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Home Brew Forums > Home Brewing Beer > Bottling/Kegging > Long time brewer, first time kegger - need some advice please
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Old 08-31-2012, 08:03 PM   #1
MikeyM
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Default Long time brewer, first time kegger - need some advice please

Hi fellas, happy Friday.

I will be supplying beer for a wedding In early October and will be purchasing the Corny Keg "Whole Enchilada Kit" with an extra 5 gal keg (ball lock). I plan on keg conditioning for a week or 2 before serving and I have read to keep CO2 pressure on the beer over that time. Questions are:

1) are the 'ball locks' on the Corny Kegs the same as non-Corny Kegs? And if not, are there adapters made so I can use the existing CO2 hardware if I purchase other ball lock kegs?
2) What is the benifit of keeping the beer pressurized? Carbonating and keeping oxygen off the brew so it doesn't go bad and is ready to drink come to mind.
3) Once the beer has conditioned for the 1-2 weeks or so and is pressurized, do you just put the keg in the fridge and leave it indefinately?

Thanks for the help!

Mikey

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Old 08-31-2012, 08:40 PM   #2
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1) Any ball-lock quick disconnects should be interchangeable (Cornelius, firestone, etc.)

2) The beer needs to be kept on CO2 for 2-3 weeks to carbonate (there are methods to speed this up, but I'd recommend waiting). If you purge the headspace a few times you don't have to worry about oxygen, the keg is a sealed vessel and will retain pressure as long as there are no leaks. Once the beer is carbonated you can remove it from the CO2 if you want, but it doesn't matter. You'll need to hook it back up for serving.

3) Most people carbonate in the fridge and leave it there to serve it. You can carbonate room temperature beer but you'll need a very high pressure (~30 psi). I'd get it cold for 3 weeks before the wedding, keep it on CO2, then when you move it to the venue make sure it sits for a few hours before you serve.

Carbonating and pressurizing aren't the same thing. You can pressurize a keg in a few seconds but it takes longer to carbonate. I'd read the "force carbonating methods illustrated" and other stickies at the top so you can get a feel for what's going on here.

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Old 08-31-2012, 08:43 PM   #3
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Hi Mikey,

1) Ball lock kegs are ball lock kegs. They are made by several manufacturers (conelius being just one). If you buy a keg with ball lock fittings it will work with your setup.
2) You have to keep the beer under pressure for it to carbonate. After you have completed the carbonation you could take it off the gas for storage but only if you have a perfectly sealed keg. If there is any type of slow leak your beer will un-carbonate as the pressure bleeds off. So the pressure is to maintain carbonation and provide pressure for serving.
3) I carbonate in the fridge so once it's in there I don't remove it till it's empty. If I needed to store beer without it hooked up to the system I would probably put about 20 psi on it and check to be sure it is still holding pressure after a week. If it hold pressure I'd probably check it once every 4-6 weeks to be sure it's still holding. You could store beer this way for months or years. If your keg has a good seal you could get away with not checking the pressure at all.

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Old 09-01-2012, 02:43 PM   #4
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I would do a keg to keg swap (full keg to empty keg purged with co2) after I tapped a little to clear space around dip tube of sediment. Moving kegs stir up the sediment and can cloud/haze an otherwise clear brew. With beer on display I do as much as possible to keep it clear.

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Old 09-05-2012, 05:47 PM   #5
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Good info, thanks everyone.

So I have about 3-4 days left in the fermenter and then I am going to crash cool in the fridge for a few days to drop out any sediment. Then I was going to rack the brew into the keg and let it condition and carbonate at the same time; just like I do in the bottle. I would carbonate at room temps and in my area my bottled beer would carbonate in about a week to two tops (and would taste pretty good, too). After I kept it at about 10 lbs for a week or so I would sample it and if it is carb'd to my liking, remove from the gas and put in the fridge to keep until the wedding. And I would check it every 4-7 days to make sure it was holding pressure. Sounds pretty logical to me but do you guys see anythng wrong with that method? Pressures, time frames, etc.? The wedding is Oct. 6 so I would like to have it all dialed by then ... if possible .

Thanks again,
Mikey

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Old 09-05-2012, 09:15 PM   #6
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The problem with keg conditioning is sediment. You're going to need to move the beer from where you've conditioned it to the site of the party, and if there's any sediment, it's going to get way stirred up. Even a small bump in my kegerator will do it. Then you'll have yeasty, cloudy, nasty looking pours that nobody is going to want, ESPECIALLY if they're not homebrew regulars (which most of your guests won't be).

Really, if you're transporting kegs, you need cold crash, fine the beer if you can, then force carb. If there's ANY sediment left after that, rack to another keg.

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Old 09-05-2012, 09:22 PM   #7
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Oh man, good point. How would I fine the beer? I have read about using geletain but have never done it.

Mikey

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Old 09-06-2012, 01:06 AM   #8
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Daskin, thanks very much for the advice - just read up on fining - how's this for a quick procedure:

After fermentation is complete (I used irish moss in the boil and do a 3 week primary, no secondary and the brew turns out pretty clear), crash cool the fermenter in the fridge for a few days then rack onto some BioClear in the keg. Pressurize with 30 lbs for a couple days, purge, then repressureize at 10 lbs and put in the fridge for a week or so? Did I totally mess up the steps?

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Old 09-06-2012, 06:47 AM   #9
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i think that there might be some confusion (i know i am a little confused). are you planning on naturally carbing the keg, as in adding priming sugar and letting it carb at room temp, or are you planning to force carb with it hooked up to your co2 setup? either way is fine (some opinions might differ), but the methods are different and you don't need to do both.

naturally carbing- do a quick search about naturally priming a keg, the "general" consensus is roughly half the priming sugar as in bottle conditioning considering that you have one big bottle rather than two cases of smaller bottles. cold crash to clear before transfering to keg with boiled priming sugar (think of the keg as your bottling bucket). let it prime as you would a bottle, room temp 2-3ish weeks or whatever. then cool to serving temp for 3-4 days to push that co2 in the headspace into the liquid just like you would a bottle but consider that there is a greater thermal mass in the keg, so it will take longer to cool. i would second the recommendation above, transfer the cool carbed beer by way of a jumper to another keg for transportation and serving, as to keep the sediment in the first keg.

force carbing- there are a couple of ways to do this. cold crash your beer to clear, then siphon to your keg (no priming sugar needed). your keg needs to remain at serving temp the entire time of the force carbing. hook up to co2 system and burst at 30 psi to set the lid. then you can either 1) keep at 30 psi and burst carb it (a few ways to accomplish that and a little reading with a search will let you feel that one out, or 2) you can then lower your co2 setup to your serving psi and let the keg sit (under refrigeration) for a week or two until the beer carbs to the serving psi (i find that by two weeks you are usually there). again i would then transfer the carbed beer to another keg for transportation so the sediment doesn't re-suspend in the beer and stays in keg 1.

i force carb my kegs (method 2 above, but have done 1 also) unless i don't have room in my keezer. if i don't have room, i naturally carb since the beer is sitting out anyways and it will be carbed once a space opens up. i personally don't taste a big difference between the three, but i have only been brewing just over a year and i am not consistent enough in my recipes to equate the differences to the carbing method.

sorry for the long write up, hope this helps and it all works out.

b

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