Forcing Carbonation in Corny Keg?

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ChristinaPfeiffer

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Hello,
I'm looking for tips on kegging my first attempt at brewing and forcing carbonation with my CO2 draft system. As I understand I just transfer, chill, apply 25-30 lbs pressure, shake (at what psi?) for a few minutes or let sit for a few days... Then enjoy! Could you guys please give me ANY tips on the pros/cons of this or any info you think a beginner would benefit from?

This is my FIRST batch ever so please take it easy on me if I sound like I have no idea what I'm talking about! (I don't...at all!)
 

chaydaw

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Well that is one way to carbonate and you do seem to have the basic steps correct; however, I did this method one time and I won't ever do it again (I shouldn't say never, but unless I am in a huge pinch I would not do it). The best way, in my opinion, is to set your regulator for serving pressure (12-15 psi) and leave it alone for at least a week. At one week you will get good carbonation but it will be perfect maybe 2 weeks down the line. This is the best option because you will always get consistent carbonation. With the method you mention, your carbonation levels will be all over the place from keg to keg.
 

Kaz

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Agreed, you'll be happier if you put the keg on gas in the fridge at about 10-12psi and leave it for about 2-3 weeks. Not only will it carb up without shaking the crap out of it, it will get some much needed conditioning time in. I don't think I would ever try the shaking thing, that just seems mean :)
 

stevo155

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Same method as above. Make sure to hit it with 30 psi to get a good seal on the keg and purge the headspace a few times to get any oxygen out.

Did the shake once...but I like this method better.

edit: Oh...and congrats on your first batch, and even better, going right to keg!
 

ThatGuyRyan

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Lots of recent threads on this lately and everyone has an opinion on to force or not and those in the not category seem to passionately hate it. I forced dozens of kegs with no issues other than getting the carbonation to level out which I don’t really mind but it is more work. I have however used the set it and forget it method on my last 4 kegs setting them at about 16psi and they carbed up just fine in about 2 weeks. So it made me reconsider all the extra work to force carb for just having my beer ready a week or so earlier. That being said I am now a set it and forget it but I definitely will still force from time to time in a time crunch. And if you do I wouldn’t bother shaking the 5 gallon kegs when forcing. 25-30 psi for a few days will do the job. If you want it carbonated that day then the shake shake will work but it will be foamy as hell for days and you back won’t be happy. :cross:
 

Yooper

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"Force carbing" is using co2 to carbonate a beer, instead of "natural carbonation" (using priming sugar).

Setting at 30 psi or 10 psi doesn't matter- it's still force carbing!

"Quick carbing" or "Burst carbing" is a better term for turning it up to a higher psi and trying to carb it up faster than the "set it and forget it at 12 psi" method, but both are force carbing!

If you're using gas to carbonate the beer, it's force carbonation.

I'm mentioning that because sometimes people say "force carb" and are actually talking about a quick burst carbing method, so I wanted to make sure that it is clear what is meant by "force carbing".

I usually set mine at 12 psi at 39 degrees, and wait 10 days- 14 days. But if I'm in a huge, huge hurry, I"ll set it at 30 psi for 36 hours and then purge and reset at 12 psi. No shaking! Then, the beer is ready in about 48 hours instead of 10 days.
 

duckmanco

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I usually set mine at 12 psi at 39 degrees, and wait 10 days- 14 days. But if I'm in a huge, huge hurry, I"ll set it at 30 psi for 36 hours and then purge and reset at 12 psi. No shaking! Then, the beer is ready in about 48 hours instead of 10 days.

Bolded = Nuh uh, ain't happening, I didn't drop all this cash to wait for bottle conditioning to happen with CO2 I had to pay for :p. (While I have no doubt Yooper and many others are right that this is the easiest way to go, knowing I don't HAVE to wait that long means I just won't.)

Underlined - As a new kegger, (literally just kegged my first ever 4 or 5 days ago) this worked for me really well. I racked into keg, hit the gas at 25 or so, it chilled over night on the gas, and then let sit for 3 days. I then disconnected the gas, purged the pressure, put the gas back on at 12 psi and wonderfully carbed beer, no foam, no issues. I never shook it, and had ready to drink beer in 3 days, to me, thats about as good as I need it to be.
 

chaydaw

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Bolded = Nuh uh, ain't happening, I didn't drop all this cash to wait for bottle conditioning to happen with CO2 I had to pay for :p. (While I have no doubt Yooper and many others are right that this is the easiest way to go, knowing I don't HAVE to wait that long means I just won't.)

Underlined - As a new kegger, (literally just kegged my first ever 4 or 5 days ago) this worked for me really well. I racked into keg, hit the gas at 25 or so, it chilled over night on the gas, and then let sit for 3 days. I then disconnected the gas, purged the pressure, put the gas back on at 12 psi and wonderfully carbed beer, no foam, no issues. I never shook it, and had ready to drink beer in 3 days, to me, thats about as good as I need it to be.
I'm sorry but you are drinking very green beer. Waiting the 2 weeks to allow it to carb up is also conditioning the beer. You can do what you want but you "dropped all this cash" to alleviate the tediousness of bottling, not to drink green beer....hopefully. Not to mention the fact you will have absolutely no idea what your carbonation levels are from batch to batch. By setting and forgetting I know exactly what carbonation levels to expect and I can adjust from batch to batch to suit the style. I'm sorry but the 30 psi method(which I have been guilty of doing) is just rushing something that really should not be rushed.
 

