Keg or Bottle beer? - If keg then which keg?

Please note that the comments below are based on my experience with these kegs.   They do not represent any claims or descriptions from their manufacturers

The decision as to whether you bottle or keg your beer depends on the texture you want from your beer (or lager) - traded off against the convenience of using kegs.

I would recommend the use of bottles for lagers because (in my opinion, at least) you get a better texture and mouth feel. When you pour out a well primed bottle of lager you get the satisfying hiss of the flashengeist and the tiny bubbles rising from the bottom of the glass while you drink it.   Having said this, for brewers who cannot face the washing and sterilizaton of 40 bottles every time they brew, there are keg alternatives avalable which work well in the storage and dispensing of lagers.   For instance, if you are not bothered about cooling your lager then you can use a Cornelius keg, which will take the pressure necessary to give you a good texture or if you prefer to cool it in a fridge then you can use mini-kegs.   The latter will hold the pressure and are small enough (at 5 litres capacity) to fit into fridges.

For my ales, brown ales, stouts etc. I would recommend the use of any kind of keg, be it plastic or stainless steel or bottles, for a different texture or if like me you want to take some with you when you go fishing!

One thing you should bear in mind is that when using bottles and stainless steel kegs you need to make sure your beer is as clear as possible before priming and storage.   With bottles the reason with obvious and stainless steel kegs usually have a dispensing pipe which goes down to the bottom of the keg.   If you have a lot of sediment down there you will be dispensing it with your beer!   You can get away with not having to be so meticulous about clearing your beer if you use plastic kegs as the sediment will settle below the level of the tap.

Our Kegs

'KING KEG' Plastic Kegs

 
The 'King Keg' kegs are quite substantially made.   As shown in the photos alongside, one has a tap near the bottom and the other has a tap near the top.   The 'Top Tap' version has a float mechanism connected to the tap so that the beer is taken from the very top of the keg's contents. i.e. the clearest beer or lager.   The 'Bottom Tap' version has no float mechanism.   The 'Top Tap' version tends to require considerably more gas than the 'Bottom Tap' version.

Each one has 2 good handles and a 4" tops containing a valve (for charging with gas using Hambleton Bard S-20 or S-30 cylinders and pressure relief.)   Advantages of the 4" top are that most people can get their arm nto it for cleaning and it also enables the fitting of a tap with a back-nut, making it a more secure tap fitting.

As with all plastic kegs, it is very important to smear the cap washer and screwthread with petrolium jelly (e.g. Vaseline) to ensure a good, gas-tight seal without having to overtighten the top - which could damage it.

  KING KEG 'Bottom Tap keg - Price   = £50.00 each.

  KING KEG 'Top Tap keg - Price   = £50.00 each.

Economy Keg

 
These 'Economy' kegs have a similar body construction to the 'Hambleton Bard 4"' kegs with the differences that they have 2" top containing a valve (for charging with gas using Hambleton Bard S-20 or S-30 cylinders and pressure relief.)   The tap has a tapered screwthread which screws directly in to the body of the keg. There is no back-nut (this is mainly because the 2" top does not all you to get your arm into the keg to fit and secure a back-nut.)

I have used these kegs for many years and providing that care is taken not to over-tighten the top they work well and are reliable.   Things to bear in mind when considereing these kegs are that cleaning has to be done with a brush (I have found the best one to use is a plastic handles cranked brush at about £ 3.10) and that the tops are made from a kind of plastic which is not able to withstand much sheer stress so if they are over-tightend the very top sheer off (this is easily overcome by smearing the sealing washer and thread with a petrolium jelly such as Vaseline.)

  Economy keg with vent cap - Price   = £25.00 each.

  Economy keg with S30 valve - Price   = £35.00 each.

  Economy keg with 8gm CO2 cartridge fit + 10 cartridges - Price   = £40.00 each.