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questions about keg conditioning and cold crashing before a party

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HObrew

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Hi all!
I'm baptizing my newborn son next month the 23rd and just put in the fermenters for a party: Mystic Brewing's Raging Red Irish Ale and Yooper's oatmeal stout.

This is the first time I have ever brewed with the intention of transporting a keg or intended to serve people that soon after fermentation. It seems as though when a keg gets disturbed, the beer can come off yeasty.

I am wondering if it helps to cold crash in keg and run a jumper line between that and another keg and do a closed transfer. Will the keg then be immune to yeasting up upon transport? I assume I should do this before force carbonation.

Another thought was, can I condition in keg while chilled or is conditioning only done prior to chilling?

I hope these beers come out well enough to share with a big crowd and that I can get them racked, conditioned, crashed, and force carbonated before April 23rd.
 

bobeer

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If you cold crash in the fermentor, then rack the beer over to the keg from the top down, you'll leave most of the trub behind. The rest will settle out in the keg as it conditions in the keg.
You can condition in the keg. I find beer conditions well on gas in the fridge.

Congrats on the kid, btw!!
 

StewMakesBrew

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I've been OK with transporting kegs provided they are kept vertical. They should be cold crashed to get the yeast sediment out, then carbonated. So, I see two questions at hand that you have: Fast serve off the back of fermentation, and transporting.

On question 1, there's no doubt, age helps. That said, I have recently now twice done a fast-serve of a beer that has been in the keg just over a week and it's worked out great. The beer DID improve over the ensuing week and a half after going on tap, which shows that even a little aging helps, but it worked fine. On one beer, I force carbed it with 25 PSI for 30 minutes into 38 degree beer, then let sit with the 25PSI pressure in the keg and refrigerated for two days prior to serving. At serving, I vented the keg off, then attached dispensing pressure (in the case of my system, 10 PSI) and it was good to go. For the other beer, I did the "set and forget" carbonation of letting it sit about a week and a half under dispensing C02 pressure, then hooked it up and it was good.

Both beers did clarify a bit more over time as they were dispensed.

So, moving kegs. On said beer #2 above, I wound up taking the keg to a friend's house for a party. It was maybe a week after initial tapping so it had probably 4 gallons of beer in it, and it worked out fine. I will say this - I kept the keg completely vertical the entire time in transporting it. I think had we put it on its side it would have redispersed yeast into the beer again and clouded things up.
 

Auger

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I've moved beer prior to transportation for exatly this reason. I did what you suggested - carbonate the beer in one keg and let it settle, draw off a pint or two until it's clear, then hook up a jumper line to a second keg and move it over. I've also done what bobeer suggested, cold-crashed in the fermenter, then racked clear beer into a keg. Both worked well.
 
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HObrew

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Thank you all for the input. I will most definitely be keeping the keg upright during transport. I don't want to risk oxygenating finished beer so I will definitely be using a keg to crash since it won't let oxygen in if you prime it with a little co2.

Baptism is tentatively at 1:30 pm which means church is at 12pm and beer will probably be served at 2:30-3pm. So if I can transport the kegs to the function hall before mass and let the keg sit on ice over the span of three hours, do you think it will have enough time to settle out whatever needs to be settled? Of course I'll dump out whatever comes out yeasty if any.
 
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HObrew

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If you cold crash in the fermentor, then rack the beer over to the keg from the top down, you'll leave most of the trub behind. The rest will settle out in the keg as it conditions in the keg.
You can condition in the keg. I find beer conditions well on gas in the fridge.

Congrats on the kid, btw!!
Thanks for the kind wishes. Apparently I shouldn't have time to brew according to my mother but I'll make any excuse to whip up a batch!
 

bobeer

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Thanks for the kind wishes. Apparently I shouldn't have time to brew according to my mother but I'll make any excuse to whip up a batch!
Get it in when you can! I have a 2.5 year old and a 7 month old. I get to brew maybe 1-2 times a month. Finding the time is hard but you have to take it when you get it. I just say buying beer is much more expensive than me brewing up a batch. Ha.

I find if I mill the grain the night before and do as much prep as I can it helps a lot on brew day. Often though I'm brewing at 12am-5am!
 
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HObrew

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I am heavily leaning towards using gelatin finings just to drop out as much as possible and mitigate any yeastiness from transport. Any opinions on this?
 

jwalk4

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Yeah, gelatin might help, but I think the best things you can do are:

1. Brew with a good floccing yeast that forms a tight cake. So stay away from 05.

2. Cold crash in your fermenter. Oxygenation isn't an off flavor that appears quickly. It merely speeds up the maturation process faster than your normal process would. So I don't think you'd taste the difference if you are really concerned about your timelines, IMO. Plus, if you disturb the fermenter as little as possible, the nice protective layer of co2 will stay atop of your beer and guard against oxygen. Additionally, unless you have a method that I am not familiar with, you will introduce your beer to some oxygen when you transfer to keg anyways.

3. Drastic, I know. But shorten the dip tube in your keg by about an inch. You'll only lose maybe 1 beer out of a whole keg, but you'll see big results in your clarity much faster. Ie. Less yeast in your cup.

Lastly, I think if you'll probably taste other differences in the beer than the yeast/oxidation. Serving at a party on ice is going to change the serving temp of an oatmeal stout and an Irish red, which can have nuanced and complex flavors that might be missed in the loud environment of a party. I usually serve up something hoppy, a flavor that's hard to miss.

It's free beer though, and you're probably a quality brewer. So let it flow, and don't worry too much about it.
 

Auger

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I am heavily leaning towards using gelatin finings just to drop out as much as possible and mitigate any yeastiness from transport. Any opinions on this?
Option A
1. Ferment in primary
2. Cold crash in primary
3. Gelatin fine in primary, keep chilled until beer drops bright
4. Rack to keg
5. Carbonate

Option B
1. Ferment in primary
2. Rack to keg 1
3. Cold crash/begin carbonating in keg 1
4. Fine in keg 1, keep chilled until beer drops bright
5. Before party, use jumper line and transfer beer off trub into keg 2


In my experience, if you're moving a keg, it's going to get stirred up. Doesn't matter if you strap the keg in, keep it upright, etc. Just the vehicle motion will be enough to get it sloshing (or even carrying it to the car abd lifting it in). It doesn't take much to get that yeast back into suspension. If you're going to the trouble of fining and want to serve bright beer, don't cut corners. I've used both methods above, both work equally well. It's a little easier to see when the beer has dropped bright if it's in a carboy vs. a keg, but also easy enough to pull a sample off a keg to check for clarity and carb.
 
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