Author Topic: Force carb vs Keg conditioned  (Read 3843 times)

Offline BrewBama

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Force carb vs Keg conditioned
« on: October 01, 2014, 10:23:45 PM »
What do you do and why?  Do you add sugar, kreuzen, other(?), or simply hook up the CO2?  Do you shake, rattle, or roll?
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Offline brewinhard

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Re: Force carb vs Keg conditioned
« Reply #1 on: October 01, 2014, 10:32:20 PM »
I have never keg conditioned simply because I don't see the reason for it if you have a CO2 tank.  Extra steps, extra work, and extra time.  If I add gelatin finings to a cold beer I will shake the keg at about 20-25 PSI for 5 minutes at racking time. This not only helps to disperse the gelatin evenly but also carbonates the beer at the same time and avoids any gelatin rising to the top of the beer and preventing CO2 from properly carbonating the beer (yes I have experienced this strange phenomenon on more than one occasion, hence the shaking). 

If I am not concerned with finings or am aging a beer for an extended time, I will simply allow it to lager for a given time period then put it on gas for a week before serving. 

What do you plan on trying out?

Offline HoosierBrew

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Re: Force carb vs Keg conditioned
« Reply #2 on: October 01, 2014, 10:37:57 PM »
I like to force carb, with most beers @ 40F and 12 psi. I've primed kegs with sugar, but hated to dump the sediment, and didn't see the point. And I used to shake and roll for short notice beers, but now I just chill to 40F and give it 25-30 psi for two days for quick carbonation. Most times nowadays though I try to budget time to let it carb @ the 40F/12psi to get predicatable carbonation. But I might carb at a little less for some styles (10-11 psi) like British styles, a little more (~13psi) for Belgian styles.
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Offline BrewBama

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Force carb vs Keg conditioned
« Reply #3 on: October 01, 2014, 10:39:15 PM »
Thank you for your feedback.

My ulterior motive is this: I am not happy with force carbing. I get what I think is a flatter beer than if I would add sugar and allow the yeast do the work. It would add time but it could possibly do a better carb job.

Of course, it could be operator error. Maybe I'm not shaking, rattling, or rolling enough.
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Offline HoosierBrew

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Re: Force carb vs Keg conditioned
« Reply #4 on: October 01, 2014, 10:43:39 PM »
Sorry for the dumb question, but have you left your regulator set at a slightly higher pressure for a week or so ? It only takes a lb or two of extra pressure to, over a week or two, get your beer to a higher carb level.


EDIT - Also, have you checked for leaks in your kegs ? I use a spray bottle of Starsan to check for leaks, and 'Keg lube' on all O-rings.
« Last Edit: October 01, 2014, 10:45:11 PM by HoosierBrew »
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Offline morticaixavier

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Re: Force carb vs Keg conditioned
« Reply #5 on: October 01, 2014, 10:44:46 PM »
or not waiting enough. With a naturally carbed in the keg you HAVE to wait a week or two or three before the yeast are done, then a couple more days to chill. When you force carb, if you wait the same amount of time and set your regulator to the same level as will be achieved with your priming charge it should be identical in carbonation.
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Offline BrewBama

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Force carb vs Keg conditioned
« Reply #6 on: October 01, 2014, 11:15:30 PM »
My current method is to hook up CO2 hose only at 30 PSI, rock the keg flat on the floor until I no longer hear CO2 bubbling, then cold rest for three days (still hooked up @30 PSI).  I close the gas valve and release the head pressure, set to serving PSI (10-12), and serve.

 Maybe I should simply wait longer.

But the real question is: What do you do?
« Last Edit: October 01, 2014, 11:23:15 PM by BrewBama »
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Offline HoosierBrew

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Re: Force carb vs Keg conditioned
« Reply #7 on: October 01, 2014, 11:26:34 PM »
My current method is to hook up CO2 hose only at 30 PSI, rock the keg flat on the floor until I no longer hear CO2 bubbling, then cold rest for three days.  I close the gas valve and release the head pressure, set to serving PSI (10-12), and serve.

 Maybe I should simply wait longer.

I can only speak for me, but I felt that the shake and roll left my carbing pretty inconsistent. I know a lot of people here either do it or have done it a lot. Personally, I think either of the methods I use works a little better, with the lower pressure/longer time combo being the most consistent. But I promise you that if you verify that your kegs are sealing well and use either method, you'll get consistently well carbed beers.

