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Old 05-02-2012, 05:54 PM   #1
hops2it
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Default kegging noob questions

Ok so I just finished a 3 week primary on an American Wheat and I'm going to attempt my first kegging operation (5 gal Corny). Like I said I'm a total noob so after reading some of the sticky links, I'm going to state my plan and would love any advice/critiques you guys can offer:

I'm now in the process of a 2 day cold crash, beer in primary. After 2 days, I plan to sanitize the keg w/ starsan, then rack the beer. I then planned on going with a 2 week carbonation while in a fridge at around 32-34 degrees I suppose. So I found this chart:

http://www.kegerators.com/carbonation-table.php

Seems like I'm looking at the yellow range. What's the best practice, just pick a PSI toward the middle? Say maybe 16 psi for 2 weeks? When going with the 2 week routine do I need to shake the keg at all or no? There's so much info out there, I've become confused on what seems like a simple topic.

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Old 05-02-2012, 06:17 PM   #2
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32-34F is too cold IMHO. Beer should be served close to 40F. You're not going to be able to get it perfectly carbonated so shoot for a range acceptable for American Wheat. I'm going to say that is probably 2-2.5 volumes.

So at 40F set the pressure to 12 and you'll be fine.

If you wish to remain at 34F set it at 9 or 10.

Then leave it for the 2 weeks you desire. No need to shake.

16psi @ 34F would over carbonate unless you want 3 volumes of carbonation.

P.S.
The green range is what you want to shoot for. Yellow is caution and red dangerous.

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Old 05-02-2012, 06:46 PM   #3
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Michael Jackson (the famous brewer, not the dead moonwalker) states the following in his book:

- Serve fruit beers at 40-50° F.
- Serve wheat beers and pale lagers at 45-50° F.
- Serve pale ales and amber or dark lagers at 50-55° F.
- Serve strong ales, such as barley wines and Belgian ales, at 50-55° F.
- Serve dark ales, including porters and stouts, at 55-60° F.

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Old 05-02-2012, 07:04 PM   #4
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I agree with both posts above mine. Only swill like BMC should be served 'ice cold' since there is no malt, no hops...really no flavor to taste or aroma to smell...so 32F doesn't negatively impact the drinking experience.

There is a damned good reason that Guinness is served 'warm' in UK pubs...they taste better! (and 55F isn't warm either, its just not ice cold like BMC drinkers are used to)

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Old 05-03-2012, 02:05 AM   #5
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Hmm, very interesting points and dually noted I might add. Thanks for the tip about the chart/psi also, I was reading it incorrectly. I already robbed the freezer for a fermentation chamber and comandiered the downstairs fridge for beer storage so I may have to find a happy medium on the temp thing that will accommodate a range of beers. Otherwise I'm going to end up with more fridges than I have underwear pretty soon.

No I really appreciate the advice guys. I think I have a much better jumping off point now and a little more confidence to go with it. Really stoked to tap the first keg and even more happy to 86 the woes of bottling day. I'm thinking this could be a real difference maker to make this hobby even more enjoyable than it already is.

And on a final note, thank goodness for HBT. I've really learned a lot from the likes of you folks. And the community here is very inviting, even to questions that I'm sure arise frequently. As a staff member on a major tech forum, I can't tell you how much that sort of environment is appreciated by myself and other members.

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Old 05-03-2012, 05:49 PM   #6
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Honestly, I run most of my beers at the same psi. I like my beer...a lot...but I'll admit I have not developed the refined palate that makes me care if my Hefe is slightly under carbed or my brown ale is a little too carbed.

That said, using a secondary regulator to drop CO2 volumes in some kegs will help you serve at different carb levels. My keg system uses two CO2 cylinders, one runs 3 kegs, the other runs 2 kegs. I already had the cylinders (10lb and 5lb) so it was cheaper to snag a second Primary regulator and manifold than adding a secondary regulator after my primary and all the manifolds needed.

you have options.

