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Old 08-13-2012, 02:39 PM   #1
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Default First Kegging Question: Less than ideal conditions

OK… so just got my first beer kegged ! Yay… no more bottles!... but in my rush to get kegging I don’t have any fridge space for it. I’m planning on building out the front of an old bar fridge but until then I’ve got nothing.

I’m hoping to bring this beer to a cottage this weekend, where there will be a fridge. I’d rather not spend the money and keep it in an ice tub for 5 days if I can avoid it. Given that I’ll be sitting around at about 23degC (73F) what pressure should I set it too?

Will this even work? Given my lack of kegging experience, and that my first attempt will be less than ideal conditions I don’t know what to expect.

Thanks

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Old 08-13-2012, 02:51 PM   #2
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I have done exactly what you are doing before and did not have any issues. Just hook up your CO2 and deliver about 15PSI, then relieve pressure from the pressure relief valve or the gas post several times to get air (oxygen is bad on top) off of the top of your beer. This will form a blanket of CO2 to protect the beer. It should not hurt it to have it sit for a few days at 73, but don't leave it for too many weeks like that because it is not pasturized and will start to develop an off flavor. Once you ice it down you will need to force carbonate. Here is a link to a simple force carbonating link:

http://www.draftbeerinfo.com/2009/02...r-keg-of-beer/

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Old 08-13-2012, 02:58 PM   #3
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Sounds like he is wanting to force carb at room temp. Probably not going to work too well. If you had 2 weeks you could prime it with 2.5 oz of corn surgar, but since you only have a week, not sure that would work for you. If it is a low alcohol beer it *Might* carb up in 1 week

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Old 08-13-2012, 04:36 PM   #4
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Sounds like he is wanting to force carb at room temp. Probably not going to work too well. If you had 2 weeks you could prime it with 2.5 oz of corn surgar, but since you only have a week, not sure that would work for you. If it is a low alcohol beer it *Might* carb up in 1 week
Your best bet is to get it force carb'd sooner rather than later. Get it cold and force it up with around 30psi for about 10-20mins using the keg-roll method. Then let it settle.

Problem is, even with this method, you're going to have overcarb'd beer for a day or so unless you really mess with the thing and get the pressure in equilibrium. That'll involve releasing pressure periodically from the release valve tons of times until it gets to a proper pour at serving pressure (around 10-12 psi).
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Old 08-13-2012, 07:16 PM   #5
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based on my basic understanding (and zero practical experience) of carbonating: at higher temps CO2 is less soluble in the beer. So theoretical, if my beer is carbing at a high temperature can't i just increase the CO2 pressure to get the correct amount of CO2 to dissolved in the beer. Then when i cool for serving, i can reduce the pressure to maintain equilibrium?

... in theory anyways

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Old 08-13-2012, 07:22 PM   #6
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Originally Posted by steveahol View Post
based on my basic understanding (and zero practical experience) of carbonating: at higher temps CO2 is less soluble in the beer. So theoretical, if my beer is carbing at a high temperature can't i just increase the CO2 pressure to get the correct amount of CO2 to dissolved in the beer. Then when i cool for serving, i can reduce the pressure to maintain equilibrium?

... in theory anyways
Yes, that's exactly right. For example, in my kegerator at 40 degrees my regulator is set at 12 psi. At 64 degrees, I would need 27 psi for the same level of carb. It's temperature dependent.

The issue here is that I can't think of any reasonable way to carb this beer by this weekend without a foamy mess. Normally, you need about two weeks or so to carb up without resorting to shaking/burst carbing/etc, and that rarely works at room temperature due to foaming. It doesn't work all that well with a fridge, either, to be honest! But with a kegerator, you can often quickly carb by setting the keg at 30 psi for 36 hours, and then purging it and keeping it at 12 psi at 40 degrees. It's pretty good in 4 days that way. But at room temperature, you'd need to go with a very high pressure to do the same thing.
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Old 08-13-2012, 07:56 PM   #7
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I don't use the shake method, but I thought the main problems with the shake method were that some compounds that form head only form once (i.e. the shake method will destroy head retention), and that if you do it *above* serving pressure, you can seriously overcarb the beer in a hurry.

