The age old question - do I bottle or keg my beer? While many homebrewers start by bottling their beer, at some point the possibility of kegging creeps up. There is no right or wrong answer about botting or kegging, but both have advantages and disadvantages.



Sharing. If you want to share your home brew with friends, bottling is probably the way to go, but it's not the only way. Bottles win if you're taking some of your beer to a friend's house for poker night or a ball game, or you want your friends to enjoy it on their own time, or if it needs to be aged. However, if you don't mind enjoying your brew with friends at your place, kegging may be the easiest way to share - and there are no bottles to clean up.

If you're a brewer who likes to enter brewing contests, you know you need to submit your beers in a bottle. A keg is off the table for this one. However, you can bottle your kegged beer with the right equipment, and it will result is a clearer beer, but depending on the type of beer you brewed you may want to go right to the bottle. 

Aging. If you've spent time and energy brewing a complex beer, do yourself a favour and bottle it. A Russian Imperial Stout will do much better in bottles than a keg since it needs to age before consuming. 

Sanitizing: While kegging requires more equipment than bottling, cleaning sanitizing and filling each bottle is time consuming. It also requires more sanitizer, which is an added expense over time.

Waiting. Bottling your beer requires you to wait for the bottling sugar to work it’s magic. This is a minimum 2 week wait as the yeast needs time to gobble up the sugar and naturally carbonate the beer.

Breakage. Bottles break. The only way to avoid it is to keg or use PET bottles. 


Expense. You need proper kegging equipment to get going which is a rather large upfront expense. Purchasing a customized kegging system can save you time and money and get you set up faster than sourcing your equipment individually. 

Carbonation. It’s much easier to hit your desired carbonation level with a keg and forced carbonation than bottling sugar.

Clarity. While you can keg condition with priming sugar like you would with bottling, most people opt for a forced carbonation - forcing pressurized co2 into beer. This carbonation option will give you a much clearer beer than bottle conditioning.

Waiting. Remember when we said waiting was a downside to bottling? Guess what? It's a downside with kegging as well. For most beers, letting your beer sit for a week or two after getting it in the keg will help carbonation and clarity. 

Faster Drinking. Many homebrewers claim they drink their beers faster when they’re kegged. This isn’t always a bad thing, but if you have brewed something special and want to hold on to some of it, bottling is probably the way to go.