Natural Carbonation in a keg?

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Natural Carbonation in a keg?

Postby Chimporilla » Tue Jun 08, 2004 12:42 pm

Hi, I started kegging about a year ago and frankly the results weren't all that great. It was a lot of work and $ (including filtering) and not much of a payoff. I much prefer the results of natural carbonation.

So here I am, sitting with two perfectly good kegs that are worth nothing in terms of $. So I'm wondering if I can naturally carbonate my beer in these 5 gallon kegs.
Any input is appreciated. Thanks.
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Kegging a lot of work?

Postby beerlover » Wed Jun 09, 2004 9:54 am

I moved to kegging because its much less work! I can't imagine why it's more work for you? Filtering? I never done any filtering, just racking off the trub like you would when bottling.

You definatley can naturally carbonate just as you would with bottles. You take two cups of water, bring to a boil like you would with bottles and add 3/4 cups of cornsugar, boil for 10 min. Cool it to 70F in an ice bath, then put the solution in your empty freshly cleaned and sanitized keg, then rack your beer on top of that. Leave to keg sit at 70F for 2-3 weeks. Then hook it up and drink it.

You can however, Force carbonate and get the same results in a week. It goes as follows rack your beer to the keg. Hook it up to your CO2 as if you were going to drink it and turn the pressure up to around 23psi and leave it there for days, then turn it down to 14 psi for another 4. Then set to 10psi for serving. All the while (especially important while trying to achieve the carbonation)keeping the keg temp at below 40F. In fact, 32F is perfect, the colder the temp the quicker it carbonates. Cold beer obsorbes CO2 quicker. After, a week it sould be about the same as if you naturally carbonated it.

Filling one big bottle (the keg) is much easier than filling 50 little ones! Hope your kegging experiences get better.
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Lots of work

Postby Chimporilla » Wed Jun 09, 2004 3:11 pm

The sexy idea of crystal clear beer is what led me to filtering. Throw in the idea that kegging was supposed to be so easy...

Secondary firmation is done, so then you have to rack the beer into Keg A, hook up your filtration device to both kegs and blow the beer through the filter from Keg A into Keg B. Easy enough, yes?

No.

You then have to thoroughly clean Keg A and blow cleaning solution into the filtration device. To get the cleaning solution out of the tubes that are attached to the filtration device you either have to take the tubes off to clean them and then clamp them back on, or you have to have Keg C in order to blow the solution all the way through from Keg A to Keg C. That's three kegs to make one.

And once that's done you have to open up Keg C, dump out the cleaning solution, and then do the same with Keg A. And although you don't have to do it, I would always repeat that entire process with fresh clean water.

That sir, is what I consider a pain in the !@#.

Now back to Keg B: I kegged 6 different brews and never got more than half of what I expected due to over carbonation. I'm not eliminating the possibility of my own incompetence but for me that was 4 months worth of effort to get not a lot out of it.

I've always done well with natural carbonation and I never had a beer come out better with forced carbonation. With the exception of a chocolate stout I made which was the first beer I ever force carbonated. Man, that was great. Looked just like Guiness out of the tap and tasted much better if I do say so myself-and I do. But it all went to hell after that.

But I'll be back. Heck, I have all the equipment and it's basically worthless unless I use it. But I've got a cream ale and a mild brown planned for late June and both of those are going natural.

BTW, thanks for the advice. I sincerely appreciate it. I'll keep it in mind come July when I have to make a light ale for my sister's birthday party in August. That's a huge advantage for kegs-they travel much better than bottles.
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No need to work so hard

Postby beerlover » Wed Jun 09, 2004 3:22 pm

Well, I might venture to say, that your filtering system might have something to do with the overcarbonation and your frustration. I don't filter and my beer is pretty darn clear.

Besides isn't making your own beer all about the taste. Drop the filtering system for a batch and see how you like it.
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corn sugar in keg w/ co2?

Postby solo » Wed Jun 09, 2004 4:43 pm

hello
first time kegger.
if i am going to force cabonate my beer, do need to put any sugar in? ive heard no and then ive heard 1/3 cup. also, anybody use a jocky box to dispense from a corny. thanks
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Some suggestions.

Postby Brewer2001 » Wed Jun 09, 2004 6:32 pm

Chimp,

Here are some pointers on beer transfers kegging and carbonation.

Beer absorbs and retains more CO2 (in solution) the colder it is. So you need to cool your beer down as close to 33 deg F as you can before a transfer, filtering kegging or bottling.

Cooling also helps to clear the beer before it is filtered. If you try to push 'dirty' beer through a cartridge or plate filter it will blind and you will loose a large amount of beer. You are right you need to 'charge' the lines up with beer, CO2 or sanitizer before transfer. I have used different procedures in breweries where I have worked. We use a 'tee' and an extra valve to purge the lines before the transfer. We used CO2 to blow out the line that was filled with sanitizer on transfers and used wort to clear the line on knock-out.

Another thing you can do is to shorten one of your dip tubes about 1/2 to 1 " this will leave all of the sediment in the bottom of the keg.

I hope this helps.

Good brewing,

Tom F.
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one or the other

Postby beerlover » Thu Jun 10, 2004 7:42 am

I'd recommend sugar or force carbonation. One or the other. I'd wouldn't recommend adding sugar because if your force carbonating. You go sugar route if you have the time to wait and can't free up fridge space (Example a beer still on tap with no extra space). However, if you have the space in the fridge, a co2 line connect to it and your egar to start drinking that particular beer, then your force carbonate.

