"Shake and Make" vs. "Set It and Forget It"

Ok, so I’m new to kegging, and recently picked up the Northern Brewer “Draft Brewer Flex Keg System.”

I have an Irish Red in one right now, that has been in a fridge (along with the CO2 bottle - if folks want to know that…) for about a week now at roughly 36 degrees set at roughly 12psi.

Beer foams like a beast and tastes flat even after a careful pour. While I am going to start playing with line/hose length (comes out WAY too fast I think), I am curious about the two types of “force carbing” philosophies indicated in the title.

For those that “Shake and Make” to carb faster, are you setting your initial psi higher than the “pour” pressure, or are you setting at the pressure you’ll keep for serving?

If a HIGHER pressure than at serving, are you bleeding pressure off prior to pouring? [seems intuitive, but figured I’d ask]

For “Shake and Make,” does it still take two weeks or so to “hydrate” the CO2 (as I have read - and been told - it takes for “Set and Forget”), or does that go quicker as well?

I’d appreciate any thoughts folks might have on the matter. …getting my beers dialed in to “awesome,” so I’m trying to match my kegging/serving to 'em!


I will force carb at 30 PSI, shake the keg vigorously, many times, keep the air on while you shake it. Now put in the fudge, without the CO. Yes its got some head, but, still needs to dissolve into your brew to get “awesome”. The quick way helps you to get to drinking it sooner. I usually pour at 8 - 10 PSI. Sneezles61

What you’re experiencing is the CO2 not be hydrated. Its carbed but not fully hydrated and staying in solution. No matter what method you use this takes time. Shaken carbed beer will be lie fountain pop… carbed but quick dissipating head.

Your foaming is likely caused by too short of a line. What are you serving out of? Picnic tap or tower? Another cause of foamy beer is the temp of the line itself. If you’re using a tower the beer sitting in the tower out of the kegerator can warm up making it less able to hold the volume of CO2, thus causing foaming.


Yeah… just learning about the hydration of the CO2 and the length of the line now. …gotta calculate what I need because it is clear that the hose that came with the kit is way too short.

For my set-up now, it’s the stock kit that NB sells, so the “picnic” tap. But… the entire set-up is in the fridge - from CO2 canister to the keg to the tap. All at 38 degrees right now.

…I’ve stopped “testing” it, and will come back to it in a few more days to see how it is; been in the fridge for about a week or so now.

My line length was by chance. 30’ divided for four taps. 7.5’ at 10-11 psi gives me a great pour.

I do set and forget, usually two weeks.

Carbon monoxide is never a good thing to add to beer. Fudge would be good with an imperial stout though. :wink:

Yeah I saw that…. I reread 2 times before posting it too!! Geez, I think this would be a good time fer a cold brew! Sneezles61 :cheers:

I’m still not sold on the force carb thing, yes you can do it and I have but the beer is not " right" in less than 2 weeks IMO.I try to let it carb at 12-15psi for three weeks before I start hitting if hard. Of course I test it along the way. It took me a while to get enough kegs full to be able to leave it in reserve. As far as lines go if you keep your picnic tap and five feet of line in the fridge you should be able to get a good pour.

So, yesterday after work I stopped at Bent Paddle brewery and enjoyed 2 pints of their craft brews. I did get to talk to one of the employees about carbing. I was told they will carb a full batch in 4 hours! So just after picking myself up off the floor I asked how they do it. They will get it to the mid 30’s, fer temp and then , in the bottom of the tank are 2, 4’ stones that that they force CO2 through. Kinda like the aquarium stones… So with that knowledge I will try that in my operation… Imagine. I was also told they will get their ales out in 9-11 days and lagers out in 28 days! Whew, its good to visit the breweries when not too busy. Sneezles61 :blah:

They make keg lids with carb stones attached. Or you can attach a line to your gas in diptube with a stone and get the same effect. Thing is the CO2 is still not hydrated so the head will dissipate quickly.

I have never heard this described any better than the fountain soda vs. canned/bottled soda analogy. Fountain is carbed immediately before you drink it, so the mouthfeel of that is truly of unhydrolyzed CO2. Same goes for Sneezles’ craft brewery friends.

Some styles it can work, but slow rolling it will almost always provide a smoother more refined carbonation.

I usually always do the set it and forget it method. As you’ve noted, about a week into it I can get a taste and it has a head that dissipates rather quickly. Trust me when I say how much better it is a week after that.

My experience with lines has been a bit tricky. Every beer is different too, so if you have a beer like a hefeweizen on tap (style calls for higher carbonation) and maybe an IPA on the other tap (lower), you’ll have some differences unless you have independent regulators to set different PSI for each keg. Too much work and money for me, so I set it to a good average among the beers I have on tap and let it ride, of course taking my beer lines into account. I have 5 foot lines due to space constraints, so I set it to 16 psi.

Also, remember there is the type of beer line you’re using. The lines should be cold, so either enclosed in the fridge or if they don’t fit they can be wrapped in some foam insulation to keep them as cold as possible. Different beer lines have slightly different resistance too, so keep that in mind.