Quantcast

Is it possible to use priming sugar in a keg?

HomeBrewTalk.com - Beer, Wine, Mead, & Cider Brewing Discussion Community.

Help Support Homebrew Talk:

jamied

New Member
Joined
Aug 24, 2018
Messages
3
Reaction score
1
Hi folks!

I have brewed a Northern Brewers recipe 'Cashmere Blonde Ale' twice now. The first time around, I bottled the 5gal batch. I believe it was the best beer I have thus far made. The subtle taste of the cashmere hops gave the beer the fruitiest flavor my pallet can tolerate. Its was like a very, very, very mild citrus, and one of my best batches. I then did the same recipe four months later, got pretty much the same OG and FG as the first batch. But, this time I kegged the beer, and pressurized at 8lbs, then let it sit a week in the refrigerator at 39º, NO forced carb. The result was disappointing. The subtle taste of the Cashmere hop I enjoyed so much was replaced by the CO2 mouth-feel from the kegging. It was drinkable, but not as satisfying as the bottled batch.

My question is: Would it be wise, or practical to add priming sugar to the batch; then put it in the keg with only enough CO2 pressure to seal the keg, maybe 5lbs, and let the residual yeast do the bulk of the carbonation? I do understand this will require increased monitoring of the keg pressure, as I do not know how much CO2 the yeast/priming sugar will create. The idea here is to preserve the taste of the Cashmere hops and down-play the mouth-feel of the carbonation. Any thoughts about this are appreciated!
 

NGD

Well-Known Member
Joined
Feb 22, 2018
Messages
941
Reaction score
848
Sounds like you need a spunding valve. MoreBeer

There are several members on here that carb in keg. Some cut their dip tube a bit (half inch) to prevent yeast pickup as there will be more sediment. I was just looking at spunding valves myself when I came across your post.

To directly answer your question...you absolutely can carb in keg with sugar.
 

FloppyKnockers

Well-Known Member
Joined
Nov 11, 2014
Messages
2,060
Reaction score
1,809
Location
Portland
Abso-friggin-lutely you can. I have done this before and it's very simple. Just think of your keg as one big bottle. You don't necessarily have to seal the keg with CO2 or monitor the pressure, but I would recommend that you purge the head space. Just store your keg at priming temp and give it about three weeks to carb up. Chill it to serving temp and enjoy. The first pull or two will have the same snot that would be at the bottom of bottles, so you may want to dump that.
 

Dgallo

If you ain’t first, you’re last Ricky Bobby
Joined
Jan 15, 2017
Messages
3,652
Reaction score
5,857
Location
Albany
If you’re specifically brewing a lot of ipa, your going to want to purge the keg fully of o2 prior to racking. You can simply do this by filling the keg to the brim with starsan solution and push it all out with co2.

you can priming a keg in a multiple of ways. One way is to transfer it to the keg with 3-4 points left and connect a spunding valve. The other way to to throw the priming sugar into the bottom of the purged keg and rack on top of it. This will allow some o2 in so depending on how anal you are about o2 exposure (I’m extremely anal about this). The other way is to make a priming solution with the proper amount of sugar and get a large syringe and squirt it through the PRV or through the gas post with a ball lock fitting and a small piece of hose that the syringe fits in snuggly
 

Holden Caulfield

Well-Known Member
Joined
Apr 21, 2020
Messages
56
Reaction score
34
Keg priming is my preferred method and it works great. Can't say it is better or worse than force carb as I have never done test. All I can say is my beer turns out great. I do not purge my keg, but I do push with CO2 the beer from a SS Brewbucket into the keg through the out diptube. This helps minimize any oxygen getting into the beer. Also, after sanitizing, I just unscrew the pressure valve to release gas which keeps any unwanted flora and fauna from getting in. I don't make highly hopped IPAs, so can't say how not purging the keg will affect the hop flavor of these beers over time so I will defer to experts on this subject.

Other parts of the process include...
  1. I use 75% of the recommended amount of sugar as total head space is suppose to be less than bottling. Any deficit in carbonation will be made up over time from serving pressure carbonation
  2. After filling, I still burp the keg 4 times with 35lbs of CO2. This is important for 2 reasons. First, it will remove any oxygen in the head space. If you don't, any oxygen in the headspace will ruin the beer before the yeast have a chance to scavenge the oxygen. Also it will seal the keg.
  3. I leave the keg pressurized at 35lb to ensure it stays sealed. The little CO2 in the head space will just be absorbed into the beer and will become part of your final CO2 target
  4. I combine the same fluid ounces of water as ounces of sugar and boil briefly to sanitize. Then after my keg is sanitized and emptied of sanitizer, I just pour the sugar syrup into the keg, close the lid and unscrew the pressure release valve. Everything gets mixed well as the beer exists the out diptube at the bottom
  5. Since the keg is sealed when pushing the beer, I weigh it on a package scale to determine when it is full, so the beer is never exposed. Target weight is 4.9 gallons * expected FG * 8.34. 4.9 gallons is the amount as I don't measure FG and I'd rather have a little less beer then have the beer level hit the in diptube or worse, overflow.
Good luck.

