Author Topic: First time kegging: does volume in keg matter?  (Read 2175 times)

Offline jeeyeop

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First time kegging: does volume in keg matter?
« on: November 28, 2015, 08:31:34 PM »
Hey guys, I'm looking to purchase my first keg after getting too much inconsistency with carbonation using bottle conditioning.

So, I usually brew about 3-4 gallons for the primary. If I purchase a 5 gallon keg, is there anything different I need to do if I don't use a full keg before pressurizing? Like, if a video is telling me to pressurize a keg at 20psi, do I need to convert to another amount if it's a half-full keg?

I'm completely new to these kinds of equipment/measurements/etc so any help in the most basic language is greatly appreciated!

Also, any recommendations for a good keg? Preferably easy to clean/use. Thanks!

Offline duboman

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Re: First time kegging: does volume in keg matter?
« Reply #1 on: November 28, 2015, 10:24:11 PM »
No, you ist set the regulator to your serving pressure, allow the keg to carb up, 10-14 days and serve. Keep in mind, if you try the various methods of force carbonating to shorter serving time you too can over carbonate a keg just as easily, there is still a trial and error period getting your system set up;) ie, proper serving temp, line length, pressure, etc

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Offline jeeyeop

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Re: First time kegging: does volume in keg matter?
« Reply #2 on: November 28, 2015, 10:44:34 PM »
interesting. so 20 psi on 5 gallons in a 5 gallon keg will do the same amount of carbonation to 3 gallons in the same size keg?

Btw, it takes 10-14 days? I was watching a northern brewers vid where they had it pressurize over 2 days before serving. What does carbonating for longer do? Thanks for the response!

Offline HoosierBrew

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Re: First time kegging: does volume in keg matter?
« Reply #3 on: November 28, 2015, 10:54:30 PM »
First, if you use a pressure/temp chart like this one and leave connected for two weeks, then it will carbonate 3 gallons the same as 5 gallons - carbonation takes ~ 2 weeks to reach equilibrium with the pressure set on the regulator. But if you choose to quick carbonate using a higher pressure (25-35 psi) for 2 days then reduce to serving pressure, that's where the 3 gallons will carbonate quicker than a full keg. There's some trial and error involved to fine tune the carbing for your volume of beer using a quick carb method, so using this chart and leaving connected for two weeks might be better here. It's pretty foolproof :

http://www.kegerators.com/carbonation-table.php
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Offline jeeyeop

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Re: First time kegging: does volume in keg matter?
« Reply #4 on: November 29, 2015, 12:02:16 AM »
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=YEMxBPxb1vE

so in that NB kegging video, they carbonate for 2 days at 20 psi, then reduce to 10 psi for serving. Are they quick carbonating in the video?

 If I go with a 2 week carbonation process, do I not need to reduce to serving pressure? Sorry, I know my questions sound pretty bad, but I'm starting on ground zero for kegging.

If I go with a 2 week carbonation, then 3 gallons or 5 gallons in a 5 gallon keg will result in the same level of carbonation?

Offline HoosierBrew

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Re: First time kegging: does volume in keg matter?
« Reply #5 on: November 29, 2015, 12:10:23 AM »
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=YEMxBPxb1vE

so in that NB kegging video, they carbonate for 2 days at 20 psi, then reduce to 10 psi for serving. Are they quick carbonating in the video?

 If I go with a 2 week carbonation process, do I not need to reduce to serving pressure? Sorry, I know my questions sound pretty bad, but I'm starting on ground zero for kegging.

If I go with a 2 week carbonation, then 3 gallons or 5 gallons in a 5 gallon keg will result in the same level of carbonation?


1/ Yes, that is a quick carb method.

2/ No, you leave it connected at whatever pressure (given your kegerator temp)gives you the level of carbonation you want in the beer. Serve it at this pressure. If you want to serve with more or less pressure, adjust to serve then return to the set pressure at the end of the day.  On my system I can carb and serve at 12 psi/42 degrees F and get carbing appropriate for most styles.

3/ Yep. 
Jon H.

Offline jeeyeop

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Re: First time kegging: does volume in keg matter?
« Reply #6 on: November 29, 2015, 12:21:32 AM »
So if I'm aiming at a 20 psi for an IPA at 40 degrees, after 2 weeks, I can just serve it at 20 psi? Once I start serving out the liquid tubing, will the pressure drop at all?

Also, say I want the 20 psi value at 40 degrees F. If I set the pressure at 40 degrees while the beer is room temperature and then put it in my fridge, is that different than getting the beer to 40 degrees F first before pressurizing to 20 psi?

Sorry about all the questions, but I really appreciate the responses!

Offline HoosierBrew

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Re: First time kegging: does volume in keg matter?
« Reply #7 on: November 29, 2015, 12:26:10 AM »
So if I'm aiming at a 20 psi for an IPA at 40 degrees, after 2 weeks, I can just serve it at 20 psi? Once I start serving out the liquid tubing, will the pressure drop at all?

Also, say I want the 20 psi value at 40 degrees F. If I set the pressure at 40 degrees while the beer is room temperature and then put it in my fridge, is that different than getting the beer to 40 degrees F first before pressurizing to 20 psi?