Xalwine

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duckmanco said:
Bolded = Nuh uh, ain't happening, I didn't drop all this cash to wait for bottle conditioning to happen with CO2 I had to pay for :p. (While I have no doubt Yooper and many others are right that this is the easiest way to go, knowing I don't HAVE to wait that long means I just won't.)

Underlined - As a new kegger, (literally just kegged my first ever 4 or 5 days ago) this worked for me really well. I racked into keg, hit the gas at 25 or so, it chilled over night on the gas, and then let sit for 3 days. I then disconnected the gas, purged the pressure, put the gas back on at 12 psi and wonderfully carbed beer, no foam, no issues. I never shook it, and had ready to drink beer in 3 days, to me, thats about as good as I need it to be.
No!! Don't drink it so young! You're drinking subpar beer that way. The 3 weeks bottles take to condition and carb allow the beer to mature. Some beers don't hit their stride until 6 months (and others even longer!)

Granted, some are good young (wits) but most should be aged!

</rant>
 

ArcaneXor

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I'm sorry but you are drinking very green beer. Waiting the 2 weeks to allow it to carb up is also conditioning the beer. You can do what you want but you "dropped all this cash" to alleviate the tediousness of bottling, not to drink green beer....hopefully. Not to mention the fact you will have absolutely no idea what your carbonation levels are from batch to batch. By setting and forgetting I know exactly what carbonation levels to expect and I can adjust from batch to batch to suit the style. I'm sorry but the 30 psi method(which I have been guilty of doing) is just rushing something that really should not be rushed.
A well-brewed beer shouldn't taste green by the time it is kegged - that's what doing an extended primary is for. And for most normal-gravity beers that used proper amounts of healthy yeasts and a progressive fermentation temperature profile, 2-3 weeks are plenty of time to bring a beer from kettle to the glass.

As far as force carbing, I've never had a problem with the quick-carbonate methods and really don't understand why people think carbonation is difficult to control that way. When the keg is at the pressure I want it to be, I stop, vent it, and put it on serving pressure. The next morning, it pours perfectly fine, and after a couple of more days, the beer is as good as it is ever going to be.
 

ArcaneXor

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Some beers don't hit their stride until 6 months (and others even longer!)

Granted, some are good young (wits) but most should be aged!

</rant>
Again, a well-brewed beer can be turned around within a couple of weeks. A beginner won't be able to pull that off, but brewers who have a couple of years of experience under their belt shouldn't need to age their beers, unless we are talking about high-gravity monsters here. If the beer doesn't hit its stride until 6 months, then there was something wrong with the recipe or process.

EDIT: I just noticed the OP mentioned this was his first batch. He probably should have posted on the beginner's forum; I kind of expect the posters to the "specialized" forums to be a little more experienced.
 

Xalwine

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ArcaneXor said:
Again, a well-brewed beer can be turned around within a couple of weeks. A beginner won't be able to pull that off, but brewers who have a couple of years of experience under their belt shouldn't need to age their beers, unless we are talking about high-gravity monsters here. If the beer doesn't hit its stride until 6 months, then there was something wrong with the recipe or process.

EDIT: I just noticed the OP mentioned this was his first batch. He probably should have posted on the beginner's forum; I kind of expect the posters to the "specialized" forums to be a little more experienced.
The 6 month beers I was talking about are some light barleywines. I've seen some aged a year or so. But because he is a beginner (not knocking it we all started at some point) the beer should be aged some. Definitely not 2 weeks from brew to keg.

*I assume 2 weeks because most beers i tried at first said about 2 weeks in primary/ 1 primary 1 secondary.
 

ArcaneXor

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The 6 month beers I was talking about are some light barleywines. I've seen some aged a year or so. But because he is a beginner (not knocking it we all started at some point) the beer should be aged some. Definitely not 2 weeks from brew to keg.

*I assume 2 weeks because most beers i tried at first said about 2 weeks in primary/ 1 primary 1 secondary.
I agree. For a beginner, 4-6 weeks is a more realistic timeframe.
 

chaydaw

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So you are saying going grain to glass in 24 days is acceptable to get the best out of your beer? I seriously doubt that. You also will not know the volumes of CO2 from batch to batch. It will always be different. It is a rushed and impatient method in my opinion.
 

ArcaneXor

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So you are saying going grain to glass in 24 days is acceptable to get the best out of your beer? I seriously doubt that. You also will not know the volumes of CO2 from batch to batch. It will always be different. It is a rushed and impatient method in my opinion.
I don't understand what you are saying about the volumes of CO2 - I end up at the appropriate PSI level for the style as calculated by BeerSmith.
 

