SG slightly different to FG, this okay?

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TestTickle

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For the two bottles that you are concerned with, I’d out them away somewhere safe like in a storage tote just in case. As for the 750ml bottle, two drops is probably fine.
 
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IEpicDestiny

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For the two bottles that you are concerned with, I’d out them away somewhere safe like in a storage tote just in case. As for the 750ml bottle, two drops is probably fine.
I can't remember which bottles they were though :(
 

jkuhl

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I bottled a beer after seeing 0.993 and 0.992 and thinking "close enough"

One of them geysered on me and the rest are in the fridge prematurely to avoid bottle bombs. Thankfully the carbonation is good and the rest have been stable, but don't be like me.

Wait until you see the same exact reading two or more times. Or they'll geyser or worse, explode.
 

ncbrewer

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I did a sample calculation. Taking the sugar needed for 2.5 volumes - using double the sugar bumps it to 4.22 volumes. That's considered too much pressure for normal bottles.
 
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IEpicDestiny

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I did a sample calculation. Taking the sugar needed for 2.5 volumes - using double the sugar bumps it to 4.22 volumes. That's considered too much pressure for normal bottles.
I'll take a gamble and hope none explode.. I will try and be more careful next time
 
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IEpicDestiny

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What do you guys recommend I do to store my bottles for secondary fermentation etc..? What degrees and for how long? Dark or light? The instruction say to store in a warm place for 5 days and then a cool dark place. Does not tell me temperature though
 

TestTickle

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What do you guys recommend I do to store my bottles for secondary fermentation etc..? What degrees and for how long? Dark or light? The instruction say to store in a warm place for 5 days and then a cool dark place. Does not tell me temperature though
Well to clarify one thing, bottle conditioning and carbonation is not the same as secondary fermentation. Secondary fermentation is something that happens in the fermenter between primary fermentation and bottling/kegging.

As for the bottles, keep them warm (room temp is good) for at least two weeks for them to carb. Too low of a temp will slow down or in some cases inhibit the process, so I'd just leave them at room temp until completely done.

You could chill and try one after two weeks to see how it's coming along. If at that point you are happy with the beer, chill some more if you want. However, I strongly encourage you to chill one after three weeks and try it, then again after four weeks. This will give you an idea of the improvements that a little more time can make on a beer. Also, you will notice a difference in the clarity of the beer over time. Just make sure to always store them upright and leave behind the little bit of yeast/sediment at the bottom of the bottles when you pour.

Once you are satisfied with the final product, chill more and enjoy!
 

TestTickle

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Also, store them in a dark place if possible. This isn't as critical with amber colored bottles, but it's good practice. You don't want any light affecting your beer...ever.
 

jkuhl

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wow.

What beer went down to 0.993??!!

Wrong numbers. Looking at my notes, I accidently wrote the SpGr readings for my cider in that post. The beer's final recorded reading was at 1.012. Still my point stands, it was an error made with my beer, seeing gravity values that I thought were "close enough" to call it done and having a geysering bottle.
 
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IEpicDestiny

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It says on my instructions to store bottles in a warm place for 5 days and then move to a cool dark place and leave until clear.
I don't exactly know what leaving to clear means, how will I know when it is clear. It does not give me an exact temperature range either. My house is pretty warm, so I am not sure where would be cool.

It also says: Your beer is ready to drink as soon as it's clear, but for a smoother beer leave somewhere cool and dark for an extra 2 weeks.

I want to follow @TestTickle advice and leave for 2 weeks in a warm place. But is there any reason why the instructions are telling me to leave in a cool place instead? Perhaps it is to do with this specific kit?
 

Miraculix

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It says on my instructions to store bottles in a warm place for 5 days and then move to a cool dark place and leave until clear.
I don't exactly know what leaving to clear means, how will I know when it is clear. It does not give me an exact temperature range either. My house is pretty warm, so I am not sure where would be cool.

It also says: Your beer is ready to drink as soon as it's clear, but for a smoother beer leave somewhere cool and dark for an extra 2 weeks.

I want to follow @TestTickle advice and leave for 2 weeks in a warm place. But is there any reason why the instructions are telling me to leave in a cool place instead? Perhaps it is to do with this specific kit?
No, Kit instructions are generally crap.
 

