Author Topic: Newbie Kegging Questions  (Read 3464 times)

Offline SecondRow_Sean

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Newbie Kegging Questions
« on: January 15, 2013, 07:55:18 AM »
I got sick of bottling, so now I'm in the middle of constructing a three tap keezer that hopefully doesn't turn out looking like Homer's spice rack. Craftsmanship skills aside, I've been browsing this sub-forum and after reading all about line length, elevation, temperature, etc- I'm now completely confused and realize I know nothing. I'll list all the details about my setup, if you could answer some basic questions I'd be grateful. Thanks!

Details:
- three tap keezer
- 5 lb co2 tank
- roughly 5 feet of liquid line
- elevation between the top of the keg and faucet is only about 6 inches

Questions:
- The first beer that I'm kegging is a sweet oatmeal stout. At about 2.2 volumes, and 45 degrees, TastyBrew lists a recommended pressure of 11.4 PSI. So do I just set this pressure and be done with it? Should I cold crash the beer first, after it's done fermenting? About how long will it take to carbonate? How does my line length and elevation affect this? Thanks for all your help.



Offline davidgzach

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Re: Newbie Kegging Questions
« Reply #1 on: January 15, 2013, 08:12:33 AM »
Questions:
- The first beer that I'm kegging is a sweet oatmeal stout. At about 2.2 volumes, and 45 degrees, TastyBrew lists a recommended pressure of 11.4 PSI. So do I just set this pressure and be done with it? Should I cold crash the beer first, after it's done fermenting? About how long will it take to carbonate? How does my line length and elevation affect this? Thanks for all your help.

If you set the pressure and just let it sit, it will carb up in about 3 days. 
No need to cold crash, but it will not hurt anything.  It will carb up sooner due to the length of time to bring the room temp beer down to 45F.
Line length and elevation should have no effect on carbing the beer.  It will have an effect on dispensing.  5 feet of line seems like a lot, but I'm not an expert.  I have 2 feet I think.  But if it pours well, who cares?

Dave
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Offline mtnrockhopper

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Re: Newbie Kegging Questions
« Reply #2 on: January 15, 2013, 08:15:14 AM »
If you can cold crash in the fermenter and then keg it, the beer will be a little clearer. If you can't, that's OK too. I use about 9feet of 3/16" ID beverage line and use 10psi serving pressure. The ID is important because the smaller ID provides more resistance. If you have 1/4" ID line then 5 feet is definately not enough. If you have 3/16" then 5 feet might be a little short for 11psi serving pressure. Using tubing that is too short will result in foamy pours.
 

Six inches elevation change won't affect you noticably.
 

You can set it at 11psi to force carbonate, but you much be patient. It may take 1 or 2 weeks to carbonate that way. I guess David and I don't agree here, it probably depends on your system and habits.  I tend to fill my kegs right up to the lid and I figure that makes carbonation take longer.
 

Line length, elevation and psi affect how much foam you get in your pour, but only psi affects how much carbonation is present in the beer.
 

If you haven't bought your taps yet, buy Perlick. Standard taps will get sticky. If you buy standard, you'll wish you bought Perlick eventually.
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Offline davidgzach

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Re: Newbie Kegging Questions
« Reply #3 on: January 15, 2013, 08:25:52 AM »
You can set it at 11psi to force carbonate, but you much be patient. It may take 1 or 2 weeks to carbonate that way. I guess David and I don't agree here, it probably depends on your system and habits.  I tend to fill my kegs right up to the lid and I figure that makes carbonation take longer.

That would make sense.  Less headspace would result in it taking longer to carbonate.  I usually have a couple of inches.

Dave
Dave Zach

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Re: Newbie Kegging Questions
« Reply #4 on: January 15, 2013, 08:36:32 AM »
I pressurize to 30 and shake the keg to carb it.  It's quicker, but less precise.
It's all in the reflexes. - Jack Burton

Offline davidgzach

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Re: Newbie Kegging Questions
« Reply #5 on: January 15, 2013, 08:58:12 AM »
I pressurize to 30 and shake the keg to carb it.  It's quicker, but less precise.

I do that in a pinch as well.  Or crank it up and let it sit for 1-2 days and keep checking.  You get to sample a lot that way!   ;)

Dave
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Re: Newbie Kegging Questions
« Reply #6 on: January 15, 2013, 09:10:18 AM »
I pressurize to 30 and shake the keg to carb it.  It's quicker, but less precise.

I do that in a pinch as well.  Or crank it up and let it sit for 1-2 days and keep checking.  You get to sample a lot that way!   ;)

Dave

I have 5' bev lines with cobra taps and it works okay at around 8-10 psi any higher and it gets foamy

On the shake to carb method, I just kegged a porter this weekend, set the co2 to 12 PSI and gently shook the keg for about 10 minutes. after resting for about 20 minutes it was perfect.
I like to pick the keg up and hold it my the rubber handle on top and the rubber foot on the bottom so it is on it's side, resting against my thighs (sounds kinda dirty  ;)) and just rock my whole body back and forth. if the liqiud post is under the liquid level you can hear it bubble away as more co2 enters the keg. Although I have heard that you can end up with liquid in the gas line doing this I have not had that problem... yet.
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Jonathan I Fuller

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Re: Newbie Kegging Questions
« Reply #7 on: January 15, 2013, 09:13:03 AM »
I have clear gas lines and have never seen liquid enter them.  I have seen frost from the CO2...

