Bad Keg?

What went wrong? Was this supposed to happen? Should I throw it out? What do I do now?

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Bad Keg?

Postby Suthrncomfrt1884 » Sat Dec 13, 2008 6:34 pm

I bought a new corny a few weeks ago from my LBS. The seals all appeared to be good, and when we tested it, there didn't seem to be any leaks.

I put my beer into the keg with priming sugar as I don't have a CO2 bottle. I've got one of those single use CO2 cartrigdes. So, after a week of letting it condition in the keg, I started hearing air escaping from the keg.

Thinking maybe it was already carbonated, I hooked it up and just poured my first glass. It still tastes green. This leads me to believe all the carbonation was just leaking out instead of building up.

At this point, is there anything I can do to save this batch? If I take the top off of the keg, will it ruin anything? Maybe it's fine and I just need to give it more time to carbonate, but I'm not sure. It's been in my refrigerator for the last 24 hours. Will this stop the carbonation process? Can I just take the beer out and let it warm up, hoping the yeast comes back and starts on the sugar?

Any ideas would be great. Thanks.
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Bad Keg?

Postby bfabre » Sat Dec 13, 2008 9:18 pm

You have a couple of options that I can see.
1) Get a Co2 bottle with a regulator and pressurize the keg and follow your letting and conditioning as usual. or
2) Considering you have enough good yeast left from the first go round. add another cup of priming sugar and bottle.
Those are the only other options I can think of. Anyone else?
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Postby ColoradoBrewer » Sun Dec 14, 2008 5:14 am

The keg wan't sealed if you heard air escaping from it. Even when naturally carbonating in a keg you need to give it an initial charge from a CO2 tank to seat all the o-rings and seal the keg. Without sealing the keg the beer will never carbonate because the CO2 will just escape to atmosphere instead of going into the beer. That's what you heard.
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Postby jawbox » Sun Dec 14, 2008 8:39 am

I'm in agreement with Colorado. You need to give the keg an initial charge of CO2 in order for lid and poppets to be seated. Natural carbonation wouldn't create enough pressure fast enough to seal the keg. What you heard was the co2 escaping from your refermentation in the keg.

Problem I see, There is no way to control the amount of co2 being released by one of those cartridge style injectors. They will release all their pressure at once.

Best advice would be to get a co2 bottle and regulator and force carbonate. I'm assuming since you are moving to kegging you will need this equipment anyway.
You could try and add more priming sugar and yeast and bottle.

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more priming sugar in keg?

Postby Suthrncomfrt1884 » Sun Dec 14, 2008 3:16 pm

Here's another question. Instead of bottling, could I just let the keg warm up to room temp again, and stir in a little more priming sugar? I don't have enough bottles to bottle the whole batch, and I don't want to store anymore than the 150 I'm already using.

I would think by stirring the beer at this point, I risk oxidyzing it. The beer won't last more than a few weeks anyway, so this shouldn't be a huge concern, right?
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Secondary - Cherry Lambic
Bottled - Bourbon Barrel Coffee Porter, Double Chocolate Raspberry Stout, Imperial Nut Brown, Apfelwein, American Amber Ale w/Homegrown Hops, Breakfast Stout
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RE: more priming sugar in keg?

Postby wottaguy » Sun Dec 14, 2008 5:01 pm

Colorado is correct. All cornie kegs need a good shot of CO2 to force a good seal. I do a lot of priming in the keg, and when I seal my kegs up I set my regulator to 30 lbs psi and give the keg a shot of it until I am confident that it is sealed. I also purge the o2 out and give it another shot of co2. Once sealed, i'll wet a paper towel with sanitizer and squeeze it out around the keg cover and watch for bubbles. I,ll also drip a few drops on top of the gas in and liq out posts to check for any leaks. Once satisfied that the kegs are not leaking and are holding the seal, i'll put them aside in a warm area 70 deg + for a couple of weeks and let them carbonate. After the first week, i'll check the pressure from the gas in line with one of these to insure that we have a positive pressure.

http://www.northernbrewer.com/pics/fullsize/bleeder.jpg

Don't blame the keg, as by the sounds of it, you haven't properly sealed your keg, and your co2 is leaking out of it. If you can't seal the keg because you don't have have a co2 cylinder setup, then I would most certainly bottle the beer as soon as possible.

Hope this helps!

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thanks

Postby Suthrncomfrt1884 » Sun Dec 14, 2008 9:42 pm

I was hoping it wasn't something wrong with the keg.

I spent a lot of time at the brew shop talking to the guys about what goes into kegging. After a lot of discussion, I decided to go with the single shot cartridges for the time being. I wasn't told I needed to seal the keg with co2, so I guess I'll know next time to go elsewhere for my information.

