New kegger.. Force carb question

So after 4 years of bottling I’m officially in the keg game. I kegged a beer/cider last night and all went well. I opted to go with the set and forget method of carbonating because I’m not 100% comfortable with the workings of a keg. Blasting it with huge amount of pressure didn’t seem like the best way.

I read about a method of hitting it with an initial blast and then setting it to the value the beer will end up being carbed and served at. Can anyone offer and input on that? Time at initial pressure? I’m not in a huge rush but an initial boost without risking over carbonating would be perfect.

On some of my kegs I’ll hit with 30 psi, not to carb, but to seat the lid. After that I turn it down to 11 and leave it.
The other kegs I just leave at 11 psi, purge and wait for a couple weeks. No risk of over carbing with either.

If I want to serve a beer very soon after kegging I might set it to 25-30psi for 24-36 hours, then drop it to a style dependent psi. I can usually serve in a few days like that but it’s still better after it’s been in the keg a few weeks. So I try not to rush them if I don’t have to, preferring to set and forget for a couple weeks.

Ive tried a few different ways but no matter it still takes 2 weeks to peak. IMO


Set the regulator to 30 PSI, hook it up to the keg, roll the keg 90 degrees back and forth 30-35 times, disconnect the gas, sit the keg upright for 1 hour minimum, 24 hours maximum, bleed all the gas off, set to appropriate serving psi based on temp and desired volumes (many charts are available), serve.

Longer version(thanks to @mabrungard for finally explaining this properly) :

“Setting and forgetting” will give you hydrolyzed CO2, where quick carbing will give you unhydrolyzed CO2. The best way to think of this is the difference between a fountain soda (carbed right before serving, ‘rougher’ carbonation) and the same soda brand in a bottle (somewhat smoother). “Force Carbing” just refers to using a CO2 tank to get CO2 into the beer (whether its quick or short), as opposed to natural carbing, where you use yeast to get CO2 dissolved in the beer.

For certain styles, a ‘rough’ CO2 works. I make a highly-hopped cream ale (basically an ale version of a classic american pils) that tastes great with the rough CO2. Gives it an ‘edge’ and a little more bite. Though I have to admit, it tastes better after a week or two. Most beers will benefit from a better mouthfeel from a slow-rolled carbonation.

What I do not know, however, is how long CO2 takes to hydrolyze (may depend on the individual beer and its chemical composition). So the ‘jumpstart’ that Danny refers to might be a happy medium.