1 batch. Keg some, bottle some:technique

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zakleeright

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After fermenting nearly 5 weeks, my Helles Boch Lager seemed ready to go.
I decided to bottle 2 six-packs, keg the rest, because keg is convenient for home, bottle is portable to share. Plus I want to compare flavor of forced carbonation in keg to natural carbonation in bottle.
This is only my 7th batch, so feedback to improve my process is greatly appreciated.

Background:
My 5gal. batches have been yeilding ~4.7gall or 600oz of bottled beer. (I've kegged my last two batches, having recently moved to that equipment).
All my batches carbonated well in the bottle w/5oz priming sugar. I boil that w/1 cup water for 5 minutes to sterilized, let cool while I clean, then pour to bottle bucket before siphoning beer in.

Determine amount of Priming sugar:
Bottling: 12 * 12oz bottles = 144oz
been using 5oz sugar for 600oz, so...
144/600 = .24
5oz * .24 = 1.2oz
So, I need 1.2oz sugar for 144oz beer. Damn...No scale,(i gotta buy one of those)

So, try calc by volume:
1 cup = 16 TBLSPNs
5oz should be ~ 12TBLSPNs
I measured 16 loose, unpacked TBLSPNs (LHBS "5oz" package)
16x.24 = 3.84 TBLSPNs

So I put 4 “slightly shy” tablespoons of priming sugar in a bit less than ½ cup water, boiled for 5 minutes, let cool while I clean/sanitize everything (the fun part).
Detemine 144oz line:
Twelve 12oz bottles filled to brim w/starsan, poured in bottling bucket. Marked the fluid level w/sharpie as "144oz line". Since bottles are full to brim, this is more than 144oz, but I figure it may net 2 six's worth of brew after waste from drips and what's left in bottling bucket.

Keg/bottle:
Move carboy from lagering fridge to top of washing machine
Place keg & bottle bucket in utility sink (right next to the wash machine/carboy stand)
Pour cooled priming sugar water to bucket
Start siphon from carboy to bucket, fill to 144 line.
Move running siphon to keg until carboy is emptied.
Seal the keg as usual and set aside.
Cap bottles as usual.
Volume worked out perfect! I had twelve 12oz bottles of beer with a very small amount of waste left in bucket (& some drippage on the floor)
Attached CO hose to keg and pressurize to 20psi while I clean up.

Done.

Let me know if my process could be made better/easier, if there's a better technique, etc. I"m gonna do my 1st 10gal batch today, so will be repeating this "keg some/bottle some" process frequently(hopefully improved by you all)

I'm thinking maybe kegging first would give me the clearest beer in the keg, then bottling the bottom portion (likely more sediment) to bottles. But it'd be more difficult to determine when to stop. The "stop line" would vary depending on how much yeast cake is on bottom of any one batch.

Cheers
 

Yooper

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Instead of doing math, I prime the whole batch by boiling my priming sugar and then adding it to my bottling bucket. Using the bottling wand, I fill however many bottles I want, and then cap them. Then, using tubing that fits into my bottling spigot (my tubing from my autosiphon happens to fit perfectly in the spigot, and then reaches the bottom of the keg), I finish by filling the keg.

If you don't want to mess around with priming sugar, or priming the keg, you could buy some carb tabs and fill the bottles you want. Drop a carb tab in them, and then just fill the keg as normal.
 

89OctaneStang

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I found a nice digital scale from Walmart for under $30 and it helps out a lot. I even take it with me to the Homebrew Supply store because they don't use a digital scale when weighing out grains and LMEs. And I would rather use my scale there so I know I am getting exactly what I want.

