Anyone know if I can rack my homebrew into a sanke style keg? I am planning on doing the secondary fermentation in a plastic bucket and would like to transfer it to the sanke for serving. I have seen a lot of vids online on the cornelis style, but not much on the sanke other than just how to remove the valve. Any info would be great. Cheers!
Before I provide the answer, I must step onto my soap box for a moment. Being a home brewer myself, and regularly around several commercial breweries, I know about the issues surrounding sanke kegs and their OFTEN but not ALWAYS illegal acquisition. Cooperage is an extremely capital intensive line item for many brewers, a brand new 15.5 gallon sanke keg costs about $120 and sometimes more. The used market for kegs doesn't offer very many opportunities for savings as they retain a very large portion of their original value. One of the most common reasons for a homebrewer to attain a keg is to cut the top open and use it as a boil kettle or mash tun. If the keg was not legitimately acquired via a cooperage manufacturer, or sale from the originating brewery, then it is stolen. Even if you are just going to "borrow" the keg to fill it and then eventually return it, this still creates stresses on the bank account of the brewery as they must pay for a replacement. Long story long, be triple sure that you are getting your sanke kegs from a legitimate source, and you are not contributing to the financial stresses of your local breweries. Now onto the information you asked for...
There are two routes you can go with this. The first will require an extra sanke coupler that has been modified to remove the Co2 check valve or better yet, this: http://breweryparts.com/index.php/equipment-and-supplies/beer-kegs-.... First clean, then purge your keg with Co2. Take your extra coupler and hook up your racking hose to the beverage dispense port on the coupler. When you hook up the coupler allow the co2 to free flow out the Co2 in port (check removed or it won't work). Start your siphon into the keg and the flat beverage will fill through the spear from the bottom to the top of the keg. If you get beverage coming out the Co2 port your done, and probably over filled. Carbonate similar to a Corny.
The second way may be easier, but will require some tools to ensure safety. Kegs are often under pressure, and removal of the spear poses a significant danger. You should be properly acquainted with this method before attempting. You will require one of these http://breweryparts.com/index.php/equipment-and-supplies/beer-kegs-... and one of these http://breweryparts.com/index.php/equipment-and-supplies/beer-kegs-... to perform this task. I will refrain from providing a step by step, because you said you easily found "how to" videos, but once the spear is removed and the keg is purged with Co2 simply rack your beer as you would into a Corny, and replace the spear, pressurize and allow to carbonate.
Both methods require a little expenditure on your part, but if you own this sanke keg, then filling it won't be a one time occurrence.
Thanks for the great info! Here's the deal. I ordered a keg form a package store where I had a rolling account. I have a kegerator and would get a (1/6 barrel/log) every month'ish, so the store charged me a deposit on the first keg, and then I would just bring back the empty keg and swap it for a new one. The package store has since went out of business. They still have my deposit money, I still have their keg. I guess I'm not sure if I own it or not?
I would do the secondary in a carboy plactic not to sure if there is scratches it can harbor bacteria which can kill the brew.