How do you tell if a keg is ball lock or pin lock?

Answered by Charles Pate

As an experienced sommelier and brewer, I understand the importance of maintaining the quality and functionality of kegs. If you have an old pin lock keg that you want to bring back to life, I have just the solution for you. By using gas and liquid posts that can convert a Firestone pin lock keg to accept ball lock disconnects, you can easily upgrade your keg and continue enjoying your favorite beverages.

Firstly, it is important to understand the difference between ball lock and pin lock kegs. Ball lock kegs, also known as Cornelius kegs, have a different type of disconnect fitting compared to pin lock kegs. The disconnects on ball lock kegs have a small, round shape with two pins, hence the name “ball lock.” On the other hand, pin lock kegs have a disconnect fitting with small pins that fit into slots on the keg, hence the name “pin lock.”

To determine whether your keg is a ball lock or pin lock, you can follow these steps:

1. Examine the posts: Look at the posts on the top of the keg where the gas and liquid lines connect. In most cases, ball lock kegs have slightly larger and more rounded posts compared to pin lock kegs. Pin lock kegs usually have smaller, square-shaped posts. However, it's important to note that there can be variations in keg designs, so this method may not be foolproof.

2. Check for markings: Some kegs may have markings or labels indicating whether they are ball lock or pin lock. Look for any embossed letters or numbers on the keg itself or on the posts. These markings can sometimes provide valuable information about the type of keg you have.

3. Measure the posts: If you are still unsure, you can measure the diameter of the posts. Ball lock kegs typically have posts with a larger diameter, usually around 19/32 inches or 9/16 inches. Pin lock kegs, on the other hand, have posts with a smaller diameter, typically around 11/16 inches or 5/8 inches. By comparing the measurements with standard sizes, you can get an idea of the type of keg you have.

Once you have determined that you have a pin lock keg, you can proceed with converting it to accept ball lock disconnects. One option is to purchase gas and liquid posts that are specifically designed for this conversion. These posts are made of food-grade anodized aluminum, ensuring safety and compatibility with your beverages.

To convert your pin lock keg to accept ball lock disconnects, follow these steps:

1. Empty the keg: Ensure that the keg is empty and free of any pressure by releasing the gas through the relief valve.

2. Remove the old posts: Use a wrench to unscrew and remove the existing gas and liquid posts from the keg. Be careful not to damage the threads on the keg while doing this.

3. Install the new posts: Take the new ball lock gas post and screw it into the gas port on the keg. Similarly, take the ball lock liquid post and screw it into the liquid port on the keg. Make sure to tighten them securely, but avoid over-tightening.

4. Connect the disconnects: Attach your ball lock gas and liquid disconnects to the respective posts on the keg. Ensure that they are securely connected and properly seated.

5. Test for leaks: Pressurize the keg with CO2 and check for any leaks around the posts or disconnects. Apply a soapy solution to the connections and look for any bubbles indicating the presence of a leak. Tighten any connections if necessary.

By following these steps, you can successfully convert your old pin lock keg to accept ball lock disconnects. This allows for easier connection and disconnection of your gas and liquid lines when serving or carbonating your beverages.

I hope this detailed explanation helps you revive your old pin lock keg and continue enjoying your favorite brews. Cheers!