Force carbonation consumption? (and some help for the first time)

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Eladaos

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Hi,

There are a lot of threads and articles about kegging, but I didn't find the information about this:
How much CO2 is consumed during the force carbonation?

I am asking, because I kegged two corny kegs for the first time and this weekend, they will be consumed on friend's birthday party.
These kegs have been naturaly carbonated for 15 days and tomorrow, I will take them to a friend, where we will put them into the fridge, where they will be chilled for Saturday's party.

But because it was my first kegging experience and two week couldn't be probably enough for natural carbonation, I am worried about the result, when we will take a sample tomorrow. So I need to expect flat beer which I will need to force carbonate in the fridge during the next 3 days.

And I have only 3 lbs gas bottle, which I used a little bit for learning and for kegging of these two kegs. So here are some questions, if I will realize tomorrow that beer is flat or carbonation is low:

1. Can I force carbonate the beer when it was naturaly carbonated and result is flat or low carb?

2. How can I compute force carbonation if the beer will be little carbed naturally?

3. Will 3lbs (now probably little less) bottle be enough for force carbing two corny kegs and also for dispensing all the beer out of the kegs?

4. What method do you suggest in this case? Leave it in the fridge under some psi pressure until Saturday, or do the fast (15 min rolling) method on the Saturday before serving?

Thanks a lot for your help and wish me luck with my first draft beer for a lot of people :)
 

deepcdan99

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You can force any flat/under carb'd beer regardless of the process of carbonation, natural or forced. If it's under carb'd and you put your reg on at 15PSI, your beer is still only going to absorb that amount of CO2. The problem with this, if it continues to naturally carb because it has not finished, it could pick back up and man that would be one big bottle bomb. However, if you were to consume it within a few days and kept cool, I don't think that would happen. 3lbs should be plenty. I have a #5 tank and get a dozen or so kegs off of it, maybe a little less. But don; t think you will have a problem. And personally, I'd just to the set it and forget it method. Probably better off than doing the roley poley thing IMHO.
 
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Eladaos

Eladaos

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Great, thanks for the information. And one more question - is it OK to take a sample (and probably dispense all the sediment?) before chilling? And what should be proper procedure? I want to take a sample to see if it is carbonated or not and then it will be chilled in the fridge for 3 days.
1. should I use CO2 now, or should I take a sample by natural pressure in the keg (without CO2)
2. should I depressurize the keg competly before taking sample or before chilling?
3. when serving, I need to depressurize the keg completly and then connect CO2, right? probably, I need to depressurize it completly everytime I am connecting CO2 to prevent beer coming through the gas line, right?

Here is my plan, how I understood it:
Today
1. connect picnic tap and take a small sample to check carbonation
2. if it is OK, then disconnect picnic tap and put the keg in the fridge
3. if it is not OK, disconnect picnic tap, depressurize the keg completly, connect the gas line at about 12-15 PSI and let it sit for 3 days in the fridge

In the meantime
1. clean and sanitize picnic tap (is it necessary to sanitize?)

On Saturday (before serving)
1. depressurize the keg completly, connect picnic tap, connect gas line at about 5 PSI (+- depending on the situation)
2. dispense 1-2 pints to take out the sediment
3. enjoy :)

I am not sure about this, so I will be glad for any help.

Probably, I won't be able to dispense all the sediment now, because it needs to drop down during chilling, so now I can only take a small sample to check the carbonation, right?

Thanks a lot.
 

deepcdan99

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Hook up your picnic tap without CO2 and give it a try. Take as much as you want, but remember you have to save some for friends.;) If it is good, then throw it back in fridge - correct, if its under carb'd I would not depressurize, I'd just plug in your CO2 and set it and leave it in the fridge. On Saturday, you could depressurize a bit if u want so it regulates at 5-ish for serving, I leave mine at 10-15 but it depends on how much foam u are getting. If u do lower it and have some left and want to re-refrigerate, remember to up the PSI or u will end up with flat beer again.

As far as sanitizing your tap and beer line, if its left in the fridge, just leave the picnic tap on it if u can. Its cold and full of beer and CO2. If u do need to take it off, but can leave it in the fridge, I'd just sanitize the ball valve connector on both keg and tap before reconnecting. If u have to pull it off and out in the warmer temps, I would flush it with sanitizer to get the beer out first. Then just spray the connections when u hook it back up, that's what I do anyway.
 

deepcdan99

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Oh, and you are right, about the sediment, cold crash it then dump the sediment. But, if u do want to take a "sample" you could do that at anytime, and I usually do. And honestly, I force carb all of my kegs, and take a sample each day, for the most part, I mean I dump all the sediment each day :D
 
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Eladaos

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Thanks for answer. But I already had to do it, so I was on my own :/

So, I checkend both kegs (blond ale, black ipa) and both beers were undercarb. There were little bubbles visible in the glass and also very softly noticeable in the mouth. So I decided to force carb.

