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Forced or Natural carbonation

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roverz

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In the process of putting together a keg system for our beer and was wondering if it is advisable to force carbonate even if you do not have a keg fridge to reduce temp. Mainly we will be using kegs for 4th of July and other larger parties instead of bottles.

should we naturally carbonate in the keg or force carbonate at room temp and then chill keg prior to tapping ?
 

AlaskaAl(e)

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An interesting question. I would say that if you don't plan to refrigerate then natural carb is the way to go. Force carbonation is quite dependent on cold temps so it could take quite awhile to carb at room temp. Also, considering you don't plan to consume it right away I would think that it would actually be a bit easier to store it away and ice it down when needed rather than have it hooked to a CO2 bottle and not drink it. Bear in mind, of course, you will have the sediment at the bottom of the keg and you'll have to run a bit out before it starts to run clear. Just think of it as a very large bottle that you don't have to cap.
 
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roverz

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Yes but you will need the co2 bottle to serve the beer that is in the corny or you will need to provide exit pressure by another device. The beer can be stored in the corny and either force carbonated (with co2) or natural with priming sugar or DME.

Everything that I have read indicates that force carbonating requires lower temperatures which I can't achieve right now until I buy my wife a new SS fridge. I have been trying to convince here that the SS fridge should be for beer and she can keep the 30 year old handy down that we have :)
 

bikebryan

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roverz said:
In the process of putting together a keg system for our beer and was wondering if it is advisable to force carbonate even if you do not have a keg fridge to reduce temp. Mainly we will be using kegs for 4th of July and other larger parties instead of bottles.

should we naturally carbonate in the keg or force carbonate at room temp and then chill keg prior to tapping ?
You are going to need a CO2 source regardless, if you are planning on using cornies - even if you are planning on naturally carbonating in the keg. Why? Because the lids of the kegs won't seal until you hit them with pressure. If you just prime and keg, then seal the lid and not use a bottle to pressurize, the lid won't seal and all the CO2 your beer produces from priming will go right out through that unsealed lid.

Since you'll need the CO2 source anyway, to seal the lid, why not just use it to force-carbonate?
 

Kephren

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If you don't have a fridge, natural carbonation is the way to go. Just hit the keg w/ CO2 to seal the lid, then let it carbonate. I'd say you could use those little CO2 cartridges, but I don't know if they develop enough pressure to seal the keg. Also, you want to vent the CO2 a bunch of times to clear out the O2 after you hook up the gas. This would probably use up most of a cartridge. After you get the keg sealed and carbonated, you can definitely use those cartridges to serve the beer.
 

Wally

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I also want to force carbonate a corny and have no refrigeration . I checked a Carbonnation Chart and for 70F @ 32 psi the volume of CO2 is 2.7

But how long would it take carbonate the keg? How long could the beer be stored @70F?
 

DeRoux's Broux

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it will just take longer for the warm beer to absorb the co2. that's why they recommend to chill the keg a few days prior to force carbonating. i've been force carbonating kegs for years, and had to use corn sugar to prime this past weekend for a coffee porter i brewed. why? because i am entering three bottles in a competition. IT SUCKS HAVING TO WAIT 2-3 WEEKS TO DRINK A BREW!!!!!!!! i'm spoiled...........so i just bottled 4, then racked the rest to my keg, and will let it sit at room temp for 2-3 weeks.
 

tnlandsailor

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Priming sucks. The act of priming a keg is almost sacrilegious. Heresy! ;)

Seriously, you will save a lot of trub in the bottom of your keg if you crank the pressure up to 30 PSI or so at room temp and wait it out. It will also take less time than priming. Just don't try to serve it at that pressure. If you use a picnic tap, bleed the pressure in the keg down to 1 or 2 psi, but then you'll have to crank it back up to store so it won't go flat on you. If you don't have a CO2 tank, then you are stuck with priming and must travel to the "dark side". You can use one of these little gizmos to dispense your beer once it's carbonated:
http://www.morebeer.com/product.html?product_id=18306, but I would recommend a CO2 tank (and a refrigerator) if you will be kegging regularly.

Prosit,
 

Janx

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bikebryan said:
You are going to need a CO2 source regardless, if you are planning on using cornies - even if you are planning on naturally carbonating in the keg. Why? Because the lids of the kegs won't seal until you hit them with pressure. If you just prime and keg, then seal the lid and not use a bottle to pressurize, the lid won't seal and all the CO2 your beer produces from priming will go right out through that unsealed lid.

Since you'll need the CO2 source anyway, to seal the lid, why not just use it to force-carbonate?
Not to mention to actually dispense the beer. You'll never generate enough CO2 in a keg through natural conditioning to actually serve the whole keg.

If you want to keg, you really need to bite the bullet and get a fridge, a CO2 tank, and set up a sane dispensing system. It's not that expensive to do it right, and the benefits are huge. Any half-measures will just be a PITA and won't do your beer justice IMHO.

Cheers! :D
 

Catullus

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I have had the same question for a while now. Normally I I force at 14 psi and 45 F so no problem. There shouldn't be a problem @ 32 PSI and 70F except that most silicone tubing that is not re-enforced is only rated to around 1.7 bar of constant pressure (1 bar = 14.99 psi). So I would be careful there. I think you would need to bleed the head pressure as the keg is cooling down to serving temp and allow the dissolved CO2 to reach equilibrium at the serving temp (otherwise you would have like 4+ volumes of CO2 when the keg was cooled). Just some thoughts, I haven't tried it yet
 

Gilbey

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Can someone either provide a detailed description of how to force carbonate? Or can you direct me towards an old thread or an article? I have cornelius kegs and a CO2 tank.

Also, if you keg and choose to naturally carbonate how much LME should be used?

Thanks.

Gilbey
 

DeRoux's Broux

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Gilbey said:
Can someone either provide a detailed description of how to force carbonate? Or can you direct me towards an old thread or an article? I have cornelius kegs and a CO2 tank.
Gilbey,

go to www.defalcos.com (my local HBS). click on the draft beer link on the left side of the home page. it's their instructions for force carbing a keg. it's they way i've been doing it for several years and it works great for me. :D

cheers!
DeRoux's Broux
 

Gilbey

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Thanks, that is exactly what I was looking for!

My HBS kinda left me hanging when I bought my kegging system a while back......but i have muttled my way through. This info will help!!!

Regards

Alan
 

DeRoux's Broux

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bummer! i guess i'm lucky (other than my "local" HBS is 1.5 hours away!). they have been in the business for some time now, and are real good about stuff like that.

glad i could help. and, i'm sure there's other ways to carb a keg, but that has worked well for me.

cheers!
DeRoux's Broux
 

Gilbey

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8-10 years ago when I first started brewing there were 3 HBS's within 30 minutes of my home in central NJ. Now I also have to drive an hour out to PA to the nearest shop. I can order online, I know, but there is something about standing IN a HBS and getting some good first hand advice from someone who knows a bit about brewing.

Gilbey
 

DeRoux's Broux

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i know the feeling. i'm not to crazy about someone shipping my yeast either. i know it gets shipped to them, and it probably gets "hot" spots, but i feel better picking it up, and carrying it home in the cooler :~)
 
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