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Fermenting and kegging?

HI, I have a few questions on the brewing process. I’m fairly new to brewing so I don’t understand all the specific’s. I started out doing the 1-2-3 week fermenting. After reading some I now keep in the carboy for 1 month. And keg for 3 weeks. They seem the same to me either way I do it.

One question I have. if my fermenting is usually done in one week why can’t I go right to keg? I know the extra time is for clearing aging but will it taste that much different if I kegged after only I week fermenting. One month seems a little long.

The other question I have is on kegging. Normally I leave in keg for 3 weeks. It seems a little flat. 4 weeks is better and 5 weeks seems better yet. What are your thoughts on this. I put 15 to 20 lbs to start for co 2 and after 3 weeks drop to 10 lbs. and use 1 cup of corn sugar.

Although fermentation is done, by the hydrometer readings, the yeast is still metabolizing different byproducts they produced. I would at least keep it in the primary for 2 weeks. It will finish clearing in the keg. But remember, any time you move the keg you will mix up the sediment. If you have extra kegs, you can jumper it from one keg to another to leave behind the sediment.

If you are force carbonation the beer, there is no need for the sugar. Actually, it is a recipe for over carbonating the beer. So either skip the sugar, or put the keg on 30psi for a couple of minutes to purge the O2 and set the lid. Then take it off the gas to let the sugar make the CO2. Keep the keg at room temp then for 3 weeks.

What temp it the keg at?

If it’s at a serving temp, the CO2 from the tank will go into solution better. At 20psi and 40* it should be at a good carbonation level after 3-4 days. You could speed up the process by shaking the keg a couple times a day.

If you are at room temp, 65-70*, 20psi is not going to get you at a good level no mater how long you let it sit.

http://www.kegerators.com/carbonation-table.php

The kegs are at room temps 65-70 for three weeks at 20 psi. I thought you were suposed to add sugar, No?

To add clarity to the above posters comment. The yeast take 2-7 days during primary fermentation to create the drop in sugar and in doing so create CO2 and ethanol, they also excrete esters, fusel alcohols and other “bad” compounds called VDK and/or diacetyl. The next 2-7 days the yeast are rebuilding their reserves and preparing to go into dormancy. While they are doing this they also go back and re uptake the VDk and diacetyl.

If you were to keg right after primary you would prevent the re uptake of VDK and diacetyl and the beer would be “stuck” with off flavors. Common VDK compounds create green apple, banana and buttered popcorn off flavors along with a host of others.

So there we have two full weeks if your ferment was normal and healthy.
Then you can transfer to a secondary if you wish for another week to drop more yeast and trub and keg at the end of week three-four for most common beers. If you wish just simply skip the secondary and keg after week two if the beer is of low gravity. I find the third and fourth week in secondary helps to also condition out some of the young “green” flavors better than if I keg right after two weeks. YRMV

Quick tip: liquid yeast typically needs to be started with 1-3L of wort before pitching to a normal 5 gallon beer, plus you need to add oxygen to the beer before adding yeast. If using dry yeast strains when learning the basics you have more than enough cells in a sachet of yeast for a 5 gallon beer and dry yeast doesn’t require the cooled wort to be infused with oxygen. So just a super easy way to ensure your first beers have the nessecary cell count and reserves built in to ensure super healthy ferments. Also if no one has introduced you yet, check out mr malty.com and he has a yeast pitching rate calculator that shows how much liquid starter to make or how much dry yeast is required for the beer you are making. See the link below to check it out, its an invaluable tool for yeast

http://www.google.com/url?sa=t&rct=j&q= ... Sg&cad=rja

Kegging and trying to pressurize at room temp is problematic because CO2 dissolves into solution much better at lower temps(serving temp)although you can do it.
To answer your post you can either add sugar like you would to individual bottles and use CO pressure to simply “push” the beer as it will be carbed from the yeast and sugar. But this method is fraught with issues, SO to make things simple you attach the gas to the keg and let it carbonate with the bottle of CO2 and then it is also drafted with the bottle of CO2. So NO additional sugar is used.

Before getting into kegging basics it is pointless to give advice for room temp if you plan at some time to eventually have the keg in the coldbox served cold. What exactly is your plan here?

Well,this is what i have been doing.Primary for one month then kegging for three weeks with 20psi room temps 65-70. I always added 1 cup of sugar.Then placed in kegerator. Beer has always been good. Just seems better on week 4.

My main question is do I need to add sugar to the keg or no sugar and let sit for three weeks at what psi? Not sure the term for Natuaral carbanating. I understand the forced carb thing. So I guess what I’m trying to say is do I need to add sugar if I don’t force carb?
And if so what psi and for how many weeks?
thanks for your help

[quote=“bela”]Well,this is what i have been doing.Primary for one month then kegging for three weeks with 20psi room temps 65-70. I always added 1 cup of sugar.Then placed in kegerator. Beer has always been good. Just seems better on week 4.

