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natural carbonating in a keg

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HughBrooks

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Just made my first beer that I plan on kegging. Never used a keg before and dont have any CO2 tanks for forced carbonating. Was wondering if I use the same amount of priming sugar for kegging as I would if I were bottling. I am using a 5gal corny keg. Thanks for any info!:mug:
 

EMPyre

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That's what I've been doing, 1/3cup per corney... I've still had carbing issues, I get enough pressure to push beer, but aside from an initial head not many bubbles. Its either my hard water or the headspace in the keg. You'll be fine, but go get some gas as soon as possible so you can purge the air and force carb if need be.
 

Dwain

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I always used 3/4 cup of dextrose when bottling 5 gal. I do use 1/3 cup of dextrose when kegging. Sometimes a little more, like a little less than 1/2 cup, depending on the style. After racking it over and adding the sugar, I seat the lid and pop about 20# of CO2 on it to make sure I don't have any seal issues. I close the bale and then let the keg age for 1 month before I tap it. I have forced carbed, but as a rule, I don't. You don't NEED CO2 to carb, but you really have to check the seal on the cornys. The older ones are notorious for being harder to seal. Everyone does it a little differently but this way works for me and I've never had any issues. On a final note, you will need CO2 to drive the beer anyway. I would go ahead and get the CO2 before I tried to keg. Let us know how this progresses. Luck - Dwain
 

SeamusMac

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I was going to go ahead and naturally carb my latest beer in a corny with 1/3 cup of dextrose, but my room mates helped with the cost of the CO2 setup... I still did a lot of research beforehand and I believe the best way to do it would be to make sure the head space is minimal, use a long serving line (6'+) and maintain pressure on the beer using a CO2 cartridge charger that can be attached to your "in" fixture on the corny keg.
 

EMPyre

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and maintain pressure on the beer using a CO2 cartridge charger that can be attached to your "in" fixture on the corny keg.
Why would you need this, don't you have 5lb bottle? Just dial back the psi to a proper serving pressure. Or am I missing something?
 

SeamusMac

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Why would you need this, don't you have 5lb bottle? Just dial back the psi to a proper serving pressure. Or am I missing something?
I have a CO2 cylinder but the OP does not. Using a 16 gram CO2 cartridge charger is a pretty cheap alternative to buying a CO2 cylinder and regulator.
 
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HughBrooks

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I am actually putting this in a keg for a party and dont actually have any kegging equipment of my own. It is on my wish list though. Thanks for all the info. I am making a coffee stout so I dont need a whole lot of carbonation. I am sure that the keg has a good seal so that should not be a big problem.
 

EMPyre

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I have a CO2 cylinder but the OP does not. Using a 16 gram CO2 cartridge charger is a pretty cheap alternative to buying a CO2 cylinder and regulator.
Ok, just was a little confused, thought YOU were using both the cylinder and an additional cartridge charger. Sorry.
 

velotech

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I use a 1/2 cup corn sugar for a 5 gal keg for most "normally" carbed brews and works great for me. After closing it up I put the normal server pressure of about 12lbs in the keg, purge a few times to remove the oxegen and let sit at 70 for a week, then in the basement at 60 for aging.
 

EMPyre

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Don't mean to hi-jack, but...
Why would kegging vs. bottling use a different volume of sugar for natural carb? I'm missing the logic behind this. Thanks.
 

Dwain

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EMPyre,
When I started kegging many moons ago, I didn't read/follow the directions. They called for 1/3 cup & I used 3/4 cup dextrose to prime. I Let the keg set for a month and got super carbonated beer. I talked to one of the guys at a LHBS and he explained to me that you use 1/3 to 1/2 cup when kegging because that will get it "started" if you will. When you hook the CO2 up to drive it, while it's setting there hooked up, it will force some of the CO2 into solution and increase your carb. Since I naturally carb., I would put my beer in the kegerator and set the reg. for the style and hook it up to the keg. As the keg cooled down over night, it would force more CO2 into solution. Usually, by the second day, if I could keep my paws off of it, it would be carbonated perfectly. As with most of my responses, this has worked for me. I'm not sure if this explanation is correct, but it has definitely worked. Luck - Dwain
 

EMPyre

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Thanks, pretty much what I was figuring. Undoubtedly some of the 'push' gas is going to go into the beer, that's absent in a bottle, thus the difference in priming amounts. Now how to get the old man whose been doing it for decades to cut back on the kegging sugar...
 
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HughBrooks

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what if i dont have a co2 tank and I want to carbinate a keg? is there a good way to do this?
 

david_42

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The tough part will be seating the lid. Even a tiny leak will prevent carbonation and it is just about impossible to be certain the lid is sealed without a CO2 tank.
 

SeamusMac

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The tough part will be seating the lid. Even a tiny leak will prevent carbonation and it is just about impossible to be certain the lid is sealed without a CO2 tank.
A short burst with a CO2 cartridge charger would work well for seating lids if the ridiculous price of 16 gram cartridges doesn't do you in...
 

jds

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I naturally carb my kegs, without sweating the lids with gas. Keep your O-rings in good shape and use just enough keg lube, and a good keg should seal just fine.

I like the natural carbonation in kegs for a couple reasons: 1) I find the texture of the head to be a little creamier from natural carbonation (admittedly, a very subjective measurement), and 2) Having only a 5 lb CO2 bottle, I end up using only about half as much gas per keg to dispense as I do to carbonate and dispense. Sugar is cheaper than gas, and at least as effective.
 

SpanishCastleAle

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I am actually putting this in a keg for a party and dont actually have any kegging equipment of my own. It is on my wish list though. Thanks for all the info. I am making a coffee stout so I dont need a whole lot of carbonation. I am sure that the keg has a good seal so that should not be a big problem.
I doubt you'll be able to serve the whole keg in a short-ish period of time (like...at a party) without some sort of push gas. I would think you'd 'use up' all the pressure in the headspace of the keg pretty quickly at the beginning (because there is so little headspace when the keg is full) and there will be no more pressure to push the beer out (until the beer offgases but that will take some time). Once the keg is getting closer to empty you won't need any push gas because the headspace is so much more volume.

And I agree with David on sealing the lid. These corny kegs were meant to be sealed with pressure and the more pressure the better they seal (to a point of course). One possible way to fudge-it (I've never tried this, just thinking out loud) would be to slightly cool the beer before you rack to the keg and then let the natural warming of the contents cause expansion which might give you tiny bit of pressure to help seal it.
 
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HughBrooks

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the place i am taking the beer has a bar with co2 so that wasnt the problem. i just wanted to know what the best way to naturally carbonate without co2 tanks. since i personally dont own a keg or kegging system. I would like to get my own keg set up soon though because bottling all my beer is a pain. :)
 
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