EDIT  -  Here's a good temp/pressure chart. Click on the the chart to get a bigger version. It's THE best way to force carb and get what you want :     http://www.kegerators.com/articles/carbonation-table-pressure-chart.php
« Last Edit: October 01, 2014, 11:41:27 PM by HoosierBrew »
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Offline BrewBama

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Re: Force carb vs Keg conditioned
« Reply #8 on: October 01, 2014, 11:55:30 PM »
Thank you for the link. Good read - I do it that way (see above) but with not the best results I think I could get.

Oh, and I did spray Star San when hooking up the CO2.

Again, thank you.
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Online tommymorris

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Force carb vs Keg conditioned
« Reply #9 on: October 02, 2014, 01:53:49 AM »
I generally set and forget at 11-12PSI at 38F. I drink a pint at weekly intervals until I think the beer is ready. Usually it is carbed after 1-2 weeks. Usually I think the beer is properly conditioned after 2-3 weeks. Lighter beers and gelatin speed things up.

PS. I have tried using table sugar to carb on my last 2 kegs. It works. It saves co2. No negatives. I do worry about leaving a keg of beer in a warm closet in the summer.
« Last Edit: October 02, 2014, 02:30:28 PM by alestateyall »

Offline erockrph

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Re: Force carb vs Keg conditioned
« Reply #10 on: October 02, 2014, 02:11:40 AM »
I don't do a full-on force carb, but I do a bit of an accelerated carb schedule. I use about 30 PSI to seat my lid, then shake for maybe a minute or so. Then I back the pressure down to about 20 PSI and lit it sit at about 36-38F for 1.5 to 2 days. After that I back it off to 12 PSI and check back in a week or so. By going hard the first couple of days it does seem to shave off a few days until the keg is carbonated to my liking, but I don't push it so hard where I'd have to worry about overcarbonation if I accidentally let it go at 20PSI for a couple of extra days.
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Offline morticaixavier

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Re: Force carb vs Keg conditioned
« Reply #11 on: October 02, 2014, 02:21:04 AM »
I do more or less what erock describes. I don't back it off I just keep my co2 at 20psi or so because that works well for carbonated water. I turn the gas off to a keg when it's well carbed and serve with head pressure till it gets low then give it a shot of co2.
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Offline Three

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Re: Force carb vs Keg conditioned
« Reply #12 on: October 02, 2014, 05:08:20 AM »
I like to force carb, with most beers @ 40F and 12 psi. I've primed kegs with sugar, but hated to dump the sediment, and didn't see the point. And I used to shake and roll for short notice beers, but now I just chill to 40F and give it 25-30 psi for two days for quick carbonation. Most times nowadays though I try to budget time to let it carb @ the 40F/12psi to get predicatable carbonation. But I might carb at a little less for some styles (10-11 psi) like British styles, a little more (~13psi) for Belgian styles.

+1  Predictable carbonation......
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Offline Joe Sr.

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Re: Force carb vs Keg conditioned
« Reply #13 on: October 02, 2014, 01:55:25 PM »
I turn the gas off to a keg when it's well carbed and serve with head pressure till it gets low then give it a shot of co2.

I do this, too.  For carbing, I typically shake for a bit and then leave the keg hooked up overnight (maybe 12 - 24 hours) at 30PSI or thereabouts.  After that, I unhook the gas and put the keg in storage for when I'm ready to tap it.

IMO and experience (no real science here), quick carbonation can be rough - larger bubbles that come out of solution more quickly - while if the same beer sits longer the CO2 seems to dissolve more fully into solution.

Also, even though you're dropping your head pressure to serve, the gas in solution hasn't fully equalized yet especially if you're serving right away.  You may be getting more foaming and knocking CO2 out of solution more quickly, resulting in a beer that is carbed yet seems flat.  I've had that with pours that come out too rapidly - big rocky head on a glass of flat beer.
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BurghBeezer

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Re: Force carb vs Keg conditioned
« Reply #14 on: October 02, 2014, 03:06:34 PM »
I tried the shake method twice, once on my very first kegged homebrew and again on the second kegged homebrew just to make sure I did it right.  I will never bother with that again.  You get "carbonated" beer, but like the others said it's large bubbles that don't stay in solution like soda and there is a sharp carbonic bite; then once you do turn pressure down the beer seems to almost go flat for a few days and then your waiting again.

I set to 30PSI for first 24-36hrs then turn down to serving pressure.  Generally about 7-10 days from kegging before the brew is fully carbonated.