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Old 05-25-2011, 12:58 PM   #1
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Default First time kegging - slightly overwhelmed by info

I'm suffering from a bit of info overload from all of the myriad posts on how to get started kegging, especially from the ones that branch out into more advanced methods of kegging and pressure levels and temp calculations and factoring in alcohol content etc... Hoping I could just give a quick rundown of what I believe I need to do and get feedback on whether I'm on the right track or not.


1. Set temp control at about 40 degrees on the chest freezer.
2. Siphon beer from Primary into the cleaned, sanitized, lubed corny keg.
3. Seal keg and apply gas line.
4. Set PSI to ~12 and let it sit in the freezer for ~3 weeks to condition and carb.

I'm assuming the following and would love to be corrected if wrong...

1. I do not need to add priming sugar to the keg.
2. I do not need to let the beer sit in a secondary to clarify, the yeast will settle out in the keg and will probably spew out in the first beer or two if the dip tube is too long.
3. I do not need to set a high PSI initially to 'seal' the keg.




[other info]
I just bought a 2 keg system w/ dual regulator & 10lb CO2 tank from Kegconnection. I will be attempting to keg a Lemon Wheat Extract Kit purchased from Austin Homebrew Supply. Not advertising for those sites, just giving info on what I'm working with...tho they were both really good to work with.

I will be getting my CO2 tank filled from my LHBS this evening assuming I have time. My wort seems to have stopped fermenting, and I will be checking the FG when I get home tonight to ensure it is done. Temps has been consistently 68-70 degrees per the yeast type for optimal fermentation (White Labs California Ale V - WLP051) and I used the Yeast Fuel offered with the kit. It has been fermenting in primary for ~1.5 weeks. I'm also in the process of getting a Johnson Controls Temp Controller (digital) and hooking that up to my chest freezer to use as a Kegerator.

At this point I'd usually be scrubbing and sanitizing a large number of acquired bottles, and while tedious, that process is pretty straightforward. Kegging is a whole new beast. More "parts" to the process makes me more nervous about attempting without any sort of guidance.


Thanks in advance for any suggestions or clarifications anybody can provide.

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Old 05-25-2011, 01:13 PM   #2
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Quote:
Originally Posted by bigirishape View Post
I'm suffering from a bit of info overload from all of the myriad posts on how to get started kegging, especially from the ones that branch out into more advanced methods of kegging and pressure levels and temp calculations and factoring in alcohol content etc... Hoping I could just give a quick rundown of what I believe I need to do and get feedback on whether I'm on the right track or not.


1. Set temp control at about 40 degrees on the chest freezer.
2. Siphon beer from Primary into the cleaned, sanitized, lubed corny keg.
3. Seal keg and apply gas line.
4. Set PSI to ~12 and let it sit in the freezer for ~3 weeks to condition and carb.

I'm assuming the following and would love to be corrected if wrong...

1. I do not need to add priming sugar to the keg.
2. I do not need to let the beer sit in a secondary to clarify, the yeast will settle out in the keg and will probably spew out in the first beer or two if the dip tube is too long.
3. I do not need to set a high PSI initially to 'seal' the keg.




[other info]
I just bought a 2 keg system w/ dual regulator & 10lb CO2 tank from Kegconnection. I will be attempting to keg a Lemon Wheat Extract Kit purchased from Austin Homebrew Supply. Not advertising for those sites, just giving info on what I'm working with...tho they were both really good to work with.

I will be getting my CO2 tank filled from my LHBS this evening assuming I have time. My wort seems to have stopped fermenting, and I will be checking the FG when I get home tonight to ensure it is done. Temps has been consistently 68-70 degrees per the yeast type for optimal fermentation (White Labs California Ale V - WLP051) and I used the Yeast Fuel offered with the kit. It has been fermenting in primary for ~1.5 weeks. I'm also in the process of getting a Johnson Controls Temp Controller (digital) and hooking that up to my chest freezer to use as a Kegerator.

At this point I'd usually be scrubbing and sanitizing a large number of acquired bottles, and while tedious, that process is pretty straightforward. Kegging is a whole new beast. More "parts" to the process makes me more nervous about attempting without any sort of guidance.


