Author Topic: Some Basic Kegging/Force Carbing Questions  (Read 4140 times)

Offline mpietropaoli

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Some Basic Kegging/Force Carbing Questions
« on: August 22, 2012, 05:51:27 PM »
TLDR: whats the quickest way to carb a beer (carbonation stone?) and how should I travel with it (carbed or uncarbed, or doesn't it matter)?

So I decided to try to get a beer ready for Labor Day weekend. Spending the weekend by a lake, all I could think of was some solid suds to enjoy with friends. So, I brewed a session American Wheat on 8/15, thinking it would be fully fermented by 8/25, and I'm leaving for the lake on 8/30.

As it happened, my LHBS had a special on cornies, so I picked one up with hosing, new o-rings, quick connect in/out, and some other stuff. A guy in my club traded me a 5 gallon CO2 tank, and loaned me a regulator. What better time to get into kegging!? Like when a thousand other things can go wrong (though I do have a backup steam that is fermented and ready to drink, minus carbonation).

My two most-pressing questions:

1.) What is the quickest way to carb it and does it work? I don't have means for refrigeration or getting it to serving temp. I have read about the methods where you attached, set your regulator to 30 or so PSI, set it sideways on your knee, and roll back and forth every hour or so for 24 hours. (please correct me if any of this is inaccurate...complete kegging n00b). I may be able to fit the keg, once filled, in my fermentation chest, but it would probably only get down into the 40's, as I have an Octoberfest in there with the temp controller set to 50 degrees (on the fermenter).

2.) I have about a 5 hour drive ahead of me to get to this lake. My plan is get the keg there, pack it in a container with some ice, and let it sit for 24 hours or so to settle out and get down to temperature. I will have to rotate the ice all weekend to keep it cool, which isn't a huge deal...hopefully it will be good enough to kick pretty quickly! If I am doing the 'quick carb' method, should I just wait until I get there, or do it at my house?

Many thanks in advance, and my apologies if there is already a thread out there, couldn't find much on here...
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Offline euge

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Re: Some Basic Kegging/Force Carbing Questions
« Reply #1 on: August 22, 2012, 06:56:44 PM »
Interesting.

Look- you need to chill your beer in order to force-carb quickly if at all. Or you could prime your keg (like a bottle) at ambient temps prior to the trip; however, that'll leave some sediment and after a drive it may be a bit cloudy. This doesn't bother me but some find it objectionable.

Great idea bringing a keg along to the lake. You'll be a popular guy...
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Offline Pinski

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Re: Some Basic Kegging/Force Carbing Questions
« Reply #2 on: August 22, 2012, 07:05:24 PM »
If I were in your situation I'd ice the beer in a tub overnight or for a few hours the morning of your trip. Attach the gas at about 30 psi and hit the road. After about three hours I'd relieve the pressure in the keg and reset the regulator to about 12 psi for the rest of the trip. Your beer will be closer to serving temp when you arrive and I bet your carbonation would be acceptable too. Good luck!
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Offline mpietropaoli

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Re: Some Basic Kegging/Force Carbing Questions
« Reply #3 on: August 22, 2012, 07:11:26 PM »
The thought being that the agitation in the car will help dissolve/distribute the CO2 throughout the beer in the keg?

Is a carbonation stone a worthwhile investment?  $13.00 at my LHBS.
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Kegged: Pliny Clone; Rodney's Weizenbock; RIS
Bottled: Putain Biere de Garde; 51 RIS; Glutang Clan Roggenbier
Cellaring: Biere de Mars; Flanders
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Offline mpietropaoli

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Re: Some Basic Kegging/Force Carbing Questions
« Reply #4 on: August 22, 2012, 07:14:52 PM »


Great idea bringing a keg along to the lake. You'll be a popular guy...

so long as the beer doesn't suck due to me rushing the fermentation (!)  I have a backup fermenter of steam that came out great that I will throw in the keg if the session wheat doesn't taste good. 

Also, re: chilling it.  I will figure something out.  If I have to, I will chill the hell out of it in an icebath per Pinski's recommendation. 
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Kegged: Pliny Clone; Rodney's Weizenbock; RIS
Bottled: Putain Biere de Garde; 51 RIS; Glutang Clan Roggenbier
Cellaring: Biere de Mars; Flanders
Planned: Schwarz

Offline Pinski

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Re: Some Basic Kegging/Force Carbing Questions
« Reply #5 on: August 22, 2012, 07:44:00 PM »
The thought being that the agitation in the car will help dissolve/distribute the CO2 throughout the beer in the keg?

Is a carbonation stone a worthwhile investment?  $13.00 at my LHBS.

Exactly.
I've never used a stone to carbonate but it seems like it would speed things up a bit.  Then again, you'd also have to rig up a special "in" line.  I wouldn't bother.
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Online mtnrockhopper

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Re: Some Basic Kegging/Force Carbing Questions
« Reply #6 on: August 22, 2012, 07:45:16 PM »
It took me a few kegs to get carbonating down, so I wouldn't recommend a fast force carb for a 1st timer. I'd use at least some priming sugar when you keg it - just to get it going. Then you can force carb to fine tune it.  If you get it cooled down on the drive up, then you can set the psi at 40, put the keg on its side and roll it (easier and max surface area b/t co2 and beer) for 10 minutes. Then let it settle.  After the first couple pints it will be much clearer.

