Best Practice for carbonating/storing kegs?

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rtbrews

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Even though I have been using kegs for the better part of a year, I still always find new ways to ruin kegged batches and I currently have 3 batches ready to be kegged before I go on vacation for a couple weeks but my concern is that I will return to find all 3 batches ruined. Here are my concerns and I am happy to take advice on any of them:

*I only have one CO2 line so I will not be able to apply constant pressure to all of them. Is there any issue with pumping the keg with CO2 then leaving it to slowly dissolve some of the CO2 into solution while in my kegerator for a week or two? My concern here is that I have had beers taste good then did not apply constant pressure to them and they subsequently tasted heavily aerated. The peculiar thing about this though is that if I just leave them to condition outside the kegerator, they are just fine.

*Is there any contamination risk if some bacteria was living in my kegerator? I would assume if the lock was airtight this should not be a worry but that was another possibility.
 

bja

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What do you mean by this "tasted heavily aerated"? Oxidized or over carbonated?
 
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rtbrews

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Oxidized - strange fruity aroma, taste and also some acetaldehyde characteristics
 

bja

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Oxidized - strange fruity aroma, taste and also some acetaldehyde characteristics
I though oxidized was a wet cardboard taste.

These tastes and aromas were not there prior to kegging?
 
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rtbrews

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They were not there prior to kegging and they were also not there for the first week of drinking it on tap and was definitely not 'green beer' or too young.

The strange fruity taste/aroma was very reminiscent of actetaldehyde which would be from oxidized ethanol or just contamination. I could be wrong but this was my perception.
 

bja

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I'm guessing that either your kegs or your beer hoses need to cleaned and sanitized. Sounds like some sort of infection.
 
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rtbrews

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Could it be from the co2 line? I meticulously clean and sanitize my kegs so I don't think it could be that but it could be from a hose. I'm just not sure if I should replace everything.
 

bja

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I would fill up a keg with PBW and hot water then run it through your hoses and taps. Then do the same with a keg of starsan. That should clean out anything bad.
 
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rtbrews

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Ok thanks, I have already done that so I should be fine. I just was not sure about the co2 line.
 

bja

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Ok thanks, I have already done that so I should be fine. I just was not sure about the co2 line.
If you had beer back flow into the co2 hose and maybe the regulator, I guess that could be a problem. Do you have a check valve on the co2 hose?
 

Zen_Brew

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Did you change the original gaskets that the keg came with? Usually the original o-rings smell heavily of soda syrup. This could show up as a backround fruity sweetness in your beer. I have tried soaking/cleaning the rings, but in many cases they were exposed to soda syrup for many years and replacing them is the only way to get rid of the odor which I am pretty sure would have a flavor impact as well.

If you haven't replaced them I would order a few sets and do so. They aren't all that expensive.
 
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rtbrews

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I will look into replacing them as well. I bought my kegs from midwest supplies so I trustd them to have replaced these already.
 

Zen_Brew

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If you pull the main lid gasket and smell it, it should be obvious if it hasn't been changed. It will have a heavy sweet smell.
 

exhorns

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I had a problem putting pressure in the kegs and taking them off. Once the CO2 dissolved in the beer the pressure dropped and my tank lid leaked. Luckily I found out early on. You can probably make a manifold out of T's from a hardware store so that all kegs are carbonating but it will require more QD's and hose. Small price to pay to have all kegs on the CO2. Just my .02. Good luck. ex
 
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rtbrews

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Yes, that is exactly what I was afraid of especially since I won't be around to check on them. If I kept them stored more in the 60-70 degree range, I could prevent too much co2 from dissolving. Have you tried that route?
 

exhorns

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No I haven't. I have the room in the keezer so I keep them in the cold. Something about warm beer that creeps me out. That might work but not sure.
 
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rtbrews

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I also have room in the keezer but I was just thinking that may be an option during the storage period when I am out of town. I would pout them back in to chill once I returned before drinking.
 

jtwangler

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Any more input here. I'm making a bunch of beer for my wedding in November and just got kegging equipment to make my life (and storing decent quantities of beer easier). I've been "googling" and wondering about this. I have a 20lb tank, dual tap regulator and a keezer setup. Will I be able to charge my corny's up for a few days and then leave them off the CO2 without problems assuming I keep them sanitized and they do not leak?

Thanks!
 

kgfitz

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I think there is a way to prim a corney keg just like one big beer bottle. You use DME or corn sugar to carb the beer. after adding the DME put the lide on and seat the lid with co2 and the beer will carb just like a bottle primed beer.
 
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