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Home Brew Forums > Home Brewing Beer > Bottling/Kegging > Flat Mini-keg...any tips?
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Old 03-26-2006, 11:00 PM   #1
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Default Flat Mini-keg...any tips?

Flat Mini-keg HELP!
Message: Okay...did my first mini-keg experiment...got my Philtap...First one dispenses like a champ...but damn! Flat as heck!

I didn't have keg lub when I bottled the mini-keg, and was worried about that...

But everything seemed to go well. Did the 1.5TSP in the keg...

But the carbonation is so low. It was at 70 degrees for two-three weeks, so I don't think it was stuck at all...I think it leaked around the relieph bung...

So, is there any way to force carbonate this mini-keg? I gave it a squeeze of the C02 cart, and shook the keg a bit...going to try it again after 12 or so hours and see...but I could feel the mini-keg expanding...the ice crackled around it, so I don't want to overpressurize the keg.

Anyone have any experience trying to force carbonate a mini-keg this way. Even if it takes 2 weeks, I don't care...I just hate to drink 5L of flat homebrew ... or worse...waste 5L of beer down the drain...(okay...who am I kidding...that's not going to happen )

Any ideas?

In the end,if I can't help it along, I'll mix 1/2 glass of flat mini-keg beer, with 1/2 bottle of the carbonated stuff...but still



D

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Old 03-26-2006, 11:38 PM   #2
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I feel for you. I have about 19 mini-kegs also.

There's only so many things that can go wrong.

1. A leak in the bung. I always test my bungs "holding power" by placing them on their sides, lay them down. You'll notice when they start leaking. Solution: Replace the bung.

2. Your brew was too cold to dissolve your priming sugar. (It happens). I usually bring my beers up to room temp for a day or overnight before priming/bottling/kegging. This way the sugar has a better chance of dissolving at rooom temp. Have you ever tried to sweeten cold tea? I won't happen. It just sinks to the bottom and you suck it all up through the straw in 2 sips. The sugar has to dissolve. I usually rack into the keg for about 30 secs. Then I'll swish it around for another 30 secs or so and begin filling again. After a minute I repeat that process. After I put the bung in place I lay it on its side and roll it back and forth for a minute or so. That shakes it up pretty good. If there's a leak you'll find it right away. It's still correctable at this stage, just replace the bung.

3. After you primed, the room temp may have been too low. If it was under 70F it'll take weeks to a month (sometimes longer if you use DME) to get a good carbonation level. Solution: Place it in a warmer room. Do an experiment. If you have a place on the floor (or a box) place a thermometer (lay it on on the box) near your water heater. See what the temp reads. Now move the box away from the heater about 2 feet and let sit for a minute and see how much the temp changes. Once you find an optimal temp (70-72F) move your keg to that place for a week to bottle conditioning. Give your keg a roll or two to rouse the yeast and the right temp should produce more carbonation.

What does your top bung look like? Does it have the red plastic and black rubber type where you turn the red piece and produce a gravity feed or the kind where you place a tap in the center of the bung and push the plastic piece out?

That last one uses a tap with CO2 cartidges. You may want to switch over to the other style bung and get a tap.

As for the problem at hand...if you had a highly carbonated batch you could mix them in a pitcher before serving.

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Old 03-27-2006, 02:51 AM   #3
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Default Thanks for all the tips...I'll try them...

Thanks for the bung test, I'll definately do that. I created two mini-kegs tonight, and lubed the bungs with Keg-lube (didn't the first time)...we'll see if that helps.

I also shook them a bit..to try and dissolve the priming sugar better. I'm thinking that maybe rotating the kegs a bit every once in a while during conditioning might be a good idea.

Room temp has been around 63-65 in most cases. The bottles conditioned just fine at this temp...Would I typically expect an extra week for the mini-kegs? I gave it an extra week.

I use the Phil-tap. So it uses the CO2 carts... a brew-buddy of mine helped me drain a few more glasses from the flat keg...so that's good news that much less flat beer now...I can actually produce a small head out of the tap...so it's not Completely flat. I may try and rotate it around a bit and put it horizontal for a while...see if I can't get some secondary natural carbonation.

I didn't use DME, regular malt extract, and corn sugar for priming.

I also noticed that my 22 oz bottles were somewhat less carbonated than my 12 oz bottles...(though all primed at once) so maybe this is more a thing of volume.

Should I expect longer carb times for the larger volumes. I would have thought that yeast is proportional to volume, as is sugar, so that it would produce a proportional amount of C02 to carbonate in roughly the same time...but with my 12oz being fully carbed in 2 weeks, my 22 oz being slightly less carbed, and my mini-keg being very low an carbonation...I'm thinking that the more volume, the more time I need to give it, particularly if it's a bit cold.

D

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Old 03-27-2006, 02:38 PM   #4
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When I mix the sugar in I just roll the keg back and forth.

I don't understand your sentence on priming. Can you clarify?

Your temps are really low for an ale. Try finding a warmer place like near your water heater. Try to get the brew temp up to around 70.

Good luck.

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Old 03-27-2006, 05:33 PM   #5
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Default Priming...

I don't use DME, but corn sugar for priming.

1.5 TBSP per mini-keg.

I rolled my new mini-kegs quite a bit more this time...hopefully that will help.

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Old 03-27-2006, 11:35 PM   #6
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OK. Good.

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