How do I force carbonate warm beer?

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eadavis80

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I made my brother 4 gallons of a witbier for his newly purchased kegerator. I have the beer in secondary at my house. I’ll be driving the carboy to his house on Saturday to transfer to his keg. The beer will be at room temp at the time of the transfer process. We hope to have this beer properly carbonated for a party for party on Cinco de Mayo. Knowing we have 4 gallons of room temperature witbier we want properly carbonated in 1 week in his keg, what should be our course of action? Should I add any priming sugar solution to the beer prior to kegging? What Psi should we set his regulator for? For how long? Should we set his kegerator to serving temp immediately after the beer goes in it? Thanks - I'm a bottler, this is my first adventure with kegs.
 

bleme

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Put it in the kegerator to start cooling it down and turn the pressure up to 30 PSI. 24 hours later, turn the regulator down to about 14 PSI until the party. Witbier is usually served at a little higher carb, but until you know your system, lower is safer.
 

Rev2010

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Here's a handy keg psi/CO2 volumes/temp chart. However, not sure how to factor in the change in psi once chilled down if you force carb the whole time at lower psi

carbChartAND Quickstructions_1_0.jpg

 

Morrey

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I may be wrong as my wife often points out, but I have carbed beer in the keg at 65F to a volume of 2.5. You'd see on the chart above that a forced carb pressure of roughly 29 psi would need to be forced to get to 2.5 carbs at 65F.

After chilling to 35F, I could maintain a CO2 pressure of 10psi on the regulator and the beer is stable and stays carbed to the level of 2.5 volumes. Basically, it just takes much higher CO2 pressure to force carb beer at higher temps than it does for lower temps.

Another method as you point out is to add priming sugar to the keg and let it sit at room temp until carbed. But I'd suggest forcing the beer so you'll have more control...plus carbing in keg with priming sugar causes more trub and yeast cake in the bottom than force carbing. Since you'll have a CO2 tank and regulator now with your kegerator, many of your bottling steps can now be modified.
 
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bleme

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I may be wrong in this assumption as my wife often points out, but I have carbed beer in the keg at 65F to a volume of 2.5. You'd see on the chart above that a forced carb pressure of roughly 29 psi would need to be forced to get to 2.5 carbs at 65F.

After chilling to 35F, I could maintain a CO2 pressure of 10psi on the regulator and the beer is stable and stays carbed to the level of 2.5 volumes. Basically, it just takes much higher CO2 pressure to force carb beer at higher temps than it does for lower temps.
You are right, but it will take him 2 weeks to 2.5 volumes at 30 PSI/ 65F, then another couple days to get it down to 40F at which time it would still be 2.5 volumes but 13 PSI. However, the OP doesn't have 16 days and CO2 absorbs faster into colder liquids. If he can chill and carb at the same time, that is a better option.
 
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Crash chill the keg in a big tub or a new trash can filled with ice. Lay bags of ice on top, sandbag that sucker in completely and it will only take a few hours to get it ice cold, sounds like that's the best temp to be carbing at.
 

BrewInspector

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Go simple

Keg the warm beer
Put the keg in the kegerator (set at serving temp)
Set psi to 30 for about 24 hours
Reduce pressure at or slightly higher than serving pressure until you get the desired carbonation level.

You will be chilling and force carbing at the same time. It will be ready to serve in a day or two.
Not sure how to calculate specific carbonation levels with this method but you can eyeball it to a satisfactory point.
I do it this way all the time
 

Morrey

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You are right, but it will take him 2 weeks to 2.5 volumes at 30 PSI/ 65F, then another couple days to get it down to 40F at which time it would still be 2.5 volumes but 13 PSI. However, the OP doesn't have 16 days and CO2 absorbs faster into colder liquids. If he can chill and carb at the same time, that is a better option.

Absolutely your course of action is the logical choice at this point. The technical answer is you CAN force carb at room temps, but as we know, this takes time as you noted which in this case he doesn't have.

And your method is certainly the way to roll at this point. Put that keg in the kegerator, set the gas at 30 psi, then as it chills down, the gas will absorb much faster. He should be at say 3 volumes (is that about right for a Witbier?) quickly once the temps start lowering. Solid plan, easy to overcarb though, so a watchful eye is warranted.
 

jalc6927

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I would set my pressure to 30 psi, burp the keg a few times to get rid of all the oxygen. Then shake keg for a minute, set in kegerator for 24 hours, then reduce pressure to serving pressure and should be good in a few days

Don’t hook up beer line until you’re ready to drink
 

CanAm

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What I do is chill the beer first to 35-40F (I cold crash before kegging but cooling in ice as mentioned above would be the fastest). Then put it on 40 psi for 24 hours. Purge the gas and set to serving pressure, see chart above for your pressure at your temperature.
 
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eadavis80

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We transferred the warm and flat beer into the sanitized keg last Saturday afternoon (April 28). The beer was in the mid 60's when we transferred it. My brother said he set the psi to between 25-30 and I watched him set the kegerator to 35 degrees as soon as we put the keg into his kegerator. Based on the advice I've received here, I was hoping for carbonated beer by now, but my brother has tried a small sample every day and it's still not ready. I realize it's only Wednesday morning now, but we are starting to panic a little as our party is Saturday. Sure, we have 3-4 more days, but he said he gets a small amount of head from the beer once it's poured, but it quickly goes away and there are very few bubbles in the glass. I suggested he mildly shake the keg a little bit to try to to get some more Co2 into the solution. Any thoughts/other ideas on how we can ensure carbonated beer by Saturday? Is it just a matter of waiting out the process? It sounded like a day or two at 25-30 psi would do the trick...
 

Pkrd

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A week at serving pressure should be OK, not quite fully carbed but close.
To speed things up... Burp the keg. Hook the CO2 up to the out post, at serving pressure. Shake the heck out of it until you can't hear any more bubbles.
 
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eadavis80

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Well, my brother rolled his keg for a count of 100 and three hours later we have good carbonated beer, so we'll be all set for our Saturday night fiesta! At least we know our timetable/psi amounts for our next batch! Thanks all for the input. Looking forward to sampling the beer myself this weekend. This will be the first time I've had my own beer on tap, so I'm hoping it's well received by all those in attendance.
 
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