TestTickle

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It says on my instructions to store bottles in a warm place for 5 days and then move to a cool dark place and leave until clear.
I don't exactly know what leaving to clear means, how will I know when it is clear. It does not give me an exact temperature range either. My house is pretty warm, so I am not sure where would be cool.

It also says: Your beer is ready to drink as soon as it's clear, but for a smoother beer leave somewhere cool and dark for an extra 2 weeks.

I want to follow @TestTickle advice and leave for 2 weeks in a warm place. But is there any reason why the instructions are telling me to leave in a cool place instead? Perhaps it is to do with this specific kit?
They are providing very general instructions. Following them will still result in beer, but after some experience with the entire process, you will find that some steps are correct, some aren't necessary and that there are additional things you can do to make the beer turn out even better. These kits mostly assume that it's a new brewer making the beer (not that it's always the case), so it's a bit simplified.

They are definitely vague with the temperature recommendations. Maybe warm to them is 25C? Maybe cool to them is 20C? Or is it 15C? In most cases, 5 days is not long enough to carb your beer, and moving it to a cool place (depending on their definition of cool) will slow down the process. If there was some guarantee that the beer would be carbed in a week, then their instructions would be fine, but more times than not, that is just not the case.

Something I can tell you is that there are a lot of collective years of brewing experience on this forum and even in this thread, and two weeks around room temp (20C) is your starting point. While it's very possible to have carbonated beer in a week, it still benefits from the extra time for the beer to "condition" and for things to further clean up and settle. Since there is no way to test the carbonation, flavor or even clarity of the beer without opening one, we prefer to be patient and give it the extra time we feel it needs.

Just make things easy and keep it at between 18C-24C for two weeks. Then chill one and see how it's coming along. If you think it's good, chill some more and enjoy. But like I suggested, I would still let some of them sit for another week, chill and taste again. Repeat after a 4th week just to see if it has improved more. If it's REALLY killing you, go ahead and try one after a week, but I can almost guarantee that it won't be quite as good as the ones you wait for.
 
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IEpicDestiny

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They are providing very general instructions. Following them will still result in beer, but after some experience with the entire process, you will find that some steps are correct, some aren't necessary and that there are additional things you can do to make the beer turn out even better. These kits mostly assume that it's a new brewer making the beer (not that it's always the case), so it's a bit simplified.

They are definitely vague with the temperature recommendations. Maybe warm to them is 25C? Maybe cool to them is 20C? Or is it 15C? In most cases, 5 days is not long enough to carb your beer, and moving it to a cool place (depending on their definition of cool) will slow down the process. If there was some guarantee that the beer would be carbed in a week, then their instructions would be fine, but more times than not, that is just not the case.

Something I can tell you is that there are a lot of collective years of brewing experience on this forum and even in this thread, and two weeks around room temp (20C) is your starting point. While it's very possible to have carbonated beer in a week, it still benefits from the extra time for the beer to "condition" and for things to further clean up and settle. Since there is no way to test the carbonation, flavor or even clarity of the beer without opening one, we prefer to be patient and give it the extra time we feel it needs.

Just make things easy and keep it at between 18C-24C for two weeks. Then chill one and see how it's coming along. If you think it's good, chill some more and enjoy. But like I suggested, I would still let some of them sit for another week, chill and taste again. Repeat after a 4th week just to see if it has improved more. If it's REALLY killing you, go ahead and try one after a week, but I can almost guarantee that it won't be quite as good as the ones you wait for.
Very very helpful information, thank you.
I have been doing a lot of research into kegging and using pressure barrels for beer. I would very much like to add a tap and just pour beer that way (and also not to have to clean all of these bottles).
I understand I would most likely need a fridge in order to do either of those things to have nice cold beer.
It seems very expensive but I was interested to know your opinion.
There are also these fermenters called fermenter kings where you can carbonate and ferment beer straight to tap (seems like a nice cheap option).
Instead of a fridge, could I just store these barrels and kegs in the garage? I live in the UK so it is cold in the garage pretty much all the time. However I suppose the garage would not be as hygienic considering insects are more likely to contaminate certain things.
I would need CO2 for both barrels and kegs wouldn't I? It seems quite expensive and I have heard that barrels (once poured) start to become flat.
1 big question I do have is: if I do not drink on the regular, would I be wasting CO2 canisters?
 

