Author Topic: Carbing for Comps  (Read 887 times)

Offline Bel Air Brewing

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Carbing for Comps
« on: December 18, 2021, 12:38:38 pm »
We only keg our beer for serving. I do not like fizzy beer, so we tend to be on the low side for carbonation.

For competition bottling, do you suggest bumping the CO2 level up a bit? We have about 6 or 7 beers that will be entered. They are all at the perfect CO2 level for serving on draft right now.

What are your thoughts?
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Offline denny

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Re: Carbing for Comps
« Reply #1 on: December 18, 2021, 12:48:42 pm »
We only keg our beer for serving. I do not like fizzy beer, so we tend to be on the low side for carbonation.

For competition bottling, do you suggest bumping the CO2 level up a bit? We have about 6 or 7 beers that will be entered. They are all at the perfect CO2 level for serving on draft right now.

What are your thoughts?

Maybe, but it depends on the style and what the car level is now.
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Offline mchrispen

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Carbing for Comps
« Reply #2 on: December 18, 2021, 12:59:18 pm »
I have only once dinged an entry for carbonation and that was a dead flat saison (both bottles were flat). At worst it should only cost a point.

That said, if bottling with a counter pressure filler, I’d only bump the carb a tick. With a beer gun, I’d come up a few PSI. I use a beer gun and replaced the feed line with an additional 3’ of beer line to help. Do some bottle trials to get it right. Either method will lose some carb compared to the source.

Also keep everything as cold as possible. Cap on foam!


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« Last Edit: December 18, 2021, 02:00:25 pm by mchrispen »
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Offline allenhuerta

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Re: Carbing for Comps
« Reply #3 on: December 18, 2021, 01:48:15 pm »
I just bottle with what is on tap. When I'm judging, I only knock down if it is low carbonation enough to not produce head.. when there should be a head.. and if it feels just really flat in my mouth when it is weird.. I don't know how to explain it but even you drink flat beer, you know what I mean.

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Offline jeffy

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Re: Carbing for Comps
« Reply #4 on: December 18, 2021, 02:41:15 pm »
The problem is that carbonation affects the whole beer - appearance, mouthfeel, bitterness, overall impression.  The trick is to get the beer out of the tap without losing anything.  If it is fine on your tap, then get everything cold and turn the pressure down to push the beer slowly.
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Offline Bel Air Brewing

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Re: Carbing for Comps
« Reply #5 on: December 18, 2021, 04:43:00 pm »
We have a Blichmann Beer Gun V2. Have used it a few times, nearly a year ago.
The bottles and the beer gun were all put in the freezer. Then we reduced the pressure in the kegs down to a couple PSI. Just enough to get the beer flowing smoothly through the lines.
The bottles were purged with CO2 prior to filling.

Even with all of this effort, after 4 to 6 weeks in the bottles, the beer was not nearly as good as the same exact beer in the keg.

I might add just a bit of PSI for a couple days before we bottle.
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Offline Richard

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Re: Carbing for Comps
« Reply #6 on: December 18, 2021, 06:01:12 pm »
...
Also keep everything as cold as possible. Cap on foam!

Doing all the things needed to reduce foaming while the bottle is filling makes it hard to cap on foam! The first few times I tried it I had almost no head space because I had very little foam, and I filled until that tiny bit of foam came out the top. Now I know to start withdrawing the wand when the beer starts to get up into the neck of the bottle and start making enough foam there that it will go out the top but later drop down enough to leave a reasonable head space. Maybe head space doesn't matter, but I got nervous about those bottles filled almost to the cap.
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Offline Bel Air Brewing

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Re: Carbing for Comps
« Reply #7 on: December 19, 2021, 08:24:57 am »
Why foaming? Is this desirable?
We slowly filled the bottles up to the standard fill level, then capped. The bottles were filled with CO2.
Very little, if any foaming.
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Offline allenhuerta

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Re: Carbing for Comps
« Reply #8 on: December 19, 2021, 08:44:10 am »
People say it reduces contact with O2. I just purge the top with my beer gun after filling and cap it. Though, I'm looking at the Tapcooler... Haven't bought it but I really want it.

