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General Category => General Homebrew Discussion => Topic started by: fmader on May 29, 2013, 01:50:59 AM

Title: Naturally Carbonating a Keg
Post by: fmader on May 29, 2013, 01:50:59 AM
Ok, I'm double posting...only because no one was jumping on this in the "kegging and bottling" section :P

I plan on brewing a 10 gallon batch this weekend. About half of it is for a party in late July, in which I plan to keg. I have an 1/8 keg, which I believe is 3.8 gallons. I want to add priming sugar and naturally carbonate it, because I don't ever plan to hook it up to CO2. The keg will be kicked that night, so we'll be tapping it with a party tap. I usually use about 3.5 oz of priming sugar to bottle 5 gallons of an APA depending on the temperature. I know the keg isn't five gallons, but would I use the same ratio of priming sugar in the keg as I do in the bottles?

Thanks!
Title: Re: Naturally Carbonating a Keg
Post by: Alewyfe on May 29, 2013, 04:32:07 AM
I use Beersmith and the program has a calculator for priming a keg with corn sugar. It seems to be about half what you would use for bottles. I think the reason is reduced head space to volume in the keg. Anyway, the recommended amount in Beersmith has always worked fine. Another option I have used is to keg a few SG points before the beer is finished and just let it naturally carbonate itself. I have a pressure gauge on a piece of tubing and a gas out connector. I just check the PSI and then vent the keg if it is exceeding where I want it to be at the temp I have it stored.
Title: Re: Naturally Carbonating a Keg
Post by: Jimmy K on May 29, 2013, 12:35:29 PM
This is one of those questions that always stirs debate. 1/2 - 2/3 the priming sugar for a keg was the rule of thumb for years, but I don't think anybody really knows why.  I use the same proportion as for bottling and it works just fine. It's convenient for me because it gives me a way to keg most of my beer but still fill a few bottles and have them carbonate - without calculating priming sugar for a small portion of the batch.
Title: Re: Naturally Carbonating a Keg
Post by: kylekohlmorgen on May 29, 2013, 12:52:15 PM
Just hook the lil' guy up to CO2, crank it up, and shake the tar out of it.

Less guess work, and you'll have a lot less yeasty pints to toss out.

EDIT: pardon my language  :o
Title: Re: Naturally Carbonating a Keg
Post by: euge on May 29, 2013, 01:00:37 PM
I've been doing his for years now and caught a bunch of flack for it initially. Use the same amount of sugar that you would with bottles depending on temp and desired volumes of co2. And, the notion that priming a keg produces cloudy yeasty pints is BS.

As far as never hooking up the keg to a tank- you'll need something to push the beer out at some point. There won't be enough psi to move the beer once you've drawn the keg down. Unless there are plans to use gravity; perhaps laying the keg on its side and switching the "out" to the "in" and using its shorter tube will work.
Title: Re: Naturally Carbonating a Keg
Post by: fmader on May 29, 2013, 02:06:35 PM

As far as never hooking up the keg to a tank- you'll need something to push the beer out at some point. There won't be enough psi to move the beer once you've drawn the keg down. Unless there are plans to use gravity; perhaps laying the keg on its side and switching the "out" to the "in" and using its shorter tube will work.

It won't draw with a pump tap? The party is in the woods with a big ol fire. I plan on putting this thing in a five gallon bucket of ice and tap it like you would tap a keg of Natty Light like you would in the early years of college...
Title: Re: Naturally Carbonating a Keg
Post by: Slowbrew on May 29, 2013, 02:31:20 PM

As far as never hooking up the keg to a tank- you'll need something to push the beer out at some point. There won't be enough psi to move the beer once you've drawn the keg down. Unless there are plans to use gravity; perhaps laying the keg on its side and switching the "out" to the "in" and using its shorter tube will work.

It won't draw with a pump tap? The party is in the woods with a big ol fire. I plan on putting this thing in a five gallon bucket of ice and tap it like you would tap a keg of Natty Light like you would in the early years of college...

My first read through your post made me ask the same question as Euge.  It sounds like you'll be using an air pump to pressurize for serving.  If it kicks in one night that should work fine.  CO2 is better for long term serving in your fridge at home but the old hand works fine for a big party.