So, I bottled today. Am I understanding this right? The co2 cartridge thing I bought won't seal my keg? I've managed to get enough bottles together to bottle this one, but I've got another beer waiting to be bottled ASAP. I don't have enough bottles for it, so I'd like the use this keg if I can, but I don't have the room to store a co2 canister.
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RE: more priming sugar in keg?

Postby wottaguy » Sun Dec 14, 2008 10:16 pm

Well...previously you stated that before you bought the keg you and your home brew store guy tested the keg for leaks. If that is correct, how did he test it? When ever I get a "new" (used) keg, i clean it up and then do a standing pressure test. This test consists of pressurizing the keg with 30 lbs of CO2, checking for leaks with the method i described above, then letting the keg sit for a minimum of 48 hours or longer. I then test the kegs pressure with the tool mentioned in my previous post, and the pressure should be at 30 psi. at the same temp that you pressureized it with. If it is any lower, it has a small leak somewhere.

I know you want to use your new keg, but those little co2 cartriges are designed to only push beer out of the keg for dispensing, and not for sealing up kegs or for force carbonating your beer. If your LHBS has a CO2 setup at the store, perhaps you can ask them if they would be willing and able to pressurize your keg correctly after you have the primed beer in it.

Other than that, if you're going to be kegging in the future, you will need to get yourself a CO2 tank and regulator setup..OR have someone else that has the correct equipment to pressurize the keg for you.

Good luck!

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Bad Keg?

Postby bfabre » Sun Dec 14, 2008 10:55 pm

Well it looks like you will have no other choice. For your next batch get a regulator and o2 tank if you wish to keg. If not you will have to bottle again.
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Postby jawbox » Mon Dec 15, 2008 9:01 am

You can definitely seal the keg with those little chargers. Problem is you have no control over the amount of PSI they release.

Are you sure you can't find room for a 5lb CO2 tank? They are pretty small.

Take a look here http://www.co2-canisters.com/index1.html

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Postby Suthrncomfrt1884 » Mon Dec 15, 2008 10:05 am

Looks like I'm going to have to make space for a CO2 bottle.

The guy at the shop stated they test all kegs before they put them on the shelves, and all he did in store was pull the pressure release valve to show me there was pressure in it. All the seals looked good.

Who knows if I can trust them on it. But I also took it home and before I opened it (it still had pressure in it) I put a soap and water solution around all the areas I thought it might leak. Nothing.

I think this is all just a case of not having a sealed keg. Before I use it again, I'll be investing in a CO2 bottle. Next time, I won't listen to the LHBS.
Primary - Belgian Dubbel, Belgian IPA
Secondary - Cherry Lambic
Bottled - Bourbon Barrel Coffee Porter, Double Chocolate Raspberry Stout, Imperial Nut Brown, Apfelwein, American Amber Ale w/Homegrown Hops, Breakfast Stout
Kegged - Bass Clone, ESB
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Postby jawbox » Mon Dec 15, 2008 4:22 pm

was the store brew and grow? The people in the Roselle store are quite knowledgeable.
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Postby Suthrncomfrt1884 » Tue Dec 16, 2008 8:31 am

It was the Rockford Brew and Grow. They have hired a new guy who really seems to know what he's talking about, but the other guy seems sortof clueless.
Primary - Belgian Dubbel, Belgian IPA
Secondary - Cherry Lambic
Bottled - Bourbon Barrel Coffee Porter, Double Chocolate Raspberry Stout, Imperial Nut Brown, Apfelwein, American Amber Ale w/Homegrown Hops, Breakfast Stout
Kegged - Bass Clone, ESB
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Postby jimcraig » Sat Dec 20, 2008 11:13 am

Im confused as to how you have room for a keg, but not a 5# CO2 bottle?

mine lies on its side in the door. perfect fit.
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re: space limits

Postby Suthrncomfrt1884 » Sat Dec 20, 2008 8:17 pm

I'm actually using my garage fridge for beer. It's an old 9cu.ft. fridge with the freezer on the inside. After putting the keg inside and all of my other bottled beer, there's barely enough room for the door to close. Also, the door is only good for holding more bottles.

I suppose if I went with a smaller tank, I'd be fine, but then I'd also be making more trips to fill it.

I'm pretty picky when it comes to my garage, so I don't like having things laying around. Hoses and a CO2 tank outside of the fridge aren't an option as they'll end up getting on my nerves.

Anyways...I'm looking into buying a bigger fridge soon as the current one is on it's last leg anyhow.
Primary - Belgian Dubbel, Belgian IPA
Secondary - Cherry Lambic
Bottled - Bourbon Barrel Coffee Porter, Double Chocolate Raspberry Stout, Imperial Nut Brown, Apfelwein, American Amber Ale w/Homegrown Hops, Breakfast Stout
Kegged - Bass Clone, ESB
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