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Old 10-26-2011, 02:16 PM   #1
dangerbrew
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Default some random questions - first time kegging

well guys, i finally did it. i built my kegerator. i kegged my beer. it's on tap and just as beautiful as i imagined it. couldn't be happier. especially since i really loathe bottling and the fact that i don't have to do it anymore is thrilling, to say the least.

however, starting out i'm wondering a bit about carbonation. the first batch i put on tap was something i made with some leftovers i had from previous batches - a somewhat light-bodied heather and elderberry ale. it's got a good taste and i'm pretty happy with it, though i'll definitely be altering the recipe some before i make it again to balance out the heather flavor in it.

from the advice i was given by my local hbc, they said the best policy for carbing was to "set it and forget it" - put it at serving pressure for about a week and just leave it there. i checked out the carbonation table i found on the internet and for 45-46 degrees it was around something like 13 psi. I left it there for a few days to begin with and, as suggested by some of my club members, i pulled a little off on the 4th day it was on the gas just to see what it looked like. At that point the pressure seemed far too high, so i dialed it down to about 10-11 psi and that's where it's been sitting ever since. it has really good head and isn't overpressurized like before.

however, what i'm wondering is do you need to constantly keep the keg on co2 or would it be better, now that it's at this carbonation level, to take the gas off and just let it sit as the beer level goes down inside the keg? i would imagine if the gas is kept on the volume of beer that's constantly depleting it would be somewhat overcarbed eventually, or is that not the case?

also, it's kind of hard to judge since the first beer i put on tap was one i've never had before, if there are any possible side-effects to overcarbing (if that's what i actually did) - like a harsher taste or anything along those lines. also, i've heard if you leave the gas on constantly you'll possibly lose co2 to leakage unless the connections are very tight. i haven't noticed this yet, but j/w if this is a possible reason to carb it up and then take the beer off the gas while it's in the kegger.

just looking for some educated, experienced feedback. the next beer i'm putting on tap is my flagship beer, and i want it to be as perfect as possible for its grand debut come thanksgiving.



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Old 10-26-2011, 02:26 PM   #2
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If you leave it at serving pressure, ie: 11-13 or so is typical, then it won't ever carb over that level. And yes you do leave it on the gas the whole time, it doesn't pull any until it needs it, like when serving or when co2 is absorbed (ie: your fridge gets colder, absorbs more co2).

Kegging is sweet though, I'm new at it myself, hurray!



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Old 10-26-2011, 02:36 PM   #3
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If you don't keep a keg being served on gas, as the fluid level drops CO2 will come out of dissolution to re-equalize the head space pressure - resulting in ever lowering carbonation level of the brew.

Otoh, if you properly gas up a brew in a tightly sealed keg, you can remove it from service and store it without it losing carbonation. On those rare occasions that I actually get far enough ahead with my pipeline that I can gas up a keg that doesn't have a spot in my keezer, I take it off the gas and store it in one of my beer fridges until it's needed. At that point it's just a big bottle - and indeed if I didn't have room in a fridge I could just park it in a cool spot in the basement, just like a bottle.

Finally, with due diligence you can assemble a serving system that doesn't leak gas. The first rule regarding that is to never ever assume any connection is gas tight until so proven...

Cheers!

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Old 10-26-2011, 02:49 PM   #4
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there is no reason to take it off the gas once everything is dialed in where you like it and you have no leaks. if you do have leaks, you should fix them instead.

if your keg leaks a small amount and you remove the gas feed, you will be left with an undercarbonated (or totally uncarbonated) beer after a while. why waste 2-3 weeks worth of time carbonating and all that gas?

Quote:
i would imagine if the gas is kept on the volume of beer that's constantly depleting it would be somewhat overcarbed eventually, or is that not the case?
im not exactly sure what you mean by that... are you thinking that 1 gallon of beer under 10psi is going to be more carbonated than 4 gallons under 10psi? it doesnt work like that. a constant temperature and pressure will result in the same abount of dissolved CO2, regardless of the volume of liquid. if you had a 1000 gallon tank at 10psi, it would have the same carbonation level of a 2 gallon keg at the same temperature and pressure (assuming both were given time to fully carbonate, the amount of time it takes is/can be different, but both will eventually reach the same exact level).

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if there are any possible side-effects to overcarbing (if that's what i actually did) - like a harsher taste or anything along those lines
i dont think you overcarbonated, but if you did its easily and completely fixable by justbleeding some of the pressure for a while. you will notice that you pour mostly head and the beer will not stop foaming if it happens. to know what CO2 tastes like, buy some unflavored seltzer water. the taste difference between that and regular water is CO2. the more CO2 is in the beer, the more acidic it will taste.

if you follow the carbonation chart and set your pressure and temperature to the desired carbonation level, you will always have the right amount of carbonation.


check out
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Combined_gas_law
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The ratio between the pressure-volume product and the temperature of a system remains constant
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Old 11-16-2011, 03:18 PM   #5
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Hey Dangerbrew...I was searching for a Cold Trail clone and google thinks you have one. I can't seem to get to you on PM so hit me up here! I went to school @ WVU and my parents have a cabin down in Davis, so I'm quite familiar with said beer...and impressed with their new brewpub in Morgantown I got to check out during the UCONN game a month or so ago.


