I want to force carbonate my first batch of homebrew. I’ve read about the shake method and the set and forget method. What is the fastest method to force carbonate? How much psi and for how long?
If you do not want to risk over carbonating your first brew, get it cold overnight and then set the regulator at 12 psi and shake, rattle and roll for 5 minutes until you hear no more gas going in. It will be perfect. Keep in mind that green beer takes a few weeks to taste right.
I have read, but have no experience with it, that shaking the keg to carbonate can “use up” the compounds that help head retention. Anyone who uses the shaking method find that their beer doesn’t have good head?
Nope, not me. I only shake the first keg but still let it sit for a few weeks. Head is nice and tight bubbles, creamy and lots of lace.
The “foam-once” hypothesis is controversial anyway (there’s a great thread about it on ProBrewer), but even if it is more or less accurate, you shouldn’t get much foaming in a keg. The CO2 is going into solution, not coming out.
I force carbonate at 50 psi with the beer at 65 degrees. Takes about 60 seconds of vigorous shaking. Kegs should be filled as much as practicable.
Warning - it is very easy to overcarb if you are not careful. Lower temps or more than a couple of inches of headspace in the top of the keg can lead to overcarbing.
Kai tested this to what seemed like an extreme level to me and couldn’t see any diffence shaken vs. unshaken.Kai’s experiment
I’ve force carbed/shaken several kegs of beer and never had a complaint about the head retention. I’ve recently had a ‘whoops’ situation where I was doing a keg-keg transfer and the source ran dry, so was pumping pure CO2 into the bottom of the open receiving keg for about a min. I came out to the garage to a volcano of foam violently shooting from the open keg. Anyway, the beer had a thick, long lasting head the next day. I’m thinking that whatever effect shaking has on head-positive proteins, it’s too small for us to observe anecdotally, and not worth worrying about.