Author Topic: Naturally Carbonating a Keg  (Read 4236 times)

Online fmader

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Naturally Carbonating a Keg
« on: May 28, 2013, 06:50:59 PM »
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!
Frank

Offline Alewyfe

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Re: Naturally Carbonating a Keg
« Reply #1 on: May 28, 2013, 09:32:07 PM »
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.
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Re: Naturally Carbonating a Keg
« Reply #2 on: May 29, 2013, 05:35:29 AM »
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.
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Offline kylekohlmorgen

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Re: Naturally Carbonating a Keg
« Reply #3 on: May 29, 2013, 05:52:15 AM »
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
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Offline euge

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Re: Naturally Carbonating a Keg
« Reply #4 on: May 29, 2013, 06:00:37 AM »
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.
« Last Edit: May 29, 2013, 06:02:41 AM by euge »
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Online fmader

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Re: Naturally Carbonating a Keg
« Reply #5 on: May 29, 2013, 07:06:35 AM »

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...
Frank

Offline Slowbrew

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Re: Naturally Carbonating a Keg
« Reply #6 on: May 29, 2013, 07:31:20 AM »

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.

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Online fmader

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Re: Naturally Carbonating a Keg
« Reply #7 on: May 29, 2013, 07:41:02 AM »

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...
Frank

Offline Joe Sr.

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Re: Naturally Carbonating a Keg
« Reply #8 on: May 29, 2013, 07:48:26 AM »
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.
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Offline euge

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Re: Naturally Carbonating a Keg
« Reply #9 on: May 29, 2013, 08:22:45 AM »
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
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Online fmader

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Re: Naturally Carbonating a Keg
« Reply #10 on: May 29, 2013, 08:28:12 AM »

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.
Frank

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Re: Naturally Carbonating a Keg
« Reply #11 on: May 29, 2013, 08:44:10 AM »
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?
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Offline Joe Sr.

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Re: Naturally Carbonating a Keg
« Reply #12 on: May 29, 2013, 09:08:28 AM »
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.
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Re: Naturally Carbonating a Keg
« Reply #13 on: May 29, 2013, 10:04:39 AM »
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.
Frank

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Re: Naturally Carbonating a Keg
« Reply #14 on: May 29, 2013, 10:34:43 AM »
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.
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