Thanks in advance for any suggestions or clarifications anybody can provide.
I will give you a run down of what I do from start of beer to drinking (brief description):
  • Ferment beer for 3 weeks...2 for fermentation, 1 for conditioning
  • rack to keg
  • set co2 to 30psi to seat rings and gaskets, you can leave it at this for an hour to 24 hours...it just depends on how worried you are about a leak
  • purge keg and adjust psi to recommended setting...since your refrigerator is at 40 degrees, that would be between 9 and 13 psi...I would go with 11 and adjust if you want more or less carbonation...this is your serving psi.
  • leave beer sit at serving psi for 1 week...pour, drink, enjoy!

Here is a link to a psi chart...basically you take your refirgerator temp and go straight across until you find green (for most beers), yellow for wheat beers and lambics and gray for porters and stouts: http://www.kegerators.com/articles/c...sure-chart.php
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Old 05-25-2011, 01:54 PM   #3
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You need to make sure you do not have any leaks in your keg before setting it up an leaving it, or you will end up with flat beer and an empty CO2 canister. Spray some starsan on all of your connections and make sure there are no bubbles.

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Old 05-25-2011, 02:28 PM   #4
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I am not a huge fan of the 30 psi for 24hrs anymore. Used to do it this way but ran into trouble.

Now I use a calculator to carb my beer. I have decided that patience for a better carbed, better beer is worth it. Too many overcarbed beers bothered me.

Calculators work great. Look up what the CO2 volume you need per style and what temp your conditioning at and itll give you the PSI needed to achieve. I am carbing at 64 degrees right now, basement, so I am at 24 psi for a week. When I put it in the kegerator, I will drop the PSI 11 per the calculator for 38 degrees. However if you wanna carb it in your freezer at 34 just plug the numbers accordingly. Still will take about a week.

My $.02, just have gotten better results with this method versus the quick 30psi method. No wrong way to do it, just giving you options.

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Old 05-25-2011, 02:30 PM   #5
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My refrigerator is set at about 36°; I find that 1 week at 9 psi gives me perfectly carbed beer. I have only kegged 4 batches...the smartest thing I have ever done.

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Old 05-25-2011, 02:50 PM   #6
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Originally Posted by lostboysbrew View Post
I am not a huge fan of the 30 psi for 24hrs anymore. Used to do it this way but ran into trouble.

Now I use a calculator to carb my beer. I have decided that patience for a better carbed, better beer is worth it. Too many overcarbed beers bothered me.

Calculators work great. Look up what the CO2 volume you need per style and what temp your conditioning at and itll give you the PSI needed to achieve. I am carbing at 64 degrees right now, basement, so I am at 24 psi for a week. When I put it in the kegerator, I will drop the PSI 11 per the calculator for 38 degrees. However if you wanna carb it in your freezer at 34 just plug the numbers accordingly. Still will take about a week.

My $.02, just have gotten better results with this method versus the quick 30psi method. No wrong way to do it, just giving you options.
Lostboysbrew...I dont carb at 30 psi, I just use 30 psi to set my rings and gaskets...if you ever get a leak, you would have wished you did this! I do 30 psi for an hour, or I leave it overnight if I have other things going...and while this does start the carbonation process, its predominantly meant to seat rings, gaskets and find leaks...then I adjust to co2 to the carbonation chart I attached.
I wanted to clear this up so that the OP doesn't get confused on my message.
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Old 05-25-2011, 03:13 PM   #7
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So do an hour-ish of 30psi to seat the seals, and then drop to the carbing/serving PSI and let it sit for a while to condition and carb. Since I have a Lemon Wheat, it'll be between 2.6-4.0 volumes of CO2 desired based on the kegerator.com chart, both the chart and the calculator recommend an 18 PSI setting @ 40F aiming for 3.0 vol of CO2.

@bergquistb: Good call on the sanitizer to check seals, thanks.

@lostboysbrew & @SD-SLIM: Thanks for the calculator links, I hadn't seen those two specific ones before.

Is the duration of the carb period determined by anything, or once I put it in keg and set it to 18 PSI to carb/server, it is just determined by how long I want the beer to condition prior to serving? Is there a standard duration to let the beer carb until it would be at an acceptable serving carb level?

*edit* I just re-read the posts and noted ya'll said about 1 week of carbing at a constant PSI should be sufficient. It can go longer to condition the beer though, right?

