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Old 11-20-2006, 01:10 PM   #1
Todd
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Default I need to bounce some ideas...

I'm really interested in naturally carbing my beer before I bottle or keg it.

I had a couple ideas on how I could ferment it to allow it to naturally carb. they both revolve around slightly modified corny kegs.

The first idea was to either use 2 5G kegs or modify one to 7G, then add a dump port on the side for trub removal, also an airlock fitting. I figure that would give me plenty of room and after Primary is finished I can dump the trub then seal it up tight. That should cause it to be carbed up when I bottle right?

The other idea was the same port modification but use the keg as a secondary, would I get enough co2 production after I rack?

Then I would probably use a counter flow bottle filler.

Is there a way to test if it is fully carbed? Could I put a pressure gauge on to determine if it is high enough or I need to add co2?

Let me know what you think.

Todd

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Old 11-20-2006, 02:18 PM   #2
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I think we need to know what your definition of "naturally carbonated" is.

When I bottle beer, I add some priming sugar (corn sugar or DME) and put the beer into the bottles. The beer will 'naturally carbonate' in the bottle as the yeast eats the additional sugars provided by the priming solution.

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Old 11-20-2006, 02:25 PM   #3
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Interesting idea. However, I think that you may be overthinking the process. I am unsure why you would need to install any modification to the corny keg itself. After all, any valve that you install would need to be able to withstand the pressure resulting from a carbed keg of beer.

In order to do this, you can simply use the corny as a secondary. I am sure that there are charts somewhere that tell at what point (gravity-wise) you should rack the beer in order to get the carbonation level that you desire. Remember that you can always bleed off excess pressure, but you won't be able to get more pressure from a beer that does not have adequate sugar remaining for CO2 production.

Here are some things to think about. If you are concerned enough to desire "natural carbonation," what is wrong with priming with DME? It is malt, after all? You can condition it in the keg with only a small addition after secondary, etc. Additionally, you could reserve some of your wort from brew day. Freeze it until secondary fermentation is complete; boil it, and use it for conditioning in your keg (I believe that this is called krausening). Again, I think that there are charts describing how much of the wort you will need at certain gravities, etc.

An alternative to the idea of modifying the keg for trub removal - just cut the dip tube, so that as the beer leaves the keg, the sediment is left behind.

One other thing. You won't be able to bottle using the method you describe. Even if you cask condition the beer (which is what you are doing), you will never have enough pressure to get all of the beer out of that keg. You will still need a CO2 tank to push it all through your counterpressure bottle filler, etc.

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Old 11-20-2006, 02:34 PM   #4
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Sorry guys, I should have been more clear why I'm looking into this. It is mostly time. My thought was if I let the beer carb while it is conditioning then it should be ready to drink sooner. Waiting 2-3 weeks after I bottle sucks.

I would be welding a 1/2" coupler in the keg so pressure is not a problem.

I might be missing something all together here. The micros are able to bottle or keg a carbed beer in a short period of time, they don't need "bottle conditioning" to make it taste good. Are they doing something I can't which would prevent me from doing the same?

I am not against adding forced CO2 if needed but if I can let it carb while conditioning I think it would save time. I'm not setup with a fridge to cool the keg so I have to bottle still.

Would using the dip tube for trub removal work?

I have nothing against the priming sugar also, just trying to get drinkable beer sooner.

Like I mentioned I might be missing something in the process that would prevent me from doing this.



Quote:
Originally Posted by sonvolt
Interesting idea. However, I think that you may be overthinking the process. I am unsure why you would need to install any modification to the corny keg itself. After all, any valve that you install would need to be able to withstand the pressure resulting from a carbed keg of beer.

In order to do this, you can simply use the corny as a secondary. I am sure that there are charts somewhere that tell at what point (gravity-wise) you should rack the beer in order to get the carbonation level that you desire. Remember that you can always bleed off excess pressure, but you won't be able to get more pressure from a beer that does not have adequate sugar remaining for CO2 production.

Here are some things to think about. If you are concerned enough to desire "natural carbonation," what is wrong with priming with DME? It is malt, after all? You can condition it in the keg with only a small addition after secondary, etc. Additionally, you could reserve some of your wort from brew day. Freeze it until secondary fermentation is complete; boil it, and use it for conditioning in your keg (I believe that this is called krausening). Again, I think that there are charts describing how much of the wort you will need at certain gravities, etc.

An alternative to the idea of modifying the keg for trub removal - just cut the dip tube, so that as the beer leaves the keg, the sediment is left behind.

