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Old 09-16-2012, 01:24 AM   #1
tpitman
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Default Carbonation Woes - part deux

Okay. Second batch kegged up. 1/2 cup of corn sugar in a cup of water in the bottom of the keg. Filled the keg to almost full, purged and sealed up tight with about 4 blasts of CO2, bled one last time, blasted again, then closed, sprayed all connections with StarSan solution to check for leaks.
14 days at room temp to condition, then 3 days in the fridge on about 15 pounds of gas. Draw a sample and it's flat. There's a bit of foam from the CO2 tank, it's clear, it'll mess you up with alcohol, but no carbonation. WTF?
The only thing I can think is it leaked anyway, but after 3 days on CO2, I don't see any evidence of a leak as far as pressure dropping on the regulator.
I've put the CO2 up to 20 pounds and I'm gonna leave it in the fridge for a week to see what happens, but something ain't right here.
Suggestions? What did I miss?

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Old 09-16-2012, 01:27 AM   #2
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Originally Posted by tpitman View Post
Okay. Second batch kegged up. 1/2 cup of corn sugar in a cup of water in the bottom of the keg. Filled the keg to almost full, purged and sealed up tight with about 4 blasts of CO2, bled one last time, blasted again, then closed, sprayed all connections with StarSan solution to check for leaks.
14 days at room temp to condition, then 3 days in the fridge on about 15 pounds of gas. Draw a sample and it's flat. There's a bit of foam from the CO2 tank, it's clear, it'll mess you up with alcohol, but no carbonation. WTF?
The only thing I can think is it leaked anyway, but after 3 days on CO2, I don't see any evidence of a leak as far as pressure dropping on the regulator.
I've put the CO2 up to 20 pounds and I'm gonna leave it in the fridge for a week to see what happens, but something ain't right here.
Suggestions? What did I miss?
It could be a leak, but two weeks isn't that long to begin with. The pressure is not going to drop on the gauge if the tank is still on (which it needs to be if you want to carbonate).
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Old 09-16-2012, 01:28 AM   #3
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I don't even bother with conditioning sugar in the keg. I keg it, age it a couple weeks to settle out the yeast, and force carbonate at 20 psi, then drop down to 4-6 psi to serve it. 20 psi should carbonate it in 3-4 days if you have no leaks. Shake the keg well several times a day when it is cold and you should be able to hear the gas entering the keg as it dissolves into the brew.

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Old 09-16-2012, 02:46 PM   #4
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It could be a leak, but two weeks isn't that long to begin with. The pressure is not going to drop on the gauge if the tank is still on (which it needs to be if you want to carbonate).
I'm leaving it on because what other choice do I have? I've read comments about sugar priming in the keg vs forced carbonation, and figured since it helps to let it sit awhile anyway after kegging or bottling, might as well let it carb naturally. Seems to me that 14 days should have produced something, but no dice. I'm sure there's a hint of carbonation, but no bubbles rising, flat taste. The only difference I can detect between this and what came from my final gravity hydrometer sample is that it's cold.
I've never had this issue bottling, and while I realize there's some technique involved in kegging with gas pressure/time, there should have been a modicum of carbonation in the beer after sugar priming and sitting after 2 weeks. I would think any significant leak would present itself by a noticeable drop in tank pressure if not with the spritz of StarSan around all fittings to check for bubbles. All o-rings have been replaced and coated with keg lube upon installation. If it's leaking, it's a mighty s-l-o-w leak.
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Old 09-16-2012, 05:44 PM   #5
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I'm leaving it on because what other choice do I have? I've read comments about sugar priming in the keg vs forced carbonation, and figured since it helps to let it sit awhile anyway after kegging or bottling, might as well let it carb naturally. Seems to me that 14 days should have produced something, but no dice. I'm sure there's a hint of carbonation, but no bubbles rising, flat taste. The only difference I can detect between this and what came from my final gravity hydrometer sample is that it's cold.
I've never had this issue bottling, and while I realize there's some technique involved in kegging with gas pressure/time, there should have been a modicum of carbonation in the beer after sugar priming and sitting after 2 weeks. I would think any significant leak would present itself by a noticeable drop in tank pressure if not with the spritz of StarSan around all fittings to check for bubbles. All o-rings have been replaced and coated with keg lube upon installation. If it's leaking, it's a mighty s-l-o-w leak.
That's why I asked if you left it on. Yes, you have to leave it on to carbonate. If the tank is on, you will lever see a drop in pressure unless the tank was literally out of CO2. The pressure in a CO2 tank is a function of temperature, not amount of liquid left in the tank. It will read the same pressure with a gallon or a tablespoon of liquid CO2 left in the tank. Only once the liquid runs out will you see the pressure drop (and quickly). Don't rely on that.

Personally I wouldn't worry about priming in a keg. Just set the pressure and temp of your fridge to achieve the desired CO2 volume and then leave it. Unless you are shaking the keg, it will take 2-3 weeks to reach equilibrium. If you're shaking it, you can get it there sooner.
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RIP Snake Dog IPA, Biermuncher's OktoberFAST, Falconer's Flight IPA, Two-Hearted clone (Culturing Bell's Yeast), Noberon wheat, Skeeter Pee using dry yeast, Smooth Oatmeal Stout


Simple and easy wort aeration - Harvest yeast from your blowoff - Homebrew Spicy Mustard
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Old 09-16-2012, 07:44 PM   #6
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That's why I asked if you left it on. Yes, you have to leave it on to carbonate. If the tank is on, you will lever see a drop in pressure unless the tank was literally out of CO2. The pressure in a CO2 tank is a function of temperature, not amount of liquid left in the tank. It will read the same pressure with a gallon or a tablespoon of liquid CO2 left in the tank. Only once the liquid runs out will you see the pressure drop (and quickly). Don't rely on that.

Personally I wouldn't worry about priming in a keg. Just set the pressure and temp of your fridge to achieve the desired CO2 volume and then leave it. Unless you are shaking the keg, it will take 2-3 weeks to reach equilibrium. If you're shaking it, you can get it there sooner.
I said screw it and bumped the pressure up to 30 then go out and periodically shake it for a few minutes, listening for the gas. I'll do that all afternoon. I'm suffering from acute sobriety. I had trouble with my first kegged batch, although not as severe as this, having primed it, too. I think I'll just use the tank from now on. I have to say, on both this batch and the last one, there was no "mud" in the first pint poured, and when the keg was empty, there was just a film of yeast on the bottom. Gotta like getting nice clear beer without decanting the bottle.
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