Is it recommended to rack to secondary for a week after it hits the right FG to clarify and let some yeast drop out of suspension? I'm not using a clarifier, so maybe I could just put it in the freezer for a week to cold crash (around 50-60F?) and let it settle, then rack from secondary to keg to avoid sediment issues?

*edit* Just to clarify, I've never tried to cold crash a batch, so I'm making assumptions here.

Is there any benefit to adding priming sugar to the keg before carbing? There's another thread about Secondary and Conditioning where they're talking about adding 1/3c priming sugar to a 5gal batch prior to kegging. Is that necessary? advised? beneficial? harmful? (also going to ask in that thread)

Thanks for the feedback guys, it is really helping me wrap my head around the process tremendously!

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Old 05-25-2011, 03:34 PM   #8
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Quote:
Originally Posted by bigirishape View Post

Is the duration of the carb period determined by anything, or once I put it in keg and set it to 18 PSI to carb/server, it is just determined by how long I want the beer to condition prior to serving? Is there a standard duration to let the beer carb until it would be at an acceptable serving carb level?

*edit* I just re-read the posts and noted ya'll said about 1 week of carbing at a constant PSI should be sufficient. It can go longer to condition the beer though, right?
It can go as long as you want. That PSI setting you get from a calculator will be the CO2 volumes for that style. That is the MOST CO2 that can make it into that beer. It once it reaches those volumes it won't exceed unless you turn up the pressure.

Quote:
Originally Posted by bigirishape View Post
Is there any benefit to adding priming sugar to the keg before carbing? There's another thread about Secondary and Conditioning where they're talking about adding 1/3c priming sugar to a 5gal batch prior to kegging. Is that necessary? advised? beneficial? harmful? (also going to ask in that thread)
No benefit at all. The CO2 will carb it. Unless you want to manually carb in the keg with priming sugar, which you would have to search other threads about that. I won't experiment with that.

Quote:
Originally Posted by bigirishape View Post
Is it recommended to rack to secondary for a week after it hits the right FG to clarify and let some yeast drop out of suspension? I'm not using a clarifier, so maybe I could just put it in the freezer for a week to cold crash (around 50-60F?) and let it settle, then rack from secondary to keg to avoid sediment issues?

*edit* Just to clarify, I've never tried to cold crash a batch, so I'm making assumptions here.
I never secondary unless I am adding fruit or cocoa nibs (choco stout) and even then I don't sometimes. However, cold crash just about everything. 40-50 gets everything to drop out and produces a clear beer. There will still be yeast.

Also you can just let it sit for an extra week (secondary) in the same FV, it will settle out. This is recommended for bottle conditioning as it will keep active yeast present. Then when the bottles go in the fridge after carbing, the yeast will drop out and the beer will clear before serving
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Old 05-25-2011, 03:35 PM   #9
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Originally Posted by SD-SLIM

Lostboysbrew...I dont carb at 30 psi, I just use 30 psi to set my rings and gaskets...if you ever get a leak, you would have wished you did this! I do 30 psi for an hour, or I leave it overnight if I have other things going...and while this does start the carbonation process, its predominantly meant to seat rings, gaskets and find leaks...then I adjust to co2 to the carbonation chart I attached.
I wanted to clear this up so that the OP doesn't get confused on my message.
Ok, understand what you are saying and I'm not saying you are wrong (I am just now kegging my first batch) but if you set the seals with 30psi and then turn it down to 12 there's only going to be 12psi of force on the gaskets on e the extra co2 is absorbed. So what is the logic here? Honest question, not meant to imply you are wrong, just that I don't understand,
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Old 05-25-2011, 03:36 PM   #10
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Lostboysbrew...I dont carb at 30 psi, I just use 30 psi to set my rings and gaskets...if you ever get a leak, you would have wished you did this! I do 30 psi for an hour, or I leave it overnight if I have other things going...and while this does start the carbonation process, its predominantly meant to seat rings, gaskets and find leaks...then I adjust to co2 to the carbonation chart I attached.
I wanted to clear this up so that the OP doesn't get confused on my message.
Perfect, makes sense.....did get a little confused, thanks for clearing that up.

LHBS taught to PSI 30-35, shake 100 times and sit for 24 hours then turn down and it was ready to serve, except it was never consistent or accurate. Thats what I thought you were talking about.
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