Hey all, re-lining my 8 tap bar next month. Contemplating adding some sort of keg monitoring set up like kegbot in-line flow control. But they apparently aren’t producing anything these days, I signed up for a wait list. Google hasn’t turned up much for the homebrew level. Has anyone come across or developed a means to monitor keg volume? _________________ Scott
Joined: 12 Dec 2010 Posts: 9511 Location: Ottawa, Canada
Drinking: German Lager, Electric Hop Candy Jr, Scottish 70/-, English IPA, Russian Imperial Stout, Black Butte Porter, Saison
Working on: Kölsch
Link Posted: Fri Dec 07, 2018 1:24 pm Post subject:
What's the reason you want to monitor?
Commercial bars that monitor tend to want to check for unaccounted pours and over pours to maximize profitability. Basically to watch employees to make sure they're not giving away beer either on purpose (to their friends) or overpouring without realizing. This usually isn't a problem at home.
If it's to know when a keg's going to kick, I use a different method: Lift the keg. Much more cost effective and doesn't add something inline that is difficult to clean.
The other thing I do is keep a full pipeline. When a keg kicks, there's always a new one ready to go. I then keep an eye on the pipeline (how many empties I have) to know when I should brew next. Once a couple of slots empty in my conditioning fridge (or are about to free up) it's time to start thinking about brewing. I have 8 taps, 9-10 kegs fit in the keezer, and 6 fit in the conditioning fridge. I brew 2 kegs every time (10 gallon batches).
Also depends on the beer style itself too: Most lagers I want to keep in the conditioning fridge for a good month or more before it goes on tap so I try and plan ahead. For example, if the first of two light lager kegs kicks, I start planning another light lager brew as it'll tend to be done fermenting and conditioned enough by the time the second keg goes. This isn't overly accurate as it really depends on consumption rate, who's over, what they like, and so forth. Luckily many styles are beers are just fine sitting conditioning near freezing for 6+ months before they're put on tap. Some even do better because of it. I recently kegged a ~7% Maibock (malty German lager) that's going to need a good 2-3 months of conditioning before it hits its prime. Hop forward beers in NEIPAs and IPAs are the opposite: I try to NOT stockpile or have a backlog waiting as they're best consumed fresh.
This is all somewhat off-topic I suppose, but maybe it helps explain why an automated monitoring tool isn't something I need or want myself. It would certainly be kind of neat to have, but I've never come across something that works well, isn't a pain to clean, and is reasonably cost effective.
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