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How long do (well cared for) Kegs last?

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  • How long do (well cared for) Kegs last?

    Greetings! 1st post, so be gentle.

    We're a small type-23 (nano-brewery) just getting started. The other day, I noticed that one of my less-than-a-year-old kegs had what looked like a split in the side (noticed after I almost emptied a 20# can of CO2 into it, trying to pressurize (30psi) while cleaning the next keg). They don't see a lot of use (we're VERY tiny!) and are treated quite nicely; I'm wondering if this is normal, or if maybe I'm doing something wrong and not caring for them properly or what.

    (By "caring", I mean I stack them neatly until I have enough to make 1/2 a day of keg-washing, then I clean them well over manufacturer's recommendation, because I'm paranoid.)

    ...Or should I contact my keg broker and ask if this is a warrantee fix?

    ...Or what?

    Thanks!

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    Last edited by olie; 03-22-2020, 07:40 AM. Reason: "Kegs", not "barrels" (May also belong in a different sub-forum).

  • #2
    This isn't normal

    Kegs (not barrels) can last many, many years and hundreds of returns. You can contact your keg supplier, but kegs are a commodity. You'd be very lucky to get a replacement. I've seen new keg defects somewhere around 0.1%. More as the kegs are used. I've seen splits like this in kegs that were frozen. Otherwise, this certainly does look like a manufacturing defect.
    Phillip Kelm--Palau Brewing Company Manager--

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    • #3
      We had some Chinese kegs that we bought when we were trying to save money(we didn't save money) split this same way. Turned out the company was using a thinner sheet of stainless when the were forming the keg and caused the wall to be thin.

      Sent from my SAMSUNG-SM-G900A using Tapatalk
      Jon Sheldon
      Owner/Brewer/Chief Floor Mopper
      Bugnutty Brewing Company
      www.bugnutty.com

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      • #4
        Follow-up: warranted -- yay!

        Thanks all.

        I contacted Stout Kegs & Kettles, and the kegs are warranted (which is especially nice for someone as tiny as we are ). I believe the kegs are, in fact, made in China, though they seem to be fairly sturdy, in general (that is: not obviously "cheap crap").

        Anyway, I was considering another order (we're growing! ), and they've offered to toss my replacement on that order, so...

        Yay! \o/

        And also: thanks all for the help. (And to the admins for helping me get my post moved to the correct forum -- sorry about that!)

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        • #5
          I've never seen anything like that in many hundreds of kegs cleaned and inspected. All of our kegs are Micromatic, which might have something to do with it. Our kegs are retired due to damage--bent chines, frozen and swelled, etc, but even severely frozen kegs have never shown that kind of rupture.

          You say you are "cleaning well over manufacturer's recommendation". What chemicals are you using? Chlorine in an acid solution can lead to this kind of failure in stainless, as can iodine.

          I'm glad to hear that your kegs are covered for manufacturing defects, but look at your cleaning regime and be sure you aren't at least partially responsible.

          Why are you pressurizing a keg to 30PSI? You should never need to go much over 15PSI. With a defect like that, an exploding keg is a real possibility and can be fatal to whoever is doing the pressurization.
          Timm Turrentine

          Brewerywright,
          Terminal Gravity Brewing,
          Enterprise. Oregon.

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          • #6
            My cleaning regime.

            I just meant that I clean them good, per [chemical] manufacturer's recommendation, plus a little.

            My regimen. As a tiny nano, this is all "by hand", 1 at a time.

            * Rinse with clear water until "hardly any" beer. Drain
            * Cycle 140-160 low-foaming PBW for 20+ minutes. Drain
            * Rinse with water ("just in case" foam. There is only ever a tiny bit.) Drain.
            * Rinse with acid for 2-5 min. Drain.
            * Pressure to ~30psi
            * Invert, "blow out" excess liquid (acid), pause, repeat until "practically dry" CO2 coming out.
            * Mentally expect that 15-25psi remains in keg (depending on size/length of blow-out).
            * Store in cool/dry space (an unheated, shaded shed; temp range 40-78F)

            I'm pretty sure I'm not breaking kegs, though happy to learn if I'm doing this wrong.

            (Also: we've streamlined a lot of process. Keg-cleaning is currently the most manual-labor-intensive thing we do. Happy to hear suggestions there, too!)

            Thanks!

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            • #7
              Sounds good.

              To make transfers easier, it would be better to blow the keg down all the way or most of the way, then pressurize to just above the pressure in your bright tank/uni. If te pressure in the keg is too low, foam.

              Search around in the DIY Keg Washer board here. There are lots of good designs, some of which are very affordable.

              But, please--don't use PVC pipe for pressurized air or CO2. When a PVC pipe fails, it can make some really nasty shrapnel. PEX is a much better choice for building an inexpensive keg washer.
              Timm Turrentine

              Brewerywright,
              Terminal Gravity Brewing,
              Enterprise. Oregon.

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