A side note, force carbonation is achieved at cold temps, whereas (especially with ales) the temp has to be above 64ish to consume the sugars and make the carbonation and with lagers they can convert at much lower temps but take longer to do so. So, doing force or sugar, are kinda contradicatory methods.

I would say though that, if you go the sugar route and have no fridge space (wait 2-3 weeks), hook it up and feel you'd like more carbonation......................you can always force carbonate to get it to where you want it.

Hope this help
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short answer

Postby xbrewer » Fri Jun 11, 2004 9:43 am

No. You do not add sugar when force carbonating.
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Kegging/carbonating technique

Postby NuclearBrew » Wed Feb 14, 2007 8:44 am

I have kegged more than 50 batches to date and have had great success with it. I rarely bottle anymore, just a specialty batch here and there. Never filter, just rack from the secondary straight to the keg, trying to be very careful to pick up as little sediment as possible. The first couple of beers are a little cloudy (therefore I make sure that I get them before sharing), but then it runs clean and clear. The secret to that is to not agitate your keg after you tap it.

I have always force carbonated my kegs. My method: I purge the gas space with CO2, seat the lid at about 30 psi, lay the keg on it's side and gently roll it back and forth for 2-3 minutes. This agitation forces the CO2 into solution (you'll hear the CO2 bubbling into the beer as long as you are agitating it). Set it back up, let it stand for several days with that cover pressure on it, and you are good! If you like more carbonation, adjust your technique (pressure or agitation time) is all there is to it. The longer you let it sit, the smoother your head will be.

A different method, if you don't want to lay your keg down (or can't for some reason), put a black connector on your CO2 manifold, hook that to your take up tube, and gently "bounce" the keg to agitate the beer. Works the same but is more taxing physically.
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Postby slothrob » Wed Feb 14, 2007 10:33 am

I'm probably stating the obvious, but you can't filter AND naturally carbonate (unless you add back yeast, of course.) But, it seems like the filtering is what makes kegging so difficult for you, so you'll save a lot of effort.
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Note to Self: Do NOT filter.

Postby billvelek » Wed Feb 14, 2007 11:05 am

slothrob wrote:Snip ... it seems like the filtering is what makes kegging so difficult for you ...
Yes, I was amazed at how much more work that adds. I read a thread just recently -- maybe on this board or maybe elsewhere -- about using a wine filter for beer. It actually made me start wondering whether it would be worthwhile -- although the apparent cost for filters of a couple/few bucks for just a 5 gallon batch was a definite turn-off -- but this thread cinches it for me. I will NEVER FILTER!!! 8)

Cheers.

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force carbonation

Postby warthog » Wed Feb 14, 2007 11:42 am

i keg. i hate to bottle. what i typically do after racking to the keg, is set my regulator to the correct pressure for my beer (btp will figure this out for you). shake rattle and roll until i can no longer hear gas leaving my tank. stand the keg up in the beer fridge, and wait. in a few days (4 or 5), the sediment has settled to the bottom, and the beer is properly carbonated (i've tried over pressure force carbonating, and never got the results that i wanted). i blow about a pint out into a glass. this is usually full of sediment. after this the beer is clear, and life is good.
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Postby slothrob » Wed Feb 14, 2007 1:41 pm

I think Chimporilla might want to focus on learning the techniques that will give him a clear beer without filtering.

I just don't let it bother me. One of my brewing buddies gets all bent out of shape about haze, when he has a real problem with underattenuation, which seems like misplaced priorities. When I get a crystal clear beer, it's kind of fun for a couple seconds, then I get down to what's really important... the taste.
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I really enjoy the forum

Postby brewmeisterintng » Wed Feb 14, 2007 6:58 pm

You guys really make me try and get smart on brewing terminology. Dave Miller's book says that Attenuation is the drop in specific gravity that takes place when wort ferments. So if I am reading Slothrob correctly, his buddy's final gravity is too high. Although this might not be the cause of chill haze, not achieving near your final gravity is a problem as the yeast didn't finish the job. There are a number of reasons for this that would include not pitching enough viable yeast to poor aeration or even temperature. Too many times we want to jump in with both feet and make a complicated brew without taking the time to understand the basics and then build on them. I myself started out with Mr Beer (which I am not proud of) but learned valuable lessons before making kits, designing recipes, going all grain and kegging. Mistakes are OK as long as we are willing to admit and learn from them. Most of all, keep it in prospective. It
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Postby slothrob » Thu Feb 15, 2007 11:29 am

Brewmeister, sorry, I didn't make myself clear. I didn't mean to imply that attenuation had anything to do with my friend's obsession with clarity (and his beer is actually quite clear, but he gets bent by the slightest chill haze).

I was saying that his obsession with haze seems a bit silly, considering that he has bigger problems with his beer, under-attenuation being a key one that is a lot more detrimental than a little haze. Yet he's doing little that would correct that problem, some of the possibilities you listed, while focussing on getting rid of some haze.

Things to consider when trying to get clear beer are strong boil, boil finings added at the correct time, good fast chill, clean transfers, and flocculent yeast. Additional steps that can be taken are the use of finings after fermentation and cold conditioning.
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