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Old 02-19-2011, 01:33 PM   #1
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Default First Time Kegging For First (& Only) Time Wedding

I'm getting married this summer and have been asked by my fiancee's family to brew all the beer for the wedding...I have never kegged and there is no way in hell I'm bottling all the beer I plan on making. Generally, I'm all about experimenting and learning from my mistakes but I don't have the luxury of time or $$$ to do that right now. Been reading up (and scouring this site) for all the answers to my questions but can't seem to get the ones I want...

#1 - Do I force carb cold or can it be done at room temp? Once it's carbed, does it need to be stored cold?

#2 - What is the "expiration date" once I've got it carbed up?

#3 - Should I release the excess pressure before I transport the full kegs?

#4 - I plan on serving from three 5 gal Cornys. I'll have another 5 gal and a 3 gal as a backup in case the beer is actually a hit (most people attending are wine drinkers). How would I switch an empty for a full keg if I'm running off of a three way distributor?

#5 - Also, I might make a few gallons of soda. I should run this off of a separate Co2 tank, yes?

#6 and final (for now) - Is a 5# cylinder enough gas to serve 5 Cornys (once I get it refilled post force carbing)? Once each of the kegs has a beer drawn off of it, won't the dip tube act as a siphon? Can I shut the gas off?

----------------

Any ale suggestions for a summer wedding?

Cheers!



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Old 02-19-2011, 01:43 PM   #2
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I'm getting married this summer and have been asked by my fiancee's family to brew all the beer for the wedding...I have never kegged and there is no way in hell I'm bottling all the beer I plan on making. Generally, I'm all about experimenting and learning from my mistakes but I don't have the luxury of time or $$$ to do that right now. Been reading up (and scouring this site) for all the answers to my questions but can't seem to get the ones I want...

#1 - Do I force carb cold or can it be done at room temp? Once it's carbed, does it need to be stored cold?
You can force carb at any temperature. Just make sure to consult a temperature/carbonation chart because you need a higher pressure at room temperature. You can store it however you'd like

#2 - What is the "expiration date" once I've got it carbed up?
Years. It will be good as long as a bottle would

#3 - Should I release the excess pressure before I transport the full kegs?
No need. Think of a keg like a big bottle. You wouldn't open the bottle and then move it.

#4 - I plan on serving from three 5 gal Cornys. I'll have another 5 gal and a 3 gal as a backup in case the beer is actually a hit (most people attending are wine drinkers). How would I switch an empty for a full keg if I'm running off of a three way distributor?
Just take the quick disconnect off of one and put it on the next keg. It's really easy, and will be obvious once you see your set up.

#5 - Also, I might make a few gallons of soda. I should run this off of a separate Co2 tank, yes?
Not a seperate tank, but you'll need a different regulator since soda is carbonated at a much higher volume, usually like 30 psi (when cold) while beer is more like 10 psi. You'll need longer serving line for the soda, like 25 feet of line for the soda.

#6 and final (for now) - Is a 5# cylinder enough gas to serve 5 Cornys (once I get it refilled post force carbing)? Once each of the kegs has a beer drawn off of it, won't the dip tube act as a siphon? Can I shut the gas off?
Yes, you can easily serve 5 kegs out of one 5# tank. You can briefly shut the gas off, but that would be a pain turning it off and on. Remember that you need co2 to "push" the beer out of the keg, so you may be able to serve a couple of pints without the gas, but then you'll need to turn it on again.

----------------

Any ale suggestions for a summer wedding?

Cheers!
Answers in bold!

For ales, I'd suggest a cream ale for the masses, and maybe a brown ale or stout for those who like darker beers. I always have a pale ale, too.

For a party last summer (June) I made a cream ale, an oatmeal stout (a bit "smaller" than my usual stout) and a pale ale. They all were well received, but the cream ale disappeared first.