One other thing. You won't be able to bottle using the method you describe. Even if you cask condition the beer (which is what you are doing), you will never have enough pressure to get all of the beer out of that keg. You will still need a CO2 tank to push it all through your counterpressure bottle filler, etc.
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Old 11-20-2006, 02:38 PM   #5
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Quote:
Originally Posted by sonvolt
Here are some things to think about. If you are concerned enough to desire "natural carbonation," what is wrong with priming with DME? It is malt, after all? You can condition it in the keg with only a small addition after secondary, etc. Additionally, you could reserve some of your wort from brew day. Freeze it until secondary fermentation is complete; boil it, and use it for conditioning in your keg (I believe that this is called krausening). Again, I think that there are charts describing how much of the wort you will need at certain gravities, etc..

Nothing at all, just if you finish fermentation you are looking at another 2 weeks till it is ready. In most cases the beer should be ready to drink when conditioning is finished right? I'm not really seeking cask conditioned, just trying to use the natural co2 production to my benefit.
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Old 11-20-2006, 02:43 PM   #6
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If you are looking at speed, why not force carbonate? I usually use the slow method of force carbonating. I put my beer on CO2 and about 5 days later it is fully carbed.

There is a quicker way that involves putting beer on about 30 lbs CO2 and shaking the pi$$ out of it over the course of a few hours. From my understanding, you can carb a keg is just a day using this method.

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Old 11-20-2006, 02:57 PM   #7
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Todd
Sorry guys, I should have been more clear why I'm looking into this. It is mostly time. My thought was if I let the beer carb while it is conditioning then it should be ready to drink sooner. Waiting 2-3 weeks after I bottle sucks.
Ok, I see. One comment I would like to make is that the 2-3 weeks you are waiting is not JUST for the carbonation levels to come out right. A beer very often needs this time to mature and reach it's real flavor potential.

You've heard of 'green beer', right?

Anyway.... If you are really set on getting your beer into your belly as soon as possible, and you have the kegging set-up, you might want to just use the CO2 tank to force carbonate your beer. That'll certainly be faster than any natural carbonation process.

You can rack your beer into the keg, straight from the primary. Add the CO2 and shake the hell out of it to get the CO2 into solution as fast as possible. From what I've read, you can have your beer carbonated in as little as a day this way.

But... it might still taste green and need more time to mature.
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Old 11-20-2006, 02:57 PM   #8
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Quote:
Originally Posted by sonvolt
If you are looking at speed, why not force carbonate? I usually use the slow method of force carbonating. I put my beer on CO2 and about 5 days later it is fully carbed.

There is a quicker way that involves putting beer on about 30 lbs CO2 and shaking the pi$$ out of it over the course of a few hours. From my understanding, you can carb a keg is just a day using this method.
I think what I'm asking or trying to understand is if the beer is already making co2 and I can seal the vessel. Why not let it do its thing while it conditions? What I'm thinking is that my beer might be fully carbed when you are just adding the force carb.

We were talking to Troegs and they said after primary is slowing down the lock down the fermentor and when it is finished conditioning it is normally fully carbed.

If I can let it naturally carb why not right?

I appreaciate your input I wanted to get some other thoughts on it to see if I'm missing an important step.

Would fermenting 2.5 gallons in a 5 gallon vessel be an issue? I know primary puts off a lot of co2 so I think it would be ok.
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Old 11-20-2006, 03:00 PM   #9
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Walker-san
Ok, I see. One comment I would like to make is that the 2-3 weeks you are waiting is not JUST for the carbonation levels to come out right. A beer very often needs this time to mature and reach it's real flavor potential.

You've heard of 'green beer', right?

This is kind of what I was worried about. I might see if I can pick up a keg and give this a try. If I do I'll keep everyone posted.

so how do micros have it ready so fast?
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Old 11-20-2006, 03:07 PM   #10
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Todd
I think what I'm asking or trying to understand is if the beer is already making co2 and I can seal the vessel. Why not let it do its thing while it conditions? What I'm thinking is that my beer might be fully carbed when you are just adding the force carb.
There are a couple of issues here.

(1) If you put the actively fermenting beer (eg; your primary fermenter) under pressure, I think the pressure affects the yeast and they will stop fermenting early.

(2) If you are trying to do this type of carbonation during the real conditioning phase, then there is really no CO2 being genrated. The beer is done fermenting and is just aging and mellowing flavors.
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