1 Gallon Mini Keg Force Carbonation Question

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andre_0101

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Hello!

I recently purchased a Nutrichef PKBRTP110 1 Gallon Mini Keg that uses 16G co2 cartridges that I plan to use to try and force carbonate my 1 gallon batches of beer. I plan to keep it in the refrigerator while it carbonates and give it a gentle shake a few times per day.

Few question to anybody who has done this using a similar 1 gallon mini keg:
- What PSI level do you set to force carbonate? I have read some people saying 15 and others 30
- How long do you leave it before it should be done?
- What level do you lower the PSI to when its done and ready to pour? I know the original cartridge might be spent and a new one necessary for pouring.

I have found a lot of different input about this from different sources and it would be great to hear from somebody who has the process down on one of these smaller mini keg setups.

Thank you!
 

AlexKay

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For a small volume I definitely would go with a "set and forget" approach, and carbonate at your expected serving pressure. The only reason to go with a high pressure (30 is very high!) is to carbonate more quickly, and with such a small volume and some shaking it's not going to take more than a day or two no matter what you do.

The exact pressure you want is going to depend on your temperature and the desired level of carbonation you want in your beer. (If you don't know what level of carbonation you want, you probably want 2-2.5 volumes.) Then use a carbonation chart (example: here) to figure out the pressure you need. It will almost certainly be lower than 15 psi.
 
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andre_0101

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For a small volume I definitely would go with a "set and forget" approach, and carbonate at your expected serving pressure. The only reason to go with a high pressure (30 is very high!) is to carbonate more quickly, and with such a small volume and some shaking it's not going to take more than a day or two no matter what you do.

The exact pressure you want is going to depend on your temperature and the desired level of carbonation you want in your beer. (If you don't know what level of carbonation you want, you probably want 2-2.5 volumes.) Then use a carbonation chart (example: here) to figure out the pressure you need. It will almost certainly be lower than 15 psi.
Thanks AlexKay!

The reasoning for the minikeg force carbonation for me was to provide a quicker carbonation option to bottling, so ideally I was hoping to get it done in a one - three day time frame and leave the longer process for the bottles. From what I read this quick approach seems possible but some of the details still are not super clear.

Thanks for the link to the chart, one thing I am not seeing though is time frame (days) for each temperature/pressure setting? So for example if I have it in a refrigerator at 40 degrees at 12 PSI I should have a carbonation volume of 2.47, but after how many days is that the case?
 

AlexKay

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With such a small volume, and the occasional shake, I would guess you'd be done within 24 hours, quite possibly well before. Without shaking and with a 5-gallon keg, it can take a week.
 

Beermeister32

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With a mini-keg, you will be burning through too many 16g cartridges. They really are only for dispensing pre-carbonated beer.

So, if you can put the keg on a conventional regulator and 5-20 lb. tank, that would be the best quick charge. Then dispense beer with the small cartridges.

Either that or naturally carbonate the tank with a sugar charge, but that would take 2-3 weeks. Here’s my mini hooked up to a 88-95 gram serving cartridge.
0BF41144-1E98-4C10-9CA8-5B8E1C8C685C.jpeg
 

aceluby

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I have this exact mini-keg and have done the high pressure + shaking method. It works, but it's pretty hard to control and it's easy to overcarbonate. That said, I was able to successfully force carb it by cold crashing the keg in a freezer for a few hours, pumped the pressure to about 30psi, then gently rocking the keg from right side up to upside down for ~20 minutes. You'll hear the CO2 distribute as you go from right side up to upside down.

I don't force carbonate in my mini-keg at all anymore though. I'll let the beer naturally carbonate in the keg with some priming sugar and give it a couple weeks. Force carbing also burns through CO2 carts, and those things aren't cheap.
 
