.

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Mason Jars For Homebrew Ingredient Storage, Yeast Starters and More

You can use Mason jars to store hops, grain, yeast slurry and more. Fermentation lids are also available to convert these to be easily used for yeast starters. And, of course, you can serve your beer and other drinks in a one of these. Mason jars generally economical, reusable, oxygen impermeable and you can easily see the contents.

Jar Sizes

A variety of manufacturers make Mason Jars. Ball, Knorr and more. There are two standard sizes regular and wide mouth. This is important when it comes to attachments and lids as these must be size compatible.

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Five Benefits of Using Corny Kegs As Fermenters

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.

Homebrewers have since re-purposed these as homebrew beer kegs. It makes sense. These high quality stainless steel beverages that are meant for years of commercial food use. They’re also tough, can be had for cheap and are easy to move around.

What if someone said there was a pressure capable, heavy duty stainless steel fermenter that could be had for 50 bucks or so?

Great news…. kegs make great fermenters! Same high quality, stainless steel construction, toughness and easy portability, but this time used for fermentation.


Lots More About Kegs


But First, How Do you Convert a Keg to a Fermenter?

One issue needs to be addressed to convert kegs into fermenters… handling CO2 produced by fermentation. Kegs are generally designed to be airtight. Fermentation requires that we allow excess CO2 to escape.  I can think of three options…

  1. A blow-off tube. Remove the gas post or gas post poppet and get use tight fitting tubing to route CO2 to a container of sanitizer.
  2. Use a converted lid to add a stopper and airlock See: Cornelius Keg Fermenter Lid via Adventures in Homebrewing
  3. Use a Spunding Valvesome of the technique and tricks mentioned in this post rely on a Spunding Valve

Keg Fermenter Sizing

A five gallon keg isn’t really suitable for a primary fermenter for a 5 gallon batch.  You could use it as a secondary for a full 5 gallon batch, as a primary fermenter for smaller batches (maybe 3 to 4 gallons max) or you could split 5 gallon batches between two kegs.

There is a 6 gallon keg available that should allow you to ferment a 5 gallon batch.

10 and 15 gallon size ball locks have become readily available at relatively reasonable prices. A 10 gallon keg could easily accommodate a full 5 gallon batch (up to 7 or 8 gallons) while a 15 gallon keg should be able to easily handle a 10 gallon batch (up to 12 or 13 gallons).

Five Unique Benefits to Using Converted Keg Fermenter!

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How Much Pressure is Required to Seal Homebrew Keg Lids?

How much pressure is required to seal a corny keg lid?

But, First… The Anatomy of a Homebrew Keg Lid

From my keg rebuild post. With just replaced lid o-ring.  This is silicone.

Standard homebrew keg lids are compromised of these general components…

  • The main lid body. This is an oval shaped piece usually made from stainless steel that has a lip on on edge to hold an o-ring in place.
  • The lid o-ring. This is an appropriately spec’d gasket that is required to enable a seal. I recommend replacing these yearly or at the very most every other year.
  • The bail. This heavy duty wire flips back and forth to engage and disengage the lid. Depending on the design, the bail can also be used to hang the lid from a post when not in use.
  • Keg lid feet. These go on the end of each side of the bail. It’s important that these are in good shape. These provide back pressure against the top of the keg to seat the o-ring and lid in place. They also protect the top of the keg from getting scratched by the bail.
  • The PRV. The pictured lid is a ball lock style lid. the PRV is manual (and automatic). It’s located in the center of the lid and has a pull tab on it. A pin lock style lid is a little different when it comes to PRV. Those typically have automatic venting only. Ball lock style lids are preferable, in my opinion, and the two styles are generally interchangeable. See: What’s the Difference Between Ball Lock Kegs and Pin Lock Kegs? for more on this topic.

Keep Reading! Test Results & More

Make Your Own Hard Seltzer!

make your own hard seltzerHard seltzers are easy drinking and easy to make. They’re typically light in flavor and body and easy to drink.

Hard Seltzer Kits!

Lots More About Hard Seltzer!