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Old 01-20-2009, 02:43 PM   #1
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Default The Finer Points of Kegging? How Long to Condition Beer in-Keg

So I've finally made the jump to kegging. I have a feeling I won't be looking back to bottling too often after this. Since it is my first time, though, I've got a couple of questions and maybe you folks who have been there before can help me out.

First, is there a certain amount of time that a beer needs to condition in the keg (aside from the amount of time to saturate it with CO2) before serving?

Second, are there any first-timer pointers or preparations I need to make before kegging my brews?

Thanks!



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Old 01-20-2009, 03:11 PM   #2
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Are you force carbing or going the natural route?

As far as "aging", that would depend on the brew. If you are worried about green beer, just leave it as long as you would in a bottle.

One of the many good things about kegging is that you can taste the beer, without "wasting" a bottle. If it's not ready, just let it sit some more.



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Old 01-20-2009, 03:52 PM   #3
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Cpt_Kirks View Post
Are you force carbing or going the natural route?

As far as "aging", that would depend on the brew. If you are worried about green beer, just leave it as long as you would in a bottle.

One of the many good things about kegging is that you can taste the beer, without "wasting" a bottle. If it's not ready, just let it sit some more.
If I had more more time I would probably go the natural route. However, I have some beers that will have been in the fermenter for one week this Thursday and, obviously, two weeks next Thursday. The brew is for a company party that will be the 31st of this month. I'm trying to figure out the best route for flavor/quality while keeping it in the time constraint. For example, I used double the quantity of yeast in hopes of a faster fermentation.
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Old 01-20-2009, 04:06 PM   #4
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Quote:
Originally Posted by EinGutesBier View Post
If I had more more time I would probably go the natural route. However, I have some beers that will have been in the fermenter for one week this Thursday and, obviously, two weeks next Thursday. The brew is for a company party that will be the 31st of this month. I'm trying to figure out the best route for flavor/quality while keeping it in the time constraint. For example, I used double the quantity of yeast in hopes of a faster fermentation.
I'd be concerned about serving beer that is only two-three weeks old. If a lot of the yeast is still present, sometimes people who aren't used to homebrew can get some GI, um, issues. Sure, it'll carb up ok, but it'll be green beer for sure. Kegging isn't really a shortcut to conditioning.
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Old 01-20-2009, 04:11 PM   #5
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Quote:
Originally Posted by YooperBrew View Post
I'd be concerned about serving beer that is only two-three weeks old. If a lot of the yeast is still present, sometimes people who aren't used to homebrew can get some GI, um, issues. Sure, it'll carb up ok, but it'll be green beer for sure. Kegging isn't really a shortcut to conditioning.
I sorta figured. : / In my defense, it was a pretty short notice thing. I didn't even have time to do AG but partial mash. Don't suppose there's any recommendations I can make, can I? Obviously just be careful to keep the yeast cake intact and then give the kegs a nice, hard cold crash? Beyond that, I guess I can hand out Bean-O.
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Old 01-20-2009, 04:36 PM   #6
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I kegged my first beer about 4-5 weeks ago (done about a dozen batches in bottles), it took a while to get good, even after force carbonation, I'd say it just recently 'came into its own' flavor wise. was pretty thin tasting there for a while.

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Old 01-20-2009, 06:00 PM   #7
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I guess what it boils down to is this: I have about 10 or 11 days until the company party, and the beer has been in the fermenter for about 6 days. For the best taste and quality, would it be better to let it stay in the fermenter or put it into the keg for a majority of those 10-11 days? I'm sure that it would depend on how the samples taste, though if I weren't under such a bad time constraint, I'd never do things this way.

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Old 01-20-2009, 06:09 PM   #8
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I regularly ferment ales for 7 days @ 65F - 72F, cold condition (in primary) for 3 days @ 40F, rack to keg, carbonate for 5 days @ 40F, and start drinking. This works great for most beers in the 1.040 - 1.060 range.

So, yes, I think you'll be fine unless you brewed a high alcohol batch. Just be sure to cold condition it to encourage the yeast to drop out of suspension.

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Old 01-20-2009, 07:09 PM   #9
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And once you've cold conditioned it for a few days without moving the keg, make sure to pull a pint or two to remove as much of the settled yeast as possible before you shake everything up again on the way to the party.

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Old 01-20-2009, 07:43 PM   #10
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Thanks for the great info, guys. I'll follow your advice and provide an update on how it works out.



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