Author Topic: Bottling vs. kegging  (Read 1921 times)

Offline erindawn

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Bottling vs. kegging
« on: May 30, 2017, 02:06:20 AM »
I'm relatively new to kegging. It seems such an obvious question to me but I've not seen this addressed anywhere so I figured I'd ask. In bottling you add sugar to each bottle to eventually carbonate the beer. With kegging, the carbonation is accomplished via CO2 from the tank. So do you add sugar when kegging, or not? If so, when? If not, doesn't that detract from the flavor and chemical composition of the beer? Thanks in advance!

Offline JJeffers09

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Re: Bottling vs. kegging
« Reply #1 on: May 30, 2017, 02:11:17 AM »
No, not at all, and you sir are welcome! 😉

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Offline Philbrew

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Re: Bottling vs. kegging
« Reply #2 on: May 30, 2017, 02:39:14 AM »
I'm relatively new to kegging. It seems such an obvious question to me but I've not seen this addressed anywhere so I figured I'd ask. In bottling you add sugar to each bottle to eventually carbonate the beer. With kegging, the carbonation is accomplished via CO2 from the tank. So do you add sugar when kegging, or not? If so, when? If not, doesn't that detract from the flavor and chemical composition of the beer? Thanks in advance!
You don't need to, but you can.  Others will correct me if I've got this wrong, but I believe it's called "en cask". ??
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Offline mainebrewer

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Re: Bottling vs. kegging
« Reply #3 on: May 30, 2017, 09:27:40 AM »
You don't need to add sugar to the keg if you are using CO2 to carbonate.
You can add sugar to the keg when you fill it with beer, then seal the keg, put it where it is warm and let it carbonate much like you would in a bottle.
I've not tried carbonating a keg with sugar so I don't know if it changes the flavor or chemical composition of the beer versus using CO2 to carbonate.
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Offline Phil_M

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Re: Bottling vs. kegging
« Reply #4 on: May 30, 2017, 10:29:35 AM »
You don't need to add sugar to the keg if you are using CO2 to carbonate.
You can add sugar to the keg when you fill it with beer, then seal the keg, put it where it is warm and let it carbonate much like you would in a bottle.
I've not tried carbonating a keg with sugar so I don't know if it changes the flavor or chemical composition of the beer versus using CO2 to carbonate.

Using natural carbonation tends to help prevent staling, in my experience. This way, you have yeast actively scrubbing away any oxygen introduced in the headspace, and the beers sits in very pure CO2 until tapped.

Even food grade CO2 will noticeably stale a beer over time.
« Last Edit: May 30, 2017, 11:28:54 PM by Phil_M »
Corn is a fine adjunct in beer.

And don't buy stale beer.

Offline theoman

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Re: Bottling vs. kegging
« Reply #5 on: May 30, 2017, 01:37:44 PM »
I've been kegging for about 1.5 years and have done both methods pretty much equally. Flavorwise, they're both good. If I have the time and not doing a lager, I prefer keg conditioning. Mostly because I'm cheap and don't want to waste CO2.

A couple side notes:
1. I cut an inch or so off one of my dip tubes so it wouldn't pick up too much crud when I keg condition.
2. I still give a blast of CO2 to the keg to get a good seal on the lid.

Offline Philbrew

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Re: Bottling vs. kegging
« Reply #6 on: May 30, 2017, 04:36:08 PM »
You don't need to add sugar to the keg if you are using CO2 to carbonate.
You can add sugar to the keg when you fill it with beer, then seal the keg, put it where it is warm and let it carbonate much like you would in a bottle.
I've not tried carbonating a keg with sugar so I don't know if it changes the flavor or chemical composition of the beer versus using CO2 to carbonate.

Using natural carbonation tends to help prevent staling, in my experience. This way, you have yeast actively scrubbing away any oxygen introduced in the headspace, and the beers sits in very pure O2 until tapped.

Even food grade CO2 will noticeably stale a beer over time.
THIS ^^^.  Except I think Phil meant to say "very pure CO2"
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Offline Phil_M

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Re: Bottling vs. kegging
« Reply #7 on: May 30, 2017, 11:29:17 PM »

THIS ^^^.  Except I think Phil meant to say "very pure CO2"

Fixed, thanks.
Corn is a fine adjunct in beer.

And don't buy stale beer.

