Author Topic: From Keg to Bottle, and Carbonation Levels  (Read 403 times)

Offline Bel Air Brewing

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From Keg to Bottle, and Carbonation Levels
« on: May 25, 2022, 10:19:59 am »
My brewer chief assistant (my wife) and I bottled 21 bottles of beer yesterday. And this beer will be entered in an upcoming competition.

The carbonation still escapes me. When the CO2 level is perfect for draft serving, it is under carbonated for bottled beer. When the CO2 level is bumped up in the keg to get correct bottle CO2 levels, I get "gushers" while bottling the beer.

A Beergun VII is used. Keg pressure is around 4 to 6 psi. Everything, including the bottles, beer lines, and beer gun is chilled.

In my last competition, a few comments were made on head retention, citing some lack of carbonation which they said would help.

Any advice from you experts here? This is an area that we hope to nail down!
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Offline Wilbur

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Re: From Keg to Bottle, and Carbonation Levels
« Reply #1 on: May 25, 2022, 11:38:21 am »
Maybe others have a different experience, but I have to try pretty hard to get some head built up when I'm pouring a small sample for judging.

I usually bump my pressure up 1-2 psi a little bit before I bottle to compensate for losing a bit of pressure when I bottle.

Offline Bel Air Brewing

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Re: From Keg to Bottle, and Carbonation Levels
« Reply #2 on: May 25, 2022, 12:33:37 pm »
Tried to compensate. Must be a trial & error thing. Being mostly error for me.
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Offline dannyjed

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From Keg to Bottle, and Carbonation Levels
« Reply #3 on: May 25, 2022, 04:30:07 pm »
Bottle condition. In my experience, the beer stays fresh longer as well. I put the beer in a keg with the correct amount of priming sugar. Then, I attach a picnic tap with a bottling wand shoved into it. I put the gas line on and fill each bottle and cap immediately. Keep beer at room temperature for 2-4 weeks and then you can refrigerate.


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Offline jeffy

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Re: From Keg to Bottle, and Carbonation Levels
« Reply #4 on: May 25, 2022, 05:00:55 pm »
I just bottled from a keg for NHC this afternoon.  The best results came with pushing with very low CO2, just enough to slowly fill the bottles, maybe 2psi.  I had the keg cold - less than 45F - the bottles and hose in the same fridge overnight, and rinsed the bottles with a jet of sanitizer, also cold.
It took one bottle for trial and error to get the flow slow enough, but hopefully it worked.  I filled one extra bottle to compare with the judges’ comments.
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Offline Bel Air Brewing

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Re: From Keg to Bottle, and Carbonation Levels
« Reply #5 on: May 25, 2022, 08:38:11 pm »
I just bottled from a keg for NHC this afternoon.  The best results came with pushing with very low CO2, just enough to slowly fill the bottles, maybe 2psi.  I had the keg cold - less than 45F - the bottles and hose in the same fridge overnight, and rinsed the bottles with a jet of sanitizer, also cold.
It took one bottle for trial and error to get the flow slow enough, but hopefully it worked.  I filled one extra bottle to compare with the judges’ comments.

Sounds very similar to our procedure.
I did sample one bottle after capping, as it was a low fill. The beer seemed to be Ok. But after sitting in the bottle for a few days, I suspect the CO2 will abate.
Filled 3 extra bottles so we can do our own judging later on.
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Offline MDL

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Re: From Keg to Bottle, and Carbonation Levels
« Reply #6 on: May 26, 2022, 07:17:05 am »
I think it’s the beer gun. Mine does the same thing in that there’s a point where it foams too much to fill the bottle if I try to bottle anything over low 2’s for carbonation level.

I think you would have better results with a true counter pressure filler.

Offline Bob357

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Re: From Keg to Bottle, and Carbonation Levels
« Reply #7 on: May 26, 2022, 07:31:11 am »
I just bottled from a keg for NHC this afternoon.  The best results came with pushing with very low CO2, just enough to slowly fill the bottles, maybe 2psi.  I had the keg cold - less than 45F - the bottles and hose in the same fridge overnight, and rinsed the bottles with a jet of sanitizer, also cold.
It took one bottle for trial and error to get the flow slow enough, but hopefully it worked.  I filled one extra bottle to compare with the judges’ comments.