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TestTickle

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I have never used anything like the Fermenter King, but it looks like it's just a pressure fermentation option. It would work fine as an option for you, but I have never done pressurized fermentations, so someone else may be of more help there. From what I can see though, it appears to have a floating dip tube, which allows the beer to siphon from near the top of the beer...which is good since the fermentation would leave a hefty yeast cake and trub at the bottom where keg diptubes are normally located. You would need what is called a spunding valve though. It doesn't appear to come with one. That allows the fermentation to happen and release CO2 while still keeping the container under enough pressure for carbonation to occur. If you were able to find a used keg for cheap enough, you could possibly create the same setup for the same price or cheaper. You'd just need a keg, a floating dip tube and the spunding valve I mentioned. If you went with the keg option and decided at a later time to do regular fermentation and then transfer to kegs, you'd already have a keg. The only advantage I can see with the Fermenter King option is that you can see how much beer you have left.

Regardless of whether you use this option or kegs, you'll need a way to dispense your beer - a CO2 tank and a picnic tap would be the minimum requirements for that. You may be able to find a used CO2 tank on Craigslist or Facebook marketplace....or maybe a local welding shop? A 5 pound tank would work fine and wouldn't take up much space in the fridge.

Obviously, there are other options, but they can get pricey and can get pretty involved depending on how many beers you want to have on tap. But this is certainly an option if only serving one beer at a time.
 

Rish

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They are all in a cupboard, I guess we will just have to wait and see lol
If you store other stuff in that cupboard, you may to move your bottles to another location, like a covered garbage can, large cooler or (in my case) plastic bin with a cover. If you do have a bottle burst, it sprays liquid and glass shards everywhere and will cover everything around it with stickiness and things that cut!
 

GrowleyMonster

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13 days now.
I would really love to know exactly what I should do. I know I might get hated on this but there is this professional brewer on youtube and he says that you really do not need to ferment for 3 weeks despite everyone telling you you should. Apparently because that is an old saying and it is found to not be necessary anymore. I have made good beer before fermenting for only 7 days too. I just want to be extra careful this time because my last batch messed up somehow
When I started, I was very concerned about leaving the beer in the fermenter too long. On the advice of many here, I stopped worrying about that so much. Leaving the beer on the trub a week or two "too long" generally won't hurt anything and it can help a good bit.

I actually watch my airlock a lot more closely than my SG. As long as it gives a bloop once or twice an hour it is still working. You don't have to see the bubble go, to know it is working. If you see all the liquid in the ambient air side and none in the beer CO2 side, it has probably blooped recently and will do so again, soon. When airlock activity is dead dead dead, I start thinking about transferring to keg. (I generally do not bottle.) If anything, I check with the hydrometer right before I keg the beer. I don't like to pull samples all the time.

Ferment time can vary a LOT depending on the yeast, temp, and mash variables. You can pitch HotHead or Voss Kviek in a 90 degree fermentation room and be all done in 4 or 5 days. A 55 degree lager is gonna take a lot longer. Most ales fermented at normal room temperature with basic ale yeasts are done in two weeks but three or four weeks is not excessive and will not ruin the beer, I can tell you this from actual experience. It can give the batch time to settle and clarify, and thereby make less sediment in the keg.

Extra time in the fermenter can be a deal breaker though, if you get an infection or excessive oxygen. A poor seal by the fermenter lid or cap, or a dry airlock or bad grommet or bad cork can mess you up once there is no longer any positive pressure from the yeast farting.
 

VikeMan

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Well to clarify one thing, bottle conditioning and carbonation is not the same as secondary fermentation. Secondary fermentation is something that happens in the fermenter between primary fermentation and bottling/kegging.

Technically, secondary fermentation is any fermentation that occurs after primary fermentation. Fermentation of priming sugar during bottle carbonating qualifies.
 

