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Got my kegging gear!

Whoooohooooo! So I went out this morning and picked up a keg, CO2 with a reg and the assorted fittings and tubing. The guy I was buying from asked if I plan to force carbonate or naturally carbonate. I was not aware that you would naturally carbonate in the keg. He said that he prefers to bulk condition in the keg with the priming sugar and then allow it to condition for the 3 weeks, and then to purge the sediment leaving clear beer to dispense. He said that he feels that the taste is better and that naturally carbonated beer seems to hold its carbonation in the glass better than force carbonated beer. So how about some opinions. Do you find that one way is preferable?

Forced is quicker, but you could try it both ways and see what you like more. I usually put on gas for a week then tap to see where it’s at/how I’m feeling about it, then either start drinking it or let it condition a little more and take a sample every couple days.

Be sure to check all connection points for leaks.

I used to condition, but got impatient once and found I could not tell the difference on most batches.

Bulk conditioning occurs in either scenario and CO2 is CO2. There may be a taste difference due to the small secondary fermentation taking place when priming with sugar. Agree with Beersk on this, if you’re curious, try both. Personally, I’m sticking with force carbonation unless I want a cask ale.

Edit: congrats on the kegging leap. Best time saving and hassle reducing expense I’ve made so far.

[quote=“Hades”]Bulk conditioning occurs in either scenario and CO2 is CO2. There may be a taste difference due to the small secondary fermentation taking place when priming with sugar. Agree with Beersk on this, if you’re curious, try both. Personally, I’m sticking with force carbonation unless I want a cask ale.

Edit: congrats on the kegging leap. Best time saving and hassle reducing expense I’ve made so far.[/quote]Well said. Plus with much less sediment in the forced keg.

I am glad to hear these responses. It really was not making sense to me that there would be a difference between sources of CO2. I think I will go with forced.

yeah, I would also call shenanigans on your seller’s claim that he can tell the difference. I think its in his head. keg conditioning is a novelty to me…and it seems to negate many of the BENEFITS of kegging!

I have a three tap system, and love it, but I do not subscribe to the notion that kegging is SO much easier than bottling. I think it is very convenient for serving, but I think there is a whole other set of variables/cleaning/maintenance that it introduces that are not present for bottlers. Gotta pay the piper somewhere.

Either way, its a awesome move to get to kegging, I think it opens up a lot of options. With good temp control and yeast pitches, I have gone from 10 days grain to glass with my kegging setup, which is simply not possible when you bottle. Enjoy!

This is probably my second biggest reason for not taking the leap yet (the first being no space in our small house for a keezer/kegerator). Bottling takes me about 1-1.5 hours per batch from sanitizing to capping the last bottle. Yeah it sucks but the idea of cleaning bear lines, fussing with kegs, getting C02 refills from some store many miles from my house, dialing in the line lengths and optimal serving pressure, checking for leaks, etc. just seems quite overwhelming to me.

That said I will eventually take the plunge but I am in no hurry.

The funny thing is that my primary goal for kegging is to be able to fill bottles that I can actually drink from without the sediment at the bottom. My goal is to keg, carbonate, then fill bottles with clean beer.

Kegging does take some work, especially getting everything set up initially, but I think it is the best homebrewing project I’ve undertaken in the last few years. Benefits include:

-Bottling from the keg. I used to keg session beers and bottle the bigger beers that i wanted to age a bit. Now I throw everything in a keg and if I dont want to keep a keg locked up with a barleywine for the next 2 years, I just bottle right from the tap. Best part is I can do it in little bits, a six pack here and there till its all bottled, which makes bottling much less of a pain. Hoping they hold up to oxidation, but so far no issues with bottles that are a good six months out of the keg so I think the process is sound.

-So much easier to blend beers. You can do it by the glass or if you have a good mix put some in bottles for later. Easy to create a multitude of blended beers in small quantities, which would be a pain using traditional bottling methods.

-No carbonation issues. Screwing up a whole batch on bottling day that otherwise went perfect is super frustrating. Not going to happen to me anymore.

-Kegerators are cool and make you cooler by extension. Everyone wants one, because they’re awesome. Never has anyone ever said, ‘oh you have a four-tap kegerator in your house, how lame.’

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