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Old 03-21-2013, 05:09 PM   #1
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Default Priming sugar in keg-need advice on technique

I need advice from those out there who successfully use priming sugar in their kegs. My current process is to ferment the beer for about two weeks, then keg and bottle. I brew 10g batches, so I do both. I put the bottles away at room temp for two weeks (primed). I put the Keg on gas in the Kegerator right away a serving temp and PSI. I've noticed that the bottles taste much better than the keg does at week 2. I've contributed this to the fact that the bottles are conditioning at room temp whereas the kegs are refrigerated for the same two weeks. My conclusion is that refrigeration temps result in longer aging period before the beer is ready.

So, I'm thinking about priming my kegs, putting a shot of pressure in them to create a seal, and then conditioning at room temp for two weeks. Then I'd like to hook it up to gas and drink it. I have found that unless kegs are hooked up to gas at all times (prior to being carbonated), they leak all the CO2 out, resulting in oxidized beer. So, If I use priming sugar, will this happen still? I'd like to avoid buying another CO2 tank setup for this, which is why I'm considering trying the priming method.

What techniques are out there that folks are having success with this today?

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Old 03-21-2013, 05:51 PM   #2
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You won't get much out of priming ale at kegerator temps.
Most folks just force carbonate with soda kegs.

I like to naturally carbonate in commercial kegs.

I prime the beer just before filling.
A few weeks at room temperature then it's into the kegerator for serving.
I keep a tap in it while conditioning for the relief valve (safety) and I added a pressure gauge for monitoring it's progress.

You could indeed do something like this in soda kegs after pressurizing it enough to get your lid sealed.

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Old 03-21-2013, 06:00 PM   #3
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If your kegs do not hold CO2 unless they are hooked to a gas line, it sounds like your poppets are leaking. Get a spray bottle of starsan and find the leak(s) and fix them. Chances are it's a cracked poppet o-ring. You can buy replacements at Lowes for dirt cheap.

And a leaking keg will not result in oxidation. CO2 is heavier than O2 and even though it is leaking out, O2 will not come in. There won't be any pressure or carbonation in the keg, but there will still be a blanket of CO2 in there.

You need to flush out any O2 of the keg when filling it with beer. If you are having oxidation issues, you are probably getting them somewhere else.

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Old 03-21-2013, 07:13 PM   #4
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Quote:
Originally Posted by bknifefight View Post
If your kegs do not hold CO2 unless they are hooked to a gas line, it sounds like your poppets are leaking. Get a spray bottle of starsan and find the leak(s) and fix them. Chances are it's a cracked poppet o-ring. You can buy replacements at Lowes for dirt cheap.
96% sure the leak is coming from the main (big) O-ring. I use vegetable oil to lube it up. I can see it bubbling when wet prior to pressurization. I bleed out the oxegent, then crank up the PSI to 30 and wiggle the crap out of the seal. Then depressurize to 15 or so. When I leave it unconnected, I come back to the keg and there is no pressure in a few days. It seems to be the case with all the kegs. Newer O-rings on everything.

I had a blonde ale that I kegged, it lost pressurization. It tasted like ritz crackers. The same batch that I bottled is one of the best examples of a blonde ale that I have ever had.
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Old 03-21-2013, 10:57 PM   #5
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I don't prime in the keg with sugar. I just seal at 30, bleed the oxygen, repeat and then leave at room temp for two weeks to condition. Then I chill it and put it on the gas to carb up.

I've never had a problem with my kegs not holding pressure - and you shouldn't either. There's something wrong.

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Old 03-22-2013, 12:17 AM   #6
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Quote:
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I don't prime in the keg with sugar. I just seal at 30, bleed the oxygen, repeat and then leave at room temp for two weeks to condition. Then I chill it and put it on the gas to carb up.

I've never had a problem with my kegs not holding pressure - and you shouldn't either. There's something wrong.
Are you leaving it pressurized at 30psi for two weeks, and not hooked up to gas after pressurizing it?
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Old 03-22-2013, 04:34 PM   #7
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Quote:
Originally Posted by BrewmeisterSmith View Post
96% sure the leak is coming from the main (big) O-ring. I use vegetable oil to lube it up. I can see it bubbling when wet prior to pressurization. I bleed out the oxegent, then crank up the PSI to 30 and wiggle the crap out of the seal. Then depressurize to 15 or so. When I leave it unconnected, I come back to the keg and there is no pressure in a few days. It seems to be the case with all the kegs. Newer O-rings on everything.

I had a blonde ale that I kegged, it lost pressurization. It tasted like ritz crackers. The same batch that I bottled is one of the best examples of a blonde ale that I have ever had.
Use keg lube, not vegetable oil. If it holds pressure when hooked to the CO2 line, it is not a leak in the lid. The lid would still leak when hooked up and the CO2 would still be escaping. A bubbling before adding pressure doesn't mean anything.
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Old 03-22-2013, 04:52 PM   #8
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To answer your original question: I have done it once, but it worked fine. I only have room for 2 kegs in my chest freezer, so if I have a 3rd ready to go I transfer the beer to the keg with a priming sugar and seal it, blast it with CO2 and purge a couple times but blast it one last time to have pressure inside. Then I let it sit for about 1.5 weeks before I hooked it up to gas and put it in the freezer. It was fully carbonated when I tapped it. It still needs to sit for a few days I think to clear up after moving it around to get it in the freezer though.

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Old 03-22-2013, 05:51 PM   #9
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Quote:
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Are you leaving it pressurized at 30psi for two weeks, and not hooked up to gas after pressurizing it?
Correct. Blast at 30 to seal the lid, vent, blast again then disconnect the gas and let it sit for 2 weeks before it goes into the mini fridge to chill and get re-connected to gas to carb up.
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