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Home Brew Forums > Home Brewing Beer > Bottling/Kegging > prime naturally, then what?
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Old 06-02-2009, 04:19 PM   #1
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Default prime naturally, then what?

I am about to start kegging, and I am trying to learn as much as I can. There have beens several posts on here that are extremely helpful, but have another few questions.

I am learning about force carbonating vs natural (with priming sugar), and also the set and wait method. My question:
If I do not have room in the frige for the kegs, I can use priming sugar, let them sit for 3 weeks, then hook them up. Do I still use 12 PSI and let it sit for a week so the system is "stable" or can I use it immediately? Also, if I do have room, and put them directly into the frige without priming sugar, hook them up to 12 PSI, they will be ready in a week if I understand correctly. Since I am not aging them (ie in a bottle for 3 weeks) will it be ready in a week (set and wait method)? Thanks in advance and thanks for your patience as I am still very much learning.

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Old 06-02-2009, 04:35 PM   #2
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Just like your bottles of beer, 3 weeks is the minimum for good carbonation in your batch. If you have a kegging system, why not use it to carb up your batch? If you don't have room for the kegs, you could try naturally carbonating right in the keg. You'll want to hook it up to the keg at about 10-12 psi for a little while to ensure proper carbonation though. You can then dispense at the same pressure, or a little less depending on your line length.

If I don't have room in my freezer and have another batch to keg, I will usually just pressurize the keg up to 10psi, bleed the air a few times, and then let the full keg sit around in the basement until I have room in the freezer. That works awesome for me and allows me to store the beer under CO2 until I have space in the keezer.

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Old 06-02-2009, 04:43 PM   #3
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Originally Posted by rsmith179 View Post
Just like your bottles of beer, 3 weeks is the minimum for good carbonation in your batch. This is not true for Co2 Force carbing. Beer will be drinkable in 1 week carb wise and properly carbed by 2 weeks. However it will still go through the same green stage as far as taste in concerned. If you have a kegging system, why not use it to carb up your batch? If you don't have room for the kegs, you could try naturally carbonating right in the keg. You'll want to hook it up to the keg at about 10-12 psi for a little while to ensure proper carbonation though. You can then dispense at the same pressure, or a little less depending on your line length.

If I don't have room in my freezer and have another batch to keg, I will usually just pressurize the keg up to 10psi, bleed the air a few times, and then let the full keg sit around in the basement until I have room in the freezer. That works awesome for me and allows me to store the beer under CO2 until I have space in the keezer.This will purge your keg of Oxygen for storage but don't be confused thinking when you put the keg in the fridge it will be carbonated. Beer needs much higher co2 level at room temp (say 30psi vs 12) to carbonate and it needs to be a constant supply, not just a shot.
My comments added in BOLD above
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Old 06-02-2009, 04:50 PM   #4
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So if I just want to store it in my basement for say 3 weeks, I can shoot it with CO2, this will not fully carbonate it becasue it is not on constant CO2. But, this will keep the beer good until I have room in my kegerator? Then, I can put it in my kegerator and let it sit for another week at 12 PSI and I should be in good shape?

If this is so easy, why do people use priming sugar to prime kegs? Thanks for you patience with me as this is a big help. I am so excited about kegging, I can barely work!

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Old 06-02-2009, 05:01 PM   #5
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Some folks feel that natural carbonation gives a different flavor than force carbonation. Also, naturally carbonating in the keg saves you some gas so if you're not needing the beer for a few weeks, you can do that. The downside is a little more sediment in the bottom of the keg when you naturally carb, so your first pour will be a bit more yeasty.

When you carb at room temp, the beer doesn't absorb as much CO2 as it would cold. So, when you put it in the kegerator it will absorb CO2 from the headspace as it cools. In a day or two it will be properly carbed. Having it under gas during that time ensures that the pressure doesn't drop as the beer absorbs the CO2.

If you naturally carb and then connect to gas, and you don't have a check valve in your system, you'll want to vent the pressure from the keg first. That way you don't risk beer backing up into your gas lines when you put it to pressure.

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Old 06-02-2009, 05:03 PM   #6
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Quote:
Originally Posted by craigrigney View Post
So if I just want to store it in my basement for say 3 weeks, I can shoot it with CO2, this will not fully carbonate it becasue it is not on constant CO2. But, this will keep the beer good until I have room in my kegerator? Then, I can put it in my kegerator and let it sit for another week at 12 PSI and I should be in good shape?

If this is so easy, why do people use priming sugar to prime kegs? Thanks for you patience with me as this is a big help. I am so excited about kegging, I can barely work!
There are two ways to do this. One- prime it, and give it a shot of co2. Purge it, and give it another shot. This helps purge the o2 out, and gives a blanket of co2 to it (and helps seal the lid!). This will give you carbonated, conditioned beer, when you place it in the kegerator.

Then, when you have room in your kegerator, purge again (so the pressure in the keg doesn't force beer back into your regulator!) and place on serving pressure.

The other way- just store the beer at room temperature as above without priming. When you have room in your kegerator, place it on co2 at 12 psi for a couple of weeks, and it'll be all carbed up. Or, place it on co2 at 30 psi for two days, and purge it and set to 12 psi- that should also carb it up just about correctly. (Some shake to get it to carb up faster, but I've only had foam with doing that).

I have done it both ways. If my kegerator is full, I will prime it and wait. Then, the beer is carbed up and conditioned as soon as I put it on the gas. I've also forced carbed in a few days by setting it at 30 psi for a couple of days.

The only disadvantage I can think of to priming is that you may have a bit more sediment in your keg. It doesn't matter, though- once it's settled, only the first couple of pints will have sediment in it anyway, just like with force carbing.
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Old 06-02-2009, 05:23 PM   #7
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OK, I think I am getting it. When I give it a shot, then purge it, then shoot it again, how much time should I wait from each? Also, If I am going to give it a shot, and let it sit for 2-3 weeks, how much should I shoot it with? I realize it will not stay fully carbonated for the 3 weeks sitting not attached to constant pressure, I just do not want it to go bad. Thanks again.

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Old 06-02-2009, 08:20 PM   #8
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If your problem is having cold space(like me) I recoment to just keg condition. Sure you'l have to wait longer for the keg to be ready but you will have to wait less when changing between each keg. I personaly like this way because until I need that keg it is comditioning for longer periods of time versus keeping it in the fridge both taking up space and ending the conditioning fase. If my kegerator were empty I would prob force carb by shaking to get it ready ASAP.

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Old 06-02-2009, 08:23 PM   #9
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When purging, you don't need to wait between shots. Once I fill it with beer, I hit it with about 25 lbs of CO2, vent it and immediately repeat. The third shot I leave in to be sure the lid is seated. Then let it sit and age for 2-3 weeks at room temp - it won't go bad. I have been priming mine first so at the end of that time they are carbed and ready to chill and serve, but that is optional - if you choose not to prime, you'll just need to keep them hooked up in the kegerator at serving pressure for a week to carb up (or try one of the rush carb methods). I just like the idea of having it carbonate and condition at the same time.

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Old 06-03-2009, 12:01 AM   #10
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Question...If a person force carbs but does not like the taste of it because he didnt let it condidtion long, will is condition in fridge over the next couple weeks? The fact that it has been forced up front carbed wont affect the final product say four weeks down the road?

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