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Offline Bel Air Brewing

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Re: Carbing for Comps
« Reply #9 on: December 19, 2021, 09:21:36 am »
People say it reduces contact with O2. I just purge the top with my beer gun after filling and cap it. Though, I'm looking at the Tapcooler... Haven't bought it but I really want it.

That makes sense, for those who do not purge the bottles with CO2, prior to filling with beer.
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Offline Richard

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Re: Carbing for Comps
« Reply #10 on: December 19, 2021, 09:45:36 am »
People say it reduces contact with O2. I just purge the top with my beer gun after filling and cap it. Though, I'm looking at the Tapcooler... Haven't bought it but I really want it.

That makes sense, for those who do not purge the bottles with CO2, prior to filling with beer.
I  blow cold CO2 into the bottle for several seconds before filling with beer, but that doesn't really purge it. It just creates a turbulent mixture of CO2 and air that dilutes the oxygen somewhat. To really purge the bottles of oxygen requires something more elaborate than just blowing in CO2.
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Offline chinaski

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Re: Carbing for Comps
« Reply #11 on: December 19, 2021, 03:37:41 pm »
People say it reduces contact with O2. I just purge the top with my beer gun after filling and cap it. Though, I'm looking at the Tapcooler... Haven't bought it but I really want it.

That makes sense, for those who do not purge the bottles with CO2, prior to filling with beer.
It might make sense for you too.  Try it and see.

Online tommymorris

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Re: Carbing for Comps
« Reply #12 on: December 19, 2021, 05:35:38 pm »
Does anyone know what craft breweries do regarding volume of dissolved CO2 in beer that will be bottled and canned? Do they use the same CO2 volume as when serving in the tap room or do increase the dissolved CO2 content to account for CO2 that will leave the beer to pressurize the head space in the bottle or can?

Offline mchrispen

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Carbing for Comps
« Reply #13 on: December 19, 2021, 05:45:45 pm »
I just installed a 34 can per minute canning line back in Feb. We went through 4 days of testing to bring down DO to acceptable levels, and lose some carbonation from the bright to the can. This was mead, not beer and loses carbonation a bit more easily for some reason.

Carb goes from 2.8 volumes in bright down to 2.4/2.5 in can, which was acceptable. The tasting room was replaced with the massive canning line, but served at the higher carb level. I know several local breweries that bump their carb levels for canning to get to their preferred can/bottle targets. With mobile canning, it’s a bit random, fyi.

Our can DO went from 120 ppb to 16-18 ppb after some serious focus and over-engineering. Fortunately the system has excellent sensors that control the CO2 purge, foamless fill to keep as much CO2 in solution, and a “fobbing” feature to create foam in the headspace allowing the lid to just seal against the foam into the seamer. Again, cap/seam on foam is industry best practice.

O2 is the bigger bug for home brewers. It’s easily the most obvious and common off flavour I find judging. When I was competing, I went to stupidly extreme measures to eliminate dull, cardboard, and stale notes. Once I managed that, I was placing consistently.


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« Last Edit: December 26, 2021, 03:50:38 pm by mchrispen »
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Online tommymorris

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Re: Carbing for Comps
« Reply #14 on: December 19, 2021, 06:11:41 pm »
I just installed a 34 can per minute canning line back in Feb. We went through 4 days of testing to bring down DO to acceptable levels, and lose some carbonation from the bright to the can. This was mead, not beer and loses carbonation a bit more easily for some reason.

Carb goes from 2.8 volumes in bright down to 2.4/2.5 in can, which was acceptable. The tasting room was replaced with the massive canning line, but served at the higher carb level. I know several local breweries that bump their carb levels for canning to get to their preferred can/bottle targets. With mobile canning, it’s a bit random, fyi.

Our can DO went from 120 ppm to 16-18 ppm after some serious focus and over-engineering. Fortunately the system has excellent sensors that control the CO2 purge, foamless fill to keep as much CO2 in solution, and a “fobbing” feature to create foam in the headspace allowing the lid to just seal against the foam into the seamer. Again, cap/seam on foam is industry best practice.

O2 is the bigger bug for home brewers. It’s easily the most obvious and common off flavour I find judging. When I was competing, I went to stupidly extreme measures to eliminate dull, cardboard, and stale notes. Once I managed that, I was placing consistently.


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Wow. That’s great info. I’ve always wondered what craft brewers do. Sounds like you may be on the better engineered end of the spectrum.