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Countertop mini-keg dispenser questions

post #1 of 17
Thread Starter 

A brother-in-law has a Krupps BeerTender countertop mini-keg dispenser that serves beer at a great temperature. A few questions:

- Does it use other brand mini-kegs beside Heineken?

- Are the mini-kegs refillable by home brewers?

- If so, how do we sterilize them between batches?

It seems like an ideal concept for home-brew. Rather than bottling, just keep the mini-kegs in the fridge - and replace into the BeerTender as needed. Its portability would easily beat a standard mini-fridge set up as a kegerator.
post #2 of 17
I heard a New Castle mini-keg is in the works
post #3 of 17
Thread Starter 
Well now. Having done a bit of research, it seems these are not so wonderful.

First major complaint I see is too much head. I can say I experienced that with brother-inlaw's machine. The way around it is to increase the apparent length of tap line, but of course these devices have no way to do that.

Next is that the displays that tell you how much is left are unreliable, or completely non-functional.

Another is that they consume lots of electricity. Then, they are not all compatible across various brands.

I don't know the veracity of any but the first. But it certainly means I'm not gonna rush to make such a purchase.
post #4 of 17
It's real easy to home brew in a corny keg, 5 gal batches, you need a small fridge or Home Depot sells them around St. Patricks Day for $399. Once you do your own it is like making sausage, you choose your ingredients and you will never go back to commercial beer. I have been home brewing for three years now and it is kick but when you have a group of people call you a liar when they ask what kind of beer it is and you tell them its your. Then you have to show em your equipment the keg and then they get to eat Crow!!!

Any questions just let me know.
post #5 of 17
I got a Krupps for Christmas. Just about to finish the initial keg of heineken Lite. Got a new one waiting to put in for the Cardinals game, on sale at Frys for $19.99. I think it is limited to heineken product since it has a Heineken logo on it. As far as energy consumption, can't be more than a mini fridge. It's attractive to have on the kitchen counter. Give it a thumbs up!
post #6 of 17
Thread Starter 
I trust that new one is waiting in the fridge....
Yeah, it's a good-looking unit. And in reality, I wouldn't need it to tell me how much is left - I'd be able to figure that out the same way I figure out when a bottle is empty PDT_Armataz_01_01.gif

But it occurs to me that I already have a refrigerator, and a mini-keg doesn't take up a great deal of space. It also occurs to me that I could possibly rig up a CO2 tap system of my own that would not take up much vertical space... not as elegant perhaps, but seems like a fun project.
post #7 of 17
To controll Teh amount of head you get from your beer stein all you have to do in control the co2 levels. You want a constant 2-3 lbs and that all if you have more you will have to much head. You want to cntrol it with the glass not the despessor.
post #8 of 17
I'm a homebrew who kegs as well, though it's been awhile as I blew my budget on a new mountain bike last fall and it's hard to find a morning or afternoon "off" to brew these days with my 1 year old son running around.

But anyway, I ended up getting a $30 adapter that lets me run commercial kegs on my homebrew CO2 system. Luckily I had a spare fridge in the garage and a wife that likes beer and thought it was a good idea too. I ended up getting a dual keg system from Northern Brewer which essentially is just a dual regulator and all the hoses (and 2 kegs) for ~$200. So you can run two kegs independently. I know you could get a similar setup and/or a single one without kegs for much cheaper from them or elsewhere. But they were great to order from. You gotta spare fridge it sounds like, so that's the big expense. And I can still use the fridge and freezer for other things. 5 gal kegs are tall but not very big.

I think the Heinkein idea setup isn't bad, but there aren't many other options of beer to use. With my setup I can get a 5 gal keg of just about anything for a great price from nearly any "decent" beer store. Because it's CO2 based, the beer doesn't go bad anytime soon. I usually finish kegs in 1 - 2 months depending on if my wife likes the flavor or if buddies come over to drink on it. CO2 tank lasts ages, current one was filled Dec 2008, I think, and has had a keg on it continually since then.

Prices are usually ~$65 - 75 for a keg of great beer to $100+ for super high-end, high-gravity stuff or down to $30 for a standard usa domestic. But I just picked up a keg of a fine local beer direct from the brewer (Lonerider Brewery's Peacemaker) for only $52! That's a buck a beer for some great brew!

And as mballi said, you can easily control the CO2 level for carbonating or for pouring and the glass position is key. It can take a few pours to get it right after you tap a new keg, but it's easy and tasty to figure out. PDT_Armataz_01_12.gif Temp and hose lenghts will influence the pressure too and in my setup I like around 5 psi for pouring.
post #9 of 17
Thread Starter 
Found an empty Heineken mini-keg at a local distributor. I'm gonna disassemble it and figure out exactly how to re-use them. I'm figuring on a mini CO2 bike pump that would clip onto a Shraeder valve that is threaded into a copper/brass/stainless T adapter; the output hose would come out the other side of the T. Low profile, to fit in a cooler.
post #10 of 17
I think these are what you are referring to,
I went with this style instead and am happy with it
post #11 of 17
Thread Starter 
Update: The brother-in-law just gave me the Krups/Heineken unit!

He doesn't drink beer lol He just thought it was cool and so he bought it. He's now decided it's not appropriate for him to own, so I have it. Unfortunate that the Heineken minikegs can't be re-used for my own home brew, but I'm sure I'l getplenty of use from it PDT_Armataz_01_36.gif
post #12 of 17
The Heineken mini-kegs have a little internal CO2 gas bottle with a pressure regulator.

Unless you find a way to refill or replace the CO2, reuse isn't going to happen.

I've seen root beer kegs that fit the dispenser.
post #13 of 17
I have one of these. I actually love it! As far as the head goes, yes it will give you too much head. However, you can tilt glass as far as you can to slide the beer down side of glass then place tip of spigot into the beer when the level gets close enough. Pours a perfect beer everytime!

Too bad they don't have Bud Light, Miller Lite or Coors Light for these things. I bet they would fly off the shelfs if they did! Haven't tried the new castle(saw it at local grocery store) for it yet, but the Heiniken kicks major butt! lol
post #14 of 17
I agree, if they would market other brands, they would fly off the shelf. I was looking at one the other day and almost purchased it.
post #15 of 17
Thread Starter 
Do those root beer kegs have a means to be re-used?
post #16 of 17
Coyote - I don't know. I've only seen the root beer kegs on the shelf and never bought one.

Get one, drink it, and cut it open to see what makes it tick.

Afterwards, you could make the world's smallest barrel smoker/grill.
post #17 of 17
Thread Starter 
I opted to do the "get one, drink it" program with beer PDT_Armataz_01_36.gif

A minikeg of Spaten and one of Warsteiner came with me to the SuperBowl party (along with my smoked salmon and potato skins). One was emptied there, and the other came home with just a couple glasses left.

I had previously built a CO2 tap for them. It worked very well. So I have two empties now, which I've cleaned and sterilized. Just bought a minikeg of Bitburger, and I'll drink that this weekend (and into the next week of course).

So my next batch of homebrew, which I'm doing on Monday, will be racked into three minikegs and some bottles.
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