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Old 10-20-2009, 10:31 PM   #1
snipper_cr
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Default Beginning keg questions

So I have came upon all the required parts to make a keg system: CO2 tank with CO2, lines, keg with disconnects, regulator, and tap. I also have beer that's been sitting in the secondary for some time that's ready to be enjoyed!

I understand there are 2 ways to carbonate beer and I want to make sure I get this: the "natural" way which is basically just like a bottle - add priming sugar, seal, wait 2-3 weeks, then apply 6psi to keg, tap and enjoy. Or there is "forced carb" method where you fill keg, apply 20psi, wait a few days, bleed air off, then hit with 6psi and enjoy.

If I was going to natural carb my beer (its a smooth oatmeal stout), whats the best way to do it? Rack into the cleaned keg (can I clean with just SanStar? New/not-reconditioned keg), add priming sugar then wait? I've heard some people mention hitting it with some CO2 to help rid the O2 on top.

Also, what about temperature? I have a full CO2 tank (5lb) that I just got filled. Is it okay to leave at room temperature (70 degrees)?

That should do it for now. Thanks!

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Primary #1: British Brown
Primary #2: Empty
Primary #3: Empty
Secondary #1: Empty
Keg #1: Chocolate Oatmeal Stout
Keg #2: Hoppy Red

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Old 10-21-2009, 12:47 AM   #2
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I'm still a little new at this but I think this will get your bases covered.

If you naturally carb, do just like in bottles. Except that you put it in the keg (one large bottle). You can fog the keg with CO2 to help displace the air (CO2 is heavier). Don't pressurize the keg. Just get some CO2 in there to be a blanket between your beer and the dead space in the keg. How much? I usually just aim my CO2 line in the keg, crack the knob on the tank and let it go for a couple of seconds.

To artificiality carb, have you read the sticky http://www.homebrewtalk.com/f35/keg-force-carbing-methods-illustrated-73328/ ?

That's a pretty good overview on how to do it. You can carb at higher temps (You're 70*) but it will require a higher CO2 pressure to achieve the same volume than at a lower temp. There's charts or calculators out there that will tell you what your pressure needs to be at a given temp for a desired CO2 volume.

To dispense the beer, you may need to up your pressure. There's a calculation for that (line balancing). The variables for that are line ID, length of the line, pressure and height of the tap related to center of the keg. But you have to make sure that the pressure required to dispense the beer is equal to or higher than the pressure you need to keep you beer carbonated. Otherwise, your beer will flatten out. Your pour rate may suffer but your beer won't go flat.

I found all of this out in the stickies on this forum. Along with any links to the charts required. It's enough to keep you busy for a while, so grab a home brew

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Old 10-21-2009, 04:18 AM   #3
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Ki-ri-n View Post
It's enough to keep you busy for a while, so grab a home brew
Done and done!

I will read up on those things. One thing you mentioned was to keep the dispensing pressure LOWER than the pressure needed to carb... do you mean higher? If you keep the pressure lower, I would imagine it would all come out of solution.
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The "Hops Shortage" is the gods way of punishing us for not making our beers bitter enough.


Primary #1: British Brown
Primary #2: Empty
Primary #3: Empty
Secondary #1: Empty
Keg #1: Chocolate Oatmeal Stout
Keg #2: Hoppy Red

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Old 10-21-2009, 04:25 AM   #4
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I don't know where 6psi comes from but.....

You need to match the psi(serving) with the volumes of Co2 and temp of your beer.

Check the chart in my sig.

Also star san is a sanitizer, not a cleaner.

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Old 10-21-2009, 12:07 PM   #5
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Quote:
Originally Posted by snipper_cr View Post
One thing you mentioned was to keep the dispensing pressure LOWER than the pressure needed to carb... do you mean higher?
Yeah, I kind of miss wrote what I was trying to say. You want to make sure that your dispensing pressure required for a "perfect pour", is equal to or higher than your carbonation pressure. Satisfy your carbonation level first and adjust the variables for line balancing second. That's why most people run a longer (10 foot) beer line or add a restiction like those mixing valve inserts.

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Old 10-21-2009, 03:04 PM   #6
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Search more on this, but I believe that you need about HALF the sugar to carb a keg as you would to carb 5 gallons worth of bottles....

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Old 10-21-2009, 05:02 PM   #7
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I'm getting the feeling natural carbing is actually harder than set and forget force carbing which seems counter intuitive. I think Ill just read the charts, hit it with the PSI and temp, wait and enjoy in a few weeks. Brewing has taught me patience!

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The "Hops Shortage" is the gods way of punishing us for not making our beers bitter enough.


Primary #1: British Brown
Primary #2: Empty
Primary #3: Empty
Secondary #1: Empty
Keg #1: Chocolate Oatmeal Stout
Keg #2: Hoppy Red

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