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Old 05-05-2010, 10:31 AM   #1
billc68
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Default Kegging, natural carb or artifical carb?

Ok, I am wondering whether I should artificially carbonate my kegs or naturally carbonate. By natural I mean adding priming sugar and letting it carb or do it using my CO2 tanks,

Advantages and disadvantages of both?

Obvious advantages of artificial:
Faster, less clearing time

Natural:
Doesn't waste C02

Anything else?
I like to think a naturally carbbed beer will store longer and age better but I have no idea.
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Old 05-05-2010, 10:39 AM   #2
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I should also mention that I am in Canada and am making 5 IMP gallon batches however my keg only holds 5 US gallons so I am left with a dozen or so bottles, this is another reason I want to try natural carbonation so I can prime everything the same.

Which brings me to another question. How much air space do you leave in your kegs?
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Old 05-05-2010, 12:17 PM   #3
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Quote:
Originally Posted by billc68 View Post
Which brings me to another question. How much air space do you leave in your kegs?
My understanding is you can fill it as full as you can get it as long as it's below your in post tube.

I always force carb because I like being able to dial in exactly the carb level I want without relying on the yeast's time-line. There can be a big difference in taste with a pretty slight change in CO2 volumes. I suppose you could prime to a certain level, then adjust from there, but I've never tried.

Also, I figure the priming sugar will leave more sediment, but this may be so trivial it's not an issue.

I think it's cheaper to prime vs. force carb, but both are pretty dang cheap.

Whatever suits ya.
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Old 05-05-2010, 12:53 PM   #4
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I prime most of my kegs, I usually let them sit for 3 or so weeks after kegging anyway! You'll get your first pint or so to be all yeast either way, so I don't think you lose much beer to the sediment in either scenario.

I don't leave but an inch or so of headspace in my kegs, but I use Sankey's so YMMV.
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Old 05-16-2010, 04:43 PM   #5
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I like to use Munton's CarbTabs to carb the extra few bottles I fill after kegging.
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Old 05-16-2010, 04:49 PM   #6
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I prime my hefe kegs to give the yeast that last boost to insure their "hefeness". If you are looking for clear beer, I would force carb.
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Old 05-16-2010, 05:50 PM   #7
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I force carb, it's easier and is very predictable and easy to regulate. I'm as cheap as the next guy, but the cost of CO2 to force carb cant be too much I would imagine. Dollar, maybe two.

Maybe I will prime a keg someday, but I'm into streamlining the process as much as possible.
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Old 05-16-2010, 06:07 PM   #8
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Quote:
Originally Posted by billc68 View Post
I like to think a naturally carbbed beer will store longer and age better but I have no idea.
Probably true. Putting the yeast into another growth phase will cause them to go aerobic and uptake any oxygen introduced from racking. Carbonating naturally is also said to help reduce diacetyl.
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Old 05-16-2010, 08:39 PM   #9
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Natural does not waste CO2, but you are using sugar, so it's not so clear cut.

Some people including me can taste a subtle difference between the two methods and I prefer pumping in CO2, which is not really artificial IMO as it is pulled from the atmosphere and pushed into the beer. Using refined sugar is not necessarily "natural".
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Old 05-17-2010, 11:00 AM   #10
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Quote:
Originally Posted by samc View Post
Natural does not waste CO2, but you are using sugar, so it's not so clear cut.

Some people including me can taste a subtle difference between the two methods and I prefer pumping in CO2, which is not really artificial IMO as it is pulled from the atmosphere and pushed into the beer. Using refined sugar is not necessarily "natural".
I hate using dextrose, but I have so much of it. I might go exclusively all forced carb or Kreamy X for carbonation. I don't mind using dextrose in a more american or mexican style beer, but so rare that I would make one. I do like a cerveza though.
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