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Old 08-24-2011, 04:01 PM   #1
BrewThruYou
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Maybe I'm crazy, but after reading Zymurgy's NHC winners recipes, it seems like all but a few force carbed their entries. Right now, I have a two-tap kegerator with 5lb co2 tank that will only fit two kegs. I still bottle a lot of beers, but I bottle condition.

I'm thinking of the following: bottom/top fridge in the garage, 10lb+ co2 tank, blichmann beer gun. That way, I can have a carbed pipeline for hot swapping into the kegerator and I could bottle an entire batch if I wanted to using the beer gun.

Just had a few questions:

1. Is it pure coincidence that the winners were force carbed? Or does it produce better beer than bottle conditioning?
2. Can I forgo the fridge if I just want to force carb for bottling? I'd imagine I'd need to jack up the PSI a lot to get co2 into solution and would go through the co2 tank much faster.
3. Is this sane or should I just stick to the much less expensive and less time-consuming bottle conditioning? Here, I'm essentially kegging and then bottling

 
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Old 08-24-2011, 04:19 PM   #2
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Quote:
Originally Posted by BrewThruYou View Post
Maybe I'm crazy, but after reading Zymurgy's NHC winners recipes, it seems like all but a few force carbed their entries. Right now, I have a two-tap kegerator with 5lb co2 tank that will only fit two kegs. I still bottle a lot of beers, but I bottle condition.

I'm thinking of the following: bottom/top fridge in the garage, 10lb+ co2 tank, blichmann beer gun. That way, I can have a carbed pipeline for hot swapping into the kegerator and I could bottle an entire batch if I wanted to using the beer gun.

Just had a few questions:

1. Is it pure coincidence that the winners were force carbed? Or does it produce better beer than bottle conditioning?
2. Can I forgo the fridge if I just want to force carb for bottling? I'd imagine I'd need to jack up the PSI a lot to get co2 into solution and would go through the co2 tank much faster.
3. Is this sane or should I just stick to the much less expensive and less time-consuming bottle conditioning? Here, I'm essentially kegging and then bottling
This is only my opinion, but I think:

1. Pure coincidence. Sort of. I think most brewers that have kegging set ups are simply more experienced brewers who have spent more time in the hobby. Not too many new-ish brewers tend to have the big guns like a kegerator, blichman beergun, temperature controllers on freezers, etc. I don't think the method of carbing makes the difference- rather, the experience of the brewers. Of course, I've had some awful kegged beer as well as bottle conditioned beer entered in competitions I've judged!

2. No. You'd use the same amount of co2, but you'd have a very very foamy pour on trying to fill a bottle. Warm beer releases co2 out of solution much faster, and it'd be tough to do it with a warm keg.

3. Totally sane! I mean, you can easily keg your beer and when the carbonation is perfect and the beer is awesome, bottle it up and store it until you need it.
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Old 08-24-2011, 04:36 PM   #3
BrewThruYou
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Thanks Yooper. Looks like I'll be doing some craigslist trolling.

I still like bottling because I don't drink enough from the kegerator so my keg turnover isn't that high. I also like to bring a variety of beers to softball games for post-game drinking (and not just a growler of one beer) and I like entering comps.

 
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Old 08-24-2011, 04:50 PM   #4
horseinmay
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It's no coincidence. Yeast sediment in the sample is going to make for a reduced score every time as compared to a crystal clear beer. Unless you can assure that your yeast cake will remain glued to the bottom of the bottle, then you are better off bottling a beer that is already well conditioned. The appearance of the beer, while not worth that many points on the scorecard, does make for a good overall impression of the beer.
The sediment in a bottle conditioned beer is even more disturbed during judging because they are pouring out multiple samples. The repeated tilting action on the bottle stirs up the yeast. I like my beergun.

 
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Old 08-24-2011, 05:02 PM   #5
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I agree that bottling from a keg ensures a more consistent serving experience. I'm sure the stewards are careful and all, but bumps happen and there goes the sediment into the beer.

Agreed on not being able to do it warm. It's tricky enough to get a good fill without foaming out too much when the beer is nearly ice cold. You probably won't be able to do it with carbed beer over 40F give or take. Too much foam, too much headspace, and you get "undercarbonated" dings.
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Old 08-24-2011, 06:37 PM   #6
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Thanks guys. I think I'll try to find a big co2 tank, drill through some crappy <$50 craigslist fridge and have the co2 on the outside.

I just feel with force carb in keg and then bottle, you can "dial in" the carb better than bottle conditioning.

 
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Old 08-24-2011, 07:33 PM   #7
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My two cents... I have a 20 lb. CO2 tank and 3 corny kegs. If I'm going to bottle, I will still force carb the beer first and, ideally, give it 4-6 weeks in my keezer to condition before bottling. This gives enough time for just about everything I don't want in my beer to settle out, and then I can bottle straight out of the keg using nothing more than a picnic tab, a cut off racking cane with an angled end, and a drilled #2 stopper. My beers have been much clearer since I started using this process.

 
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Old 12-04-2012, 06:12 PM   #8
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I also Bottle after force carbing in keg, using a home made beer gun (Picnic tap, #2 drilled stopper, Length of racking cane, and 5ft of beer line). Carbonation is perfect everytime, and stable many months after (mine never seems to last longer than 6 months before its gone anyway). It's imp. to cold condition in the keg for 4-6weeks, keep the bottles cold prior to bottling, vent your gas on your keg before, and set your pressure low (5psi) as your bottling. Other than that just fill up until beer runs out, and you'll have the perfect head space.

 
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Old 12-04-2012, 11:18 PM   #9
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I'm waiting for the UPS fairy (no, not that kind of fairy, but then again; to each their own) to deliver my keg system as we speak. I decided to force carb and then bottle, rather than having to wait so long for bottle conditioning because I wanted to have a Christmas beer in time for Christmas. My timeline just wasn't going to line up if I was going to wait for bottle conditioning so I decided to make the investment in kegging.

 
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Old 12-10-2012, 07:17 PM   #10
patthebrewer
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Excellent decision....makes your life SO much easier. But kegs are also like potato chips one is never enough.
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