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Keg Conditioning Question

I tapped an American Pale Ale last night that I conditioned in the keg. While it was somewhat cloudy at first, there wasn’t as much sediment as I was expecting. Also, the beer was slightly sweeter and slightly less carbonated than I was expecting. When I racked the beer into the keg, it was crystal clear, so I intentionally siphoned up a little of the yeast sediment from the secondary just to be sure that I had sufficient yeas for the conditioning. I let the keg sit at 70 degrees +/- 2 degrees for about 2 1/2 weeks before putting it in the beer fridge for 5 days. It seems to me that the yeast may not have finished conditioning the beer. My questions are two: :?: Since I drew off a few pints to blow out what sediment there was, will there be enough active yeast to continue the conditioning or should I drop a few million new cells in?

Thanks :cheers:

You should have yeast sitting on the bottom, so you could turn the keg on its side and roll it and shake it a little to loosen the yeast, then let it sit another week.

By saying it doesn’t seem to be conditioned, do you mean carbonated?

+1 to what Shadetree said - there is still plenty of yeast in there clinging to the bottom and sides of keg if you feel you want to see if it will carbonate more.

Or, you could just turn up the CO2 on it if the taste is what you want, and you are just looking for carbonation.

Sometimes I condition in the keg (just tapped one 5 minutes ago as a matter of fact) and I generally find that the carbonation is somewhat subdued and finer as compared to the bottle. Part of that may be that I don’t know that kegs are always quite as airtight as bottles. I notice the same thing in my flip top bottles - as compared to capped. Also, in bottles, I don’t know that you ever mix the priming sugar in as well as you think you do, and carbonation can vary from bottle to bottle - not the case in a keg.

You could pull it out and try and let the yeast do their thing, or as your serving pressure should be the same as needed to achieve the same volumes of CO2 just leave it connected. Dissolved CO2 is the same no matter the source, and using pressure and temperature is a lot more accurate than yeast and priming.

My theory on why people think keg conditioned beers have finer carbonation or differences is that it is typical for the keg conditioned ones to be left alone longer and thus get the proper age and conditioning. A lot of folks force carbonate rapidly and may drink the beers before they get some time to condition.

If all other variables were the same, you’d find it hard in blind tests to determine which was the naturally carbonated offering.

Question about keg conditioning and serving. You need to have an external source of CO2 to push the beer wouldn’t you? Seems like a full keg would have relatively little extra CO2 to keep the beer flowing. Maybe if a person conditioned 2.5gal in a 5gal corny (with a generous carbonation level), they might have enough extra pressure to push all the beer out.

Thoughts on this?

[quote=“tom sawyer”]Question about keg conditioning and serving. You need to have an external source of CO2 to push the beer wouldn’t you? Seems like a full keg would have relatively little extra CO2 to keep the beer flowing. Maybe if a person conditioned 2.5gal in a 5gal corny (with a generous carbonation level), they might have enough extra pressure to push all the beer out.

Thoughts on this?[/quote]

It is a simple answer. The carbonation is dissolved in the beer, and once you connect the serving line the pressure in the headspace equalizes quickly so no matter how the beer was carbonated it will not push itself out, and the only way would be to serve using gravity like you’d do with “cask” offerings, and you’d then have to vent the keg as well, letting in oxygen. Beer will not last this way but a few days at most due to oxidation and the CO2 coming out of solution.

There are lots of simple CO2 rigs out there for serving, and clearly worth the investment for us beer hobbyists.

I usually tap my kegs without CO2 on them, but I have to charge them up a little every few days. I do it this way because I only have one CO2 tank and I’m constantly carbonating new kegs with it. I can pull quite a few pints out of the partial batches before I have to recharge. I don’t think the full ones last that long even, just because the head space is the only part that is holding pressure. I don’t think the liquid is under pressure as much as the head space although the CO2 does dissolve.

Just get some splitters or “T” fittings, or a manifold for your CO2 lines and eliminate all that tinkering. Such a setup can be built cheap and enable you to be serving and carbonating as many kegs as needed at the same time.

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