Offline KenN

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Re: Bottling vs. kegging
« Reply #8 on: June 16, 2017, 09:38:41 PM »
I've been kegging for 15 years now, and never used priming sugar in my kegs. When I first started, I was told by my LHBS to use 1/3 the priming sugar I normally used for bottling, as the larger vessels needed less priming.
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Offline Steve Ruch

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Re: Bottling vs. kegging
« Reply #9 on: June 17, 2017, 03:58:14 PM »
I got a keg in order to be able to force carb; if I were to prime in the keg it would pretty much defeat my purpose for getting it.
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Offline coolman26

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Re: Bottling vs. kegging
« Reply #10 on: June 17, 2017, 07:48:43 PM »
I'm getting ready to try half of my batches w priming and CO2. I rarely force carbonate to get my beer ready faster. The oxygen in the CO2 definitely oxidizes the beer over time. I'm going to keg condition all of my Belgians and Saison beers from now on. Anything that is long term will get keg conditioned or bottled from the keg with primed wort. 


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Offline Kochhandwerk

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Re: Bottling vs. kegging
« Reply #11 on: June 20, 2017, 04:12:39 PM »
I'm getting ready to try half of my batches w priming and CO2. I rarely force carbonate to get my beer ready faster. The oxygen in the CO2 definitely oxidizes the beer over time. I'm going to keg condition all of my Belgians and Saison beers from now on. Anything that is long term will get keg conditioned or bottled from the keg with primed wort. 


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I know that agitating beer while carbonating can lead to temporarily increased carbonic acid which can be undesirable, but had no idea introducing CO2 into a purged vessel could cause oxidation.  Can you point us in the direction of any articles or other documents describing how that works?

Offline Philbrew

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Re: Bottling vs. kegging
« Reply #12 on: June 20, 2017, 07:14:24 PM »
I'm getting ready to try half of my batches w priming and CO2. I rarely force carbonate to get my beer ready faster. The oxygen in the CO2 definitely oxidizes the beer over time. I'm going to keg condition all of my Belgians and Saison beers from now on. Anything that is long term will get keg conditioned or bottled from the keg with primed wort. 


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I know that agitating beer while carbonating can lead to temporarily increased carbonic acid which can be undesirable, but had no idea introducing CO2 into a purged vessel could cause oxidation.  Can you point us in the direction of any articles or other documents describing how that works?
Folks here have reported that commercially available CO2 is not 100% pure.  The small amount of O2 can cause staling over the long term.
Many of us would be on a strict liquid diet if it weren't for pretzels.

Offline denny

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Re: Bottling vs. kegging
« Reply #13 on: June 20, 2017, 07:25:48 PM »
I'm getting ready to try half of my batches w priming and CO2. I rarely force carbonate to get my beer ready faster. The oxygen in the CO2 definitely oxidizes the beer over time. I'm going to keg condition all of my Belgians and Saison beers from now on. Anything that is long term will get keg conditioned or bottled from the keg with primed wort. 


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I know that agitating beer while carbonating can lead to temporarily increased carbonic acid which can be undesirable, but had no idea introducing CO2 into a purged vessel could cause oxidation.  Can you point us in the direction of any articles or other documents describing how that works?
Folks here have reported that commercially available CO2 is not 100% pure.  The small amount of O2 can cause staling over the long term.

"Can" being the key word there.  Many people have never had that problem with commercial CO2.
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Big Monk

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Bottling vs. kegging
« Reply #14 on: June 20, 2017, 07:35:32 PM »
I'm getting ready to try half of my batches w priming and CO2. I rarely force carbonate to get my beer ready faster. The oxygen in the CO2 definitely oxidizes the beer over time. I'm going to keg condition all of my Belgians and Saison beers from now on. Anything that is long term will get keg conditioned or bottled from the keg with primed wort. 


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I know that agitating beer while carbonating can lead to temporarily increased carbonic acid which can be undesirable, but had no idea introducing CO2 into a purged vessel could cause oxidation.  Can you point us in the direction of any articles or other documents describing how that works?
Folks here have reported that commercially available CO2 is not 100% pure.  The small amount of O2 can cause staling over the long term.

"Can" being the key word there.  Many people have never had that problem with commercial CO2.

I think the distinction should be made that people who have started utilizing Low Oxygen methods have seen this issue pop up consistently. It seems to present itself more readily under those conditions.

Not trying to detail further though, sorry.
« Last Edit: June 20, 2017, 07:38:54 PM by Big Monk »