I’m window shopping, looking at kegging components. I’ve decided I’m going to go the keezer route.
Based on cost vs. benefit I’m leaning heavily towards pushing this back as far as I can bear, and doing it right. By doing it right, I’m referring to a maximized system. And by a maximized system, I’m talking a massive chest freezer that’ll hold 8+ kegs, plus at least one CO2 tank, plus nitro/CO2 mix (“beer gas”) tank.
My first potential option (cheapest and easiest) is a simple 4 tap system. Any less than 4 tap and I don’t think it’ll be worth doing. However, cost increase between 4 and 8 tap isn’t linear (especially when it comes to increased freezer size, twice the size for a slightly increased cost seems pretty standard from what I can find), and the bulk of the cost will be in additional kegs. And that’s not really relevant in my opinion, as I’d end up stocking up on kegs anyway. Since I’d eventually want to upgrade anyway, I might as well do it right from the start.
So the point is, might as well go big or go home. Then I can have up to 8 taps going at any given time. One of them a soda tap, one of them a nitro faucet for stouts (or other English beers as the case may be), both in a collar, and then dual 3-tap towers up top if I want to get fancy (and expensive), or just all 8 taps in a collar. Or even go for the Ritz Carlton level, and do three towers.
Then I run into the issue of carbonation/serving pressure. The reason why I’d want so many taps is to be able to serve a variety of styles.
I could use a dual stage regulator, carbonate them all in a more moderate range in one large manifold, and use a second regulator for force carbonation, but the problem is that I like English beers very low (cask levels, 1.5-1.8 volumes), Belgian beers spritzy (3+ volumes), and most other beers in the 2.5 range. Given that most of what I brew are English and Belgian beers, that one-pressure-fits-all setting is unacceptable to me.
I could get also away with a dual stage regulator, two smaller manifolds, and keep one at higher pressure and one at lower. However, that will rule out the middle ground, and require me to get a second canister for force carbing (for this set up, I’d plan on a 20 lb CO2 tank in the keezer, and then a 5 lb for force carbing and purging as needed).
I think my best option will be as follows:
Smaller dual CO2 cylinders, each with dual regulators. Then I have four different pressure options in addition to the nitro system. That’ll allow me a very high pressure for serving soda and/or force carbonation, along with 3 additional options. That way I can have low carb, medium carb, and highly carbonated beers at the same time.
It’ll be a bit more expensive doing it that way, both in terms of equipment but also required a slightly larger keezer (enough to house up to 9 kegs, 6 beer served on CO2, one served on nitro, on soda on CO2, and one force carbing, in addition to two CO2 cyliners and a beer gas cylinder) but will give me the maximum flexibility.
In any event, I have a long time to plan this out fully, so I’m not sweating it at this point.