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Old 10-03-2012, 02:02 AM   #1
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Default Dispensing a full keg at once, can I use air instead of co2?

I'd like to get a keg setup some day (just to force-carb, I'd like to then bottle it), but that costs money and I really can't justify spending what it requires to get a good keg system.

So my cheap plan is to carb the beer using priming sugar in the keg to get the whole batch done at once. Then I'd dispense the full keg into bottles all at once, in about a 30 minute window. Corny kegs arent bad, but the co2 setup for dispensing can get costly. Would it be ok to use air to dispense the keg into bottles? It wouldn't be in contact with air for long, and I already have a good compressor/regulator setup in my shop, so I can easily get 3-4psi to the keg.

I'd like to do this rather than carb in-bottle because I give away more beer than I drink at home and I like things to look as professional as possible. If I can do away with the yeast sediment in the bottles I'd be thrilled.

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Old 10-03-2012, 02:26 AM   #2
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. Would it be ok to use air to dispense the keg into bottles? It wouldn't be in contact with air for long, and I already have a good compressor/regulator setup in my shop, so I can easily get 3-4psi to the keg.
In short, no.

The air you'd use to push the beer won't just go away, it'll go in the bottle as well, oxidizing it and ruining it.
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Old 10-03-2012, 02:34 AM   #3
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You can get what you need to force carb for around $125. It'll last a long time and you can use it if you ever get a kegerator. I know it's not cheap, but it makes everything much easier.

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Old 10-03-2012, 01:21 PM   #4
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After getting a keg, $125 is way out of my budget. Its tough being picking and poor at the same time

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In short, no.

The air you'd use to push the beer won't just go away, it'll go in the bottle as well, oxidizing it and ruining it.
Regardless of what you use to push the beer out, the bottles are going to be full of air to begin with. Maybe I'm just not understanding what you are getting at. I know its not ideal to have it in contact with the liquid in the keg, but once it is outside the keg it should be business as usual, no?
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Old 10-03-2012, 01:47 PM   #5
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Forcing carbing (properly) takes just as long as bottle conditioning. In my opinion, your plan just complicates things and involves cleaning more equipment.

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Old 10-03-2012, 04:52 PM   #6
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After getting a keg, $125 is way out of my budget. Its tough being picking and poor at the same time


Regardless of what you use to push the beer out, the bottles are going to be full of air to begin with. Maybe I'm just not understanding what you are getting at. I know its not ideal to have it in contact with the liquid in the keg, but once it is outside the keg it should be business as usual, no?
No, because you use co2 to push the beer out of the keg, and the o2 was never in touch with the beer. Once you pump the beer out with a hand pump, you oxidize the heck out of it and it's not even drinkable a few days later. If the beer ever was pumped, and not dispensed with co2, it's probably already ruined. Bottling it after that, along with more air to go into the bottle (instead of c02) would only compound the problem.

When you bottle, the bottles are not "full of air" to begin with. I mean, yes, they are before filling, but you fill the bottle from the bottom, displacing the air. By using co2 to push the beer to the bottle, the c02 itself displaces the oxygen, meaning that you'd be capping on co2 and not "air". I hope that makes sense.
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Old 10-03-2012, 06:32 PM   #7
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No, because you use co2 to push the beer out of the keg, and the o2 was never in touch with the beer. Once you pump the beer out with a hand pump, you oxidize the heck out of it and it's not even drinkable a few days later. If the beer ever was pumped, and not dispensed with co2, it's probably already ruined. Bottling it after that, along with more air to go into the bottle (instead of c02) would only compound the problem.

When you bottle, the bottles are not "full of air" to begin with. I mean, yes, they are before filling, but you fill the bottle from the bottom, displacing the air. By using co2 to push the beer to the bottle, the c02 itself displaces the oxygen, meaning that you'd be capping on co2 and not "air". I hope that makes sense.
Ok, I'm trying to understand your 2nd paragraph. If the beer is carbonated, the gas used to pressurize the keg will never make it to the bottle; its just being used to displace the liquid in the keg. You are never pushing any form of gas into the bottle. The co2 bubbling out of the brew would displace the o2 in the bottle, but that would happen regardless of the gas used to force the liquid out of the keg.
I'm not sure how you are getting co2 gas directly from the keg into the bottle. It would have to first go into solution in the liquid, then boil out while bottling. Which wouldn't be able to happen at 3-5psi (according to science, something that tends to be completely ignored when talking about brewing), unless the temperature was well below -100ºC.

I estimate that I can empty a keg while bottling in about 30 minutes. For bottle-conditioning the beer would it in a bottling bucket for roughly the same amount of time, exposed to the same gas (at 0psi, but o2 and nitrogen are still super stable at 3psi).

I guess what I'm looking for is someone who has experience or scientific knowledge in regards to liquid dynamics.

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Forcing carbing (properly) takes just as long as bottle conditioning. In my opinion, your plan just complicates things and involves cleaning more equipment.
I'm not concerned about how long it takes to carb, I just want to do it in a way that keeps sediment out of the bottles and in a way I can afford. I want to carbonate with sugar in the keg, which isnt uncommon. What I'm working on is trying to get the beer out of said keg without spending more money that I have available.

I feel like I'm not describing things well or maybe I'm just missing something.
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Old 10-03-2012, 06:40 PM   #8
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If you decide to try out the air method I would recommend a quality air filter between the tank and filler line. The same thing you would use for spray painting.

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Old 10-03-2012, 06:53 PM   #9
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I estimate that I can empty a keg while bottling in about 30 minutes
Look up the "We dont need no stinking beer gun" method. When bottling a carb'd beer, you MUST go VEEEEEERRRRRRRRRYYYYYYYYY slowly or it will foam all over the place. 30 minutes to bottle 5 gallons of beer is a very low estimate when you don't take into consideration the fact that the beer is carb'd.

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keeps sediment out of the bottles and in a way I can afford.
In order to prime a beer, the amount of yeast needed is very small. If this is the real motivation behind your idea, I would suggest a secondary and a short cold crash for each batch of beer you brew. The O2 thing just isn't going to work well.
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Old 10-03-2012, 06:58 PM   #10
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If you decide to try out the air method I would recommend a quality air filter between the tank and filler line. The same thing you would use for spray painting.
This. Petroleum products are just as bad as oxygen for beer.
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