CO2 Charger & Corny Keg to dispense beer at a picnic or party...

NOTE: I have since used this method at a real live picnic :-) and it did work. I'll post about my experience and post it soon.

How do you serve cold beer at a party without a bulky CO2 cannister, regulator, etc? With one of these CO2 keg chargers of course. I read in forums that people have used these things with success, but, wasn't quite sure what to expect.

It worked pretty well actually. Here is how I did it. First, I recommend the beer already be carbonated in a soda keg using a regulator and a CO2 cannister. I found the Cornielius Keg CO2 chargers (left) at Northern Brewer. I ordered one with a cornelius keg gas disconnect with MFL fitting (top right) and a pack of twelve 12 gram CO2 cartridges (right bottom).
You can also find the charger here...
Amazon: Cornelius Keg Charger
The CO2 charger came with one 16 gram cylinder and the adapter. Here is how I put it all together.
  1. unscrewed the casing for the cylinder
  2. removed the instructions from the casing and read them (really I did)
  3. put the 16 gram CO2 cylinder in the casing
  4. screwed the casing on quickly (no sound of gas or anything)
  5. went to my keg
  6. realized that the pressure would need to left out completely if I were to follow the directions
  7. decided to not do that
  8. connected the keg charger to the disconnect (against the warning in the directions)
  9. made sure I didn't pull the trigger until it was connected to the keg (that's what would make the disconnect fail possibly)
  10. connected the disconnect to the keg (already pressurized to about 15 PSI)
  11. pulled the trigger
  12. voila, it worked
I imagine this will work just fine. Somebody wrote in a forum that it takes about five or so cartridges to dispense a whole keg. I'm armed with a portable dispensing solution now :-)

Oh yeah, I bought a bleeder valve with a low pressure gauge on it so I could check the CO2 pressure if I needed to while dispensing. I don't think it was necessary. I'll probably use that for testing other things at a later date.



Kevin LaVoy said...

I'm glad to hear that it was as easy as it seems. I am about to use one of those in about two weeks, althought I'm carbonating the keg with sugar. I'd never kegged before, but it was so simple.

Adam said...

Well, Friday I'll find out for certain. I'll be sure to report back.

Also, I heard that carbonating with sugar only increases the amount of yeast on the bottom. So you might get a bit more in your first glass or two. It also tends to stir up when you move it.

Of course you don't actually have to buy the full CO2 setup if you carbonate with sugar. That can save you money in the short term.

The Bearded Brewer said...

I recently moved into kegging, and due to lack of cash flow and inexperience with kegging, I bought one of those chargers and its worked great. I want to eventually move into a 5lb co2/regulator set up. But for the time being, the canister works great.

Adam said...

Rock on Bearded Brewer :-) (that was fun to say)

Bryon said...

OK, I really want to move away from bottling and into kegging... Are you recommending keg conditioning with sugar and using the little CO2 setup? How long does a keg like that last if not kicked in one session? And are they a challenge to sanitize after the fact?

Jason said...

I did this a few weeks back and used sugar. It came out great. I read somewhere that if you use sugar, it can be too carbonated so I bleed out some of the Co2 and the beer was a tiny bit undercarbonated. Next time I won't bleed it. We drank the whole keg in one night (it wasn't just me) so the cleaning was really easy after. I think in total I used about 4-5 16g cartridges to dispense 5 gallons. can't remember exactly.

With regards to the yeast, I took the first couple of glasses out and drank them myself (Nothing wrong with a little yeast) before my party goers got into it and it was fine.

Bearded brewer....I too don't have the cash to get the Co2 canister....yet! I will soon though. This is a great site that sells the tanks and reg's very cheap, http://www.micromatic.com/draft-keg-beer/equipment-cid-2.html.


Adam said...

Thanks Jason. First hand accounts always appreciated. Cheers!