You're more dedicated than I am if you shake for 10 minutes.  I do it for maybe a minute or two at a time and do that three or four times over the course of cleaning up everything from kegging.  There are probably as many ways to do this as there are people.
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Offline Slowbrew

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Re: Newbie Kegging Questions
« Reply #8 on: January 15, 2013, 09:15:54 AM »

If you haven't bought your taps yet, buy Perlick. Standard taps will get sticky. If you buy standard, you'll wish you bought Perlick eventually.

I agree with mtnrockhopper on this point.  I put in standard taps and upgraded to Perlicks in less than 2 years.  Save yourself the extra expense and get Perlicks right off the bat.

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Offline SecondRow_Sean

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Re: Newbie Kegging Questions
« Reply #9 on: January 15, 2013, 09:35:24 AM »
Forgot to add,

- Faucets are Perlick
- Liquid side tubing is 3/16" ID

So if I set it at 11-12 PSI, shook it for a while (10-12 minutes), let it sit for a day or two, still at 11-12 PSI, would that work?


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Re: Newbie Kegging Questions
« Reply #10 on: January 15, 2013, 09:44:44 AM »
Forgot to add,

- Faucets are Perlick
- Liquid side tubing is 3/16" ID

So if I set it at 11-12 PSI, shook it for a while (10-12 minutes), let it sit for a day or two, still at 11-12 PSI, would that work?

sure will, you don't even need to let it sit for a day or two after that much shaking. but be gentle because if you form too much foam IN the keg there might not be enough foam positive compounds left intact to get a good head in the glass. let it settle for 20 minutes or so and the first pour is going to have a lot of gunk in it
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Offline davidgzach

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Re: Newbie Kegging Questions
« Reply #11 on: January 15, 2013, 09:47:20 AM »
Forgot to add,

- Faucets are Perlick
- Liquid side tubing is 3/16" ID

So if I set it at 11-12 PSI, shook it for a while (10-12 minutes), let it sit for a day or two, still at 11-12 PSI, would that work?

Unless you are in a rush, I would not shake the keg at all.  And if you can be patient, this is a good time to see how long it takes your system to carb your beer.  IMHO, put it on 12psi and leave it until it's done. 

Dave
Dave Zach

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Re: Newbie Kegging Questions
« Reply #12 on: January 15, 2013, 09:50:43 AM »
but be gentle because if you form too much foam IN the keg there might not be enough foam positive compounds left intact to get a good head in the glass.

I know there's since behind it, but... I'm going to be contrary again.  I have not experienced any problems with this.

When I keg, I typically fill a one-liter PET bottle and shake the bejesus out of it to get a couple of glasses carbed up right away.  It foams a LOT in the bottle.  It pours just fine with a nice head.

Sample size is 1 (myself), so take it for what it's worth.
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Offline jeffy

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Re: Newbie Kegging Questions
« Reply #13 on: January 15, 2013, 10:40:22 AM »
but be gentle because if you form too much foam IN the keg there might not be enough foam positive compounds left intact to get a good head in the glass.

I know there's since behind it, but... I'm going to be contrary again.  I have not experienced any problems with this.

When I keg, I typically fill a one-liter PET bottle and shake the bejesus out of it to get a couple of glasses carbed up right away.  It foams a LOT in the bottle.  It pours just fine with a nice head.

Sample size is 1 (myself), so take it for what it's worth.

I'm with Joe Sr. on this too. 
I carb my kegs by 1) get the beer cold 2) set the regulator as high as it goes - about 35 psi 3) pick up the keg by the ends and rock it back and forth about 40 times 4) remove the gas line from the keg 5) rest the keg in the fridge several hours 6) bleed off excess pressure 7) enjoy carbed beer.
It is not precise and sometimes it takes some adjusting to get the perfect CO2 level, but at least I don't have to wait several days. 
I've never had a problem with foam in the glass because of this method.
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Re: Newbie Kegging Questions
« Reply #14 on: January 15, 2013, 10:44:11 AM »
but be gentle because if you form too much foam IN the keg there might not be enough foam positive compounds left intact to get a good head in the glass.

I know there's since behind it, but... I'm going to be contrary again.  I have not experienced any problems with this.

When I keg, I typically fill a one-liter PET bottle and shake the bejesus out of it to get a couple of glasses carbed up right away.  It foams a LOT in the bottle.  It pours just fine with a nice head.

Sample size is 1 (myself), so take it for what it's worth.

Full disclosure... my advice was coming from an article in zymurgy. I am always gentle so have not experienced anything else, look like you can shake as hard you want


I'm with Joe Sr. on this too. 
I carb my kegs by 1) get the beer cold 2) set the regulator as high as it goes - about 35 psi 3) pick up the keg by the ends and rock it back and forth about 40 times 4) remove the gas line from the keg 5) rest the keg in the fridge several hours 6) bleed off excess pressure 7) enjoy carbed beer.
It is not precise and sometimes it takes some adjusting to get the perfect CO2 level, but at least I don't have to wait several days. 
I've never had a problem with foam in the glass because of this method.


If you set to serving pressure and shake you will avoid the lack of precision and still get carbed beer super fast.
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