Author Topic: Kegging and Carbonating - 1st time brew  (Read 1910 times)

Offline jasongael

  • Cellarman
  • **
  • Posts: 29
    • View Profile
Kegging and Carbonating - 1st time brew
« on: June 11, 2014, 09:10:05 AM »
Hi,

I want to transfer my fermented beer from carboy into a Corny Keg and carbonate it. Do I have to use cornstarch or sugar to carbonate it? I thought I heard I can just use my CO2 tank to carbonate it over a week or so? Total newbie. Any / all advice is much appreciated!

Thanks!
"May your glass be ever full, may the roof over your head be always strong, and may you be in heaven a half-hour before the devil knows you're dead."

We'll drink to that.

Offline Stevie

  • Official Poobah of No Life.
  • *
  • Posts: 6456
    • View Profile
Re: Kegging and Carbonating - 1st time brew
« Reply #1 on: June 11, 2014, 09:21:09 AM »
No cornstarch!


Corn or table sugar work fine, but you still want CO2 around to dispense as well as seat the lid.


There are loads of online calculators out there to assist in determining the appropriate amount of sugar. Those are general designed for bottles and you will want to use less for a keg. 1/2 - 2/3 is the general rule of thumb.


Online calculators will also tell you what the ideal pressure is for a given volume of CO2 at your serving temperture. Those are basically set and forget and can take a week or two to carbonate without shaking.

Offline mchrispen

  • Brewmaster
  • *****
  • Posts: 611
    • View Profile
    • Accidentalis Brewing Blog
Re: Kegging and Carbonating - 1st time brew
« Reply #2 on: June 11, 2014, 09:21:41 AM »
You can do either. Depends on your patience.


You can force carb, setting the CO2 pressure a bit higher than serving and shake like hell a couple of times in the day. Make sure the beer is cold first. The other issue is making sure to rack into a fully purged cornie - this can force oxygen into the beer and ruin it. I fill the keg with water/sanitizer and push that out completely with CO2 to eliminate as much O2 as possible before racking beer into the keg.


or


You can "keg condition" - add the priming sugar and set the keg aside at room temperature for a couple of weeks, then cold crash. You will want to dump the first pint or so, which will be yeasty sediment. I will do this for big belgian beers to get closer to a bottle conditioned product.


or


Set and forget at your desired carb level (usually between 8 and 11 psi) and let that sit cold for a few weeks. This has a benefit of clearer beer at time of serving, as it cold conditions for that time.


I tend to force carb, and patiently take very small tastes through the first two weeks. It also allows me to check clarity if its going to a competition.

Offline jasongael

  • Cellarman
  • **
  • Posts: 29
    • View Profile
Re: Kegging and Carbonating - 1st time brew
« Reply #3 on: June 11, 2014, 09:37:37 AM »
I have a brand spanking new Cornelius Keg, and I don't want to use sugar if possible. So, let me see if I have this semi-correct:

1- siphon beer into keg
2- close keg
3- connect CO2 and set to recommended pressure
4- shake/roll
5- let sit hours
6- repeat 4&5
7- let site 5-7 days

Am I close?
"May your glass be ever full, may the roof over your head be always strong, and may you be in heaven a half-hour before the devil knows you're dead."

We'll drink to that.

Offline Stevie

  • Official Poobah of No Life.
  • *
  • Posts: 6456
    • View Profile
Re: Kegging and Carbonating - 1st time brew
« Reply #4 on: June 11, 2014, 09:44:09 AM »
You only shake if you are looking to get the beer ready faster.


I like to seat the lid with 30-40 PSI when sealing the lid. I turn the pressure up, undo the bail on the lid and pull on it while attaching the gas. A little lube helps here as well. Not seating the lid can, but doesn't always, lead to leaks.



I would clean the keg well before use as well. Disassemble it and clean all the parts well. Apply keg lube (food grade silicone lube) to all the rubber while reassembling.

Offline jasongael

  • Cellarman
  • **
  • Posts: 29
    • View Profile
Re: Kegging and Carbonating - 1st time brew
« Reply #5 on: June 11, 2014, 09:48:17 AM »
You only shake if you are looking to get the beer ready faster.


I like to seat the lid with 30-40 PSI when sealing the lid. I turn the pressure up, undo the bail on the lid and pull on it while attaching the gas. A little lube helps here as well. Not seating the lid can, but doesn't always, lead to leaks.



I would clean the keg well before use as well. Disassemble it and clean all the parts well. Apply keg lube (food grade silicone lube) to all the rubber while reassembling.

OK, thanks! I'm not exactly clear on the process of lid-sealing. I will clean and sterilize all keg parts first, and I will get some keg-lube for reassembly.

once the beer is siphoned into keg, I close the lid and seal it? I'm trying to figure out how I use the CO2 to displace the air after sealing lid?
"May your glass be ever full, may the roof over your head be always strong, and may you be in heaven a half-hour before the devil knows you're dead."

We'll drink to that.

Offline Stevie

  • Official Poobah of No Life.
  • *
  • Posts: 6456
    • View Profile
Re: Kegging and Carbonating - 1st time brew
« Reply #6 on: June 11, 2014, 09:52:46 AM »
I like to purge (fill) the keg with CO2 before I rack the beer over. You do this by hooking it up to the gas and letting the air escape the pressure relief valve. I let it run at a few PSI for a minute or so. I use the very unscientific method of sniffing the PRV for CO2.


Once I am done transferring and seat the lid I turn the pressure down to my carb pressure and give the PRV a few burps to let any air out. From there you can shake if you'd like.

Also, cold beer carbs better than warm beer.