TestTickle

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Technically, secondary fermentation is any fermentation that occurs after primary fermentation. Fermentation of priming sugar during bottle carbonating qualifies.
Well if you want to get technical, then yes, in this case it’s technically a secondary fermentation. But if he were transfer to a secondary followed by bottle carbonation, it’s no longer secondary fermentation.
 

VikeMan

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Well if you want to get technical, then yes, in this case it’s technically a secondary fermentation.

Sorry Man, I felt like I needed to get technical, since you tried to get technical in "correcting" @IEpicDestiny.

But if he were transfer to a secondary followed by bottle carbonation, it’s no longer secondary fermentation.

If you mean transfer to a second vessel for the purpose of sedimentation (what people mean by "transfer to secondary" 99% of the time), then yes, the subsequent bottle carbonation would still be a secondary fermentation. If you mean that a secondary fermentation actually happened in that second vessel (i.e. fermentables were added there and fermented there), then the bottle carbonation would be a tertiary fermentation, I suppose.
 

TestTickle

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Sorry Man, I felt like I needed to get technical, since you tried to get technical in "correcting" @IEpicDestiny.
Damn dude, chill out.

The term “secondary” gets thrown around so much that it could refer to a few different things. 99% of the time someone says they are doing a secondary, we don’t think that are referring to bottle conditioning. I was just trying to prevent future confusion for the guy.

If you feel the need to nitpick it because you have some kind of problem with me or my attempt at helping him out, just take it somewhere else.
 

VikeMan

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The term “secondary” gets thrown around so much that it could refer to a few different things. 99% of the time someone says they are doing a secondary, we don’t think that are referring to bottle conditioning.

That's true. When someone says "doing a secondary," they're usually referring to something that is not a secondary fermentation at all.
 

TestTickle

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That's true. When someone says "doing a secondary," they're usually referring to something that is not a secondary fermentation at all.
Exactly.

Understandable considering the conflicting and confusing info available on the Interwebs. Regardless, this seems to be the more common interpretation today, technically correct or not.
 

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GrowleyMonster

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I have just done the bottling today, I may have put 2 extra carbonation drops in a few bottle of 500ml. I just wonder how bad that is, could that cause bottle bombs?
Also the carbonation drops packet says 1 drop for 350ml and 2 for 500ml, but how many for 750ml bottles? 3? or still 2? I put 2 just incase, will the beer be less carbonated?
A bit too little is better than a bit too much. In the case you mention I would put 2. Maybe mark one bottle and put 3 in just that one, and mark it. Store it in a bucket or clean trash can in case it blows, which it probably won't but its good to be safe. If you drink the 3 drop bottle and like it better than the 2 drop bottles, there you go. You know what to do next time, assuming everything else is exactly the same in the next batch as it was in this one.

Overcarbed beer, even if it doesn't explode the bottle, is still a PITA to open, serve, and drink. Under carbed? The CO2 level has to be pretty low to significantly impact the drinking experience, IMHO, depending on the style of beer. To me, a very light American style lager cries out for heavy carbing and very cold serving temp. A pale ale, less extreme carbing and a couple degrees warmer. A darker beer with a heavier FG doesn't need so much CO2 in it at all, particularly when it is served cool or chilled and not icey cold. YMMV. Truly flat beer can be unappetizing but with most beers I am quite happy with a half inch of sturdy foam and a nice tickle on the tonsils going down. Again, YMMV.
 

GrowleyMonster

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Would'nt it be better to get the fastest yeast possible then?

Maybe not. It's not a race. Who cares if it is two weeks or two months before you can drink your batch? Once you have your process down pat, you can have two or three batches going at once, in different stages and different final ready to drink dates, and always have plenty of drinkable beer on hand.

Many very fast yeasts are also highly temperature tolerant or alcohol tolerant. There are, then, other reasons why you might use one, but seldom is speedy fermentation specifically an objective. Kviek yeasts are pretty much the fastest yeasts and also work very well at high fermentation temps, up to 95, even 100 degrees, if you push it. This can be handy in hot climates when you don't have effective climate control for your fermentation room and no way to keep the fermenter cool enough for more mainstream yeasts. For example, a hurricane knocks out your power for a week or two and you want to start a batch, you might want a Kviek yeast, which tolerates high temps, but coincidentally is also a very fast acting yeast that begins quite explosively in a big beer when pitching with a starter. Very fast yeasts can go crazy and blow out a lot of your precious brew, making a big mess in the process.

