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Tubing for Force Carbonating

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ESPY

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I just received my keg, regulator, fittings, and tubing today and I'm getting ready to keg my batch that's been sitting in the secondary for almost three weeks. I'm trying to decide whether to force or naturally carbonate my first keg trial.

The gas line that came with the kit I ordered is 5/16" (Foxx Superflex) vinyl tubing. There's an informative article from Zymurgy included in the kit that says "some supply outlets sell regular vinyl tubing, which will burst at the higher pressures necessary for forced carbonation." Burst at 30 psi? Is that true? Do I need a stronger line than this for force carbonating??

Thanks,
SP
 

Janx

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I have never seen a vinyl tubing that would burst at 30 PSI, but who knows I guess. The stuff at the hardware store that is just plain cheap thin-walled vinyl is rated to about 70 or 80 PSI. I would think that's pretty much the minimum.

FWIW, I never buy any special hose line. YMMV.
 

bikebryan

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Why are you force carbonating at such a high pressure? Just set your regulator at the dispensing pressure (I use 12 psi for my ales), hook up the lines and let the keg sit for about 3 to 5 days. The results will be better than cranking up the pressure so you don't have to "wait" for your beer, as you won't over or under carbonate.
 
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ESPY

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bikebryan said:
Why are you force carbonating at such a high pressure? Just set your regulator at the dispensing pressure (I use 12 psi for my ales), hook up the lines and let the keg sit for about 3 to 5 days. The results will be better than cranking up the pressure so you don't have to "wait" for your beer, as you won't over or under carbonate.
Just following the advice I've seen here and read in various how-to's. Crank it to 30 psi, shake it for 3-5 min, wait 24-48 hrs and it's done.
 

Janx

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In my experience, 3 days is never good enough to force carbonate under serving pressure. 5 days rarely is. You can get prefectly good carbonation by shaking it. It'll only overcarbonate if you let it sit too long, but since you're already shaking, that's probably not a problem.

Plus, "serving pressure" varies greatly from setup to setup. If you really want to carbonate without shaking, you need to consult one of the charts that shows the solubility of CO2 in solution at various temps, know the temp of your beer, and know the desired CO2 concentration. Then set it to the appropriate pressure and wait at least a week.

For my money, one of the big reasons to force carbonate is to have the beer ready more quickly than bottle conditioning would allow. So I tend to more often do it like commercial breweries with greater than serving pressure, and then bleed off the pressure after shaking and letting it sit a while. The slower method works fine, and can be controlled more precisely, as bryan points out, though I disagree that the results will be "better".

YMMV.
 

bikebryan

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Janx said:
In my experience, 3 days is never good enough to force carbonate under serving pressure. 5 days rarely is. You can get prefectly good carbonation by shaking it. It'll only overcarbonate if you let it sit too long, but since you're already shaking, that's probably not a problem.

Plus, "serving pressure" varies greatly from setup to setup. If you really want to carbonate without shaking, you need to consult one of the charts that shows the solubility of CO2 in solution at various temps, know the temp of your beer, and know the desired CO2 concentration. Then set it to the appropriate pressure and wait at least a week.

For my money, one of the big reasons to force carbonate is to have the beer ready more quickly than bottle conditioning would allow. So I tend to more often do it like commercial breweries with greater than serving pressure, and then bleed off the pressure after shaking and letting it sit a while. The slower method works fine, and can be controlled more precisely, as bryan points out, though I disagree that the results will be "better".

YMMV.
Well, I never said the results were "better." However, I've never had to wait more than five days for good results, and the carbonation has always been exactly what I wanted. It may seem like a little more work - you do have to know what PSI you want, and what the temp of the solution is - but you need to know that anyway once you re-attach the CO2 to maintain the proper carbonation and provide pressure for serving.

Plus, most beer is better as it ages anyway. What's the extra few days going to hurt?
 
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