General question about kegging systems and aging

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caesius

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G'day, I'm looking at buying a kegging system, I'm not new to homebrew but new to kegging.

Something I can't get my head around is to do with aging brews after kegging, from what I've read you simply empty the uncarbonated beer into the keg, hook up the CO2, and about three days later, you're drinking.

But this goes against what I've heard many times; "it gets better with age"... Is it simply a trade-off that you are drinking lesser quality beer when using a keggign system? Or do people simply leave the beer in the keg in the fridge for months before consuming? This sounds annoying as a 2-key set-up seems the norm so there would be a lot of "down time".

Anyway, hope my question made sense, thanks for replies.
 
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There is no reason you can't age the beer for just as long in a keg as you would in a bottle. You can even naturally carbonate it if you don't mind a little sediment in the first few pours.

Also, if your brewing process is sound, and you're brewing a fairly clean, simple beer, it may not need an extended aging period.
 

dontman

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Just like with bottling it is all about pipeline. I have 6 cornies. I have two on tap and three in different stages of keg conditioning.

I wondered the same thing about aging when I was considering kegging. The fact is that nothing changes in terms of time over bottling. A good example is the IPA that I am currently drinking. I forced carbed it in keg after four weeks of primary. I waited a week and tried it. Meh. It is now four weeks in keg and it is finally just right.

The only thing that changes is that you can get your beer carbed faster. It doesn't mean it is drinkable faster.
 

david_42

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You are correct in thinking that force-carbonation does not replace aging. I have a conditioning cabinet. The beer just sits until there's an open tap.
 

blackwaterbrewer

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keg conditioning does wonders for most of the beers that I have made. The stout i just kegged is great after only 6 days in the keg, but my 90 shilling tasted like crap for the first 2 weeks in the keg. i reccommend force carb the beer, then wait three-four days. pour a beer and drink it. then wait 7-10 days and try it again. you will be amazed at the difference.
 

RobBug

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Think of keg conditioning as one really really big bottle versus 50 or so 12oz bottles or 29 22oz bottles. The only thing kegging can buy you is if you conditioned your beer in a secondary for a long time and want it chilled and drinkable in 3 or 4 days, you can get r done. You've effectively aged the beer as you wanted/should have. I usually do the pipeline thingamajig as stated earlier so my beers age properly by the time I kill the currently tapped one.

For example, I brewed a double batch of a raspberry apple cider right after I got back from a 3 month patrol at sea. For the first half of the batch I moved it from the carboy to the keg (FG -1.004) and applied 30 psi for 2 days and then 12psi for the remainder of the tapping period. (Basically I crash cooled the not so complete cider) The second batch I let sit in the carboy for a few more weeks. When I finally decided to keg it, FG was at 1.000 which is where it should have been. I plopped it into a keg and kicked some CO2 in it (30psi) and stored it. The first batch tastes yeasty, with a lot of ethel alcholly (sp) flavors and general like dog poo. (still drinkable after the first glass or three). I just took a taste of my second batch and it is definitely ready to drink - very smooth and very very tasty. Obviously YMMV depending on the brew but ever since I kegged I will not EVER go back to bottling unless someone pays me....handsomely....in lots and lots of beer/money.

As to the temp - I condition by this process: 1. fill keg with beer from primary/secondary. 2. purge keg with CO2 (3 blasts) 3. Press keg up to 10 - 30 psi and leave in the same conditions as my primary/secondary was in. If I intend on tapping the keg soon I leave it alone and then cool/carb/drink. If I intend on conditioning for a lengthy time I skip step 3 and just leave it alone and leave it in the same condition as my primary/secondary was in.
 

jcryan2

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I prefer to add the CO2 pressure to the keg after it has been in the fridge at 40 degrees for a couple of days. The colder temp permits a greater amount of CO2 to be absorbed. If you have seven to ten days I find setting a pressure of 12 pounds works just fine and results in a small sized bubble as the beer sits in the glass.
 
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