I’ve started to research kegging, as a way to stop my apartment becoming overrun with empty and full beer bottles. Right now I have five basins full of beer bottles, waiting for Beer two and Beer three to be ready. God knows where I’ll put them all when they are full

Using kegs instead of bottles looks promising except for two small details. First, the need to chill the keg or the beer, and second the need to add CO2.

Then I stumbled across this: Unikeg (scroll about 1/3 down the page). (Another variant: here)

It’s a kit with two kegs which you brew in, a box which chills the beer as you pour it, and mini disposable co2 cylinders.

Brew in the keg?! Yes indeed. Pour your wort in there, pitch your yeast, and leave it for 3 weeks. That’s it. Super.

Price is expensive at 190,000 yen, but it got me thinking. Small restaurants in Japan have little machines which cool the beer while you pour it. One of those would solve the need to have a beer fridge. No idea how much they are new though – I’ve not found any place selling them to the public yet.

Nittoku beer machine

Nittoku beer machine

But if I could get one of those and two kegs (33,000 yen new from Advanced Brewing) then all I’d need is the CO2.

There are two basic options for CO2 – a big cylinder or an Innovations keg charger. Advance Brewing is the only place I’ve found with the keg charger but they are sold out of the refills. I’ll need to drop them a mail to see whether they expect them to come in again.

While I don’t like the idea of a big CO2 cylinder, from some quick searching in Japanese, it looks like they are not that expensive. This page seems to say that a tank can be loaned for 5000yen deposit and then refilled at 1900yen a time, but doesn’t exactly say where (just “ask the liquor store”). I’ve seen another place selling tanks for 9000yen with refills by post at 5000yen. Since a refill should last a year, that’s an acceptable hit – if the cylinders are not dodgy. If I find a reliable source, I’ll post details.

Having kegs will take up space. On the other hand, having bottles also takes up space – probably more floor space in fact. But the major think I need to consider is cost. Two kegs plus CO2 would be around 40-45,000 yen. The chiller? Who knows. Maybe a total of 70-80,000 yen for everything. Worth it?

There are 3 more of these cluttering up my apartment

Two of the five basins of bottles cluttering up my apartment. I could probably fit two kegs and CO2 in the same space as these two.