Pressurized cylinder with regulator attached in a moving vehicle has lawsuit written all over it.
« Last Edit: August 22, 2012, 07:46:49 PM by mtnrockhopper »
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Offline Joe Sr.

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Re: Some Basic Kegging/Force Carbing Questions
« Reply #7 on: August 23, 2012, 07:23:08 AM »
As soon as I keg my beers I shoot them with about 30 psi to seal the lid and then I shake them a bit and let them sit for maybe twenty minutes before I disconnect the gas (or however long it takes to clean up after kegging).  I'll give them a shake or two during this time, as well.

That seems to do the trick for me, as they are well carbed when I tap them.

I would go ahead and try to carb them up before the trip.  You want the keg pressurized so it doesn't leak, at a minimum.

Once you get there, it sounds like you have 24 hours to dial it in.  If your over-carbed, just bleed off some pressure.
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Offline ryanheath

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Re: Some Basic Kegging/Force Carbing Questions
« Reply #8 on: August 27, 2012, 02:12:50 PM »
 I've had trouble with getting beers to carbonate fast, I tried high pressures for different periods of time, shaking, etc.. I always ended up with an over carbonated beer that was a PITA to pour. I finally bought a carb stone and it worked like a charm. I set my co2 to about 4psi and every hour raised it 1-2psi until it got to 12psi, after that point I let it sit over night and when i came home from work the beer was perfectly carbonated.

 

Offline Joe Sr.

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Re: Some Basic Kegging/Force Carbing Questions
« Reply #9 on: August 27, 2012, 02:52:17 PM »
I've had trouble with getting beers to carbonate fast, I tried high pressures for different periods of time, shaking, etc.. I always ended up with an over carbonated beer that was a PITA to pour.

I had that problem initially, too, but I've got my process worked out pretty well these days.

I think it's easy to over-do the shaking in an effort to get the beer carbed up.  I really only shake the keg for about 5 minutes or so.  I leave it upright and shake like I'm mad at it.  With both hands.
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Offline rbowers

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Re: Some Basic Kegging/Force Carbing Questions
« Reply #10 on: August 29, 2012, 06:20:05 PM »
My first foray into kegging with force carbonation used a fast carb shaking method.  Didn't come out so great- it involved beer in my regulator and on the ceiling of the garage.  I've since learned to be patient and ride out 12 psi for 5 or 6 days (doesn't help you much in your particular situation).  My only advice is definitely let it rest for at least a few hours if you go the fast force carb route.  Otherwise it's all foam.
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Offline euge

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Re: Some Basic Kegging/Force Carbing Questions
« Reply #11 on: August 30, 2012, 06:36:58 AM »
IMO you can tap a chilled keg within 30 minutes after FC. Just bleed off the excess pressure.
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Offline Joe Sr.

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Re: Some Basic Kegging/Force Carbing Questions
« Reply #12 on: August 30, 2012, 07:10:21 AM »
If you want to experiment with the shaking method to get a sense of how much shaking it requires, get a two liter and a carbonator cap.  Fill the two liter when you fill your keg.  Carbonate, shake, and chill.  You can have fresh carbonated beer in about 1/2 hour.  You don't really have to shake the daylights out of it, just enough to get the gas into solution.  Then re-pressurize it.  I do this twice and throw it in the freezer.
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Online morticaixavier

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Re: Some Basic Kegging/Force Carbing Questions
« Reply #13 on: August 30, 2012, 07:39:21 AM »
My first foray into kegging with force carbonation used a fast carb shaking method.  Didn't come out so great- it involved beer in my regulator and on the ceiling of the garage.  I've since learned to be patient and ride out 12 psi for 5 or 6 days (doesn't help you much in your particular situation).  My only advice is definitely let it rest for at least a few hours if you go the fast force carb route.  Otherwise it's all foam.

you shook it way to hard! I like to pick the keg up, while it's hooked to the gas and hole it by the top handle in one hand and the bottom rubber 'foot' in the other and just gently rock back and forth, you will hear the gas going in and the beer sloshing gently back and forth. about 5-10 minutes and you are good to go. it gets better after a few days but you can drink it more or less immedietly
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Offline evandy

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Re: Some Basic Kegging/Force Carbing Questions
« Reply #14 on: September 03, 2012, 05:50:37 AM »
Personally, I am a "set it and forget it" man.  However, if you MUST shake-carb for whatever reasons, this procedure will guarantee it doesn't get over-carbed.  I know several people in my HBC that swear by this procedure:

1) Chill the beer to serving temp (DO NOT FORGET THIS STEP)
2) Set the CO2 to the correct pressure for the level of carbonation you want.
3) Commense shaking
4) When you don't hear any more gas going into the keg, you're probably done.

The reason this works is that you aren't setting the gas to "too much carbonation."  You will need to shake for a little longer this way, but you will not be able to over-carbonate either.  It is similar in mechanism to putting an aeration stone at the bottom of the keg, but doesn't involve all that assembly and disassembly.