When you first learn the craft of home brewing, one of the big steps is the transfer of the beer into larger bottles for fermentation and then smaller bottles for storage and to serve guests your delicious brew. This can be messy but it is an important step along the path to great tasting beer. And learning the beer transfer and bottling skills will be a big step as your sophistication at home brewing comes along.
There comes a time though that you can consider the next big step in becoming more skilled in your home brewing talents. And that next big step is into kegging your home made brews. But before you make that step, its good to know what you will need and the costs and efforts involves so you go into the kegging step with eyes wide open.
For one thing, kegging your own beer can get a bit expensive. There is another level of equipment including CO2 storage tanks, the kegging canisters and even a kegerator that can all add another level of cost to your home brewing hobby. But hopefully if you have been making your own beer for a few years before you make this step, you can see that the money you have saved on beverages has been significant enough justify making the next big step into kegging.
The first step perhaps of moving into kegging is to get the family on board, especially your spouse, as you may have done when you first started brewing in the first place. A natural progression, though, is to start your hobby of home brewing for the fun and the savings and then to go toward brewing when you become a serious home brewing zealot and you know the quality of your beer demands this step. So if your family has evolved and you are a home brewing family, they will be as excited as you are to learn this next step.
Along with the costs get a good feel for the additional storage space kegging will add to your beer making needs and requirements. Along with the equipment for kegging, you will also need additional refrigerator space. This might be the time to consider the purchase of a specialized refrigeration unit called a kegerator that is made just for chilling and serving your fine beer from the kegging setting. But if you entertain a lot and you are getting those rave reviews for the quality of your home made beer, such a purchase is a slam dunk decision.
The upside of kegging is that it does reduce much of the fuss and mess of using bottles and always having to clean and make sterile those bottles for the next use. And kegging gives you a lot of control over the levels of carbonation in your beer. That gives you even more options and freedom to adjust carbonation to use in the creation of unique styles and tastes in your beer. That is just one of many ways kegging improves the over all quality and diverse flavors you can achieve with your home made beers.
Of course there still will be a place for bottling your beer even if you have overhauled your storage and at home serving method to move to kegging. There is a real fun and pride when you can serve family and guests great tasting ice cold beer directly from a keg like you could get it in the pub. Btu you will want to keep some bottles around to create bottled beer for gifts or to take with you to a social outing. When you show up for that next big barbecue with bottles of your own home made and kegged beer, you will be the hit of the event.