Author Topic: Naturally carbonating a keg  (Read 2381 times)

Offline fmader

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Naturally carbonating a keg
« on: May 25, 2013, 08:57:57 AM »
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 dean_palmer

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Re: Naturally carbonating a keg
« Reply #1 on: June 03, 2013, 12:08:12 PM »
Unless you plan on using gravity you will need to eventually hook it up to Co2 for serving, to push the beer out, but you probably know that.

As for natural carbonation, you can use the same ratio of sugar as you would for bottling. Some folks have a preference of less or more after doing it for the same recipe many times, but your results will vary. Keep notes on time and temp for the next time and if you want to vary it you'll have a baseline.

All that said, I find it easier to carbonate a keg in a few minutes with Co2 pressure and get it perfect and not have to worry about variations.

Offline kmshultz

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Re: Naturally carbonating a keg
« Reply #2 on: June 05, 2013, 04:37:05 PM »
It may be too late for this reply, but I have to disagree with dean_palmer regarding the amount of priming sugar to add. Many sources recommend using about 1/3 the ratio of priming sugar for priming in the keg versus bottling. That is, if you use 4.5 oz of priming sugar to prime a 5 gal batch in bottles, use about 1.5 oz of priming sugar to prime a 5 gal batch in a 5 gal keg. I have keg primed several times, and my experience bears this out -- I usually use between 1.0 to 1.5 oz of priming sugar per 5 gal, and I find it to be just about right. Then again I prefer most beers a little on the low side of carbonation, so YMMV.

It's something to do with the ratio of headspace volume to total beer volume being different in a keg situation versus bottles.

Anyway, let us know how it works out!

Cheers,
Kent
A beer for every occasion, and an occasion for every beer!

Offline euge

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Re: Naturally carbonating a keg
« Reply #3 on: June 06, 2013, 07:59:42 PM »
I'm sorry Kent that is totally wack advice. :-\ I prime my kegs often; have done so for years- and I have to agree with Dean Palmer.

Fmader how about using a priming calculator? Just treat this by volume.
The first principle is that you must not fool yourself, and you are the easiest person to fool. -Richard P. Feynman

Offline Jo Diesel

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Re: Naturally carbonating a keg
« Reply #4 on: June 07, 2013, 06:02:37 AM »
I started priming all my kegs with 1 cup to 15 gallons or about 2.7 oz for 5. By doing this I have cut my CO2 usage way down as it  recently took a big price hike. They store well being primed also and I think the flavor smooths out being keg conditioned.

Offline Joe Sr.

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Re: Naturally carbonating a keg
« Reply #5 on: June 07, 2013, 06:47:57 AM »
I'm sorry Kent that is totally wack advice. :-\ I prime my kegs often; have done so for years- and I have to agree with Dean Palmer.

Meh.  When I prime mini-kegs I use 50% or thereabouts of what I would use for bottles.  If I go 1:1 the kegs over carb and pop out in to footballs.

We've been through this a couple of times.  Do what works for you, of course, but IME larger volumes require less priming sugar to reach the same carbonation.

Of course, with cornies you can always just bleed the pressure off anyway if you're over carbed so its not that big of a deal.
It's all in the reflexes. - Jack Burton

Offline euge

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Re: Naturally carbonating a keg
« Reply #6 on: June 07, 2013, 07:10:52 AM »
I'd dare say a mini-keg is not in the same class as a 2.5 or 3 gallon cornie keg which are rated at 130psi last time I checked.

Anyway, it seems to me that the perception of the results are subjective. Thus the disagreements. Ultimately, one needs to investigate and develop what will work for them and their system if pursuing this practice. My results have been consistent and I've adopted keg-priming as a regular technique to carbonate all my kegs. This has saved me quite a few trips to the welding supply for CO2 each year.



The first principle is that you must not fool yourself, and you are the easiest person to fool. -Richard P. Feynman

Offline Joe Sr.

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Re: Naturally carbonating a keg
« Reply #7 on: June 07, 2013, 07:20:35 AM »
I'd dare say a mini-keg is not in the same class as a 2.5 or 3 gallon cornie keg which are rated at 130psi last time I checked.

No doubt.  And mini-kegs do not have a pressure relief valve.  But I don't think the max rating of the container affects the carbonation level.

Over carbed is over carbed regardless of the container.  The basics of priming a corny apply with a mini-keg as you still have a larger volume with smaller head space. 

I'll stick with my lower priming, as that's what works for me.  I expect you'll do the same.  I can't argue with your consistent results, even if they're inconsistent with mine which are also consistent.  Maybe I'll tap one of those minis tonight to check.
It's all in the reflexes. - Jack Burton