Oxygen and Aging in a Keg

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hopjunkie26

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Hey guys and gals. I have been brewing for 2 years and follow the forums religiously. I just recently got into kegging and have a question that I have not seen a specific answer on anywhere that I can find.

I am planning on brewing a Barleywine for next fall and would like to let it age in my basement in the keg once fermentation has completed. My question is, if I hit the keg with gas and get a good seal, is it reasonable to believe that the CO2 will dissolve into the beer over time? I hear that folks periodically test their seal by hitting the pressure relief valve for a split second, but if the beer is absorbing the CO2, wouldn't you eventually hit the relief valve and hear nothing?

I just don't want to go through all the troubles of making a big barleywine just to have it ruined by oxygen because I didn't get the keg sealed properly.

Any help is appreciated!
 

reinstone

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Most definitely. Co2 will dissolve in the beer. Faster and more if it's cool. There is a specific amount that will dissolve at a given temp. Check into that. For an aged beer be very careful. I completely fill my keg with sanatized water and purge it out. If you are aging this correctly in the forts few days the beer will take on co2 quickly and will nene to be put on co2 pressure everyday. Constant is best. I start at like 25 psi and go down to 12 psi. Eventually at your given pressure, you will hook up co2 and no more will be taken in. At that point it is safe for long term storage as long as you don't drastically alter the temp. I'd still check it periodically. Also, remember to flush your lines with co2 because if they aren't hooked up they eventually fill with oxygen and you will put that in the beer if you don't get rid of it. It's minimal but why risk it. Cheers.
 

reinstone

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Also most likely if there is little to no pressure in the keg, hopefully there would still be a blanket of co2 on top of the beer. But still, best to be careful. I would cool it to fridge temps. Get it saturated with co2 and then let it sit in the basement oxygen free.
 
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hopjunkie26

hopjunkie26

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Thanks for the quick reply reinstone.

So if I understand your second post, I would be okay putting it into the keggerator and getting it carbed. Once it is properly carbed, I should be good removing it from the keggerator and letting it sit in my basement, which stays fairly consistent year round.

I plan on aging it for at least a year, I just don't want to have to leave it connected to gas for the entire year...plus leaving it out of the keggerator will keep me from pulling on the tap handle too.
 

reinstone

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Yes, that will be fine as long as your basement is not too warm. I do lagers that I age so I age them cold. You might put out another thread asking about cellaring temps.

In my opinion, aging in the keg is the best method we have, in my experience the keg pressure will be correct and fully incorporated into the beer in roughly ten days.

Also, I don't know your method for racking into the keg, let me know because I'd use an auto siphon with the correct tubing size. I have a 1/2 inch siphon but it fits best with 7/16 ID tubing. Otherwise, you will introduce oxygen.
 

reinstone

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I was also doing some more thinking. I don't know how often this is done but I was thinking also when you warm up the beer to basement temps you could add a little yeast to scavenge any o2 that may be present. Just a thought.
 
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hopjunkie26

hopjunkie26

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I use an autosiphon for racking. I then purge out any oxygen as soon as I connect to gas. I try to limit as much oxygen exposure as I possibly can during the process.
 

reinstone

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With a beer that is getting aged like this be very careful. You sound careful. I would make sure to fill the keg with sanatize water and purge that way. Then you are positive that there is no oxygen in the keg. I've done the purge without water in the kegs and I don't think that's as foolproof.
 
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hopjunkie26

hopjunkie26

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So my relative lack of knowledge of kegging is going to shine through here. When you say that you purge using sanitized water, what exactly do you mean? (If there is a thread I can read rather than having you have to give a long, detailed answer that works too)

Sounds like there is probably a better method for filling my kegs that I am not currently using.
 

cjhammel

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If you are aging in the keg then you do not need to refrigerate the keg just keep it in a cool place. Rack the beer into the keg seal and add 30 psi of CO2 release the relief valve do this 3-4 times. This purges all the O2 from the keg leave at 30 psi this keep the keg sealed. Spray some water mixed with star-san on all the seals and look for leaks. If you are doing a long aging I would add some priming sugar to keg and let it carbonate naturally treat the keg as a big bottle. The nice thing about kegs is once you get ready to drink it if you found that you have over or under carb you can adjust it after the fact.
 

reinstone

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I like to fill the keg with sanatized water and then displace the water with co2 (just push all the sanatized water out the liquid side) ensuring there is no oxygen. It's maybe overkill but in my opinion any other way will leave some....,even if it's a little oxygen in the keg. Again, I'm real careful not to oxidize a beer I made after all the work I put in it. Maybe overkill but I'm not risking it. Cheers

If you are doing more than one keg just move it to another keg via a line with two liquid disconnects. Liquid to liquid. Putting co2 into a keg that isn't filled with a liquid cannot displace all the oxygen. It would mix with co2 when you added it. If you are aging this that long I'd do it this way. Staling will occur quickly at basement temps. Better to be careful.
 

m00se

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If I fill a Keg up with beer then purge with co2 and then pull the relief valve until no more gas is coming out, is that OK to store beer like that? I didn't want any additional co2 in the beer while it's aging.
 

bknifefight

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If I fill a Keg up with beer then purge with co2 and then pull the relief valve until no more gas is coming out, is that OK to store beer like that? I didn't want any additional co2 in the beer while it's aging.
Ideally it would be fine but having the keg under pressure would help preserve the seal, which is important for any keg.
 

Dolomieu

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There is such a thing called equilibrium. If you seal up you keg at 30 psi it will not magically suck up all the CO2. Some will dissolve into solution until it reaches a point of equilibrium with the overlying gas. Do as you feel best but when I age in a keg, I purge, fill, purge, charge to 30psi, check for leaks, and disconnect the gas. If I want ito carb as i age, I just set it to the proper pressure.

Point is: if you leave it at 30psi after sealing and checking for leaks there will still be pressure. It won't be 30psi and your beer won't be fully carbonated. Gas laws....
 
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hopjunkie26

hopjunkie26

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Thank you all for your input. I think I learned what I needed to learn. My favorite thing about brewing is that there is almost always more than one way to do something and experimenting is part of the fun.
 

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