Many people who are just getting into kegging their home brewed beer, or want to build a home draft system and aren’t familiar with the different types of kegs and need some guidance on what they need to set up their draft system. We get asked all the time “What is the difference between Homebrew Cornelius Kegs AKA Corny Kegs and Commercial Kegs?” The answer is quite simple and easy to see when you look at the two different types of kegs side by side.
Homebrew Corny Kegs are basically old soda kegs. There are 2 different types of Cornelius Kegs on the market; Pin Lock and Ball Lock. Pin Lock Corny Kegs were manufactured exclusively for Coca-Cola and Ball Lock Corny Kegs were manufactured for Pepsi Co. These 2 types of kegs function exactly the same, but have some minor differences, like dimension, the posts on the top are either ball lock or pin lock style, and the keg lids have different relief valves. These kegs work beautifully for home brewers because there is a large removable lid on the top of the keg that allows home brewers to open, clean out and transfer their homebrew straight into the keg with ease.
Commercial style kegs come in various sizes, but the main difference you will notice with these kegs versus the corny kegs, is that there is no removable lid. Commercial kegs are virtually impossible for home brewers to use due to the fact that they are not easy to open, clean and refill. Commercial kegs use a Sanke Coupler which twists on to the center top of the keg. This connection allows CO2 in and Beer out of the same mechanism, unlike the corny kegs, where you have a gas line attached to one post on the keg and a separate beer line attached to the opposite side of the keg.
So if you are in the market for building a home draft beer system and are a little confused what equipment you need. The first thing you need to figure decide is; Are you going to be kegging your own homebrew, or will you be buying kegs of beer from the store? If you will be kegging your own home brewed beer, you want to go with a Homebrew Cornelius Keg set up. If you will be buying commercial made beer in kegs from your local supermarket or liquor store, you want to buy a commercial keg set up with Sanke taps.