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Thread: How to carbonate. I don't want to force Carbonate

  1. #1
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    How to carbonate. I don't want to force Carbonate

    This is the first beer that I'm going to Keg.

    I've helped other friends keg and I've decided that I don't want to force carbonate. I'd rather just slowly carbonate.

    Why? Every time I kegged with a friend, their force carbonating experience always ended up to foamy and over carbonated and extremely difficult to lower the carbonation without losing a lot of beer in the foam.

    So... that being said, should I just turn the pressure up to the level that I will eventually want to serve it at, and leave it for a week or so?

    Thanks
    brandon
    Currently finishing a keg of an Imperial Pumpkin Ale that I brewed for Christmas. The best Pumpkin ale I've ever had.

  2. #2
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    Need a couple of definitions here. There are two ways to carbonate beer, natural carbonation and force carbonation (carb for short). Natural carb comes from the fermentation of the beer, which can be done by adding priming sugar, or "Krausening," which is done by adding a measure of unfermented but pitched beer to the finished beer right before kegging or bottling. Of course, that works better in a production brewery whereI you have plenty of the same product in the various stages of the brewing process at any one time. Anything else is force carbing.

    I think you're referring to "rushed" carbing, where the beer is agitated somehow to present much more liquid surface area to high-pressure CO2 to get it carbed fast. As you noted, it's real easy to overshoot and end up with the tap box equivalent of a foamy fire hose. Yes, you can, and I think ought, to carb at serving pressure for a week and not worry about fire hose spigots. That's what I do. The only twist I put on the process is I use my reserve CO2 cylinder to force carb, and carb at room temperature. I run my kgrtr at 42 F and 12 psi. So to get the same level of carbonation into the beer at room temp (~65 F), I force cab at 25 psi. Once the keg gets chilled, the vapor pressure drops to 12 psi.

    The Germans take this whole thing one step further, kowtowing to the Reinheitsgebot. In order to not put anything but the four ingredients into the beer, they collect the CO2 from the fermenters and use that CO2 to force carb the beer. Schneaky.
    Last edited by Mill Rat; 05-16-2013 at 07:38 PM. Reason: Not timing out before I finish typing.
    On deck: a clone of Carolina Beer Co's Rye Stout, clone of Breckenridge's Vanilla Porter,
    Primary: Schwarzbier
    Secondary: Dortmunder, Hopweizen
    Keg Conditioning: Dunkelweizen, Roggenbier, Okto, Ord. Bitter
    On tap: Alt, Hefeweizen, Cigar City Maduro clone, Mild
    Bottled: Mead, Quad Rajet, Granola Bar Braggot

    Too much of everything is just enough.
    - J. Garcia

  3. #3
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    I put my kegs in the fridge, let them sit until they've reached serving temps and then I hook them to gas at serving pressure, usually around 10-12 psi. 2 days late I pull a flat pint and drink it. The next day I pull a oint and it will be slightly less than flat, by the 4th or 5th day the beer is pouring perfectly carbonated pints.
    Never put more pressure on the keg than is required to pour a good pint, you'll spend half the life of the keg making adjustments.
    It's always time for a beer

    On tap:Crabapple Brett Blonde, Cherry Brett Blonde, Rye Stout,Sour Porter,Oatmeal Stout, Amarillo Wheat, Saison, ESB
    Primary:Pecan Smoked Roggenbier
    Bottled:2006 crabapple cider,Cherry Brett,Black Braggot,2 Prickly Pear Meads(1996 and 2006),Sour Pumpkin
    Lagering: Pecan Rauchbock
    Secondary: apple cider vinegar
    Next: Porter/Vanilla Bourbon Porter,

  4. #4
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    That seems to be the complaint that I always hear about force carbonating at higher pressures or shaking the keg, etc.

    What is the appropriate serving pressure? you mention 10-12 psi. It that right?

    Thanks
    Currently finishing a keg of an Imperial Pumpkin Ale that I brewed for Christmas. The best Pumpkin ale I've ever had.