ArcaneXor

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The same chart still applies, you are just getting to that level faster by shaking the CO2 into solution. Initially, I use overpressure to speed up the process (I've gone as high as 60 PSI on a very full room temperature keg because of the small head space and lower CO2 solubility in warm beer), but then dial back the regulator to equilibrate at the level I want to beer to end up, judging my progress by the sound of regulator activity. By the next morning, a little fine-tuning is all that is needed to have a very nice beer ready to drink within a day or two of starting force carbonation.

I am too paranoid of losing a CO2 tank to a bad seal by keeping it constantly connected. Even after reaching serving pressure, I just give my kegs a jolt every other day or so instead of leaving them on the pressure all the time. I love kegs, but some of those used ones I have are pretty banged up, and sometimes develop slow leaks.
 

AlaskaAl(e)

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I don't have enough kegs to go around so I leave my beer in the secondary until it's ready to go. I generally hit mine up with 25-30 psi and let sit for a couple days in the kegerator, regulate down to service pressure, let sit one day, then enjoy. I haven't had any problems. Then again, I'm not a stickler on the right volume of CO2 for the style or whatever. It's beer, not the space shuttle. Welcome to the blissful insanity that is homebrewing. Best of luck to you on your inaugural batch.
 

duckmanco

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I'm sorry but you are drinking very green beer. Waiting the 2 weeks to allow it to carb up is also conditioning the beer. You can do what you want but you "dropped all this cash" to alleviate the tediousness of bottling, not to drink green beer....hopefully. Not to mention the fact you will have absolutely no idea what your carbonation levels are from batch to batch. By setting and forgetting I know exactly what carbonation levels to expect and I can adjust from batch to batch to suit the style. I'm sorry but the 30 psi method(which I have been guilty of doing) is just rushing something that really should not be rushed.
1. Nah, I'm not drinking green beer, because it doesn't taste green because I month long primary everything with typical OG's, so it ain't green.

2. NO IDEA OF CARBONATION? Hardly, I use my taster to tell me when the carbonation is right, which I think is something as home-brewers we learn to do out of necessity... which begs the question, when someone tells you its 2.4 volumes, would you know the difference if it was 3 volumes? I think we should be able to, without the benefit of a co2 regulator telling us so.

3. I disagree with "rushing" carbonation, I too was skeptical of leaving it on the gas at 30psi for 3 days, and I'm my worst critic (despite this post) and it worked... tasted great, and had even carbonation and ZERO foaming.

But then again, whatever works for you, the above happened to work for me. :mug:
 

Bobby_M

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I would much rather advise kegging newbies of the method that absolutely works every time with no chance of overcarbonation but whatever floats your keg.
 

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As a personal preference I use the set and forget method, and agree with Bobby that it's a much safer suggestion for someone just starting out.

FWIW shaking causes foaming inside the keg which uses up many of the good head forming protiens. If good head retention and lacing are important to you, don't shake the keg.
 

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So you are saying going grain to glass in 24 days is acceptable to get the best out of your beer? I seriously doubt that. You also will not know the volumes of CO2 from batch to batch. It will always be different. It is a rushed and impatient method in my opinion.
I'm drinking an IPA now that was made on 4/3/2011. So, it's what? 12 days since brewday? It's not bad at all. It's a little undercarbed, due to my "rush" schedule. But I didn't shake the keg, and it'll be carbed up better in a day or two.

The volume of co2 will be 2.6 volumes when finished carbing up- it's a bit short of that right now but not by alot.

That said- the beer was done at 5 days, and very clear (used s04 yeast). It was dryhopped for 5 days, and then kegged. There are no off flavors and it was fermented at 63 degrees.

Saying a beer must be 6 weeks old to be consumed is silly. But, rushing a beer that isn't ready is also silly.

Some beers are very good when fresh. I don't age many beers, but the ones I do deserve it! An oaked imperial amber ale needed 5 months in bottles to come together, while this 12 day old IPA is pretty darn good! It depends on recipe, temperature, brewer's skill, etc.
 

cjb

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I don't know why so many people are against the "shake" method - it's just a way of getting CO2 into solution faster.

Lately my process has been:
1. Cold crash fermentor for 1-2 days
2. Transfer to CO2-purged keg
3. Hit with 20-30psi and shake on its side so that the bubbles come up through the beer via the gas-in post (have a check valve on the gas line!)
4. After doing this for a while, drop to serving pressure (~12psi) and put in the fridge.

You do have to be careful not to overcarb this way, so it may not be best for a beginner - it might take a couple times to get the feel for it. I tend to aim for a bit undercarbed, and then in the next day or two it gets to where it needs to be.

If you've done your fermentation properly, there's no reason this leads to drinking "green" beer - if the beer's ready, it's ready. Hell, the Citra Wheat I'm drinking right now tasted damn good after 3 days in primary - if I wasn't dry-hopping it, I would have been tempted to throw it in the keg right then. As it was, I kegged after 2 weeks (a week of dry hops) and it's perfectly tasty.
 

kaju

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BTW I forgot to mention there are a lot of videos on youtube about this subject. some good some bad.
 
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