Paul
Title: Re: Naturally Carbonating a Keg
Post by: fmader on May 29, 2013, 02:41:02 PM

As far as never hooking up the keg to a tank- you'll need something to push the beer out at some point. There won't be enough psi to move the beer once you've drawn the keg down. Unless there are plans to use gravity; perhaps laying the keg on its side and switching the "out" to the "in" and using its shorter tube will work.

It won't draw with a pump tap? The party is in the woods with a big ol fire. I plan on putting this thing in a five gallon bucket of ice and tap it like you would tap a keg of Natty Light like you would in the early years of college...

My first read through your post made me ask the same question as Euge.  It sounds like you'll be using an air pump to pressurize for serving.  If it kicks in one night that should work fine.  CO2 is better for long term serving in your fridge at home but the old hand works fine for a big party.

Paul

Yeah... I wouldn't tap it like that if it wouldn't get kicked that evening. Too much oxidation at stake if it weren't. I just didn't want to lug the CO2 tank and tap out to the middle of the woods.

So the consensus seems to be to keep the sugar ratio the same the...
Title: Re: Naturally Carbonating a Keg
Post by: Joe Sr. on May 29, 2013, 02:48:26 PM
So the consensus seems to be to keep the sugar ratio the same the...

I disagree, but it's an endless debate.  It seems to work fine for some.  I've found that it over-carbonates in larger containers.  With a keg, though, I wouldn't worry too much.

As for serving, if money was no object you could always get one of those tiny Leland regulators that works off paint ball canisters.  I think the regulator itself is $120 or more, though.
Title: Re: Naturally Carbonating a Keg
Post by: euge on May 29, 2013, 03:22:45 PM
Well, the best thing to do is to try the technique multiple times. Then one can see if they favor priming and how it'll work for them.

And as an afterthought the beer probably will be cloudy- but from lugging the keg around. Letting it rest for a couple hours will improve matters IMO
Title: Re: Naturally Carbonating a Keg
Post by: fmader on May 29, 2013, 03:28:12 PM

And as an afterthought the beer probably will be cloudy- but from lugging the keg around. Letting it rest for a couple hours will improve matters IMO

I would agree.
Title: Re: Naturally Carbonating a Keg
Post by: euge on May 29, 2013, 03:44:10 PM
If you have an empty keg available you could carbonate in one, crash it and transfer under pressure and gravity. Then you could take bright beer out to the woods. But if the beer is served in Solo cups with poor light conditions does it really matter?
Title: Re: Naturally Carbonating a Keg
Post by: Joe Sr. on May 29, 2013, 04:08:28 PM
If you have an empty keg available you could carbonate in one, crash it and transfer under pressure and gravity. Then you could take bright beer out to the woods. But if the beer is served in Solo cups with poor light conditions does it really matter?

Depending on the amount of yeast in suspension, I can definitely taste it.  I prefer less cloudy beer even if drinking it from an opaque container.
Title: Re: Naturally Carbonating a Keg
Post by: fmader on May 29, 2013, 05:04:39 PM
I'm not too concerned about that. My friends don't know any better. I'm the only person I know who homebrews. I just don't want flat beer or over-carbonated beer.
Title: Re: Naturally Carbonating a Keg
Post by: Jimmy K on May 29, 2013, 05:34:43 PM
I always figure the old "1/2 the priming sugar" rule comes from two things. People expected less carbonation from kegs and years ago (pre-AHA forum) more homebrewers were probably kegging underattenuated beer. The remaining sugar would ferment in the keg and overcarbonate the beer.
Title: Re: Naturally Carbonating a Keg
Post by: jeffy on May 29, 2013, 05:44:04 PM
I still don't see why you don't force carbonate the keg, transfer off the lees to another keg, and then buy one of those small CO2 cartridges that attaches to the gas poppet to push the beer.
http://www.northernbrewer.com/shop/soda-keg-co2-charger.html
Title: Re: Naturally Carbonating a Keg
Post by: Joe Sr. on May 29, 2013, 07:28:19 PM
This thing is so much more awesome, though.

http://www.williamsbrewing.com/MINI-DUAL-C02-REGULATOR-P2650C148.aspx

Of course, you pay for that awesomeness.  It's on my "someday" list and I'll never be able to justify the cost.  But I have dreams.
Title: Re: Naturally Carbonating a Keg
Post by: fmader on May 30, 2013, 01:00:53 AM
I still don't see why you don't force carbonate the keg, transfer off the lees to another keg, and then buy one of those small CO2 cartridges that attaches to the gas poppet to push the beer.
http://www.northernbrewer.com/shop/soda-keg-co2-charger.html

