Keg Rebuilding, Pt1

So the other night I figured I’d rebuild my new to me (used) kegs that I recently had gotten. Little did I know what I was getting into.

Keg Rebuilding, Pt1

So I thought I had everything I needed: kegs, a keg rebuild gasket kit, keg lube, deep sockets in both 7/8″ and 3/4″ (two different size keg posts), a ratchet, music, detailed (anal-retentive) keg rebuilding instructions, and motivation. I began by taking the kegs apart. I realized because of the sockets I bought I actually would need three different sockets, one of the posts had a 12 point base while the others all had 6. Luckily I had already borrowed Garret’s socket and his was 12 points, so I was good to go. After I had all the kegs taken apart I began to notice some differences in the pieces, which isn’t a good feeling when you initially thought they were universal. So now I have 3 different posts, in 2 different shapes, with 4 different dip tubes, and 2 different kinds of poppets all kind of jumbled together – great . . .

So I decide at that point that maybe I was being a bit ambitious. I also notice at this point that my keg rebuilding gasket kit is missing 2 gaskets per keg, thus 8 gaskets overall. So at this point I KNOW I am not finishing rebuilding the kegs. The next step in the instructions is pretty straight forward, clean the little pieces you took apart. Well, since I already took them all apart I might as well clean them, right. So I read the instructions, go upstairs, and boil 2 quarts of water. I dissolve 1/4 cup of PBW (Powdered Brewers Wash) into the water and place all the parts into the solution to soak for at least 30 minutes. Then I stop and think (maybe for the first time that night), that sure was a lot of PBW, maybe I should re-read that. OOHHHH! Put 1 TBSP of PBW in about 2 QTS of water, not 1/4 cup – so where did a 1/4 of a cup come from? So I read ahead in the instructions and it lists using 1/4 of a cup PBW in the whole 5 gallon keg. So, 1 TBSP in 2 QTS for the parts and 4 TBSPs (1/4 cup) in 20 QTS for the whole keg – I know, I think that’d how my brain got mixed up too.

 Keg Rebuilding, Pt1

So at this point I’m mentally fried. I essentially let the parts soak for approximately 30 minutes and then take them out and scrub them with a toothbrush and then rinse them in really hot water. I also hunt down a couple adjustable wrenches and take apart the pressure release valves and soak them, brush them, and rinse them too. It was hectic to say the least.

Since then I have ordered the gaskets I did not have originally and have ordered more PBW just in case I get crazy and start changing the amounts to use again. Hopefully by the end of this weekend the kegs will be cleaned, sanitized, and “buffed” on the inside and out respectively. Hopefully putting them back together isn’t as bad as I think it might be.

4 Responses to “Keg Rebuilding, Pt1”

  1. Brian Frey Says:

    I always use oxyclean for my kegs. Slightly cheaper than PBW, but essentially the same. I just break down the keg, and fill it with about 3gal water and oxclean. I also make a smaller batch of oxyclean for the lid and posts and such. After soaking the keg for at least 30min in the solution, I put my bottling bucket on the top of the keg and flip it over real quick. Then I let enough water come out so it goes about halfway up the keg. That way it cleans the top really good. I let it sit 30min like that too. Meanwhile, I leave the dip tube loose in the keg so it gets clean too. I do this before i fill it up every time, but some people just do it every few batches. Then I’ll put a couple gals of starsan solution in it, put it all together, and even push some through the beer lines to take care of them.

  2. Brian Says:

    Hey Brian, thanks for the input. You don’t break your kegs down every time do you? I figured a rebuild would be good with used kegs and might be necessary after every like 10th use or so.

  3. Garrett Says:

    Yeah, I don’t do a complete breakdown unless there seems to be a need to. Mostly it is to clean any risidual funk from before I owned them – once I’ve got them, I pretty much know they’ve been taken care of – Rinsed really well once a keg kicks, and PBW before each refilling.

    Breaking them down frequently is a surefire way to start getting gasket and poppet/QD leaks, IMO.

  4. Fool Circle - Artisanal Ales » Blog Archive » Keg Rebuilding, Pt3 Says:

    […] was going to be hard, boring, and dirty work – and it was. I started actually rebuilding the kegs last Wednesday. That is when I took the kegs apart and cleaned all the little bits. This wasn’t too bad and […]

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