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Old 03-30-2010, 10:49 PM   #1
TheCrowsNest
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Default First time brewing, first time kegging

I'm new to all of it. We just brewed up a Cream Ale from an extract kit and put it into the primary fermenter on Sunday (March 28). Yesterday we were getting bubbles through the air lock every couple of seconds, so I think we're headed in the right direction.

I've heard that a secondary fermenter is not necessary but it helps the clarity. Is this true? Also, what is the best way to achieve good clarity after we've boiled it? (I had on idea what irishmoss was 2 days ago)

Moving on to the keg. Is there an advantage to using priming sugar to naturally carbonate and then co2 to help with the process? Or is force carbonation the way to go if you're kegging?

I'm also curious about sediment that remains in the keg, does it just get shot out with the first couple glasses of beer? Can it clog the lines/valves?

Thanks in advance for any advice.

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Old 03-30-2010, 11:04 PM   #2
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Secondary is not necessary and it depends who you talk to if it clears the beer better. I personally secondary I've done both and my beer turns out better If I secondary. Lots of people don't secondary and say their beer turns out better for it. Try both and use the one that works best for you.

To get better clarity you can use gelatine after fermentation is complete. I put my gelatine in my secondary. Works awesome. Don't know how well it works if you don't secondary.

I force carbonate when I keg but lots of people prime with sugar. Try them both and do the one that you like best. The sediment will not clog lines. At least i've never had a problem with it.

I think you get sediment with the last couple of glasses. My beer is usually pretty clear by the time it goes into the keg so I don't get any sediment in my glass just a light layer on the bottom of the keg.

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Old 03-31-2010, 12:31 AM   #3
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good advice above. i gotta tell you though (and i've really learned this lately), force carbing your beer doesn't make it mature. even with something simple and low gravity like a mild, it always tastes better once it's been in the keg for a week or two. and even when i force carb, i rarely get the right level of carbonation right off the bat. so, to me, it's better to just do a little force carbing, like 2 minutes worth and then just set it at whatever pressure you serve at for at least a week... this being said, i still have trouble keeping my dirty paws off a tiny sample a few times a week until it's hit prime. a learning experience...

for the sake of laziness and good beer, just leave it in the primary for 10-14 days (assuming an average gravity beer), or until most of the yeast drops out, crash cool for 2-3 days, transfer to keg, force some carb, set it, forget it for a week and you should be have a good beer to drink and a fairly clear one to drink. from my experience, you will get a little sediment at first, it will clear out and there will be a glass full of yeast at the end (with some yeast remaining on the floor of the keg, but somehow it doesn't make it into the beer).

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Old 03-31-2010, 04:35 AM   #4
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The need for the secondary is a very controversial subject around here and everyone has an opinion, but I personally don't use one anymore as I make sure I have very little trub in my primary. I guess I use my keg as a secondary in a way as I age it in the keg 3 weeks before chilling and carbing. Also, I'm against naturally priming in a keg. It defeats the purpose of the CO2 tank, IMO. I did this with my 1st keg and had a bunch of crap settled at the bottom of the keg. Yeah, the beer came out clear, but you're carbing the damned thing anyway with your CO2 tank, so why bother with priming sugar?

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Old 03-31-2010, 05:35 PM   #5
TheCrowsNest
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Thanks for the insight guys. I think we're going to skip the secondary and go straight to the keg and see what happens. Keeping our fingers crossed that our first beer comes out looking good and tasting great.

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