Two reasons....I only have one keg, and it's a sanke style keg.
Title: Re: Naturally Carbonating a Keg
Post by: oscarvan on May 30, 2013, 01:22:38 AM
I would use the usual amount of sugar. If it over carbonates it is very easy to bleed it down before pumping.
Title: Re: Naturally Carbonating a Keg
Post by: jeffy on May 30, 2013, 01:46:01 AM
I still don't see why you don't force carbonate the keg, transfer off the lees to another keg, and then buy one of those small CO2 cartridges that attaches to the gas poppet to push the beer.
http://www.northernbrewer.com/shop/soda-keg-co2-charger.html

Two reasons....I only have one keg, and it's a sanke style keg.

Did you happen to mention this earlier and I just missed it?
I see the part about 1/8 keg, but I didn't assume it was a sanke.
You could still force carb it and avoid the carbonation issues.
Title: Re: Naturally Carbonating a Keg
Post by: fmader on May 30, 2013, 01:52:28 AM
I still don't see why you don't force carbonate the keg, transfer off the lees to another keg, and then buy one of those small CO2 cartridges that attaches to the gas poppet to push the beer.
http://www.northernbrewer.com/shop/soda-keg-co2-charger.html

Two reasons....I only have one keg, and it's a sanke style keg.
Did you happen to mention this earlier and I just missed it?
I see the part about 1/8 keg, but I didn't assume it was a sanke.
You could still force carb it and avoid the carbonation issues.

 Nah, I didn't mention it exactly. I don't know how the soda kegs work really (because I don't have one yet), but didn't think a party tap worked on them. I could force carbonate it, but I'm wanting to experiement with this style. I wasn't happy with the results of when I forced carbonated this keg the last time.
Title: Re: Naturally Carbonating a Keg
Post by: jeffy on May 30, 2013, 11:15:17 AM
I still don't see why you don't force carbonate the keg, transfer off the lees to another keg, and then buy one of those small CO2 cartridges that attaches to the gas poppet to push the beer.
http://www.northernbrewer.com/shop/soda-keg-co2-charger.html

Two reasons....I only have one keg, and it's a sanke style keg.
Did you happen to mention this earlier and I just missed it?
I see the part about 1/8 keg, but I didn't assume it was a sanke.
You could still force carb it and avoid the carbonation issues.

 Nah, I didn't mention it exactly. I don't know how the soda kegs work really (because I don't have one yet), but didn't think a party tap worked on them. I could force carbonate it, but I'm wanting to experiement with this style. I wasn't happy with the results of when I forced carbonated this keg the last time.

It takes practice.  Or science.
Title: Re: Naturally Carbonating a Keg
Post by: davidgzach on May 30, 2013, 12:26:50 PM
Want to borrow my Go-Tap?   ;D

(http://farm9.staticflickr.com/8384/8465154263_ba70e5822c_c.jpg)
Title: Re: Naturally Carbonating a Keg
Post by: udubdawg on May 30, 2013, 12:34:12 PM
This thing is so much more awesome, though.

http://www.williamsbrewing.com/MINI-DUAL-C02-REGULATOR-P2650C148.aspx

Of course, you pay for that awesomeness.  It's on my "someday" list and I'll never be able to justify the cost.  But I have dreams.

FWIW, I have one and love it.  I don't think I'll ever justify the cost though.   Sometimes I do stupid things.  ;D
Title: Re: Naturally Carbonating a Keg
Post by: Jimmy K on May 30, 2013, 12:55:38 PM
Want to borrow my Go-Tap?   ;D

(http://farm9.staticflickr.com/8384/8465154263_ba70e5822c_c.jpg)
That's cool!
Title: Re: Naturally Carbonating a Keg
Post by: tomsawyer on May 30, 2013, 01:03:25 PM
If the keg is full you won't push much beer before the gas in the headspace is exhausted.  You would get away without an external source of pressure if you only filled the keg halfway.  All the headspace would then most likely provide enough pressure for the event.  I do this at home, keg 3gal in a 5gal keg and drink off it without gas for several days.
Title: Re: Naturally Carbonating a Keg
Post by: klickitat jim on May 30, 2013, 01:08:08 PM
Go Tap, thanks for a great idea!

Now I have another project to build. Woo hoo