Oh, PS - I'm new to brewing this year and in the last month have graduated to both my DIY kegerator and All grain yay!

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Old 11-17-2011, 02:08 PM   #6
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Originally Posted by natewv View Post
Hey Dangerbrew...I was searching for a Cold Trail clone and google thinks you have one. I can't seem to get to you on PM so hit me up here! I went to school @ WVU and my parents have a cabin down in Davis, so I'm quite familiar with said beer...and impressed with their new brewpub in Morgantown I got to check out during the UCONN game a month or so ago.

Oh, PS - I'm new to brewing this year and in the last month have graduated to both my DIY kegerator and All grain yay!
cool, man - i grew up in canaan valley, so you're in good company! I currently live really close to WVU, about 15 minutes away.

anyway, if you like the beer, here's the recipe specs i used - it's from an email the head brewer, brian arnett, sent me a few months back - best of luck making the clone - mine turned out pretty well:

"Josh -

Thanks for drinking the cold trail!

To get a similar beer on a small scale, just use your base grain (we use marris otter - but any standard pale malt will do as a base). Add 20% or so by weight of oats. You could try regular rolled oats oatmeal (NOT instant - it will def stick your mash). We use a malted oat, but are switching to oats that our neighbor grew (raw oats.... with the hulls still on).

The big thing is not to add so much oats that you stick your mash. You could add some rice hulls or something similar to help that. The oats give a smoother mouth feel in the resultant beer.

For hops, the main hop is hallertauer. This is a german hop. If you really kick it up, it will taste just like a standard light german beer you would drink in germany. We bitter with English goldings, and our flavor and aroma additions are the hallertauer. Nothing crazy with the amounts, just stick with amounts and schedule you are used to using on a 5 gal size. One suggestion with figuring out hops - start with a small amount, and then taste the beer when you put it into secondary (or whenever the major fermentation activity is done..). If it's not hoppy enough, dry hop it with your flavor hops. (this doesn't work when you're trying to get bitterness like in an ipa - the bitterness is created by a highly water insoluble resin so it only comes out when boiled for a while)

The flavor and aroma from hops is more potent when added after primary fermentation - the reason being that the vigorous "boiling" that occurs during primary actually removes some of the delicate essential hop oils from the beer (this is also the reason you add flavor and aroma hops at the END of your boil...). If you wait for the turbulence to die down and then add hops, you get more out of them. The only draw back to dry hopping is that it can be a hassle to separate your finished beer from the hops. (chilling before you rack is the best way to do this at home).

Sorry if you know all this already...

Also, on scaling up and down, I've found that grains scale rather linearly whereas with hops, you're better off starting with a hops schedule for a beer you know and tweaking it. The darker the beer you're brewing, you'll need more hops for the same hop characteristics as a lighter one.

Oh - and yeast - a standard california/american ale yeast will do. If you ferment it with a hefe yeast, it will be a phenomenal hefewiezen. Or, jack up your base malt, add some brewing sugar or brown sugar or molasses, and ferment it with a belgian double yeast... I'm sure it would end up very similar to duvel. Hefe yeast, orange peel and roasted coriander in the boil with aged hops, and you'll end up with an unreal white beer. (I think we're going to start seasonals soon. I've got the name Wild n Wonderful Wit trademarked...)

Anyway, let me know how it turns out!

Brian"
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Old 11-18-2011, 06:44 PM   #7
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Nice! Yea our cabin is in the Timberline area just a hundred yards from the Blackwater. My parents live in Martinsburg, but I'm over in Baltimore now. Sucks he wouldn't give you the hop schedule more than just the kind of hops.

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Old 11-30-2011, 06:43 PM   #8
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Quote:
Originally Posted by dangerbrew View Post
cool, man - i grew up in canaan valley, so you're in good company! I currently live really close to WVU, about 15 minutes away.
How come I can't PM you?
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Old 11-30-2011, 08:58 PM   #9
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Quote:
Originally Posted by natewv View Post
How come I can't PM you?
not sure man. maybe the site's screwed up - send me an email instead - nookbrewery@gmail.com


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On Tap/Kegged:"Jack The Lad" British Mild, "Blackbeer'd" Beard Beer-yeast Black IPA, "Stone Tower" Maple Breakfast Coffee Stout, "Captain Meowmer's" Maris-Mosaic SMaSH, "Rye Don't We Try And Smoke It?" Smoked Rye Stout, "Pour Decisions" Pale Ale (w/ Conan), "Chubby Unicorn" Blueberry-Vanilla Witbier, "Batch 100" American Barleywine (1.100 OG, 100 IBU)

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