Every yeast has its own characteristics that it lends to the final product. Usually these profiles are very subtle but not always, and in time your palate might become more discriminating.

All things considered, the time needed to fully ferment is pretty small potatoes, usually. Fastest yeast possible is not really a thing to focus on.

This is the FV I am using, it does not use an airlock but the loose fit is probably what helps release the carbon dioxide.
Fermenting with a loose lid instead of an airlock? That has the potential for disaster. You don't want any air to get in there on your beer. It will oxygenate it, first of all. Oxygen and UV light are the enemies of tasty beer. Once the yeast is pitched and working, you don't want any additional oxygen to touch your beer. Clear fermenters need to be kept covered or in a dark room. Another issue with air getting into your fermenter is it can infect your batch with wild yeasts or bacteria, few of which would be beneficial or even benign.

It also has a valve which makes bottling easier (comes with wand too). I have another FV which uses an airlock and I have a syphon too. But yes I will be bottling straight from the fermenter, I would rather have as less cleaning to do as possible.
Before I measured with teaspoon but since that may have been the cause of my beer going flat last batch I have bought 100s of carbonation drops (more expensive for now but I wanted to make sure they work). I suppose the sugar needs to be pretty exact, some may have gone on the sides of the bottles, however every single beer of that batch was flat and tasted the same.

I will be using carbonation drops this time round (the last time I did it turned out well) but it would be nice to know a better way to put the sugar in each bottle (but I sort of doubt it was to do with the sugar.. no idea. It almost put me off homebrewing though)

A very common approach is to use a bottling bucket. A 6 gallon food safe plastic bucket works fine. Drill a hole near the bottom and install a spigot. When you are ready to bottle, boil some water and dissolve corn sugar or even table sugar at the calculated strength and amount for your batch, then let it cool a bit, covered. You don't have to be medieval about cooling the solution as it is a relatively small amount to mix in to a 5 gallon batch and it will certainly not raise the temperature of the batch enough to kill the yeast. Pour your solution into the bottling bucket. DOUBLE CHECK YOUR CALCULATIONS so you know for a verified fact that the total amount of sugar in solution is the right amount for bottle conditioning your batch. Attach a clean and sanitized piece of hose to your fermenter spigot or to your siphon apparatus. It needs to reach to the bottom of the bottling bucket. You don't want the beer to splash, which would oxygenate it. Transfer your beer and gently stir so the sugar solution is not stratified in a layer at the bottom, but is instead mixed well in the beer. Then raise the bottling bucket to a convenient height for bottling. Attach a clean and sanitized piece of hose to the bottling bucket spigot, and a bottling wand or gun if you like, and start filling your clean and sanitized bottles to within an inch or so from the top, and cap them. Store at room temperature in a dark place for two to four weeks, then chill them in the fridge and keep them cold for a couple of weeks before long term storage or drinking.

Drops are also popular. But it is a lot cheaper to measure individual doses of sugar, powdered/granulated, or in solution, into each bottle before filling. In this way you can more precisely tailor the amount of sugar you are feeding to the yeast in each bottle, and if desired you can bottle directly from the fermenter. If you have a lot of trub, then mark the first bottle and also the last couple of bottles, because you will almost unavoidably get a little extra sediment in those. (Another vote for using a bottling bucket!) On the other hand, the fewer times you transfer your batch and expose it to air, the better. If you have CO2 handy you can engineer a closed transfer where you are sending your beer into a purged and closed bucket so only CO2 ever touches the beer, and apply a very small amount of CO2 pressure to keep air out as you bottle, and also purge bottles before filling. Such details are nice but can "usually" be dispensed with, if you are careful in all other respects.