Great advice.
The only thing I'd add is to pull a half pint or so to cool down the shank & faucet before filling the first bottle. It helps.
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Offline Bel Air Brewing

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Re: From Keg to Bottle, and Carbonation Levels
« Reply #8 on: May 26, 2022, 07:41:47 am »
I think it’s the beer gun. Mine does the same thing in that there’s a point where it foams too much to fill the bottle if I try to bottle anything over low 2’s for carbonation level.

I think you would have better results with a true counter pressure filler.

The bottle fills just fine, right up to the beginning of the neck. That is where major foaming happens. To get the bottle filled, it’s necessary to allow major foaming to gush out of the bottle until the fluid level is correct. This wastes beer, and loses carbonation.

Just like a bartender trying to pull a pint, with excessive foaming, and dumping the glass a number of times to get a good pour. Wasteful.
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Offline MDL

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Re: From Keg to Bottle, and Carbonation Levels
« Reply #9 on: May 26, 2022, 08:47:39 am »
I think it’s the beer gun. Mine does the same thing in that there’s a point where it foams too much to fill the bottle if I try to bottle anything over low 2’s for carbonation level.

I think you would have better results with a true counter pressure filler.

The bottle fills just fine, right up to the beginning of the neck. That is where major foaming happens. To get the bottle filled, it’s necessary to allow major foaming to gush out of the bottle until the fluid level is correct. This wastes beer, and loses carbonation.

Just like a bartender trying to pull a pint, with excessive foaming, and dumping the glass a number of times to get a good pour. Wasteful.

That’s been my experience with the beer gun too. I don’t think it’s possible to bottle beer with a carbonation level higher than around 2.2 ish.

A real counter pressure bottle filler will work better.

Offline Bel Air Brewing

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Re: From Keg to Bottle, and Carbonation Levels
« Reply #10 on: May 26, 2022, 09:12:26 am »
I think it’s the beer gun. Mine does the same thing in that there’s a point where it foams too much to fill the bottle if I try to bottle anything over low 2’s for carbonation level.

I think you would have better results with a true counter pressure filler.

The bottle fills just fine, right up to the beginning of the neck. That is where major foaming happens. To get the bottle filled, it’s necessary to allow major foaming to gush out of the bottle until the fluid level is correct. This wastes beer, and loses carbonation.

Just like a bartender trying to pull a pint, with excessive foaming, and dumping the glass a number of times to get a good pour. Wasteful.

That’s been my experience with the beer gun too. I don’t think it’s possible to bottle beer with a carbonation level higher than around 2.2 ish.

A real counter pressure bottle filler will work better.

Is there a particular brand that is recommended?
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Offline MDL

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Re: From Keg to Bottle, and Carbonation Levels
« Reply #11 on: May 26, 2022, 09:50:33 am »
The best one I’ve used is the Melvico. They don’t make them anymore:

http://hobbybrauer.de/bilder/Biermann/Melvico-1.jpg

But I think the stand is what made it work so well. One person could operate it and could be capping a bottle while the next is filling. I used it in a brewpub to bottle 3 barrels of beer at a time. We carbed that beer to 2.75 volumes and it bottled flawlessly.

I think having the unit on some type of stand is going to make the whole process run smoother.

This looks interesting:

https://www.morebeer.com/products/williamswarn-brewbottler-gen-2-counter-pressure-bottle-filler.html




Offline hopfenundmalz

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Re: From Keg to Bottle, and Carbonation Levels
« Reply #12 on: May 26, 2022, 11:32:21 am »
Get the beer gun cold. I put the bottles in the freezer to get them cold. 2-3 PSI on the keg.
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Offline Bel Air Brewing

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Re: From Keg to Bottle, and Carbonation Levels
« Reply #13 on: May 27, 2022, 04:32:46 am »
When issues with foaming happened while using the beer gun, I switched to a picnic tap. The results were much better. But might have introduced more oxygen in the bottle.

So we bought oxygen absorbing bottle caps. I have no idea if these work or not. They claim a 6 month shelf life for the bottled beer.
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