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Old 05-03-2012, 11:08 PM   #7
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I started kegging about a month ago and now have 4 currently going. After transferring and purging, I'll crank the psi to 30 and let it sit for 24 hours in the kegerator. After the 24 hours, I'll purge, turn it down to about 10 psi and it's ready to serve. It's not perfect but totally drinkable. In about a week, I consider it perfectly carbonated. All this is done at around 37-39F. Like the previous post, my palate isn't refined enough to differentiate slightly over or under-carb. I have a belgian dubbel, saison, ipa and dipa all at the same psi and temp. Maybe down the line, I'll play with different regulators.

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Old 05-04-2012, 06:40 PM   #8
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Today is kegging day and I have a few more questions. Just got done running starsan through the keg/hoses. I'm now going to empty out the remaining starsan and add the beer. So here's the questions:

1.) Should I run some straight water through the keg to get rid of the starsan or is that just defeating the purpose? I've always heard "don't fear the bubbles". Is this where that phrase applies?

2.) Once I get the beer in the keg and get it up to 12psi, should I leave the CO2 on the entire 2 weeks or should I eventually shut off the supply valve and just let the 12 psi sit in there? (assuming no leaks)

3.) Speaking of leaks, do you guys test each time to make sure? What test method do you use?

4.) After I have the beer in the keg and adequate psi, should I purge the remaining starsan in the tapper line in order to fill it with beer instead of starsan or does it matter?

5.) Any other tips worth considering for my first time? I've already found I needed to push some psi to the keg in order to seat the seal. Leaked at 5-10 psi so I bumped it to 20 psi and it seemed to seal nicely. It has new o-rings by the way.

Thanks again guys.

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Old 05-04-2012, 06:47 PM   #9
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Quote:
Originally Posted by hops2it View Post
Today is kegging day and I have a few more questions. Just got done running starsan through the keg/hoses. I'm now going to empty out the remaining starsan and add the beer. So here's the questions:

1.) Should I run some straight water through the keg to get rid of the starsan or is that just defeating the purpose? I've always heard "don't fear the bubbles". Is this where that phrase applies?
Not necessary. You'll probably toss the first glass or half glass you end up drawing from the keg anyway.

Quote:
Originally Posted by hops2it View Post
2.) Once I get the beer in the keg and get it up to 12psi, should I leave the CO2 on the entire 2 weeks or should I eventually shut off the supply valve and just let the 12 psi sit in there? (assuming no leaks)
leave it on, the beer is absorbing CO2 so you need to add more.

Quote:
Originally Posted by hops2it View Post
3.) Speaking of leaks, do you guys test each time to make sure? What test method do you use?
Tighten everything down. If you think it is leaking spray it with soapy water when pressurized. I heard of someone dunking a keg into a pool to see leaks.

Quote:
Originally Posted by hops2it View Post
4.) After I have the beer in the keg and adequate psi, should I purge the remaining starsan in the tapper line in order to fill it with beer instead of starsan or does it matter?
No, like I said the first glass or two might come out with gunk that settled to the bottom anyway unless you've cut your dip tube short to avoid it. It's not a big deal, I always toss the first glass because of this. If you fill the line now, it will just be flat beer, because in my experience beer in the line doesn't get "carbed up".

Quote:
Originally Posted by hops2it View Post
5.) Any other tips worth considering for my first time? I've already found I needed to push some psi to the keg in order to seat the seal. Leaked at 5-10 psi so I bumped it to 20 psi and it seemed to seal nicely. It has new o-rings by the way.

Thanks again guys.
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Old 05-05-2012, 05:06 PM   #10
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Yes, run the starsan through the faucet/lines, dump out but don't rinse. Carb up your empty keg ~ 10 psi for a few seconds. Disconnect and purge just enough so you can remove the lid. You should see cloudy gas at the bottom. Siphon your beer, put lid on the attach all hookups. Purge a few times to remove the top oxygen layer. Carbing at the beginning and purging at end is to remove as much oxygen in the tank as possible. Keep 12 psi for the whole time to carb beer. After fully carb, if beer pours with alot of foam, lower psi. First pour will obviously have starsan so dump it. Now you're good to go, enjoy!

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