Need some help dialing in natural carbonating my kegs

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shoreman

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I’m getting mixed results with naturally carbonating my kegs and was wondering if anyone had ideas or could chime in.

My setup is 2.5 gallon torpedo kegs, kegland mini c02 charger and mini fridge.

I carbonate using an online priming calculator for the style, seal it, purge with co2, add my keg pressure tester and let it sit for 1-2 weeks. It will generally hit about 15-20 psi and at that point I will put it in the fridge for a day or two hoping to absorb more of the CO2 into the beer. Purge it down to serving and then pour.

I will consistently hit the headspace with co2 after having a couple pints. You can’t really dial in the mini charger - it has a gauge but not super accurate.

Some beers have great carbonation - some are a bit flat, that’s fine for pale ales and british style beers but I’m about to put a Belgian style on tap (which would be better in bottles but don’t have the time or motivation to bottle this batch).

Thanks.
 

day_trippr

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How do you determine whether each of these batches had fully fermented out prior to the carbonation cycle?
I'd think that would be the largest contributing factor to varied carbonation results.

Otherwise, I would give this process a full two weeks before judging the results...and make sure to use keg lube on the lid O-ring to hopefully eliminate the possibility of a slow leak screwing with the results...

Cheers!
 

marc1

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I’m getting mixed results with naturally carbonating my kegs and was wondering if anyone had ideas or could chime in.

My setup is 2.5 gallon torpedo kegs, kegland mini c02 charger and mini fridge.

I carbonate using an online priming calculator for the style, seal it, purge with co2, add my keg pressure tester and let it sit for 1-2 weeks. It will generally hit about 15-20 psi and at that point I will put it in the fridge for a day or two hoping to absorb more of the CO2 into the beer. Purge it down to serving and then pour.

I will consistently hit the headspace with co2 after having a couple pints. You can’t really dial in the mini charger - it has a gauge but not super accurate.

Some beers have great carbonation - some are a bit flat, that’s fine for pale ales and british style beers but I’m about to put a Belgian style on tap (which would be better in bottles but don’t have the time or motivation to bottle this batch).

Thanks.
Is 15-20 PSI enough volumes of CO2 at room temp?
 
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shoreman

shoreman

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How do you determine whether each of these batches had fully fermented out prior to the carbonation cycle?
I'd think that would be the largest contributing factor to varied carbonation results.

Otherwise, I would give this process a full two weeks before judging the results...and make sure to use keg lube on the lid O-ring to hopefully eliminate the possibility of a slow leak screwing with the results...

Cheers!
Thanks - I’m hitting my intended FG for the style and generally using yeasts I’m accustomed to.

I’ll try the keg lube but I generally check that with the purge of 02 to seal it.
 
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shoreman

shoreman

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Is 15-20 PSI enough volumes of CO2 at room temp?
IDK - seems to work for bottles, so I was treating the keg like a giant bottle - maybe time is a factor.
 
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shoreman

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So if you are natural carbing at that temp, would you increase the priming sugar or it just won’t get dissolved into solution?
 
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Sounds a bit light to me at that temp. I would be pushing 25+ and then cold crash for at least 3 days before I even touched it. As Someone else asked are you sure your finished fermentation? That's a key factor here.

Cheers
Jay
 

marc1

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So if you are natural carbing at that temp, would you increase the priming sugar or it just won’t get dissolved into solution?
If you're sure it fermented out all the priming sugar, then add more if you want more carbonation. You could try putting on a spunding valve set to your pressure and adding a bit extra sugar, that way you can be sure to hit it and it won't overcarb.
 
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shoreman

shoreman

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As Someone else asked are you sure your finished fermentation? That's a key factor here.

Cheers
Jay
Thanks, I mostly brew British and Belgian style beers with the odd ipa or pale ale and my beers finish anywhere from 1.000 to 1.010 - I like my beers dry and mash and brew accordingly. I can’t remember a time I kegged something over 1.010 FG.
 

TheMadKing

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Thanks, I can prime to style and then monitor the PSI with my keg pressure tester Keg Pressure Tester

I’m just curious how a spunding valve be a better option?
Because you can overestimate the priming sugar amount and then spund to the correct pressure for the carbonation you want. It guarantees you will never have an over or undercarbonated beer unless there is something wrong with your yeast

Put in more sugar than you need, release any excess CO2 to keep the pressure at the correct level for the amount of carbonation you want.
 

DuncB

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As above I think you are light on vols of CO2 with your method, ie you need more psi at those room temps according to the calculator.
Cask ale they add the priming sugar or put it in the cask a few points shy of the final. Seal it up and then tap and shive it after about 2 weeks. So they are overcarbed when tapped and shived but this settles quickly once opened.

I'd use the spunding valve but set it a bit higher or at the upper end of the beer carbonation level intended. When you are carbing to low levels say 5 psi unless you have a low range gauge it's a bit hit and miss and they aren't super consistent. Consider a floating dip tube as well as you will be making sediment as well as that which you transfer. As you say you should be able to reinject after having the beer to keep the head pressure roughly consistent.
Remember a keg full of beer will take longer to get to your " ferment temp " than a bottle would.
Beware those Belgian yeasts though some of them keep munching the sugars for a lower final gravity, but you'll be safe if you spund and will cope with the " extra sugar".
 
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shoreman

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Thanks for the replies everyone, I’ll look into the spunding valves
 

DuncB

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I suggest the red kegland one, the metal ones are a little finicky, I've modded mine and it works better but did have trouble with them at first.

I haven't tried the expensive spunding valves from blichmann or the spundit 2.0
 
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