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UPDATED! Some Basic Kegging/Force Carbing Questions

So I decided to try to get a beer ready for Labor Day weekend. Spending the weekend by a lake, all I could think of was some solid suds to enjoy with friends. So, I brewed a session American Wheat on 8/15, thinking it would be fully fermented by 8/25, and I’m leaving for the lake on 8/30.

As it happened, my LHBS had a special on cornies, so I picked one up with hosing, new o-rings, quick connect in/out, and some other stuff. A guy in my club traded me a 5 gallon CO2 tank, and loaned me a regulator.

My two most-pressing questions:

1.) What is the quickest way to carb it and does it work? I don’t have means for refrigeration or getting it to serving temp. I have read about the methods where you attached, set your regulator to 30 or so PSI, set it sideways on your knee, and roll back and forth every hour or so for 24 hours. (please correct me if any of this is inaccurate…complete kegging n00b).

2.) I have about a 5 hour drive ahead of me to get to this lake. My plan is to get the keg there, pack it in a container with some ice, and let it sit for 24 hours or so to settle out and get down to temperature. I will have to rotate the ice all weekend to keep it cool, which isn’t a huge deal…hopefully it will be good enough to kick pretty quickly! If I am doing the ‘quick carb’ method, should I just wait until I get there, or do it at my house?

Many thanks in advance, and my apologies if there is already a thread out there, couldn’t find much on here…

Properly conditioning kegs consistently through force carb can be a little tricky, mainly due to the fact that time is a big factor and people want to drink that beer as soon as they can.

The two key elements are tempreature and preasure. When you know these you can actually predict the exact carb levels - again, the only real variable is time - eventually would be the operative term.

#1 Beer has to be cold or you likely won’t get too far.

Tricks to speed up process:

  1. Set psi to 40-50 and give it a good 80-100 hard shakes. Make sure it settles for a few days so the cO2 can dissolve. Results will be inconsistant and I don’t really recoment it.

  2. Carbontation stone : I have two keg lids with stones attached and they work wonders. Basically the CO2 travels to the bottom of the keg and is dispursed gradually as it rises in the beer. You can speed up the process by setting the regulator higher than desired level, but for best resultes 10-16 psi depending on temperature and desired level works best. Again, given time the beer will be perfectly conditioned.

3)Leaving some space at the top of your keg for a higher volume of gas will also help a little as well, but the only way I have had great success without having to wait forever is with a stone.

[quote=“Brew Meister Smith”]Properly conditioning kegs consistently through force carb can be a little tricky, mainly due to the fact that time is a big factor and people want to drink that beer as soon as they can.

The two key elements are tempreature and preasure. When you know these you can actually predict the exact carb levels - again, the only real variable is time - eventually would be the operative term.

#1 Beer has to be cold or you likely won’t get too far.

Tricks to speed up process:

  1. Set psi to 40-50 and give it a good 80-100 hard shakes. Make sure it settles for a few days so the cO2 can dissolve. Results will be inconsistant and I don’t really recoment it.

  2. Carbontation stone : I have two keg lids with stones attached and they work wonders. Basically the CO2 travels to the bottom of the keg and is dispursed gradually as it rises in the beer. You can speed up the process by setting the regulator higher than desired level, but for best resultes 10-16 psi depending on temperature and desired level works best. Again, given time the beer will be perfectly conditioned.

3)Leaving some space at the top of your keg for a higher volume of gas will also help a little as well, but the only way I have had great success without having to wait forever is with a stone.[/quote]

By “force carb”, you are referring to the method where you roll the keg and try to get the CO2 to diffuse more quickly (as I’m doing) as opposed to dial your regulator in to 10-15 psi, and ‘set it and forget it’

I though the carbonation stone was supposed to attach to the bottom of your dip tube? They claim you can carb beer overnight with one of those.

So, in my situation, would you keg it asap, put it on the CO2, and travel with the keg already carbed?

I may be able to chill it in my fermentation fridge, but only to 50 degrees or so as I have a lager in there right now fermenting.

Is your serving tap line ~5ft long? If so, it’s to short. Go to the store and pick up a 2 piece epoxy glue. Get the spiral twist out of it and put them in the tubing. This will simulate a longer line and give you a better pour.

http://www.grainger.com/Grainger/PC-PRO ... stic-4AUW9

Then, you want to know at what level of carbonation you want to serve the beer at. Most are served between 2.2 and 2.6 volumes.

Then you need to know the temp you will serve it at. Being in an ice bath, will assume ~35.

Looking at this chart, we can then see the psi you need to set the regulator at. ~10 psi for 2.58 volumes.

http://www.kegerators.com/carbonation-table.php

Now, take that 2.58 volumes and “up” the psi’s for the temp you will be carbonating it at. Let’s say 70*. The chart doesn’t go that far, so we can take a guess and say ~35psi at 70* will give you 2.6 volumes.

You can occasionally rock the keg at this setting and not worry about over carbonating it. You could even leave it hooked up while driving and the rocking motion will help get the CO2 into solution.

