When you get a present of mini keg, either in 64oz or 1 gallon, you would eager to know how to fill it? Here are several solutions you can fill draft beer to your own mini kegs.
- Fill a mini keg from tap:
This is most common way to fill a mini keg in taproom. Normally, taproom would have growler filler with long tube, which can insert into beer faucet, and the filler tube would able to reach bottom of mini keg, and fill from bottom to reduce foam.
With long beer hose, the bartender can observe if keg is full and switch off faucet in time to avoid beer wasting. This filling solution is working well for beer growler too.
2. Fill a mini keg from home-brew keg:
If you are home brewer, you have brewed draft beer in Cornelius keg, you want to store draft beer by several mini kegs, then you need to follow below steps:
- Seal mini keg with carbonation cap;
- Click on gas-in ball lock disconnect, and fill CO2 from gas line for few seconds, now loose the cap slightly. The intention of this step is to remove air and keep mini keg under CO2 condition. Since CO2 is heavy than air, the extra gas (most air) would escape from top via the cap space. Repeat this for several times until most of gas inside keg are CO2 instead of air, free- oxygen.
- Remove the gas-in ball lock disconnect and change to beverage ball lock disconnect, mostly you need another grey gas-in ball lock disconnect to take role of beverage-in. Since the ball lock of carbonation cap can match grey gas only, it would be too tight if you are using black one.
- Now, you can start filling draft beer to mini keg under pressure with very less foam. During this process, filling beer would be very slow when the pressure of keg inside is higher than beer line. So you need to slightly loose the cap, let the extra gas (mostly CO2) get out of mini keg and get some space for draft beer. Observe if there is extra foam get out, it’s signal of beer full.
- Now you can tight carbonation cap or change back to normal keg lid. If you decide to use carbonation cap to seal this keg beer, you can switch to gas-in ball lock disconnect, and get a little bit of CO2 to be charged to keg beer, this would be a wonderful way to keep your draft beer carbonated and store for weeks.
3. Fill a mini keg from beer line with Counter Pressure:
The processional way to fill mini keg is by counter pressure beer line.
The New Lion Brewery in Southampton of UK is using this system to fill our mini keg and sell to local residents. They took deposit for each mini keg, and people take empty keg and get a full keg beer by paying pints draft beer only. And the used mini kegs would be cleaning and refilled in New Lion Brewery every weeks by Mathew and his colleagues.
The profession cleaning process would effective for removing bad bacterium and fill draft beer under CO2 condition, the draft beer expiration date would be much longer.
Let’s see how New Lion Brewery fill mini kegs:
Above is the filling device, right side is gas in ball lock disconnect in grey, it connected with gas hose; left side is beverage out ball lock disconnect in black, the middle is stainless steel filling tube. And there are several valves for switch on and off, one pressure relief valve in lower position.
- Remove keg lid, put this filling device on top of mini keg, you can use a rubber to seal keg opening and filling device. By adjusting the height of rubber sealing, you can use same filling device to fill either 64oz or gallon mini kegs. Attach beer line and CO2 hose, now ready for filling draft beer.
- Switch on CO2 valve, the CO2 will be filled into mini kegs, switch off CO2. Switch on the pressure relief valve, get the extra air out of kegs. Repeat this for several times until whole keg full of CO2.
- Now switch on beer valve, slightly switch on pressure relief valve, the draft beer would easy to fill in keg and extra CO2 get out of keg.
- When keg is full of beer, switch off the beer valve and pressure relief valve, and switch on CO2 valve to fill a little bit of CO2 on top of draft beer, to get whole keg beer carbonated. Remove filling device and seal keg lid rapidly.
4. Growler Filling Station
There is one famous brand of bottle filling faucet, Pegas, it’s Russia brand, and designed to fill varies types of bottle, growler and kegs. Recently there are some growler stations in US providing dozens of different flavor of draft beer, and allow people to fill on tap. Those growler stations are using similar Pegas system. Attached images for reference.
Since Pegas is very famous and common system in Russia, so our Russia distributor HBM company requested us to design a kind of mini keg hanger, this would allow mini kegs to be hanged, attached and fixed into Pegas system. Because the raw material is plastic, the transparent sight tube would be very convenience for bartender to observe beer level during filling, and switch off beer faucet timely. It’s a smart design with low cost, nice try.