KB
 

NSMikeD

Well-Known Member
Joined
Jan 2, 2017
Messages
402
Reaction score
160
Location
Huntington
I too prime my kegs. I can only have one keg on CO2 at a time so this is a good option for me. +1 on using the CO2 to purge the air and put a layer of CO2 in the space. I use 2.5 gal Torpedo kegs and pour crystal clear beer. I'll run dry before any yeast kicks up. probably due to the cold crashing when I put the keg in the kegerator.

I can't tell if the beer is better, but priming, for me, delays me tapping the beer and absent of someone proving me otherwise, I believe the beer benefits from the additional aging.

On a few occasions, I have over carbed beer - would you like a pint of foam?. In those cases, I just turn the CO2 off and purge the excess until the beer pours correctly.
 

S-Met

Department of Redundancy Department.
Lifetime Supporter
Joined
Jan 15, 2018
Messages
4,906
Reaction score
4,893
Location
Nor Cal
I also keg condition if I have the time. Sometimes the first pour is a little cloudy. Sometimes I'll waste a warm foamy pint through a picnic tap before putting it in the kegerator just to clear out any free-floating bottom dwellers, but usually the cold-crash is good enough to pour clear after about a week.
 

NSMikeD

Well-Known Member
Joined
Jan 2, 2017
Messages
402
Reaction score
160
Location
Huntington
fwiw, I just poured this. It was primed/kegged the last week in July and tapped mid-august (I know, 2.5 gals shouldn't last that long). I fermented then aged this at 65°-67° ambient mini fridge temp. My kegerator is holding beer at 42°. I let it sit in the kegerator 2 days before pouring. This was one of the over carbed beers and poured all foam. I turned off the CO2 and purged the excess and in 3 days the equilibrium hit the mark and poured like this one.

While clarity is spot on, I will add this beer never hit the hop profile I was seeking. In reference to the OP, could the excess CO2 mute the hop profile? Too much carbonic acid affecting aroma and flavor? I hit my numbers and this should have been 46 IBUs with a decent dry hop. Who knows. It's still a good beer, just not a hoppy pale ale.



IMG_2610.jpg
 

Dgallo

If you ain’t first, you’re last Ricky Bobby
Joined
Jan 15, 2017
Messages
3,652
Reaction score
5,857
Location
Albany
While clarity is spot on, I will add this beer never hit the hop profile I was seeking. In reference to the OP, could the excess CO2 mute the hop profile? Too much carbonic acid affecting aroma and flavor? I hit my numbers and this should have been 46 IBUs with a decent dry hop. Who knows. It's still a good beer, just not a hoppy pale ale.
My limited knowledg on the subject is that all carbonated beverage will contain Carbonic acid however it is either at a low threshold that is not tasted or that its at a a lever where it contributes positively to the flavors. However, when carbonic acid are too high, it would certainly impact the aroma and flavor of the beer while it’s over carbonated. Carbonic acid elevates the perception of bitterness, making the beer come across more sharply or harshly bitter. It would also take away from the aroma by muddying it. Once you degas the beer, this should all go away and the beer should settle back to normal(there is some evidence that shows the aroma compound can be lost with co2 so there is some potential for the aroma to be negatively impacted. if you’re not specifically experiencing this... then. It’s most likely oxidation. If the bitterness has decreased and flavor has substantially faded or staled with a touch of caramel sweetness or cardboard notes with the aroma greatly falling off, good chance you experienced oxidation
 

Vale71

Well-Known Member
Joined
Nov 1, 2018
Messages
2,636
Reaction score
1,332
Hi folks!