I depressurized both kegs to be sure no beer will come to the gas line. Blond ale was OK, but black ipa had pressure again and again with foam coming through. Maybe this was a result of traveling (shaking) by car? Anyway, after a while, I gave it up and connected gas line. Again, blond ale was OK, but black ipa's foam started to coming through the gas line. So I disconnected it, shake the beer out (I couldn't wash and sanitize it because water supply was out at that moment - we have flood in Prague now :/). Then I realized that maybe I need to turn on the gas first, to have counter pressure against foam in the keg. So I did it and also black ipa was finally OK.

So I put all in the fridge, set PSI to 13 (according to the chart with temp about 46 F - friend's fridge isn't cooling well - and carb around 2.3) and now I hope it will be fine on Saturday. And if not, I will try last option - fast 15 min rolling technique before serving. Is PSI enough? It looks low to me (and according what you wrote), but chart is showing this number.

And deepcdan99, thanks a lot for your help! Really appreciate it.
 

DrunkleJon

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Do realize that you want your keg cool to absorb the CO2. Before testing carbonation it is best to chill the keg to serving temps for several hours to a couple days. This will also crash out the yeast which should be wasierto draw off.

You do not need to or probably want to purge off the pressure before putting on your regulator as all you would be doing is venting off CO2 and possibly some aroma. you can pull some pressure off of the kegs, but I suggest you chill thoroughly before even bothering with it. Remember pressures change with temperature and beer absorbs CO2 better at cool temperatures. Think of it the same way as bottle carbing. You carb at fermentation temps then throw in the fridge for 1-3 days or so to compact the yeast and allow the CO2 to absorb which will prevent gushers.

just my $0.02
 

deepcdan99

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I like my beers a bit more carb'd so I am running at 2.5-3 volumes at around 40*f.
 
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Eladaos

Eladaos

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DrunkleJon:
Thanks. I know that beer needs chilling, but I didn't have a time. These two kegs must be ready this weekend and I brewed these batches before a month. So normally, I would let them chill first (after 3 weeks) and then take a sample, but in this case, I had to take sample before chilling.

So, do you think that beers were carbonated enough, but I didn't taste it because they weren't chilled? If so, I hope forced carbonation won't ruin the beer!

deepcdan99:
Well, when I bottled my batches, I was always going to carb about 2.2, so it is also my target now. As I mentioned above, I hope that already present natural carbonation and forced carbonation doesn't make a mess.
The beers tasted great. I used recpies from here - Centennial Blonde and Darth Vader - Black IPA, and I love them both. The only two thing were missing - proper tempreature and carbonation.
 

deepcdan99

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Trying to force carb isn't going to mess anything up. Just help speed the process. As long as the CO2 isn't cranked up too high, it won't add additional carbonation, it will level out at whatever u set it at. Oh and read on here somewhere a while back, serving pressure and carbing pressure should be one in the same. Think was on one of Bobby M's strings. Good luck, let us know how it turns out.
 

DrunkleJon

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Sounds to me that they were getting there. Had the pressure built up but wasnt necessrily all in solution. When you bled off the pressure, did you get foam out of the post/pressure release valve? I would get it really cold before force carbing. And work slowly. Since it is already partially carbed it will be even easier to overcarb. Take it slow.
 
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Eladaos

Eladaos

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Sounds to me that they were getting there. Had the pressure built up but wasnt necessrily all in solution. When you bled off the pressure, did you get foam out of the post/pressure release valve? I would get it really cold before force carbing. And work slowly. Since it is already partially carbed it will be even easier to overcarb. Take it slow.
I see. So all pressure made by natural carbonation, which was ready to dissolve to the beer during chilling is now gone :/ I get foam only from black IPA, blond ale was OK. I set up force carbing right after I put kegs into the fridge, because I didn't have other option. But now I will know for the next time ...
 
