Storing Unused Homebrew Kegs

homebrew keg storage

How do you store your homebrew kegs when not in use? I would say there are three ways that homebrewers typically store kegs.

  1. Closed and under pressure
  2. Closed and no pressure
  3. Open and no pressure

I’m going to go through each option with some pros and cons.

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Closed/No Pressure

Take a look at the picture above. That’s an AEB keg. It was sealed in March with no pressure. Brand new and clean in my temperature controlled basement. The picture above was taken after a 7 month test. The keg remained closed and in a temperature controlled environment the entire time. As you can see a good amount of condensation formed in spite of initially appearing dry.

I’m going to say that storing a keg closed without pressure is the worst way to store kegs. There is no way to ensure that the keg is free of moisture.

Closed Under Pressure

I haven’t personally noticed condensation issues when storing a pressurized keg. My guess is that the pressure makes condensation less likely.  I know this is a popular method for storing kegs with a main reason being… if it’s still under pressure when you go to use it, you can be sure it’s leak free. Some people take this a step further and sanitize before pressurizing, so the keg is “ready to go.”

This technique has some downsides in my opinion.

  1. This puts o-rings under un-needed constant compression. I know we want to believe keg o-rings are eternal, but they’re far from it. They get brittle and wear out – Related: How Often Should You Replace Keg O-Rings.
  2. I think this is a waste of CO2.  Yes, it’s not a huge amount of CO2, but it’s not a trivial amount either.
  3. When we do this, we’re also still potentially trapping some moisture in the keg.
  4. As far as sanitizer goes, I don’t want to have any dampness in my empty kegs, even if it’s sanitizer. The sanitizer is going to pool at the bottom and the sides and top will be mostly dry. I would much rather keg into a freshly sanitized keg with still wet surfaces and parts. Related: Star San Tips & Tricks

Open No Pressure

From my AEB Keg Review

I’ll make the case that this is the way to go. Clean, dry with the keg lid cracked open or hanging from a post. Air can get in, no trapped moisture and no CO2 needed. A quick rinse and sanitize and the keg is good to go. For kegs stored over a longer period of time a quick PBW soak, rinse and sanitize.

Star San Tips

Build a Simple Draft Line Flushing Setup

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Build a Recirculating Draft Line Cleaner

Rebuild Your Kegs!

Also Consider:

ball lock jumperStainless Steel Ball Lock Jumper with Food Grade Silicone O-Rings: Allows you to connect multiple ball lock runs to clean multiple lines and taps at the same time. Works with both liquid and gas QDs.  Stainless Steel Ball Lock Jumper – via Valuebrew – An easy add-on… food grade o-rings, featured in our Keg Rebuild Post

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