  5. #5
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    Anywhere from 10 to 15 PSI. The higher protein you get from all-malt brewing seems to push toward the lower pressures to keep foaming under control. If you put a lot of distance between the kegs and the faucets, you'll want to run higher pressures (and put in a glycol system), but that's not often a home kgrtr problem.
    On deck: a clone of Carolina Beer Co's Rye Stout, clone of Breckenridge's Vanilla Porter,
    Primary: Schwarzbier
    Secondary: Dortmunder, Hopweizen
    Keg Conditioning: Dunkelweizen, Roggenbier, Okto, Ord. Bitter
    On tap: Alt, Hefeweizen, Cigar City Maduro clone, Mild
    Bottled: Mead, Quad Rajet, Granola Bar Braggot

    Too much of everything is just enough.
    - J. Garcia

  6. #6
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    It depends. 12 psi works for me with 7 foot lines, 37/38F temp and taps at the level of the keg tops. But carbonating slowly at serving temp and pressure is the ideal way to go if possible and you have a couple of extra days
    It's always time for a beer

    On tap:Crabapple Brett Blonde, Cherry Brett Blonde, Rye Stout,Sour Porter,Oatmeal Stout, Amarillo Wheat, Saison, ESB
    Primary:Pecan Smoked Roggenbier
    Bottled:2006 crabapple cider,Cherry Brett,Black Braggot,2 Prickly Pear Meads(1996 and 2006),Sour Pumpkin
    Lagering: Pecan Rauchbock
    Secondary: apple cider vinegar
    Next: Porter/Vanilla Bourbon Porter,

  7. #7
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    Here's my recipe: BYO's Torpedo Extra IPA clone.

    2 Row - 14 lb
    C-60 - 11 oz
    Hops - A whole freaking tun (<-Ha ha. Tun. Get it?).

    Gas and liquid lines are either 4 or 5 feet. Let's say 4 feet.
    Currently finishing a keg of an Imperial Pumpkin Ale that I brewed for Christmas. The best Pumpkin ale I've ever had.

  8. #8
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    Bran, four-foot liquid lines are asking for trouble, or at least a lot of foam. When any carbonated liquid experiences a sudden pressure drop, it foams. When the pressure drop is gradual, it doesn't. As a liquid flows in a pipe or hose, it experiences a gradual pressure drop. When it passes through a faucet, the pressure drops suddenly. A balanced gas system has just enough pressure in the keg to overcome the pressure drop in the liquid line and deliver beer out the faucet at an acceptable rate. Narrow hoses have greater pressure drop per unit length than larger hoses. So plan on getting 6-7 foot long 3/16" liquid lines for each faucet, and them you can trim them if the delivery is too slow. You really can't lengthen the lines, because splicers will create one of those sudden pressure drop points. Good luck.
    On deck: a clone of Carolina Beer Co's Rye Stout, clone of Breckenridge's Vanilla Porter,
    Primary: Schwarzbier
    Secondary: Dortmunder, Hopweizen
    Keg Conditioning: Dunkelweizen, Roggenbier, Okto, Ord. Bitter
    On tap: Alt, Hefeweizen, Cigar City Maduro clone, Mild
    Bottled: Mead, Quad Rajet, Granola Bar Braggot

    Too much of everything is just enough.
    - J. Garcia

  9. #9
    Join Date
    May 2008
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    51
    Corky -

    Maybe a silly question, and certainly late as far as the original post, but when you say, "I put my kegs in the fridge, let them sit until they've reached serving temps and then I hook them to gas at serving pressure, usually around 10-12 psi. 2 days late I pull a flat pint and drink it. The next day I pull a pint and it will be slightly less than flat, by the 4th or 5th day the beer is pouring perfectly carbonated pints." - is the pulling a flat pint 2 days later necessary/part of the carbing process?

    If you were to just wait the 5 days (I know, sometimes you just can't) would you still be pouring the perfectly carb'd pints?

    As I said, maybe silly/obvious, but maybe there's no such thing. At least that's what I keep telling myself.

  10. #10
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    303
    I finally had to just set the CO2 at serving pressure then wait.

    But I recently did a 2nd beer (Choc Oatmeal Stout 8.5% ABV). I decided to add priming sugar to the keg and let it carbonate naturally (Basically bottle conditioning in the keg). Oh My GOD! That was so much easier. And personally I think tastier. It carbonated within 2 days.
    Now I just turn the keg on once a week to fill up the dead space, to keep the positive pressure up so it runs out.

    I guess it's like cask conditioning. Either way. It's awesome. I recommend trying it.
    Currently finishing a keg of an Imperial Pumpkin Ale that I brewed for Christmas. The best Pumpkin ale I've ever had.

  11. #11
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    Sounds good, Bran. I might have to try that.
    On deck: a clone of Carolina Beer Co's Rye Stout, clone of Breckenridge's Vanilla Porter,
    Primary: Schwarzbier
    Secondary: Dortmunder, Hopweizen
    Keg Conditioning: Dunkelweizen, Roggenbier, Okto, Ord. Bitter
    On tap: Alt, Hefeweizen, Cigar City Maduro clone, Mild
    Bottled: Mead, Quad Rajet, Granola Bar Braggot

    Too much of everything is just enough.
    - J. Garcia

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