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Eladaos

Eladaos

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Trying to force carb isn't going to mess anything up. Just help speed the process. As long as the CO2 isn't cranked up too high, it won't add additional carbonation, it will level out at whatever u set it at. Oh and read on here somewhere a while back, serving pressure and carbing pressure should be one in the same. Think was on one of Bobby M's strings. Good luck, let us know how it turns out.
Thanks, I hope so. I am reading all the articles about force carbing (I have not read it well before, because I was thinking I won't need it for now) and I am very confused. A lots of different ways, mentioning carbing for 2 to 14 days. Now I am not really sure, if 3 days at 12 PSI will be enough to carbonate the beer. And if it will happen, I hope my last hope won't dissapoint me. The method shown by my favorite Craig tube :) http://youtu.be/S1dwBC-gKc8?t=6m34s (starting somewhere in the middle)
 

deepcdan99

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Thanks, I hope so. I am reading all the articles about force carbing (I have not read it well before, because I was thinking I won't need it for now) and I am very confused. A lots of different ways, mentioning carbing for 2 to 14 days. Now I am not really sure, if 3 days at 12 PSI will be enough to carbonate the beer. And if it will happen, I hope my last hope won't dissapoint me. The method shown by my favorite Craig tube :) http://youtu.be/S1dwBC-gKc8?t=6m34s (starting somewhere in the middle)
Well to give you some peace of mind, I had a totally un carb'd beer I transferred to the keg on Sunday. I had it set at 15 and it is fully carb'd today. Typically 5 days and its pretty good to where I want it. Yours was already partially carb'd. It will be fine.
 
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Eladaos

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So, both kegs are empty and I have to say that beers were good. I think they were still little under carbonated, probably on a little higher level than when I took a sample, but birthday boy was satisfied, so I didn't forced it more as I was planning. Probably I set regulator too low for desired carb level, but nevermind, beers were still good for the first time kegging.

Tomorrow I will keg another two batches, and I will try to add priming sugar again. We are going on holiday and when we will return after 3 weeks, it should be carbonated enough. I will use about 1.7oz for IPA and double ammnout for wheat. I hope that's the right (1/2 of the normal bottling ammount).

Thanks again for your help!
 
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Eladaos

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Hi again,

Some time passed out and now I naturally carbonated 7th keg. But I am still fighting with simillar problem. Keg was in room temp for 3 weeks, then chilled 3 days in the fridge. Then I attached picnic tap and gas, set it to serving (carbonating) pressure and took a sample. I got a lot of foam, which was quickly going up (like Guinness) and then the beer tasted strange. I can see the bubbles in a glass and I can feel small bubbles on my tongue, but it is flat when swallowed.

I was thinking that it is caused by foaming. I don't have proper setup. As I have picnic tap I don't have a long tube - just about 2 feets. And today I played a little bit with serving pressure. After a while I was able to pour the beer without foaming. But the result was the same as before.

So, now I am trying to find out the problem. Could you help me please? Is it still serving problem (not proper system balance - longer tube could solve the problem), or the beer is undercarbonated? I am planning to change the length of the beer tube, but I am not sure if it will help. Maybe I should try force carb again?

And honestly - I have enough of natural carbonation. I will do it differently next time. Maybe force carb, but first I will try secondary fermentation in the keg. Most of the people in our country is doing it by this way with much better results than priming or force carbing. If you don't know what I am talking about, it is simple - just transfer the beer to the keg when its gravity is about 5 points higher than planned final gravity. After a few days in room temp, your beer is rady to chill and drink.

Thanks for help!
 

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Hi again,

Some time passed out and now I naturally carbonated 7th keg. But I am still fighting with simillar problem. Keg was in room temp for 3 weeks, then chilled 3 days in the fridge. Then I attached picnic tap and gas, set it to serving (carbonating) pressure and took a sample. I got a lot of foam, which was quickly going up (like Guinness) and then the beer tasted strange. I can see the bubbles in a glass and I can feel small bubbles on my tongue, but it is flat when swallowed.

I was thinking that it is caused by foaming. I don't have proper setup. As I have picnic tap I don't have a long tube - just about 2 feets. And today I played a little bit with serving pressure. After a while I was able to pour the beer without foaming. But the result was the same as before.

So, now I am trying to find out the problem. Could you help me please? Is it still serving problem (not proper system balance - longer tube could solve the problem), or the beer is undercarbonated? I am planning to change the length of the beer tube, but I am not sure if it will help. Maybe I should try force carb again?

And honestly - I have enough of natural carbonation. I will do it differently next time. Maybe force carb, but first I will try secondary fermentation in the keg. Most of the people in our country is doing it by this way with much better results than priming or force carbing. If you don't know what I am talking about, it is simple - just transfer the beer to the keg when its gravity is about 5 points higher than planned final gravity. After a few days in room temp, your beer is rady to chill and drink.

Thanks for help!
I think you're right about the serving line not being long enough. I would see if you can get about 3 meters of serving line and replace what's between the post and the picnic tap.
 
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Eladaos

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Found 5m (16ft) and not too much change. It is not foaming now, but the carbonation is still strange ... a lot of small bubbles quickly disapearing in the mounth (and also from the glass).

Edit: I have 1/4″ ID vinyl tubing, so it should be good length
 

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