Back to Shopping at NorthernBrewer.com

Pros & Cons of quick carbonation techniques?

Hi everyone,

Well, I finally have a basic ball-lock system and have a keg filled with cider chilling in the new mini fridge. This fridge (a Danby w/o a freezer) can get really cold (in the 10 F range), so I’ve been slowly fussing with the settings to get my keg near 35 degrees without accidentally freezing it.

So, my question is on techniques for forced carbonation. I know of 3 approaches:

  1. Chill keg and pressurize to serving temp (8-10 psi) and wait up to 2 weeks, maybe longer.
  2. Chill keg and pressurize to 20-30 psi and wait 2-3 days, decompress and serve.
  3. Chill keg and pressurize to 30 psi, and roll the keg on the floor for 2-3 minutes, then let it sit at that pressure for at least an hour but not longer than 24 hours, decompress and serve.

I am impatient to try my cider of course, so is there any difference in the quality of carbonation between the above approaches? I’m concerned that the speedy techniques may produce a harsh soda pop kind of mouth feel, but I can’t find much info that compares the results of the techniques.

Thanks for your help!

I do #2 and I don’t feel there is any draw backs. Co2 is co2 it doesn’t matter how it gets it will taste the same, unless you over carb your beer.

I always opt for option 1, simply because I have time.

Yes CO2 is CO2, but there is actually a change that occurs that is time-dependent and it does change the character of the carbonation.

CO2 in solution undergoes a ‘hydration’ process that does take time. I’m sure everyone is familiar with the big bubbles we see when we get a soda out of a fountain system. The CO2 was injected into the water just before serving and that CO2 is not hydrated. We see the same thing in freshly force-carbonated beer…big bubbles. However, when that carbonated beer has the opportunity to hydrate the CO2 over the course of about 2 weeks, the carbonation bubbles become much finer. Some people say that bottle-conditioning makes finer bubbles, but that is not the case. It is just that the bottle-conditioned beers have had the time to hydrate the CO2 as the beer sat in the bottle becoming carbonated.

So yes, you can carbonate quickly and have a fine beer. But if you wait another couple of weeks, the carbonation will have a finer quality.

1 Like

Thanks guys! I’m moderately pressed for time - promised cider for friends by next Friday, so that gives me a bit over 6 days. So for my first time out I’ll do the 20 psi for 2-3 days. I have another batch of cider ready that I will try to do the low psi method on just to see if I notice a difference. Everything I have read about the “roll the keg” method mentions having to release CO2 due to over carbonation, so I wasn’t that keen on doing that.

If you want to do the rolling around method set your regulator at serving pressure then roll around the keg. You can’t over carbonate at serving pressure. Good luck.

1 Like

That’s a new idea to me. How much time does it save, say compared to the 2-3 sit at 20 psi?

I’ve never done it that way just read about on here. With cold beer and psi at 10-12psi just keep shaking it till you can’t hear the co2 going it to the keg any more. After that it should be carbed. I like setting it at 30 and checking it after 24 hr and resetting to 30 if more is needed. This normally takes 24-48 hr.

This is how I do it. I don’t have extra room in my fridge to do the sit and wait two weeks method (unless I want to disconnect one of my two taps), so I force carb at serving temperature, shaking the keg until the gas stops entering, right after filling the keg. It is true that the carbonation doesn’t taste right immediately, but that’s why I force carb when filling, and by the time I put the beer on-line it is right on.

Martin’s two weeks comment sounds about right, but it is a gradual thing (with I suspect a logarithmic slope), so given 4-5 days it will be most of the way there.

Fastest way I’ve found without over carbing is to take a piece of hose and on the end put a carb stone. Then cut the hose so it reaches the bottom of the keg then attach to your gas tube. Turn up the pressure to 25 LBs wait one minute release the vent then repeat 3 or 4 more times release then set the psi at say 10 lbs and enjoy. One thing make sure you chill it first.
It may not be fully carbed but good enough to drink.

SUCCESS! I ended up sort of combining 2 quick methods. I held it at 20 psi for 48 hours, which wasn’t quite long enough. Impatient, I then cranked it to 30 psi and rolled the keg for about 15-20 seconds.

Oh - I learned something important here. MAKE SURE THE PRV IS CLOSED BEFORE TIPPING KEG ON ITS SIDE AND CRANKING THE PRESSURE TO 30 PSI. Just sayin’ you don’t want to do that. :oops: Actually made my hubby shriek out of fear!

[quote=“estimac”]SUCCESS! I ended up sort of combining 2 quick methods. I held it at 20 psi for 48 hours, which wasn’t quite long enough. Impatient, I then cranked it to 30 psi and rolled the keg for about 15-20 seconds.

Oh - I learned something important here. MAKE SURE THE PRV IS CLOSED BEFORE TIPPING KEG ON ITS SIDE AND CRANKING THE PRESSURE TO 30 PSI. Just sayin’ you don’t want to do that. :oops: Actually made my hubby shriek out of fear![/quote]

:lol:

Back to Shopping at NorthernBrewer.com