EDIT - Typo
« Last Edit: June 11, 2014, 09:54:50 AM by Steve in TX »

Offline jasongael

  • Cellarman
  • **
  • Posts: 29
    • View Profile
Re: Kegging and Carbonating - 1st time brew
« Reply #7 on: June 11, 2014, 09:59:26 AM »
I like to purge (fill) the keg with CO2 before I rack the beer over. You do this by hooking it up to the gas and letting the air escape the pressure relief valve. I let it run at a few PSI for a minute or so. I use the very unscientific method of sniffing the PRV for CO2.


Once I am done transferring and seat the lid I turn the pressure down to my carb pressure and give the PRV a few burps to let any air out. From there you can shake if you'd like.

Also, cold beer carbs better than warm beer.

EDIT - Typo

OK, so now I'm more confused about racking the beer over. I was thinking I was going to siphon the beer into the open lid of the keg, which would mean there is no CO2 pressure. But, you're saying CO2 the keg free of air first?
"May your glass be ever full, may the roof over your head be always strong, and may you be in heaven a half-hour before the devil knows you're dead."

We'll drink to that.

Offline nbarmbrewer

  • 1st Kit
  • *
  • Posts: 18
    • View Profile
Re: Kegging and Carbonating - 1st time brew
« Reply #8 on: June 11, 2014, 10:07:46 AM »
There is a video on the home page of More beer on how to keg.

Offline mchrispen

  • Brewmaster
  • *****
  • Posts: 611
    • View Profile
    • Accidentalis Brewing Blog
Re: Kegging and Carbonating - 1st time brew
« Reply #9 on: June 11, 2014, 10:12:13 AM »
Steve is definitely spot on on purging.


I purge differently as I mentioned. I fill the keg with clean filtered water first and push all of the water out of the keg. There is a tiny bit at the bottom usually, so make sure not to use straight tap - filter first to remove chlorine. At this point, the keg should be full of CO2, with a very tiny residual O2. I use only 2-3 psi for this. I will disconnect my cobra tap and up the pressure to ensure a seated lid.


I open the release valve, and then connect the siphon hose clamped to a black disconnect. This allows the beer to transfer and gently push out the gas through the release valve. The back pressure helps to keep the beer still and reduce foaming. After oxidizing a couple of beers - I went to this extreme to ensure a fully sealed transfer.


I also put my cornie on a scale to watch the weight of the beer into the keg, so should you have more than 5 gallons, I can determine when to stop the transfer. A full cornie keg is around 49 lbs.

Offline Stevie

  • Official Poobah of No Life.
  • *
  • Posts: 6456
    • View Profile
Re: Kegging and Carbonating - 1st time brew
« Reply #10 on: June 11, 2014, 11:12:40 AM »
OK, so now I'm more confused about racking the beer over. I was thinking I was going to siphon the beer into the open lid of the keg, which would mean there is no CO2 pressure. But, you're saying CO2 the keg free of air first?


You still rack through the open lid (at least until you decide to get all fancy and transfer under pressure. different topic). Purging with CO2 minimize the exposure to oxygen to a reasonable degree.


mchrispen reminded me of something else I do. I fill the keg about half way with star san, then purge (using my method to determine if the air is all gone), shake, followed by pushing the starsan out through the out tube. It is mostly second nature so I guess I skip some details when explaining it. I need to work on that.  ::) 

Side note: If you are using StarSan, mixed using RO (or distilled) water and keeping in a sealed container, it will keep for months. I keep mine in a bucket, others keep theirs in kegs. Benefit to keeping in a keg is you always have a keg ready. Downside to keeping it in a keg is you are short a keg and you have to transfer it to a bucket or tub to sanitize items larger than the keg opening.

Offline Joe Sr.

  • Official Poobah of No Life.
  • *
  • Posts: 4226
  • Chicago - NORTH SIDE
    • View Profile
Re: Kegging and Carbonating - 1st time brew
« Reply #11 on: June 11, 2014, 11:39:56 AM »
Purging with CO2 is important.  I do it before filling and then again after filling to clear out as much oxygen from the head space as possible.

Once the keg is full, I give it some CO2 and then release the PRV.  I do this maybe three times or so to push out the oxygen.
It's all in the reflexes. - Jack Burton

Offline jasongael

  • Cellarman
  • **
  • Posts: 29
    • View Profile
Re: Kegging and Carbonating - 1st time brew
« Reply #12 on: June 11, 2014, 12:01:53 PM »
There is a video on the home page of More beer on how to keg.

Thanks! Super Long video, but it definitely answered all of my questions! AWESOME! :)
"May your glass be ever full, may the roof over your head be always strong, and may you be in heaven a half-hour before the devil knows you're dead."

We'll drink to that.

Offline jasongael

  • Cellarman
  • **
  • Posts: 29
    • View Profile
Re: Kegging and Carbonating - 1st time brew
« Reply #13 on: June 11, 2014, 12:13:45 PM »
My carboy is at 68 F right now, and my Corny Keg is room temp. SHould I cool them both down in my fridge before siphoning and then carbonating?
"May your glass be ever full, may the roof over your head be always strong, and may you be in heaven a half-hour before the devil knows you're dead."

We'll drink to that.

Offline Stevie

  • Official Poobah of No Life.
  • *
  • Posts: 6456
    • View Profile
Re: Kegging and Carbonating - 1st time brew
« Reply #14 on: June 11, 2014, 12:15:52 PM »
Most would recommend yes to cooling the carboy before racking. The keg doesn't matter. I do and don't, all depends on what I have going on and the amount of time I have to do it.


You do certainly want to cool it while carbing.