Welcome back! If you are reading this after the first blog, I must have done something right. The topic for today is another debate of how to brew…do you keg your beer or bottle it?
First thing first, what is the difference? In the end, you will carbonate your beer with either gas or priming sugar and one way or the other, you will have a beer that will eventually make it into a glass (unless you are just too lazy to pour it into a glass…it happens). The process of bottling is simple. You have your carboy of beer. Add the priming sugar and then pour into your bottles, cap the beers and store for one to two weeks. In time they will be ready to drink. With kegs, it is just as simple. From the carboy to pour into your keg. You connect the keg to your CO2 tank at a normal kegerator pressure of about 11 psi. After a week or two it is ready to pour from the tap.
So which is better? Well when it comes to time, they are the same, but kegging can be done quicker. There is a process called forced carbonation. With this process, you can have your beer carbonated in less than an hour. This process has saved me from not having my beer ready for a party multiple times. Bottling has no shortcut and patience is needed to make sure the beer is properly carbonated with the priming sugar. In this category, kegs get the win.
The next category is money. For you to keg, you have to drop some cash. You will need to buy the kegs themselves, a kegerator to store and pour, CO2 tanks and refills, and other random tools and things to run properly. Overall, it can be at least $500 right off the bat to start it up. Bottling can be done on a much lower budget. Priming sugar can be bought in small bulk for a low price. Bottles can be bought too, or you can reuse ones that you have already used (make sure to sani clean them and not use bottles that were twist offs). All and all, it can be under $20 easily if you reuse bottles. Point to Bottling.
The last category is quality. I could go into the differences of the “purest” way of brewing and so on, but there isn’t a real difference. As long as you did it right, your beer will come out carbonated. There is a possibility to over carbonate in bottles if you add too much priming sugar, but if you just follow directions you should be ok. Point goes to both here.
So what is the better option? As I have done both I would have to say….keg, kegging is the only option. Bottle is cheaper, but it is gowd awful to put caps on each bottle (yes by hand) and have to wait for it to carbonate. There is also the chance of messing it up and not putting the priming sugar in (yes it happened and I blame my roommate at the time). Yes, you have to drop cash for the keg system, but if I could go back in time I would tell younger me to spend it and keg. As I said before, I can have it ready in a few minutes and if I really want it in a bottle, I can pour into bottles or growlers from the tap and cap it for later.
Thanks for reading and your support. As always, make sure you leave your words of wisdom below and if you have questions on this or other topics, make sure to ask as well.