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Old 06-28-2011, 10:01 PM   #1
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Default Running out of time for the 'set and forget' method, suggestions?

Hi all, I've got a keg carbing question that I could use some feedback on.

I've been using the set & forget method (36ºF at 10psi, targeting 2.38 volumes) and it has been working out great for me. I currently have two kegs carbing which have been under those conditions for 9 days. I would guestimate the beer probably has around 1.5 volumes now. These will be served at my wedding(!) in two weeks so it is important that I get the carb level right. The problem is, our travel plans have changed (out of state wedding) and I need to pack up the beer and move it this week; a week earlier than originally planned. It will be transported and stored un-refrigerated until the day before the wedding when it will be cooled for service via jockey box.

As I see it my options are:

A) while it is still at 36ºF, crank up the PSI for a couple of days. This would be like the burst method (as discussed here), but backwards since it is already partially carbed. Perhaps I should used a lower PSI, or a shorter duration? Maybe 20PSI for 2 days? I'm kind of grasping at straws here.

B) remove the kegs from the kegerator, and adjust the PSI to match the ambient temperature using the Carbonation Table as a guide. They would then continue to carbonate for the remaining week or so. For example, if the kegs are transported and stored at 65-70ºF, set the PSI to 26-28psi. The problem with this option as you can imagine is that the ambient temperature will change a fair bit as they are transported, etc.

Any suggestions for me here? I think either method will work, but it is pretty important that I get this right, so I'd love to hear your thoughts. Thank you very much in advance.

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Old 06-28-2011, 10:07 PM   #2
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Don't change the pressure on your gas, shake the **** out of the kegs, they will carb up much faster but wont go overcarbed on you because pressure and temp will be the same, an evening of shaking every few minutes should get the pressure correct in short order, then the rest of the time they can settle out and let the carbonation bite mellow.

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Old 06-28-2011, 10:10 PM   #3
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My immediate concern would be any sediment that might be at the bottom of the kegs and has settled will be disturbed during transport. I have only been succesfull transporting kegs if I transfer the clear conditioned brew to a fresh clean keg leaving undesirables behind. Sorry to say but it is just my experience.

As far as increasing carbonation, I like method A, but like you I am unsure of specifics.

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Old 06-28-2011, 10:13 PM   #4
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Thanks @azscoob, that is a good suggestion.

@wilserbrewer, I should mention that once they are transported, I'll be able to let them sit for a few days relatively undisturbed so the sediment should be able to re-settle. These beers shouldn't have too much sediment to begin with.

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Old 06-28-2011, 10:29 PM   #5
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I would crank up to 30 for a short amount of time. Maybe 6 hours and test, another 6 hours and test. Or you could do as already said, put it on 10 psi and shake the crap out of it. Both methods would work but I'm not a fan of shaking the keg (too much hassle).

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Old 06-28-2011, 10:44 PM   #6
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Regarding the sediment, before shaking you could transfer to a second keg to get it off the little bit of sediment. I have done this several times with great success, just rig up a jumper with two black couplers and transfer it once the pressure is released from the keg, then just add a small bit of co2 to transfer from beer out to beer out, release the pressure with the pressure relief valve on the empty one as it fills. then purgew the new keg set to your 10 psi and shake it, no risk of overcarbonation and no sediment to stir up.

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Old 06-29-2011, 01:57 AM   #7
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Thanks for all the tips, folks. I've started shaking the kegs, and will be leaving them in the kegerator for the next two days. Still at 10-11psi, still at 36ºF.

My kegerator is a little two keg mini fridge so it's tough to get kegs in and out. I plan to just take the kegs out of the fridge and shake them on and off for 5-10 minutes every few hours, and put them back in.

Beyond that, I definitely hear your concerns about sediment. Both of these beers were fermented with a secondary, and I'm careful when siphoning both from primary to secondary, and secondary to keg to leave as much sediment behind. I'll also be able to let the kegs 'rest' for several days at basement temperature once we get to the destination, which should be enough to let the remaining sediment settle, yes?

Thanks again! I feel like I get this stuff pretty well, and serving from my kegs at home has been no worries. I definitely appreciate the input though for this event that is so important to me.

Cheers

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Old 06-29-2011, 03:16 AM   #8
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Relax.... Have a great wedding. Home Brewed Beer is secondary on your wedding date.....if you feed people and offer an alternative beverage no one will care. If you run into a beer snob just explain what you said in your original post.

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Old 06-29-2011, 03:36 AM   #9
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If you run into a beer snob, tell them they should have offered to make the beer for your wedding.

Congrats on the wedding!!! I'm planning to make the beer for my wedding as well.

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Old 06-30-2011, 05:12 PM   #10
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Thanks again for the help and kind words, all. I've been shaking the kegs a few times a day for the past two days and am starting to see the benefit. The beer is still a little flat for my taste, but I ran it by the non beer-snob test and was told it tasted great and was nicely carbonated.

I'll give it just a little more gas for the day or two before showtime and call it good.

Making a bunch of beer for my wedding has been fun, but also stressful. There is so much to do as you prepare for something like this, your time gets really crazy. That being said, the time has been worth it and I'm really excited about being able to personally contribute to the reception like this.

Slainte!

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