Correct me if I'm wrong, but if you do the "shake" method at the actual target pressure, you won't run the risk of overcarbonating the beer, right? It's only doing the "shake" method at higher pressure that can cause problems?

So if you're at 73 degrees and you set your regulator to 30 psi, and shake the crap out of the keg, you won't get the beer to absorb more CO2 than it's "supposed" to at that pressure and temperature. And since that pressure and temperature is an acceptable number of volumes CO2, it should work, right?

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Old 08-13-2012, 09:31 PM   #8
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I don't use the shake method, but I thought the main problems with the shake method were that some compounds that form head only form once (i.e. the shake method will destroy head retention), and that if you do it *above* serving pressure, you can seriously overcarb the beer in a hurry.

Correct me if I'm wrong, but if you do the "shake" method at the actual target pressure, you won't run the risk of overcarbonating the beer, right? It's only doing the "shake" method at higher pressure that can cause problems?

So if you're at 73 degrees and you set your regulator to 30 psi, and shake the crap out of the keg, you won't get the beer to absorb more CO2 than it's "supposed" to at that pressure and temperature. And since that pressure and temperature is an acceptable number of volumes CO2, it should work, right?

That's correct. It can only absorb a maximum of whatever PSI you push into it. That's why the set it and forget it method ALWAYS works the same, because you're setting to 12psi and letting it reach equilibrium naturally. However, keep in mind that you're at 73 degrees, and the beer doesn't want to absorb anywhere near 30psi.

However, the shake method is done because the beer isn't naturally inclined to simply accept any pressure thrown at it. Assuming the beer is cold and you've got the PSI up a good bit, you can probably absorb 30psi over a 2 day period, and end up reaching the same pressure as doing 12psi for 2-3 weeks. It's just that you're forcing it in faster, and it needs time to really settle. This includes venting off excess pressure, waiting for the airspace to reach equilibrium with the beer in the tank, etc.

I just kegged my first beer this past Friday, and I chilled it to 41F, then shot it with 30psi and did 10-15mins of kegrolls, then let it settle for a few hours, vented it, then hooked back up to about 25psi for another day. Disconnected, let it settle for a few hrs, vented a bit, and hooked it back up at about 10psi. It poured a good bit of foam initially, but turned out fine by Sunday, and pours perfectly for me (a bit fast though, due to my shorter beer line).

You can get this thing kegged and carb'd, although it's not going to be the same as giving it extra days from a standard force carb, and you're probably going to end up with a bit of a mess initially. That's why I recommend carbing it up now. If you can get it cold and carb'd now, it can survive the trip, and simply require a few hours to re-chill and let everything settle once again. I'm new to kegging, but that seems to be how it works for me.
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Old 08-13-2012, 09:59 PM   #9
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You will need 30 PSI at 70 F to get 2.23 volumes of CO2. If you crank your regulator to 30 PSI and let the keg sit, you will need to leave the CO2 attached and your CO2 tank open to get the beer to carbonate fully. It will take at least a week to do this.

Slightly Off Topic - Interesting note on the effects of shake carbonation. I read up on it just now and indeed there are foam forming and stabilizing compounds that can get "used up" during the shaking process and reduce (not necessarily "destroy") the head retention of the beer. I have been doing (and recommending) shake carbonation for years and never really noticed any ill effects, but then again, I never paid that much attention. I suppose an experiment is in order.

However, I would point out that other factors in brewing probably make a bigger impact on head retention than shake carbonating such as - dirty glasses and brewing adjuncts that contain oils.

As to the problem at hand, put the keg in the coldest part of your house and turn the pressure up to 30 - 35 PSI and leave it alone until you leave for your trip. Bleed the pressure off right before you leave and draw a sample and check it. You will probably be fine.

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Old 08-13-2012, 11:56 PM   #10
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You could ice it, force carbonate and then let it sit at room temperature until you get up to the cottage. Unfortunately, it could take 24-36 hours to cool off in the fridge there. So, maybe take enough ice to cool it down fast or ice it on your trip up.

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