The Loving Care and Feeding of Homebrew Kegs

on 27/02/14 at 12:35 pm

Beer

imagesIf you keg your homebrew, you probably use repurposed soda kegs (a.k.a. Corny kegs).  Although a good rinse with cleaning solution will sometimes do the trick, sooner or later you’ll want to break down your kegs to clean them fully, replace malfunctioning poppet valves, and swap out O-rings. Keg maintenance is very easy once you know how, and you can usually work it in alongside your other homebrew cleaning chores.

What you’ll need

The most critical piece of equipment is a wrench, but if only it were so simple! Homebrew kegs come in both ball-lock and pin-lock varieties, and ball-lock posts come in different sizes with both 6 and 12 points.  To keep things simple, here’s all you really need to know:

  • Homebrewers who use ball-lock kegs should invest in 11/16” and 7/8” 12-point box wrenches. With these two wrenches, you can remove just about any ball-lock post you come across.

  • Homebrewers who use pin-lock kegs should purchase a special pin-lock post tool. The mechanically gifted may prefer to cut notches in a 13/16” 6-point hex deep socket.

You’ll also need the cleaning solution of your choice: PBW, One Step, and OxiClean will all do the trick. Avoid dish soap, though, because even small amounts of soap residue can destroy the head on your beer.

What to do

1. Prepare your cleaning solution.

2. Take off the lid, remove the large O-ring, and soak it in the cleaning solution.

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