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Home Brew Forums > Home Brewing Beer > Beginners Beer Brewing Forum > How long can a Keg remain carbonated??
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Old 08-14-2011, 05:35 PM   #1
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Default How long can a Keg remain carbonated??

Hi,

Firstly, I'll ask you to pardon my lack of knowledge.

I hate bottling, but I drink beer at a slow rate...I'm curious as to what the maximum amount of time a keg can be opened for and remain well carbonated? What system preserves carbonation best with kegs?


Thanks,

Delaney.

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Old 08-14-2011, 06:24 PM   #2
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As long as you use CO2 and not air it will last months or years.

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Old 08-14-2011, 06:53 PM   #3
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Yeah, it's pressurized - airtight - so it's like food in tins - it'll keep the same for much longer. Your main issue is how long beer keeps at its best for, because it degrades with age - you could consider smaller batches.

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Old 08-14-2011, 10:15 PM   #4
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Okay...I want to make sure my question is understood.

After the keg is opened it's possible to retain carbonation for an extended period of time? In my experience with kegs I've purchased it goes flat after 24-36 hours. Can somebody elaborate as to how this might be possible?

Obviously if the keg hasn't been opened it won't lose carbonation...

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Old 08-14-2011, 10:29 PM   #5
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What do you mean by "opened"??

We don't 'open' our kegs here, we attach gas and liquid fittings to them so that we can pour into glasses and keep charged with CO2. IF you don't keep it on gas, it WILL go flat and then turn nasty. If you use one of the pocket chargers, and it's already carbonated, you should be ok for as long as it takes you to drink it all. Provided you keep topping it off with more CO2 from the pocket charger.

What kind of keg are you looking to use? Is this home brew or commercial brew? Are they corny kegs, or sanke kegs? You can set up proper systems for both.

If you want to enjoy the brew, on tap, for a longer amount of time, you'll need to get a proper keg system. This includes a way to keep the keg cooled (fridge or freezer with temperature controller on it), a gas delivery/in system (CO2 cylinders, with a regulator and way to connect it to the keg) and a faucet/beer out system.

Plenty of local HBS places carry kegging hardware, as well as a slew of online vendors. We customize our configuration to fit our needs/desires without worrying about it. Well, other than how much we'll be spending (and some need to go through a SWMBO)... You SHOULD be able to locate places that are either local, or will ship up into Canada, that have the hardware you need.

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Reason: see the OP isn't from the UK, updated to match
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Old 08-14-2011, 10:39 PM   #6
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Delaney
Okay...I want to make sure my question is understood.

After the keg is opened it's possible to retain carbonation for an extended period of time? In my experience with kegs I've purchased it goes flat after 24-36 hours.

Obviously if the keg hasn't been opened it won't lose carbonation...
As long as you have it on CO2 it you are not "opening it". The old pump tap from the college party - yes your beer will go bad in a day or two.
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Old 08-14-2011, 11:56 PM   #7
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Okay cool,

My next question is, how much space this would require and cost if acquired second hand...it would be mighty nice, but I'm wondering if it's something I should buy when I'm settled somewhere for a good while

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Old 08-15-2011, 12:01 AM   #8
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I think the OP is talking about a keg that you might get from a local brewery that has a simple hand tap. I get them for BBQs sometimes and they'll flatten within a few days.

Kegs most people are referring to here and pressurized and carbonated with carbon dioxide. They'll keep carbonated for ages. Both kegs, but two different animals.

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Old 08-15-2011, 12:04 AM   #9
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If you have room for a small refrigerator the CO2 equipment doesn't take up much more space. Ifyou are talking about commercial beer there are "kegerators" you can buy at appliance stores that are setup to store and serve beer. If you're talking homebrewed beer in 19L soda kegs you can easily build your own kegerator as simple or as complicated as you want.
I bad a keg of Imperial stout that I drank over a 3 year time frame that was still great when it finally ran out. The secret is keeping it cool and keeping oxygen out.
The old hand pumps that come with cheap commercial kegs pump oxygen and bacteria from the atmosphere into the keg, assuring that within hours the beer will be stale and nasty.

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Old 08-15-2011, 12:05 AM   #10
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Cost depends on what you find, or can score, locally or from a reliable source.

For space, a CO2 tank can take up very little space. You have many sizes to pick from. From 20oz paintball gun tanks, all the way up to 20# monster cylinders. A more common size is the 5# tank, that doesn't take up all that much room. I have mine outside my brew fridge.

For kegs from a local brewery, you can get taps that let you dispense with CO2, not hand pumping. IF you already have a fridge setup for it, then it's really just a matter of finding a bit of floor space to put the CO2 tank you get.

Personally, I wouldn't wait on being settled someplace. In fact, I'm not sure how much longer I'll be in the apartment I'm in. I could be moving to another state (if the job offer comes in). If not, then I'll be moving within a few months to a bigger, better, place. Still, even in my 550 sq. ft. 1 bedroom apartment, I have a brew fridge (about to be a 100% keg fridge) setup.

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On Tap: Caramel Ale, Mocha Porter II, MO SMaSH IPA
Waiting/Carbonating: 12.5% Wee Honey II, 8.9% Old Ale, English Brown Ale, Lickah ESB, Mocha Porter II
Fermenting
K1:
K2: Epic mead
K3: TripSix
On Deck: Caramel Ale
Aging:mead
Mead [bottled]:Oaked Wildflower Traditional, Mocha Madness, Blackberry Melomel, maple wine
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