To say I love showing off my kegerator is probably a bit of an understatement. Much to my wife’s dismay it takes pride of place in our house. It tends to attract a bit of attention, particularly from Coles delivery guys who I am told ask my wife about it every week.
The question I get from my mates however that I am a bit sheepish to answer is ‘how much did it cost’. I would like to preface this blog article with the comment that I prefer to ‘buy once and buy right’. I’ve spent a large part of my youth buying the cheapest things I could get and I have always come to regret it. With this is mind, the kegerator was to be a long term purchase.
I got my kegerator from Craftbrewer. Picking it up required a friend with a ute and I am eternally grateful to my mate Geoff for doing so (and even without any promise of beer!). The whole package set me back $1600 which is more expensive than it could have been if I had gone barebones but which I don’t regret.
A major cost was the kegs themselves. The kegs are second hand and were previously used as soda kegs by the major soft drink companies. Unfortunately, they no longer produce these kegs for soda so as demand goes up and supply goes down, they are climbing in price. Each keg was $80 which was multiplied by 4 (3 for the beer on tap, 1 for beer waiting to go on tap). In hindsight I probably could have got 3 and would still be happy.
One part that was more expensive than I expected was the C02 bottle. Having bought gas cylinders in the past I mistakenly thought these would be cheap. $260 later and I had a very different opinion on how much these cost. In addition, the regulator set me back $105 which wasn’t cheap.
One of the costs incurred because of my ‘buy once, buy right’ policy related to the taps. My understanding is that Craftbrewer gets the fridge and taps from Keg King who import them from China. Doing a cursory internet search suggests the taps are woeful and will immediately cause you issues. When Craftbrewer receives them they take the taps off them and throw them in a big pile. They strongly encourage their customers to update the taps because they know they will be disappointed if they go with the originals (which internet forums seem to confirm). This cost made up the majority of the major expenditure.
So am I happy with my purchase? So far very much yes. One minor issue I am coming up against relates to the fact that I try to limit my beer intake (did you know there were calories in beer?!). If I leave the taps too long between beers they tend to stick a bit. I now know I maybe would have been better off getting ‘forward sealing’ taps which are even more expensive. But for the moment, I am happy with this set up.
I also very quickly got a font snake to ensure consistent carbonation and will talk about this in another post.
Has this made a difference on my brewing? When it comes to time I don’t necessarily think I save that much more time. Cleaning a keg is reasonably time consuming if you want to do it right. What I can say however is that is has improved the quality of my beer immensely.
Kegging my beer has resulted in me getting brilliant clarity, consistent carbonation and generally having better control of how my beer turns out. Weirdly I also find people who haven’t drunk homebrew before seem to treat your beer differently?
My next step is to get a beer gun or something similar so that I can start bottling off a few once I get to the end of the keg. Would love to hear any suggestions below on how to approach this if you have any! As always, please let me know if you have any questions or if you’re considering getting into kegging.