My main question is do I need to add sugar to the keg or no sugar and let sit for three weeks at what psi? Not sure the term for Natuaral carbanating. I understand the forced carb thing. So I guess what I’m trying to say is do I need to add sugar if I don’t force carb?
And if so what psi and for how many weeks?
thanks for your help[/quote]

Sorry, but your process stream is confusing to say the least.
No need to “natural carb” this means no adding sugar whatsoever.
No need to condition at room temp.
No need to wait 3-5 weeks to enjoy carbed beer.
No need to run the PSI up and down.
Drop the newly kegged beer in the coldbox, let the yeast compact tightly to the floor of the keg 1-3 days for best clarity results before hooking up the gas to carb/draft. Most kegerators will be drafting beer at 38f if commercially built and most homebrewers including myself draft beer at 38f. So for demonstration I will assume your drafting at 38f(If different refer to the above linked gas chart) attach the gas at 11PSI and make sure your draft line is around 8ft instead of the typical 5ft included in store bought systems. And your beer will be drafting perfect at 2.5 volumes of CO2 within 1-2 weeks.
YRMV as far as what line length but I always find 5ft of 3/16th too short and results in foamy pours and around 8-10ft seems to be the sweet spot.

Then every keg furthermore is always put in the fridge, attach the gas(always set at 11PSI) and drafted effortlessly within 1-2 weeks.

Make sense?

[quote=“bela”]So I guess what I’m trying to say is do I need to add sugar if I don’t force carb?[/quote]I typically brew 11-22 gallon batches, so two to four kegs of a single beer. After primary of ~3 weeks, I rack to kegs and put the first one on gas at 38F, 30 psi for two days then to 15 for another day or two, and it’s ready to drink. The other kegs sit in the walk-in at 60-68F until it’s their time. So no, you do not need to add sugar and let the keg sit for three weeks and you don’t need to force-carb, you can just let them sit until you want to carb them.

Yeah… there’s no reason it should take 3-4 weeks to carb your beer. Even if you were just using sugar, it should only take 1-2 weeks at room temps. But since you are kegging there’s no need to add sugar. There are many different methods for force carbing in a keg as you can tell by all the posts. I use to hook my keg up and set it for 10psi and it would be ready to drink in 7-14 days, but I noticed it wasn’t really carbed well until about day 14. So now, when I hook up my keg I crank to up to 30psi for the first 24hrs then dial it back down to about 10 psi and this has my kegs ready to drink in just about 7 days.

Question with this method… I’ve just started getting my reserves built up to where I have 2 fresh kegs carbing right now (have a dual tap kegerator) and have one keg sitting on deck. Would there be any reason to NOT add priming sugar to the keg while it sits warm (70F) so when one of my first 2 kegs kick I can just hook the new keg up and start drinking right away rather than waiting a week for it to be carbed? I haven’t done this yet, but it seems like an easy way to have a new keg ready quicker and cut down on waiting time.

That is what I do, since I’ve got enough kegs in the pipeline that a beer is going to be sitting out at room temp for at least a few weeks any ways I go ahead and prime with some sugar. I figure it is basically ‘free’ CO2 since sugar is so cheap and then I don’t have to wait for the beer to carb.

Only problem with hooking up and serving right away is that the beer will be at 70 degrees, usually takes my beer a day to drop to kegerator temps. I’ve got a chest freezer that I use for cold condition kegs, cold crashing, etc. which is really nice since as soon as a keg in my kegerator kicks I can grab a cold, carbed (from priming it) to put on tap right away. Means my down time of a tap is only a couple minutes. :cheers:

[quote=“dobe12”]Would there be any reason to NOT add priming sugar to the keg while it sits warm (70F) so when one of my first 2 kegs kick I can just hook the new keg up and start drinking right away rather than waiting a week for it to be carbed?[/quote]I prefer to not have the sediment in the keg or the activity from the yeast stirring it up - sitting for a week or more allows the little bit of sediment left after cold-crashing to fully settle. But you can obviously go that route and make it possible to just chill and dispense the next keg in line.

Cool, thanks! Didn’t think about the sediment… but I guess if the keg sits for a few weeks most will drop to the bottom and will come out in the first pour anyway. I usually have a 1/2 glass or so of yeast anyway because I don’t have the ability to cold crash before kegging.

Thanks for the help. I think I got it now. But just to clarify, If I have kegs I need to store at room temps do I bleed the air out and let them sit? So there would be no sugar or co2 correct?

You will want to add some CO2 to the keg, then bleed it off. This expels most of the oxygen in the head space.

Do this with ~30psi, and leave the CO2 in the keg. This helps to set the seal on the lid.

If you don’t want to carbonate it, stop here.


Now, you can carbonate the keg by leaving the CO2 hooked up. Based on the chart, at ~70* you will need to have the pressure set to ~35psi.

Or, you could add the sugar and then set the lid. But, 1 cup is to much sugar. Closer to 2/3 cup is fine.

Thank you!

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