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Old 02-19-2011, 01:57 PM   #3
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wow! didn't expect a reply quite so fast...thanks, yooper!

so i can brew the beer now, carb it, and let it sit until july? that's too damn easy. why have i not been kegging sooner?

+1 on the cream ale...any particular recipe you're fond of or care to share? i tried the NB kit but it was a little too "sweet" for my taste.

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Old 02-19-2011, 01:59 PM   #4
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wow! didn't expect a reply quite so fast...thanks, yooper!

so i can brew the beer now, carb it, and let it sit until july? that's too damn easy. why have i not been kegging sooner?

+1 on the cream ale...any particular recipe you're fond of or care to share? i tried the NB kit but it was a little too "sweet" for my taste.
Sure, you can do that. Some beers, like hoppy beers, are better when fresher in my opinion. But if you have a fridge to store a keg or two, a cream ale will improve with cold conditioning anyway so it would actually be a benefit!

I love kegging, because of the ease of it. I've made ginger ale and root beer, and of course tons of beer, and I love my kegs more and more. Ok, it's probably an unhealthy relationship (at least for my waistline) but that's not important here.

Anyway, my cream ale recipes are AG. Do you need AG or extract recipes?
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Old 02-19-2011, 03:08 PM   #5
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i'll probably be brewing extract just because it's less time consuming...

...but if you have a favorite AG, i can convert it to extract. thanks!


...oh, if i force carb and store at room temp and then ice the kegs down for serving, that doesn't mess with the carb levels, does it? sorry for all the noob questions...

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Old 02-19-2011, 03:16 PM   #6
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One thing to keep in mind is that like when you bottle, when you keg all the yeast goes to the bottom. The difference is that kegs draw from the bottom, as opposed to bottles pouring from the top. So in a wedding setting, make sure to get your kegs in place at least a few hours, preferably days in advance (I know days isn't realistic if you are renting a venue, but it is still the best recommendation). Then before any guests go to get a beer, pour one or two which will clear the year from around the dip tube, which should clarify the beer. Also if you have the time, either secondary or use finings to clarify your beer as much as possible before you keg it. Normally not a huge issue, but since you will have to transport the beer a lot of the sediment that would normally be a nice cake at the bottom will resuspend in the liquid, clouding up the beer some.

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Old 02-19-2011, 03:31 PM   #7
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^sure, but he's got a few months - he can get rid of most of the sediment by letting them sit in his serving fridge or wherever and then pouring a couple beers before he has to move the kegs. It'd help to store them cold (I usually "lager" my ales for a few days) - it'll drop the yeast out of solution. Then serve a couple and you should be mostly rid of it.

Or you could make a hefe, then you don't have to worry about it.. hahah

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Old 02-19-2011, 03:51 PM   #8
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some folks use gelatin in the keg if they plan on transporting. it really glues the sediment to the bottom so you don't get everything mixed back into your nice clear beer.

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Old 02-19-2011, 03:58 PM   #9
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^sure, but he's got a few months - he can get rid of most of the sediment by letting them sit in his serving fridge or wherever and then pouring a couple beers before he has to move the kegs. It'd help to store them cold (I usually "lager" my ales for a few days) - it'll drop the yeast out of solution. Then serve a couple and you should be mostly rid of it.

Or you could make a hefe, then you don't have to worry about it.. hahah
I see what you are saying, but all that does i get rid of the tiny bit of sediment around the dip tube hole. As soon as those kegs are moved sediment will get kicked back up and settle back into the area that was cleared. Hence either long secondary to clarify or gelatin etc.

And hefe is a damn good idea!
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Old 02-19-2011, 03:59 PM   #10
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The only way I have been able to get nice clear beer transported in kegs is to transfer the beer off the sediment to a clean keg via a jumper.

I would suggest kegging a few batches and getting some experience prior to the big day...kegging and carbing are a learned skill, and i would hate to be learning the hard way with a bunch of thirsty wedding guests watching. Good luck w/ the project.



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