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Old 11-16-2005, 09:44 PM   #1
Thor
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Default Questions from a kegging wanna-be

I want to shift from bottling to kegging soon, probably just after the holidays. I have a few basic questions, and would appreciate a little “Kegging 101” assistance.

- I see some resources point out that one still uses priming sugar when kegging, though not as much as when bottling. Is this only when a keg will sit without C02 for a time, or in addition to the CO2?

- Can a filled keg be stored unrefrigerated? If so, what is the acceptable temperature for storage? My thought is that I would have a few cornies aging without refrigeration until I was ready to drink them, then link them to CO2 and refrigerate them. As for temperature, the closet I would store in ranges from the 60’s in winter to 72-75 in summer.

- Do lagers need to be cold stored once they are appropriately aged (fermented) and kegged? (That is, is there any difference between storing / kegging between ales and lagers?)

- What is the range of time that ales or lagers can be stored before spoiling? If there is a difference in this range between refrigerated and non-refrigerated storage, please let me know.

- I assume that keg cleaning and sanitizing involves soaking / hosing down the insides of kegs and removeable parts (seals, etc), then filling with a sanitizer solution like iodophor for a short time, then draining. Correct, or is it more involved.

I appreciate the feedback – thank you for your time!

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Old 11-16-2005, 10:07 PM   #2
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Priming -just a matter of preference. I've only primed one ale in the keg.

Storage - colder is better, same as bottles. At 75F, I wouldn't expect the ale to last more than a couple months.

Lagers - don't make them, but I never store them over 45F

Time - colder = longer Was at an off-flavor class Saturday and the last three samples were all Redhook ESB. First, was a year old stored warm = swill, second was fresh = great, third was a year old refrigerated, ok

Sanitizing - you got it!

Basically, other than being 100% proof from light-striking, kegged ales have to be stored just like bottled ales.

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Old 11-17-2005, 12:40 PM   #3
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I've written a short article on kegging here.

Just personal preference, but I would never prime a keg for carbonation. Not only does it give you more sediment, but it takes longer and will be less predictable. Force carbonation rules!

Buy clean, refurbished kegs. Cleaning an "unknown" keg can be a nightmare. Sabco does a great job in this regard. They are more expensive, but worth it.

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Old 11-18-2005, 06:37 AM   #4
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I reserve Cask Conditioning (Priming) in kegs for beers that really benefit from a good long rest, ie: dubbel or tripel. Most other beers esp. Lagers get force carbonated so I can have some instant gratification.

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Old 11-18-2005, 01:17 PM   #5
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tnlandsailer's tips are good. also try www.defalcos.com, then click the draft beer tab on the left side. it's a draft beer primer that talks about using natural carbonation and forced carbonation. that's my local HBS and i use the forced carb method. works forme everytime!

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Old 11-18-2005, 01:24 PM   #6
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Just got into kegging myself. I got my kegs from sabco, and most my other stuff from the beverage factory. Kegs showed up in excellent condition. I'm force carbing to a) avoid sediment, and b) make sure the lid seals.

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Old 11-19-2005, 08:04 PM   #7
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I prime my keg, and after the first half a dozen pints I need to force carbonate. During transfer, I draw off 10 bottles after priming the keg and store to age. The keg is devoured pretty quick...not good for the old beer belly!

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Old 11-20-2005, 05:25 PM   #8
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I recently have been kegging and using the force carbonation method. I definetly like this but I was wondering whether you lose some flavor that you may have with bottling since I do not add priming sugar?

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Old 11-20-2005, 05:58 PM   #9
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IMHO, no. at least not from the priming sugar. you may not get some of the flavor from it not maturing for another 2 weeks while it carb's in the bottle. but, cold conditioning in the keg while it's in the fridge seems to help too. so i don't think it's that big a loss (for ales).

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