Author Topic: Carbing for Comps  (Read 878 times)

Offline allenhuerta

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Re: Carbing for Comps
« Reply #15 on: December 19, 2021, 06:14:55 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.
Right. I just figured most breweries were too small to care about things like that and the large ones have it down to a precise science. I didn't consider much middle ground.

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Offline Bel Air Brewing

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Re: Carbing for Comps
« Reply #16 on: December 19, 2021, 07:57:24 pm »
Some very interesting as well as helpful information is be posted here.
Thanks!
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Offline pete b

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Re: Carbing for Comps
« Reply #17 on: December 20, 2021, 06:49:40 am »
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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Matt, do you take the same measures on a homebrewing level with mead as you do with beer? I only do the basics with mead, basically not splashing it around more than necessary while with beer I use brewtan, do closed transfers and more. Despite ageing mead for years I just don't seem to have off flavors from oxidation.
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Offline mchrispen

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Carbing for Comps
« Reply #18 on: December 20, 2021, 08:10:23 am »
Hey Pete!

I do, but mostly follow wine rules. I nearly always add a touch of meta-bisulfite when racking or bottling. I also bulk stabilize after fining and before filtering.

At Schramm’s recommendation, I also use the best corks I can afford... Rated for at least 25 years.

I think you are right though. I seldom find oxidized off flavors in traditional. It can spoil fruity meads, especially cyser. That said, some micro-oxidation from actual age is almost always nice.


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« Last Edit: December 20, 2021, 09:13:38 am by mchrispen »
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Offline pete b

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Re: Carbing for Comps
« Reply #19 on: December 20, 2021, 08:59:35 am »
Hey Pete!

I do, but mostly follow wine rules. I nearly always add a touch of meta-bisulfite when racking or bottling. I also bulk stabilize after fining and before filtering.

At Schramm’s recommendation, I also use the best corks I can afford... Rated for at least 25 years.

I think you are right though. I seldom find oxidized off flavors in traditional. It can spoil fruity leads, especially cheers. That said, some micro-oxidation from actual age is almost always nice.


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Thanks Matt. The only batch, at least in several years, that may have a flaw related to oxidation was a peach cranberry that was just off and somehow cloudy. We tend to add tannins to the must and I believe that is a help.
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Offline HighVoltageMan!

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Re: Carbing for Comps
« Reply #20 on: December 20, 2021, 11:12:07 am »
I compete quite a bit with bottled beer from the keg. It can be done, but you will lose some level of carbonation in the process. I generally over carb the beer prior to bottling. I run a few "test" bottles to get the dispensing pressure right. You want some foam as you bottle to create a oxygen barrier, so playing with the dispensing pressure will get either no foam or way too much. I try to get about an inch or so of foam in the bottle and allow the bottle to get a little over filled, about a 1/2" from the top. As you "cap on foam" it will burst the top of the foam leaving little oxygen in the bottle. Purging the bottles is helpful to reduce oxygen ingress, but capping on foam is the key. Filling them as full as you can helps as well.

I don't worry too much about the temperature of the bottle, but I try to get the beer as close to freezing as possible. The other suggestion is to wait as long as you can to bottle prior to shipping or entering your beer to get the freshest beer you can to the comp.

At the 2017 AHA convention, New Belgian Brewery did an experiment with a Blichmann gun. They were able to get the oxygen content down to 30ppb just by purging and capping on foam. They were a little inconsistent as far as the oxygen levels in the beer (some were up to 200ppb), but it showed that it could be done.

In 2021 I won 2 silvers at the NHC with a American Lager and an International Lager. Both were filled from the keg a day before shipping. Both beers needed to be pretty "lively" as far as carbonation goes and filling from the keg worked just fine.

Offline Bel Air Brewing

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Re: Carbing for Comps
« Reply #21 on: December 20, 2021, 08:13:39 pm »
Good info.
Thanks!
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