I have brewed a Northern Brewers recipe 'Cashmere Blonde Ale' twice now. The first time around, I bottled the 5gal batch. I believe it was the best beer I have thus far made. The subtle taste of the cashmere hops gave the beer the fruitiest flavor my pallet can tolerate. Its was like a very, very, very mild citrus, and one of my best batches. I then did the same recipe four months later, got pretty much the same OG and FG as the first batch. But, this time I kegged the beer, and pressurized at 8lbs, then let it sit a week in the refrigerator at 39º, NO forced carb. The result was disappointing. The subtle taste of the Cashmere hop I enjoyed so much was replaced by the CO2 mouth-feel from the kegging. It was drinkable, but not as satisfying as the bottled batch.
Sorry but I don't fully understand your process. You say you kegged the beer and put 8PSI of pressure on it but then never force-carbed? But then you say the beer was ruined by the "CO2 mouthfeel from the kegging"? How could you have carbonation in the beer if you neither primed nor force-carbed?
In any case the hop fade you experienced is most certainly from severe oxidation. If you only pressurized the keg one time the beer will have absorbed the small amount of headspace CO2 very quickly and you let a basically unpressurized keg sit for a week. Unpressurized kegs do not seal so you probably had massive air ingress which, compounded with any O2 the beer might have already picked up at transfer, caused massive oxidation and loss of hop character.
The best way to keg your beer is to immediately force carbonate, either using a quick method or a set-and-forget one, so that the beer will not be further exposed to atmospheric oxygen.

Oh and all the tales of forced carbonation giving a different mouth-feel than so-called natural carbonation are just that, i.e. tales.
 

yowzers

Well-Known Member
Joined
May 4, 2017
Messages
147
Reaction score
47
Location
Denver
Yes, I do it almost every time. 3/4 cup sugar goes into the clean keg. I fill the beer on top of that, purge 3 or 4 times with a little CO2 and store at room temp for a week. I then chill and put on serving pressure CO2 at 12 psi. I too feel that my beer benefits from the week of aging and the carbonation is a little smoother with smaller bubbles using this method. I feel like force carbonation takes a couple weeks at serving pressure to equal the natural carbonation.
 

derekp83

Well-Known Member
Joined
Jul 11, 2013
Messages
191
Reaction score
44
Location
Canonsburg
Yes, I do it almost every time. 3/4 cup sugar goes into the clean keg. I fill the beer on top of that, purge 3 or 4 times with a little CO2 and store at room temp for a week. I then chill and put on serving pressure CO2 at 12 psi. I too feel that my beer benefits from the week of aging and the carbonation is a little smoother with smaller bubbles using this method. I feel like force carbonation takes a couple weeks at serving pressure to equal the natural carbonation.
When you say you put on serving pressure CO2, are you turning off your regulator until it's time to pour, or keeping it on indefinitely?
 

yowzers

Well-Known Member
Joined
May 4, 2017
Messages
147
Reaction score
47
Location
Denver
When you say you put on serving pressure CO2, are you turning off your regulator until it's time to pour, or keeping it on indefinitely?
I leave mine on at 10 to 12 psi until the keg is empty.
 

derekp83

Well-Known Member
Joined
Jul 11, 2013
Messages
191
Reaction score
44
Location
Canonsburg
I leave mine on at 10 to 12 psi until the keg is empty.
I guess I misunderstand how it all works, but doesn't that constantly send gas in and waste it? Or does the pressure create a barrier that prevents say, a 16g CO2 bulb from draining so quickly?
 

TenaCJed

Supporting Member
HBT Supporter
Joined
Mar 17, 2015
Messages
189
Reaction score
71
Location
Metro Detroit
You leave it on and it will automatically stop providing CO2 once that pressure has been stabilized, which means it is now carbed at the level you want it at. Then as you serve it will add more CO2 to reach stabailzation again. It will not continue to just dump CO2 in, only until stabalized.

I would not want to use a CO2 bulb to reach stabalization though, that is going to go through it quickly. You will want to use a 5# tank or larger to get the initial carb level set, then you can use the CO2 bulb for just dispensing and that will make it last longer.

I use that for a 1 gallon travel keg and that process works great!

EDIT: Stabilization means that you have reached the carb level you want in the beer. Unless you are doing the quick carb method by rolling the keg, this process takes about a week to reach stabilization.
 

yowzers

Well-Known Member
Joined
May 4, 2017
Messages
147
Reaction score
47
Location
Denver
If you do carb it with Sugar as you were asking, you could use the CO2 bulb for serving only.
 

TenaCJed

Supporting Member
HBT Supporter
Joined
Mar 17, 2015
Messages
189
Reaction score
71
Location
Metro Detroit
If you do carb it with Sugar as you were asking, you could use the CO2 bulb for serving only.
Sorry, yes this is correct and I forgot to mention that. The one caveat though is that unless you have your priming sugar to carb level down perfect, you might still end up draining that CO2 bulb some if you are below the carb level you are set for on the CO2 bulb as it will then draw from it until stabalized.
 
Top