Homebrewers Association | AHA Forum

General Category => Kegging and Bottling => Topic started by: billthebrewer on October 20, 2010, 06:32:11 PM

Title: CO2 vs priming sugar
Post by: billthebrewer on October 20, 2010, 06:32:11 PM
I think I know the answer already but want to get some real life opinions. I am rather new to home brewing with 3 batches under my belt. I hate bottling and came to the conclusion that I need to keg any future batches but I dont have the money to splurge on a complete kegging system. So my question is can I use a keg without using CO2 to force carbonate and use priming sugar/ carbonation tabs as I do when bottling my batches?
Title: Re: CO2 vs priming sugar
Post by: Hokerer on October 20, 2010, 06:56:06 PM
I think I know the answer already but want to get some real life opinions. I am rather new to home brewing with 3 batches under my belt. I hate bottling and came to the conclusion that I need to keg any future batches but I dont have the money to splurge on a complete kegging system. So my question is can I use a keg without using CO2 to force carbonate and use priming sugar/ carbonation tabs as I do when bottling my batches?

Sure, no problem.  Although you'll still need some way to get the beer out of the keg once it's carbed.
Title: Re: CO2 vs priming sugar
Post by: tumarkin on October 20, 2010, 07:05:30 PM
Bottling & kegging both have their pros & cons. You can certainly carbonate your keg with priming sugar, approaching it like a great big bottle. But you're going to need CO2 to push it out of the keg anyhow. You might check Craigslist, etc, to try & find a used CO2 tank & regulator. Go for it, it's worth it.
Title: Re: CO2 vs priming sugar
Post by: a10t2 on October 20, 2010, 09:14:36 PM
Unless you have a way to cool the keg, you probably won't be able to get a good pour out of it anyway. Some kind of refrigeration is pretty much mandatory.

It's also possible that you'll get a keg with a lid that doesn't seat under zero pressure. In that case the CO2 would just leak out without the keg ever sealing.
Title: Re: CO2 vs priming sugar
Post by: tubercle on October 20, 2010, 10:54:09 PM
 If you hate bottling as bad as I do, just keep doing it. You'll find a way to piece together a system. It's a form of self-reverse-psychology. Buy groceries, get a CO2 bottle, buy groceries, get a CO2 bottle?

    Eventually you will convince yourself it is time to go on a diet for a while. ;D
Title: Re: CO2 vs priming sugar
Post by: billthebrewer on October 21, 2010, 12:41:41 AM
Thanks for the advise guys. I wont keg my beer until I can give it what it deserves CO2. Besides my birthday and Christmas are coming up so I better start dropping some hints to the wife.
One last thing, it never occurred to me how I would get the beer out of the keg without CO2.
Title: Re: CO2 vs priming sugar
Post by: jeffy on October 21, 2010, 12:46:56 AM
Actually you could serve it keg conditioned by gravity just like a real ale, but that's probably another thread.  I remember an article in Brewing Techniques years ago titled Beer From the Stainless.  Here's the link:
http://www.brewingtechniques.com/library/backissues/issue1.4/cantwell.html
"Home brewers can easily modify 3- and 5-gal Cornelius kegs for cask beer by angling them topside-down, dispensing through the gas "in" tube, and admitting air through the long "out" tube. In all cases, experimentation will show the way to the elusive gentle pint."
So yes, you could keg condition your beer and then serve it without CO2, but it's not something you see every day.

(edited to add a quote from the article)
Title: Re: CO2 vs priming sugar
Post by: billthebrewer on October 21, 2010, 08:53:56 PM
Actually you could serve it keg conditioned by gravity just like a real ale, but that's probably another thread.  I remember an article in Brewing Techniques years ago titled Beer From the Stainless.  Here's the link:
http://www.brewingtechniques.com/library/backissues/issue1.4/cantwell.html
"Home brewers can easily modify 3- and 5-gal Cornelius kegs for cask beer by angling them topside-down, dispensing through the gas "in" tube, and admitting air through the long "out" tube. In all cases, experimentation will show the way to the elusive gentle pint."
So yes, you could keg condition your beer and then serve it without CO2, but it's not something you see every day.

(edited to add a quote from the article)

thanks for the link. At first glance it looks promising.
Title: Re: CO2 vs priming sugar
Post by: animaldoc on October 23, 2010, 01:28:41 PM
It's a great low-tech method for dispensing beer in the "cask" manner, but you have to consider the flavor life of the beer.  Real Ale - style dispensing allows air (oxyen=bad) into the cask as the beer is drawn out.  The flavor of the beer deteriorates after a certain amount of time being exposed to air (think air-pumped Sanke kegs of megaswill at a picinic) and the condition deteriorates as CO2 leaves solution in response to the decreased head pressure.

If you expect to go thru a full keg in 48 hours, you'll be fine.  Otherwise you will likely be dumping a large portion of your keg after a few days.


-- Scott
Title: Re: CO2 vs priming sugar
Post by: The Professor on October 25, 2010, 03:44:32 AM
Unless you have a way to cool the keg, you probably won't be able to get a good pour out of it anyway. Some kind of refrigeration is pretty much mandatory.

Or  not... a couple of beers I regularly make never see the fridge, but are stored and poured at cellar temperature (for me, that's around 60°F pretty much year round, except maybe during August).  No problem force carbing them --either with high pressure and 45 minutes of shaking, or high pressure and left alone for a week--and the result has no problems pouring.   It's just a matter of a few brews to get the carb level right and to your liking.
Title: Re: CO2 vs priming sugar
Post by: a10t2 on October 25, 2010, 02:32:23 PM
Prof: How much carbonation are you using? For 2.4 vol of CO2 at 60°F you'd need 22 psi - and around 20 ft of 3/16" line to balance. That's been my experience, anyway.