Author Topic: corny keg noob question  (Read 966 times)

Offline homoeccentricus

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corny keg noob question
« on: September 03, 2015, 04:00:53 PM »
Folks,

I've been called a newbie for still bottling my beer. This has kept me awake at night. Now chance has it that I might be able to free myself from this sad epitheton ornans as there is an opportunity for me to buy second-hand kegs.  Silly question: is there a practical way to ferment and store beer in kegs with only one temperature-controlled chest, or is it imperative to have 2 chests? Right now I have no room for an extra one.

The only possibility I see now is 1. to ferment a beer 2. transfer the beer to another keg and force carbonate 3. empty the keg, preferably through the mouth 4. go back to 1.

So completely serial procedure. Not sure whether that would be an improvement. Am I missing something?
Frank P.

Staggering on the shoulders of giant dwarfs.

Offline brewinhard

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Re: corny keg noob question
« Reply #1 on: September 03, 2015, 04:04:37 PM »
You could try the swamp cooler method for your fermentations although it is a bit of a PITA.  Then you could just use your chest freezer for serving from your keg(s). 

Or brew lagers and ferment them at 48-50F in your chest freezer and also serve your beer at that temp from the same freezer. 

Neither are ideal, but will suffice. 


Offline homoeccentricus

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Re: corny keg noob question
« Reply #2 on: September 03, 2015, 04:12:21 PM »
You could try the swamp cooler method for your fermentations although it is a bit of a PITA.  Then you could just use your chest freezer for serving from your keg(s). 

Or brew lagers and ferment them at 48-50F in your chest freezer and also serve your beer at that temp from the same freezer. 

Neither are ideal, but will suffice.

I don't see these two possibilities as an improvement.  ;D
Frank P.

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Offline Stevie

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Re: corny keg noob question
« Reply #3 on: September 03, 2015, 04:35:54 PM »
You could build a separate ferm chamber with ducting and a fan that controls the temperature.

Offline homoeccentricus

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Re: corny keg noob question
« Reply #4 on: September 03, 2015, 06:16:10 PM »
You could build a separate ferm chamber with ducting and a fan that controls the temperature.

I could if I could but I can't.  ;D
Frank P.

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Offline BrodyR

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Re: corny keg noob question
« Reply #5 on: September 03, 2015, 06:19:02 PM »
I recently bought a 2nd one. When I had one it still worked well - the only downside was there was a gap in serving since fermentation or cold crashing temperatures don't line up well with serving temperatures. One way around this was mixing it up with stuff like saisons that could stand fermenting at my higher room temperature.

Maybe an ordinary bitter served at 59f on tap while fermenting an ale... or any beer being served in the high 40s/ low 50s while fermenting a lager.

Offline Joe Sr.

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Re: corny keg noob question
« Reply #6 on: September 03, 2015, 06:37:27 PM »
Are we taking about a chest freezer?  How big?

I'm pretty sure I've seen mods where someone has partitioned off one end of a large chest freezer with rigid insulation and added a heater to be able to have two different temperature zones in one freezer.

It won't be the most efficient, as both sides would be fighting each other, but I do believe it is possible.
It's all in the reflexes. - Jack Burton

Offline Stevie

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Re: corny keg noob question
« Reply #7 on: September 03, 2015, 06:43:51 PM »
It won't be just the "sides" fighting each other. Most chest freezers function using coils in the wall. Some have all four walls filled with coils, others just three. Plus, if somebody owns a freezer large enough to divide; he or she spent about the same, or more, amount of money then the cost of two 7 cf freezers.

Offline homoeccentricus

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Re: corny keg noob question
« Reply #8 on: September 03, 2015, 07:18:44 PM »
Are we taking about a chest freezer?  How big?


110 x 48 x 40 cm. Which probably means I can't stack 2 kegs on top of each other.

Frank P.

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Offline homoeccentricus

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Re: corny keg noob question
« Reply #9 on: September 03, 2015, 07:20:14 PM »
The other question I have is whether fermenting in a keg would be a lot better than fermenting in the curtec drums that I use now.
Frank P.

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Offline BrodyR

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Re: corny keg noob question
« Reply #10 on: September 03, 2015, 08:38:05 PM »
The other question I have is whether fermenting in a keg would be a lot better than fermenting in the curtec drums that I use now.

I love fermenting in cornies now - I took the guts out of the gas in connections and run some tubing into a growler of sanitiser. Benefits for me are being able to fit 2 in the chest freezer, easy to clean, no breakage risk like glass or scratch/harbor bacteria risk like plastic, and you can do oxygen free transfers from keg to keg with tubing running between the 2 liquid out connects.

Offline leejoreilly

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Re: corny keg noob question
« Reply #11 on: September 04, 2015, 12:03:32 PM »
Silly question: is there a practical way to ferment and store beer in kegs with only one temperature-controlled chest, or is it imperative to have 2 chests?


I'm an all-grain brewer strictly of ales. I ferment in buckets, and maintain my fermentation temps by using a cold water bath with a wet towel covering the top of the bucket and some plastic juice bottles (nearly) filled with ice, as needed. I can easily keep my temps down to 60 - 62F in the dead of summer, in my basement (in Michigan). I transfer from bucket to keg (through a CO2 blanket) just using an auto-siphon. While this may not be a best practice for avoiding oxygen exposure, it has worked well for me so far (years).

I have an old (I mean REALLY old - I think it's steam-powered) refrigerator that I've fitted to hold 4 cornies, with the CO2 tank outside, and three taps on the door (the fourth keg uses a picnic tap). If I have more than 4 kegs ready, the remainder just sit outside the kegerator until one kicks. Serving temp is usually mid 40s F. One minor benefit of the frig is that it has a smaller footprint than a chest freezer would. Also I don't have to lift the kegs as far (I'm not lazy, just, umm, efficient). Also, it has a freezer section on top, which I use to store hops, spices, dry yeast and the unused frozen water bottles.

Now, if I was brewing lagers, I'd probably have to get a bit creative, and either drop the kegerator temp to the lagering range, get a dedicated ferm chamber or some such. But that's not a consideration for me.

Offline homoeccentricus

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Re: corny keg noob question
« Reply #12 on: September 04, 2015, 12:45:38 PM »
Oh, what the heck. I ordered 4.  ::)
Frank P.

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Offline HoosierBrew

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Re: corny keg noob question
« Reply #13 on: September 04, 2015, 12:49:31 PM »
I ferment in buckets, and maintain my fermentation temps by using a cold water bath with a wet towel covering the top of the bucket and some plastic juice bottles (nearly) filled with ice, as needed. I can easily keep my temps down to 60 - 62F in the dead of summer, in my basement (in Michigan). I transfer from bucket to keg (through a CO2 blanket) just using an auto-siphon. While this may not be a best practice for avoiding oxygen exposure, it has worked well for me so far (years).

+1.  I did the same for a couple years and had good results. Takes a little discipline the first few days of fermentation to keep the frozen bottles changed but I made good beer.
Jon H.

Offline homoeccentricus

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Re: corny keg noob question
« Reply #14 on: September 04, 2015, 01:06:40 PM »
So this is what I would have to get for a minimal setup (apart from the keg itself)?

https://www.brouwland.com/en/pdf/058.200.7.pdf

1 x filled, 2 kg CO2 cylinder.
1 regulator with 2 manometers.
2 quick disconnects.
Tube + ‘Picnic’ tap

Plus new o-rings to replace the smelly old ones.

Anything missing? I really don't know anything about this stuff. Is there a good manual somewhere?
Frank P.

Staggering on the shoulders of giant dwarfs.