Author Topic: bottling from keg: headspace and foam  (Read 1375 times)

Offline goschman

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bottling from keg: headspace and foam
« on: July 07, 2015, 07:44:08 PM »
So I just bottled 2 each of 4 different beers from the keg for a competition using my new Blichmann beer gun. For doing it really quick instead of being prepared it went pretty well other than the damn tip falling off in a beer and having to dump it. I definitely got some foam in the beers but not bad at all compared to when I have tried this in the past. I left about 1-1/2" of headspace in most of the bottles but some had less or more. The beer competition is not for a few weeks so they are being stored in the fridge until then.

Is there any reason to be concerned? Even if I get less carb will it be enough to really tell? My last beer got docked for being undercarbed so I am more sensitive to this than I should be.

How many points are related to carbonation in BJCP events? EDIT: I guess carbonation effects many aspects of a beer from aroma to head retention to mouthfeel, etc so I suppose it can have a drastic impact depending on style...

« Last Edit: July 07, 2015, 07:46:10 PM by goschman »
On Tap/Bottled: Kurbis Marzen, Red Rye, Vienna Lager, Dry Hopped Peach Cider       

Fermenting: Imperial Porter, Hopfenbier
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Offline brewinhard

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Re: bottling from keg: headspace and foam
« Reply #1 on: July 07, 2015, 07:50:23 PM »
Mouthfeel is only 5 points total but involves more things than carbonation levels.  Appearance is 3 points and carbonation can also play a role there as well (think of a flat tripel.... ???). 

Sometimes when I use my beer gun I pull the tip of the gun just out of the surface of the beer as I am approaching the neck to help create some foam (yes, a bit of splashing occurs here, but the bottle has been purged well with CO2), which I then cap on.  Maybe you could try that next time.  If you don't do the foaming thing, then you can always top off with some CO2 and blanket the beer directly before capping. 

Offline goschman

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Re: bottling from keg: headspace and foam
« Reply #2 on: July 07, 2015, 07:54:44 PM »
Mouthfeel is only 5 points total but involves more things than carbonation levels.  Appearance is 3 points and carbonation can also play a role there as well (think of a flat tripel.... ???). 

Sometimes when I use my beer gun I pull the tip of the gun just out of the surface of the beer as I am approaching the neck to help create some foam (yes, a bit of splashing occurs here, but the bottle has been purged well with CO2), which I then cap on.  Maybe you could try that next time.  If you don't do the foaming thing, then you can always top off with some CO2 and blanket the beer directly before capping.

Thanks. My process was a bit inconsistent as I was figuring out what worked best for my system. I was trying to do it quickly and waste as little beer as possible. I did cap on foam for a few but some were foamier than others.

For next time, it seems like my best results will come from shutting off the CO2, purging the keg, and bottling below the recommended 5 psi. Also, my bottles were not cold so that didn't help. 
On Tap/Bottled: Kurbis Marzen, Red Rye, Vienna Lager, Dry Hopped Peach Cider       

Fermenting: Imperial Porter, Hopfenbier
Up Next: Maibock, Braunbier

Offline mainebrewer

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Re: bottling from keg: headspace and foam
« Reply #3 on: July 08, 2015, 12:56:28 AM »
Using my Beer Gun to bottle, what works best for me is to get the bottles down to the same temp as the beer. Turn off the gas to the keg and pull the PRV to vent the head space on the keg. Turn the CO2 regulator down to around 2-3 PSI (just enough to get the beer moving). Place bottle caps into a small pan/dish with Starsan in it. Fill the bottle with CO2, then beer. Fill the bottle up to within an inch or so from the top. Cap on foam. I cap each bottle as I fill it. A little tedious but no issues with carbonation or oxidation.
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Offline brewinhard

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Re: bottling from keg: headspace and foam
« Reply #4 on: July 08, 2015, 01:58:27 PM »
I cap each bottle as I fill it. A little tedious but no issues with carbonation or oxidation.

+1. 

Offline HoosierBrew

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Re: bottling from keg: headspace and foam
« Reply #5 on: July 08, 2015, 02:00:02 PM »
I cap each bottle as I fill it. A little tedious but no issues with carbonation or oxidation.

+1. 

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Offline goschman

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Re: bottling from keg: headspace and foam
« Reply #6 on: July 08, 2015, 02:03:56 PM »
Thanks all. I only had to fill 2 bottles of each beer so capping was not a big deal. For the most part, I don't foresee myself bottling large quantities at one time.

Sounds like the process that mainebrewer outlines is what I need to try and is very close to what I was thinking.