Sorry about all the questions, but I really appreciate the responses!


First off, 20psi @ 40 degrees x 2 weeks is vastly overcarbonated. You want to carbonate in the green band of the chart for most styles. 12psi @ 40F will give you nice carbaonation for an IPA. If your serving line is long enough you'll be able to serve nicely at that pressure. My serving line is 9 feet long. Serving pressure is relative to your serving line length. Longer line means you can serve at a higher pressure without getting an overly foamy pour.
Jon H.

Offline jeeyeop

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Re: First time kegging: does volume in keg matter?
« Reply #8 on: November 29, 2015, 12:28:51 AM »
Sounds good! appreciate all the help! I'm pretty sure I'll have more questions to post once I actually get the keg :p

Offline HoosierBrew

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Re: First time kegging: does volume in keg matter?
« Reply #9 on: November 29, 2015, 12:35:04 AM »
Sounds good! appreciate all the help! I'm pretty sure I'll have more questions to post once I actually get the keg :p

Anytime !


EDIT -  You should familiarize yourself with the concept of 'volumes of carbonation'. It's a way to quantify carbonation in different styles. At the bottom of the chart is this simple breakdown :

" Table Key:   
    Blue = Under-Carbonated, 0 – 1.40 volumes CO2    
    Gray = Stouts and porters, 1.50 – 2.20 volumes CO2   
    Green = Lagers, Ales, Ambers, most beers, 2.20 – 2.60 volumes CO2   
    Yellow = Highly carbonated ales, Lambics, Wheat beers 2.60 – 4.0 volumes CO2   
    Red = Over-carbonated (except for certain specialty ales) 4.1+ volumes CO2     "

As you can see, a lightly carbed style like an English bitter might border the green band on the low side, where a highly carbed style like most Belgian beers might have desired volumes of CO2 that put it outside the green band on the high side. You'll have to experiment to see what you like best in your beers.
« Last Edit: November 29, 2015, 12:48:03 AM by HoosierBrew »
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Offline 2brew559

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Re: First time kegging: does volume in keg matter?
« Reply #10 on: December 01, 2015, 06:02:00 PM »
Don't mean to hijack his thread but i have question too..

I'm like just getting into kegging myself  :o


Connect your gas line to your prechilled beer @ 42F (does it matter?)

adjust the gauge to your serving psi/ co2 carb level per the  the chart
Lets say a Milk Stout: 1.85 volumes @ 42 F (average of 1.50/ 2.20) 
Gauge should be set at 6 PSI
all this will need to be tuned/ tweaked once you get familiar... with your system

Ok that's easy enough...


Question 1: Do I Leave the co2 gas IN line "Connected" to the keg the entire time with the co2 gas open;  1 
                to 2 weeks for normal carbonation time under this scenario or do I disconnect it? 
               
               *Should I pre-chill my finished beer to 42F to speed up the co2  absorption?

                *Purging the air ?: I purge the filled keg with co2 then release 3 times using the purge valve?
                                          explain:  Please


Question 2: I understand  "DO NOT" connect the serving connection  at any time during this time unless Im   
                 ready to serve???
                 I don't want beer flowing into the closed faucet and or lines right, when and how to test
                carbonation then??? 


Question 3: what the max amount I should fill the keg too.. is their like a recommended head space of no beer
                 that is suggested? 


« Last Edit: December 01, 2015, 07:15:49 PM by 2brew559 »
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Offline leejoreilly

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Re: First time kegging: does volume in keg matter?
« Reply #11 on: December 04, 2015, 01:47:10 PM »
Don't mean to hijack his thread but i have question too..

Question 1: Do I Leave the co2 gas IN line "Connected" to the keg the entire time with the co2 gas open;  1 
                to 2 weeks for normal carbonation time under this scenario or do I disconnect it? 
               
               *Should I pre-chill my finished beer to 42F to speed up the co2  absorption?

                *Purging the air ?: I purge the filled keg with co2 then release 3 times using the purge valve?
                                          explain:  Please


Question 2: I understand  "DO NOT" connect the serving connection  at any time during this time unless Im   
                 ready to serve???
                 I don't want beer flowing into the closed faucet and or lines right, when and how to test
                carbonation then??? 


Question 3: what the max amount I should fill the keg too.. is their like a recommended head space of no beer
                 that is suggested?

My process: purge a cleaned, room temp keg with CO2; rack the beer, which is at fermentation temperature, to the keg, leaving head space of an inch or two below the Gas In port (my normal batch size almost always leaves this much head space automatically); attached the gas line and purge the head space with more CO2 at about 20-30 psi (which also seals the lid); check all connections for leaks with a Starsan spray; leave the gas line attached, with gas flowing at 20-30 psi, and place the keg in the kegerator; after 36-48 hours or so, reduce to serving pressure (for my system, about 11 psi); after about a week (could be sooner, but I usually just wait a week), my beer will be carbed and ready to serve - that's when I attach the Beer Out line. I always leave the gas line attached for the entire time until the keg kicks, but I recognize that some folks prefer to turn the gas off, in case of leaks that could empty their CO2 tank. I've never had an issue with that, so leaving the gas attached and flowing easiest for me.