[quote=“Pietro”]

By “force carb”, you are referring to the method where you roll the keg and try to get the CO2 to diffuse more quickly (as I’m doing) as opposed to dial your regulator in to 10-15 psi, and ‘set it and forget it’

I though the carbonation stone was supposed to attach to the bottom of your dip tube? They claim you can carb beer overnight with one of those.

So, in my situation, would you keg it asap, put it on the CO2, and travel with the keg already carbed?

I may be able to chill it in my fermentation fridge, but only to 50 degrees or so as I have a lager in there right now fermenting.[/quote]

The stones I have, I got from Morebeer.com. They are a modified keg lids with a gas input in the centre. A tube runs from this to the stone which reaches to the bottomof the keg. The idea is you carb your beer, then put the regular cap back on and use the carb lid for another keg. I just found it easier to get a second (and later a third) modified lid and keep it in the keg until it is empty.

You can almost carbonate overnight. For best results I have found a few days work best. If I set it to 10-12psi it will be done in 4-7 days and it will be very stable. If I set it to 20-30 psi I can usually get it done in 24-35 hours, but run the risk of overcarbonation, For my Nitrogen beers I am setting it at 7psi and 2 days seem to be perfect.

If you are force carbonating by rolling the keg (or as I have done - shaking the keg) I would recomend you do it before you leave to give the CO2 time to desolve properly. That way if you only get part of the way there you can finish the job when you get where you are going.

Again, in all cases, the colder the beer the quicker it will carbonate. And with a higher ceiling on the level.

I would try to carbonate it before you go. If it will fit in your 50 degree refrig, put your fermentor in there before your transfer to the keg. Can you do an ice bath? How are you keeping it cold for the long weekend?) After it is in the keg, chill it down as much as possible and connect the Co2. I just recently started setting it to 30 psi for 48 hours and then setting it to serving pressure at 10-12 psi. This has worked great for my last 4 batches and is MUCH faster than when I “set and forget” at 10-12 psi for 7-14 days.

after reading these posts, I will set it in a ice bath. Will ‘crash’ (lightly collide?) the fermenter to 50 degrees, hopefully tonight, depending on whether this persistent krausen has dropped, and how it tastes.

I will rack to the keg on Sunday, stick it in a ice bath overnight, then hook up the CO2, set it to 30 psi, leave it alone for 2 days, which will take me to wednesday. Thursday, I will disconnect from the CO2, stick it in the trunk for a 5 hour ride (hopefully this rocking will get some of the CO2 diffused), then get it in another ice bath when I get to the lake, vent off some of the CO2, hook up the regulator/tank again, and set it to 12 psi overnight.

Should I be rocking the keg when it is set to 30 psi and in the ice bath?

No, dont rock the keg while it is in the ice bath. I have had success with 30 psi for 48 hours as well as 60 psi for roughly 20 hours. These figures all assume the beer is already cold, so get it cold in the ice bath and then hook up the CO2 and start the clock, but dont rock, or it will enter solution quicker and you wont know where your at anymore. You seem to have an understanding, I think you will do fine. Slightly undercarbonated is a MUCH better situation to be in the overcarbonated. If you are overcarbonated you will be kicking yourself and you will look like an idiot, the beer will come out as nothing but foam and when you finally get to sip it after it calms down it will then be flat, not cool. Good luck.

It would not hurt to keep it hooked up to C02 during the drive, if you can also keep it sort of cold. I would have it down to 10-12 psi for that ride.

Got the wheat down to about 50 in my fermentation chest, then racked yesterday to the keg on top of 2oz of Amarillos. Set the regulator to 30 PSI, and rolled it for about 5 minutes until the gurgling noise stopped. Disconnected, let it settle for about 3 hours in an icebath (which I will have to change regularly), then hooked the line back up and set to 11 PSI. According to BYO, it should be good to go tonight, and I will make sure to find out!

Assuming this quick force carb works, my only remaining question mark is what do do with it when transporting, particularly, how to chill it (if at all), whether to leave the tank hooked up, and at what PSI. Also, as I have a sedan, a dog, 2 sets of golf clubs, and a buddy coming with me may make it difficult to transport it while upright (not sure if that matters).

[quote=“Pietro”]Got the wheat down to about 50 in my fermentation chest, then racked yesterday to the keg on top of 2oz of Amarillos.[/quote]Did you put the hops in a bag of some kind?

yeah,didn’t have any muslin bags, so took some cheesecloth, sanitized, tied tight like a bouqui garni thing. Some material was still leaking out of the bag, but hopefully it won’t be large enough to clog the dip tube. Also didn’t weight it down with anything so it is just sitting on the top of the surface.

I would have kept it at 30 psi for 48 hours while chilled. Rolling it will help, but is there a reason you had to pull the plug so soon?

[quote=“Pietro”]yeah,didn’t have any muslin bags, so took some cheesecloth, sanitized, tied tight like a bouqui garni thing.[/quote]The hops are going to swell as they soak up the beer, so you probably want to pull that bundle every now and then to make sure it hasn’t burst.

I went by a description on Winning Homebrew. It seemed to work pretty well, though as I’ve been messing with it, it has lost some CO2 in the solution. Might dial it up a bit again and roll it, with not quite as high pressure on the regulator.

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