I guess I was more concerned with how my bottling results will affect carbonation after weeks in the bottle. Since no one directly witnessed, I assume no one can really know... I had reasonably limited foaming with headspace varying from 1 to 3" probably. I think any losses should hopefully be minimal.
On Tap/Bottled: Kurbis Marzen, Red Rye, Vienna Lager, Dry Hopped Peach Cider       

Fermenting: Imperial Porter, Hopfenbier
Up Next: Maibock, Braunbier

Offline HoosierBrew

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Re: bottling from keg: headspace and foam
« Reply #7 on: July 08, 2015, 02:09:30 PM »
Thanks all. I only had to fill 2 bottles of each beer so capping was not a big deal. For the most part, I don't foresee myself bottling large quantities at one time.

Sounds like the process that mainebrewer outlines is what I need to try and is very close to what I was thinking.

I guess I was more concerned with how my bottling results will affect carbonation after weeks in the bottle. Since no one directly witnessed, I assume no one can really know... I had reasonably limited foaming with headspace varying from 1 to 3" probably. I think any losses should hopefully be minimal.

FWIW, I like to fill at 3-4 psi too, usually 3. As said, chilling the bottles overnight really helps too.  Assuming you do these things, carbonation will remain steady for quite a while in the bottles. Though I usually carb the beer slightly higher than I actually want before filling, to account for slight carbonation loss in the filling process. Filling at a low pressure and chilling the beer and bottles thoroughly minimizes the loss greatly.
Jon H.

Offline goschman

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Re: bottling from keg: headspace and foam
« Reply #8 on: July 08, 2015, 02:23:27 PM »
Yeah the bottle chilling will help. Next time, I should probably prepare more than 10 minutes in advance...

Also, I suppose I should have bottled an extra one or two for testing
On Tap/Bottled: Kurbis Marzen, Red Rye, Vienna Lager, Dry Hopped Peach Cider       

Fermenting: Imperial Porter, Hopfenbier
Up Next: Maibock, Braunbier

Offline brewinhard

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Re: bottling from keg: headspace and foam
« Reply #9 on: July 08, 2015, 06:09:33 PM »
Yeah the bottle chilling will help. Next time, I should probably prepare more than 10 minutes in advance...

Also, I suppose I should have bottled an extra one or two for testing

Based on how many different beers I bottle at a time, I always bottle an extra one (the first bottle for each new brew) that I typically drink on the day of the competition to compare with potential scores I may get.  Using that first extra bottle also allows the beer gun carbonation to balance out and make sure ONLY that beer is going into that bottle. 

Offline toby

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Re: bottling from keg: headspace and foam
« Reply #10 on: July 08, 2015, 06:19:31 PM »
Based on how many different beers I bottle at a time, I always bottle an extra one (the first bottle for each new brew) that I typically drink on the day of the competition to compare with potential scores I may get.
lol... I do pretty much exactly this.  I figure my worst case score is normally going to be that first bottle, so I keep it to try around the time of the judging.

Offline wardens355

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Re: bottling from keg: headspace and foam
« Reply #11 on: July 14, 2015, 10:21:07 PM »
Not sure if filling the bottles almost to the brim has any ramifications on beer judges, but when I fill my bottles from keg (~2-3 psi) I fill it til foam approaches the mouth of the bottle, slowly raise the beer gun and keep filling until all the foam is out of the bottle and a little beer overflows.  I then cap and there is almost no headspace at all (maybe a 1/8 inch?).  Rinse all my bottles afterwards, towel dry, ready to go.  I also carbonate all my beers in the freezer at the upper end of the typical carbonation range for the style, so if I lose a little carb bottling I am still within range.

Offline Joe Sr.

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Re: bottling from keg: headspace and foam
« Reply #12 on: July 15, 2015, 02:51:59 AM »
Though I usually carb the beer slightly higher than I actually want before filling, to account for slight carbonation loss in the filling process. Filling at a low pressure and chilling the beer and bottles thoroughly minimizes the loss greatly.

For me, the over carb is critical.  I cap as I fill, but the last thing I want is undercarbed bottled beer.

A little over carb helps considerably.
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Offline stevecrawshaw

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Re: bottling from keg: headspace and foam
« Reply #13 on: July 15, 2015, 01:24:54 PM »
I would really recommend the pegas taps. They are CP bottle fillers, primarily designed for filling PET bottles in retail settings but you can hack a stainless washer to fill glass for comps. They work very well and maintain good carbonation without foaming. One handed operation means you can bottle quickly. I made a bad video showing how they work. You can buy them for 85 euros from the distributor in lithuania - good service. I'm not connected with them, I just rate the product.
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Offline goschman

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Re: bottling from keg: headspace and foam
« Reply #14 on: July 15, 2015, 01:27:09 PM »
Well I will just have to wait and see. The beer gun worked well but I could have done it better. I am entering 5 beers so it will be very disappointing if 4 of them are undercarbed (1 is bottled conditioned and well carbonated).
On Tap/Bottled: Kurbis Marzen, Red Rye, Vienna Lager, Dry Hopped Peach Cider       

Fermenting: Imperial Porter, Hopfenbier
Up Next: Maibock, Braunbier