I prefer to keg my beer. I find it much less messy and much simpler, and it is easy to do a closed loop transfer. My beer leaves the fermenter via the spigot near the bottom, through a hose, down to the beer out post on a clean, sanitized, and purged keg full of CO2. In order for the beer to flow from the spigot, the resulting vacuum in the fermenter must be relieved, and I don't want to let air in. In order for the beer to flow into the keg, I have to let the CO2 out. So, I connect a line from the CO2 in post on the keg, and run it to the top of the fermenter, As beer transfers, so does the CO2, without overpressurizing or bleeding off CO2 and just wasting it. The beer post has a tube connected to it internally that reaches almost to the bottom of the keg, so in normal operation, gas pressure pushes beer up the tube and out the beer post. The CO2 post just goes into the top of the keg. So when filling the keg, the beer fills from the bottom, up. Only CO2 goes out the gas post and into the fermenter.

You may be wondering how the keg is purged in the first place. First, it is thoroughly washed, with the lid removed. Then it is filled with sanitizing solution , the lid is reinstalled, and the keg allowed to stand overnight. Next day I attach a beer faucet to the beer post, and a CO2 line from the regulator to the gas post. I give it a few pounds of pressure and open the beer faucet. The solution all squirts out the beer faucet into a waiting container, or else into the next keg. Sanitizing solution can be reused and I often reuse it twice before discarding it. So the keg begins full Star-San solution and therefore has no air in it. Then CO2 pushes all the solution out of the keg. All but a tiny dribble in the bottom, which is no big deal if you use the sanitizer at the recommended strength. No air was able to get in, only the CO2, so not the keg is clean, sanitized, and full of pure CO2, ready for closed loop transfer, and the only additional equipment needed is two hoses each with either a gas or a beer connector. They look the same but they are slightly different, which is why they are different colors, usually black for beer and white or gray or beige for gas. Anyway it takes longer to describe it than to just do it.

So, with kegging, it is pretty easy to keep your beer away from oxygen, away from microbes, away from UV light, right into the final storage container, from which it is served glass by glass as needed. Carbonation is simple, too. Simply connect the gas line from your regulator and adjust the regulator for normal serving pressure for the type beer you made. Usually around 5 lbs/in² for stouts and porters and high gravity ales, up to as much as 15psi for something like a light pilsner. Leave it sit for a few days and the beer will carb up. As the beer soaks up CO2, the regulator maintains gas pressure where you set it. Connect your beer line to the beer post and pull your first glass! You should have about 5 to 10 feet of hose coiled up for your beer line so that pressure has a chance to equalize before the faucet, giving you the correct amount of head on the glass instead of a glass half full of foam. The ideal length of your beer line can be calculated if you like. The first glass or two might have some sediment because you are pushing beer up from the very bottom of the keg, but no biggie. Don't judge the keg by the first glass.

Now, your fermenter is empty. Clean and sanitize it, declare a brew day, and get some more wort in there! 5 gallons is only 40 pints, you know, so it is already time to start another batch even if you only drink a glass or two per day. When your keg is empty, clean, sanitize, and purge it. The keg can be kept with a few pounds of pressure in it until you need it for the next batch. That next batch can be safely left in the fermenter an extra week or two, if the keg is not empty and ready for transfer. You can also get additional kegs and fermenters so you never get jammed up. If you have a keg tapped and another keg that you just filled, you can put the fresh keg in the fridge right alongside the tapped one, and put the CO2 line on the new keg for a couple of days to begin carbonating it. The keg on tap will still have enough gas pressure to dispense several glasses, no problem. The longer the new keg is under pressure and in the cold, the better it will be when you tap into that one. You can also tee off the regulator (with valves of course) and have two hoses able to both supply gas to kegs at the same time, or have two regulators so you can supply different pressure to two kegs at once, from the same tank.

I know this might sound complicated, but really, it is simpler and less messy than bottling, and easier to keep your beer from air contact. Carbonation can be precisely controlled. All you need is a corny keg or two, a CO2 tank and regulator, some hose, an old refrigerator, a beer faucet, and glasses. An upright refrigerator with a freezer compartment is great, if you like a cold glass or mug. Keep your glasses in the freezer and you will always have a frosty one for that bright lager that you enjoy good and cold. I keep my martini glasses there, too, and the gin.
 
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