Racking from Primary to Keg

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Nathan8372

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This has probably been covered 1,000 times, however I fail to find the answer/advice to my particular question:

I’ve been brewing for a few years now and I recently started kegging my beer. My question is, after the beer is finished in the primary, can I rack to keg and put it in the kegerator for conditioning, carbonation at serving temperature? Or is there a waiting period required to let the beer mellow in a secondary? I mainly brew pale ales with Safale US 05 because I think it cooperates with the warmer climate here in South Texas (harder to keep indoor temps under 70 degrees). Any advice would be great.
 

sibelman

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Um, yes but...

Racking to a secondary fermenter may be unnecessary at best, even harmful. But being in a rush to chill down your beer may sacrifice the benefit of yeast "cleaning up" undesirable flavors. I prefer to keep beer at fermentation temps for a while after active fermentation has ended, even if I may transfer to a keg to free up the fermenter.
 

RM-MN

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This has probably been covered 1,000 times, however I fail to find the answer/advice to my particular question:

I’ve been brewing for a few years now and I recently started kegging my beer. My question is, after the beer is finished in the primary, can I rack to keg and put it in the kegerator for conditioning, carbonation at serving temperature? Or is there a waiting period required to let the beer mellow in a secondary? I mainly brew pale ales with Safale US 05 because I think it cooperates with the warmer climate here in South Texas (harder to keep indoor temps under 70 degrees). Any advice would be great.

The highlighted part is a double question because in some part it depends. Many beers will be just fine if you wait for the primary to complete and then rack to keg where you let them condition. There are a few, very few, that will benefit from secondary and unless done correctly the secondary may be detrimental as you can introduce oxidation or bacterial infection.

Part of the answer depends on the beer and part depends on how long of a primary you choose to do. Much of the conditioning of the beer can occur right in the primary but often people who keg will be in a hurry to get the beer to the key and cut that time short. In that case, conditioning in the keg is a good idea and can happen at room temp or serving temp. It may happen quicker at room temp.

Pale ales and IPA's are particularly susceptible to oxidation which will cause the aroma and flavor to disappear way to quickly. Other types of beers will slowly change flavor from oxidation.
 

hottpeper13

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My setup allows me to have 3 kegs on CO2 at 33* for lagering and 4 kegs on CO2 outside the chamber at ambient to condition.
Some beers need a little time after racking to have all the flavors come together and in the darker ones to mellow.
As I empty one in the kegerator I take one out of the lagerator and it's pouring perfectly carbed clear beer after a pull or 3. Then the next in line gose in for carbing and conditioning. Lagers have to go thru this to get that clean crispness,but ales benefit greatly too.
Most of them are in primary for 3 weeks,with IPA's and APA's being the exception.
 

micraftbeer

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A couple of thoughts based on my process and my experience:

1. I don't use a secondary, but I do like to cold crash before going into my serving keg. I have lots of different fermentors, so it depends on which fermentor I'm using. FermZilla All Rounder is short enough to fit inside my beer fridge, which I keep at near 33F. So on that one, I wait for Tilt to show my gravity has flatlined and sat there for 3 days, and then I put the whole thing in the fridge. 3 Days later, I transfer beer to the keg using the floating dip tube and I have clean/sediment-free beer in keg.

Other fermentors don't fit in my fridge, so I do a closed transfer into a StarSan/CO2 purged keg (3 days after my Tilt has gone to flatline on the gravity readings), which is fitted with a floating dip tube. I call this my Cold Crash Keg. I put that in kegerator or beer fridge and let that sit 3 days, then transfer into StarSan/CO2 purged keg to be my serving keg.

I know some ferment and serve out of the same keg and say they don't have any taste issues. I just have a mental hangup with a layer of stuff sitting at the bottom of my keg that I wouldn't want to drink. But that may just be my personal hangup.

2. I used to try the burst carbonation process every now and then. If we set aside my "technical difficulties" of accidentally overcarbing beers (which completely SUCKS), I found that even when I did it right and had well carbonated beer after a couple days, I still found the beer tasted better after sitting 1-2 weeks. So I just gave up that process and do the set it & forget it method. Carbonation builds while flavor mellows.
 

Golddiggie

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For most of my brews (under 6.5% ABV), they are left alone for two weeks at fermenting temperature (70F) and then get carbonated (in conical) before transfer to keg and can. Carb time, for this method, is 3-4 days. At that point, the beer is both chilled to (or below) serving temperature and ready to drink. I simply move the keg to keezer and hook up (if there's a tap ready) for dispensing.

My coming batch is going to be at/above 10% ABV and I already planned on adding oak spirals for 5-6 weeks to it post fermentation (probably about two weeks for that). Then it gets packaged.

IME, you're fine leaving a batch in primary until it's ready for packaging. Less times you move it, the less chances of something negative happening. If you're fermenting in a pressure rated vessel (with a high enough rating) you could also explore fermenting under pressure (offsets high fermenting temperatures) as well as carbonating IN fermenter (makes for faster times to glass). If you're not using a pressure rated vessel, then you're stuck using the old methods. ;)
 

DosGatosBrewing

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I still ferment in plastic buckets, rack directly to keg, force carb a couple of days and put it in the beer fridge (not a kegerator, just a fridge with most of the shelving removed). I just leave the kegs without a CO2 hookup and add gas if the kegs need a little pressure or carbonation.
10 years on, I have only had 1 batch suffer from oxidation, and I know what I did wrong that 1 time.
:mug:
 
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Nathan8372

Nathan8372

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I still ferment in plastic buckets, rack directly to keg, force carb a couple of days and put it in the beer fridge (not a kegerator, just a fridge with most of the shelving removed). I just leave the kegs without a CO2 hookup and add gas if the kegs need a little pressure or carbonation.
10 years on, I have only had 1 batch suffer from oxidation, and I know what I did wrong that 1 time.
:mug:
Do you put the keg in the fridge on day 1 after racking?
 
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