Author Topic: Keg Carbonating  (Read 6599 times)

Offline davidgzach

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Keg Carbonating
« on: February 22, 2012, 03:50:00 PM »
I'm about to keg my Pale Ale v.7 and it dawned on me that I have 3 lbs. of corn sugar sitting around as I haven't bottled in years.  I typically have to wait 3-4 days for my beers to force carb unless I really ramp it up and shake the keg for an hour. 

BUT, why not put say 1/3 cup of corn sugar in the keg before transferring?  It should at least get it going, cut my carb time down by a couple of days or to zero and use up the corn sugar that's been sitting around with nothing to do.

What am I missing?  Should I just put in 2/3 of a cup for 5 gallons and call it quits?

Dave
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Offline CB-Illinois

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Re: Keg Carbonating
« Reply #1 on: February 22, 2012, 03:56:35 PM »
Hi Dave,

I think that if you keg condition it will take longer to get the finished product you are looking for.  If you add sugar and do not give the yeast time to make alcohol the beer will be flat and sweet.  If you want to tap as soon as possible, I would force carbonate and save the sugar for a batch that has some time to mature.

Offline tschmidlin

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Re: Keg Carbonating
« Reply #2 on: February 22, 2012, 03:58:36 PM »
I wouldn't bother.  It will force carb better if it is cold, but it won't naturally carb well that way.  Plus it takes longer to carbonate naturally than the 3-4 days it takes to force carbonate it, so I'm not sure why you think it could cut the carb time to zero.
Tom Schmidlin

Offline euge

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Re: Keg Carbonating
« Reply #3 on: February 22, 2012, 04:10:48 PM »
I'm a big supporter of keg priming but it is one or the other if you plan to keep it cold. You're better off chilling and force carbing by shaking the chilled keg.

That way you can drink your beer in about 30 minutes after carbing. ;)
The first principle is that you must not fool yourself, and you are the easiest person to fool. -Richard P. Feynman

Offline gsandel

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Re: Keg Carbonating
« Reply #4 on: February 22, 2012, 04:19:57 PM »
I have done both the force carb by setting at serving psi and forgetting (takes a week or two), as well as natural carbonation by adding corn sugar (takes a week or two).  I have found no difference in taste or quality of carbonation or foam.  What I have never done is turn up the psi and shake.

My preference is for setting and forgetting, all things being equal, it is gentle on the beer and takes no additional effort on my part....and I am never all that much in a hurry to drink it.

Save your corn sugar to make a higher gravity beer.

g

You wouldn't believe the things I've seen...

Offline Joe Sr.

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Re: Keg Carbonating
« Reply #5 on: February 22, 2012, 04:23:14 PM »
Save your corn sugar to make a higher gravity beer.

My thoughts exactly.
It's all in the reflexes. - Jack Burton

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Re: Keg Carbonating
« Reply #6 on: February 22, 2012, 05:39:15 PM »
Also, if you were going to prime the keg with sugar - you use less due to the difference in headspace in the keg vs bottles. Usually 1/3 cup is about all that's needed to carbonate it.
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Offline davidgzach

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Re: Keg Carbonating
« Reply #7 on: February 22, 2012, 05:39:55 PM »
I usually let my ales keg condition at 65F for a few weeks before cooling and force carbing.  I'm going to give one a try with 1/3 cup and see how it goes.

I'll keep attaching my go-tap to my lagers in the fridge to force carb a week before serving.

Appreciate the feedback as always!

Dave
Dave Zach

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Re: Keg Carbonating
« Reply #8 on: February 22, 2012, 05:42:25 PM »
I usually let my ales keg condition at 65F for a few weeks before cooling and force carbing.

Then no reason not to.
 
Cue the reasons not to (this is a forum after all).
Jimmy K

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Offline bluesman

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Re: Keg Carbonating
« Reply #9 on: February 22, 2012, 06:34:27 PM »
I usually cold crash the beer as soon as I keg the beer, then I'll immediately hook up the CO2 and let it force carb. If I'm in a hurry, I set the pressure to 50psi and shake the keg for a few minutes. It's the fastest way to get the beer carbonated. If I'm not in a hurry, I set it and forget it.

Using corn sugar is another viable method, however you can't cold crash and it takes longer. I just don't see any significant benefits to it.
Ron Price

Offline tschmidlin

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Re: Keg Carbonating
« Reply #10 on: February 22, 2012, 07:58:17 PM »
I usually let my ales keg condition at 65F for a few weeks before cooling and force carbing.

Then no reason not to.
 
Cue the reasons not to (this is a forum after all).
I think the only reason not too is the increased sediment in the keg.  If that doesn't bother you, have at it.
Tom Schmidlin

Offline evandy

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Re: Keg Carbonating
« Reply #11 on: February 23, 2012, 07:22:11 PM »
Also, if you were going to prime the keg with sugar - you use less due to the difference in headspace in the keg vs bottles. Usually 1/3 cup is about all that's needed to carbonate it.

Huh??  Unless you are knocking out lots of CO2 during the bottling process, it should take exactly the same amount of sugar to carb a keg as bottles.  It takes the same number of molecules of CO2 to get beer to a given volume of CO2 disolved.  Now, temperature during fermentation and bottling make a difference.  A lager should take much less sugar than an ale, due to the larger amount of fermentation-derived CO2 in the beer at a colder temperature. 

The head space might make a teeny tiny difference, but it shouldn't make much.

Offline Joe Sr.

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Re: Keg Carbonating
« Reply #12 on: February 23, 2012, 08:02:11 PM »
Also, if you were going to prime the keg with sugar - you use less due to the difference in headspace in the keg vs bottles. Usually 1/3 cup is about all that's needed to carbonate it.

Huh??  Unless you are knocking out lots of CO2 during the bottling process, it should take exactly the same amount of sugar to carb a keg as bottles.  It takes the same number of molecules of CO2 to get beer to a given volume of CO2 disolved.  Now, temperature during fermentation and bottling make a difference.  A lager should take much less sugar than an ale, due to the larger amount of fermentation-derived CO2 in the beer at a colder temperature. 

The head space might make a teeny tiny difference, but it shouldn't make much.

I can't speak to the physics of it, but you will want to use less sugar and 1/3 cup sounds about right.

I've badly overcarbed mini-kegs not following this rule and the pressure punches them out into little metal footballs.
It's all in the reflexes. - Jack Burton

Offline evandy

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Re: Keg Carbonating
« Reply #13 on: February 23, 2012, 08:48:02 PM »
I can't speak to the physics of it, but you will want to use less sugar and 1/3 cup sounds about right.

I've badly overcarbed mini-kegs not following this rule and the pressure punches them out into little metal footballs.

At 60 degrees, carbonating to 2 volumes of CO2, the nomagraph (http://www.howtobrew.com/section1/chapter11-4.html) calls for a bit over 2 oz of cane sugar.  2.3oz of sugar is 1/3 c, so the 1/3c might be right. 2.5 volumes of CO2 would be 4oz, which is closer to 1/2 c.

I'm just saying that bottle vs keg should be the same.  How do you calculate your sugar for bottling?

Offline Joe Sr.

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Re: Keg Carbonating
« Reply #14 on: February 24, 2012, 08:30:10 AM »
I haven't bottled a full batch in years, but my recollection is I used a 1/2 cup of corn sugar boiled in a cup of water.

The past few years I've tried a variety of the "carb tabs" or "carbonation drops" made by Munton's, Cooper's and Brewer's Best with relatively unpredictable results.  So for the time being, I've stopped bottling anything.
It's all in the reflexes. - Jack Burton