I have recently started brewing 11 gallons at a time splitting it into two fermenters. Depending on what I am brewing, I will keg 5 gallons and then prime the remaining 6, then bottle. If I choose to go with two kegs, keg some out of both fermenters and rack all the remainder into my bottling bucket and guesstimate about how much beer is in there and prime that. I have been relatively close in my calculations as to how much beer I have. Thats just my process and again, I've only done it that way twice so there may be a better way out there.
 

jtd_1

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I know you said you wanted to benefit from natural and force carbing, but if you choose to naturally carb the whole batch w/ priming sugar, i use a similar method to Yooper. Instead i put my sugar solution into the keg, siphon beer from fermentor to the sanitized keg. Then i put the lid on, and purge with co2. Then i use a BMBF (Beirmuncher bottle filler) and fill up some bottles, no need to to do math and no need to worry about sanitizing a bottling bucket (just the BMBF). I absolutely love this method for it allows me to save a sixer before i set forth to put the contents of the keg into my stomach for liver processing.
 

431brew

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I know you said you wanted to benefit from natural and force carbing, but if you choose to naturally carb the whole batch w/ priming sugar, i use a similar method to Yooper. Instead i put my sugar solution into the keg, siphon beer from fermentor to the sanitized keg. Then i put the lid on, and purge with co2. Then i use a BMBF (Beirmuncher bottle filler) and fill up some bottles, no need to to do math and no need to worry about sanitizing a bottling bucket (just the BMBF). I absolutely love this method for it allows me to save a sixer before i set forth to put the contents of the keg into my stomach for liver processing.
jtd_1, do you chill the beer and bottles before you fill the bottles with a BMBF? Sounds like you don't, so I was wondering if you have a problem with foam?
 

Yooper

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jtd_1, do you chill the beer and bottles before you fill the bottles with a BMBF? Sounds like you don't, so I was wondering if you have a problem with foam?
I think he's talking about doing it right away, instead of using a bottling bucket he mixes it up in the keg. There's no foam, since it's not carbonated yet.

If you're dealing with carbonated beer, you do have to have the beer cold and the bottles cold, and push the beer with very little co2.
 

jtd_1

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jtd_1, do you chill the beer and bottles before you fill the bottles with a BMBF? Sounds like you don't, so I was wondering if you have a problem with foam?
No i dont, because the beer isnt carbed yet. I just use enough co2 (approx 2-5psi) to push the beer through the keg.

If i was to bottle after it has been carbed, then i will put sanitized bottles in the freezer for about 15-20 mins.
 

DirtyPolock

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I've been thinking about doing this as well for when I start kegging in the summer. I like the idea of bottling some to give out as samples or to carry around with having the rest in the keg for personal use.

I think an alternative to your set-up above may be to use some carbonation tabs in the bottles. This is what I was thinking of but it may not create a consistent carbonation level across each bottle since each bottle will have a slightly different volume of beer as well as a slightly different amount of priming agent. I guess it depends on how much work you want for just two 6 packs.
 
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zakleeright

zakleeright

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Great input/disussion gang...thanks.
Had no idea about it, so just found the original thread about the BMBF ("we don't need no stinking beer gun")
Cool. I'll probably use this after I get over my "natural vs. forced" carb experiment. I'm close, as the three kegs I've done have been awesome, with nice 'lacing' of the foam around the glass as I drink. I gotta build a BMBF and try that.

I've used a "forced carbonation" method where I set CO to about 20psi, shake the keg vigorously, then let rest for at least 3 hours. Lot's of head on the beer, but no real carbonation. The beer seems to really improve in flavor/carbonation after a week. Is this typical/to be expected?

For those like Yooper who are using priming sugar in the keg - Do you notice problems w/clarity? My LHBS guy warned that you get better clarity if you force carbonate, as you don't have yeast doing their thing in your keg, creating sediment.

I just brewed 12gal of stout yesterday (1/18/10), and put 4gal in 3 glass carboys. One I used US-04, one US-05, and one the Wyeast Irish Ale smak-pak. My LHBS guy says he used US-05 for nearly everything, and says I won't be able to taste a differnence. I'll keg 3 gal from each batch, and bottle 1.
So, I'll taste test 3 different yeasts from same batch, and bottle/natural vs. forced.
What I'm hearing here and elsewhere is that they'll all taste about the same. Guess I'll know in 4-6 weeks. (this last part might've been a different thread in the fermentation section...oh well)
 
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