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andre_0101

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I have this exact mini-keg and have done the high pressure + shaking method. It works, but it's pretty hard to control and it's easy to overcarbonate. That said, I was able to successfully force carb it by cold crashing the keg in a freezer for a few hours, pumped the pressure to about 30psi, then gently rocking the keg from right side up to upside down for ~20 minutes. You'll hear the CO2 distribute as you go from right side up to upside down.

I don't force carbonate in my mini-keg at all anymore though. I'll let the beer naturally carbonate in the keg with some priming sugar and give it a couple weeks. Force carbing also burns through CO2 carts, and those things aren't cheap.
Thanks aceluby!

I was thinking I would set it at 12-15 PSI and give it a couple days and do a small pour to test it out. In the scenario you mention above, it sounds like that was a pretty quick force carbonation, like a half day or something?

Also question on the natural carbonation part in this keg. I assume you just put your priming sugar in the keg first, then siphon in your beer and thats it? Probably a silly question but when filling the keg do you just use the siphon hose or a bottle filler device? Lastly, which cap do you leave on the mini keg while its carbonating, the hex cap or the regulator cap?

Thanks!
 

aceluby

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Thanks aceluby!

I was thinking I would set it at 12-15 PSI and give it a couple days and do a small pour to test it out. In the scenario you mention above, it sounds like that was a pretty quick force carbonation, like a half day or something?

Also question on the natural carbonation part in this keg. I assume you just put your priming sugar in the keg first, then siphon in your beer and thats it? Probably a silly question but when filling the keg do you just use the siphon hose or a bottle filler device? Lastly, which cap do you leave on the mini keg while its carbonating, the hex cap or the regulator cap?

Thanks!
I was drinking the beer w/in 1/2 hour. I did it because I was really impatient to drink it at the time.

For natural carbonation I just put the priming sugar in (~2 Tbsp of white sugar) and fill directly from the hose. No need for a bottle filler. I cap with the hex just because it's easier to store, either should work though.
 
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andre_0101

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I was drinking the beer w/in 1/2 hour. I did it because I was really impatient to drink it at the time.

For natural carbonation I just put the priming sugar in (~2 Tbsp of white sugar) and fill directly from the hose. No need for a bottle filler. I cap with the hex just because it's easier to store, either should work though.
Aceluby, one more dumb dumb question for you please regarding the natural carb route.

When its done carbonating in a couple weeks with the hex cap, I assume swaping out that cap with the regulator/tap cap does not cause any issues with loss of carbonation or something like that? Do you still need to use the co2 cartridge to dispense at this point?
 
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andre_0101

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Aceluby, one more dumb dumb question for you please regarding the natural carb route.

When its done carbonating in a couple weeks with the hex cap, I assume swaping out that cap with the regulator/tap cap does not cause any issues with loss of carbonation or something like that? Do you still need to use the co2 cartridge to dispense at this point?
One add on question about storing. Lets say I force carbonate this at 15 psi over a coupe days and have a small sample and its all good. Do I leave it at 15psi while its stored or lower it, or maybe turn it off since its now carbonated?
 

aceluby

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You still need CO2 to serve it. ~10psi should be good. You’ll also want to purge the tank after swapping tops. Put the tap on, turn on the gas, then lift the release a few times to help get rid of any O2
 

Christoff

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I am super new to kegging and am fumbling my way through this. For the 1 gal min keg. I recently bought one, did all the steps a couple times now and its not holding carbonation. The first time it was flat (waited for a few days at room temp). then tried again at fridge temperatures. was only marginally better. then I stepped up the PSI at fridge temps, shook a few extra times, and it carbonated, but after the beer sat for a minute it was flat again. I had a similar problem with my keezer going flat after pouring what looked like carbonated beer. Because I had this issue with my keezer I am assuming I am doing something wrong.

As well, can you turn off your CO2 if you aren't going to drink for a few days? Will it lose carbonation? I presume it should just stay at whatever pressure is in the keg already however I found the beer went flat on me in my 2.5 gal torpedo keg
 
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