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Kegging Noob - Some Questions

Discussion in 'Homebrewing' started by mike_v_sardina, Aug 8, 2012.

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  1. mike_v_sardina

    mike_v_sardina Initiate (147) Apr 12, 2012 Vermont

    Okay - so I am going to keg for the first time, instead of bottling like I typically do...

    First, I do not need to add any priming sugar, correct? I simply skip this step in the recipe/process...

    All that I have to do is rack into a clean and sanitized keg, hook it up to my kegerator, allow the keg to pressurize/carbonated at 10-15 PSI for several days, and then I should be good to pour?

    Am I understanding the process here? It seems so EASY!

    Thanks for any advice/help. Much appreciated, and Cheers!

  2. robinsmv

    robinsmv Initiate (0) Jun 24, 2010 Florida

    That's about it, but a week is usually better the a few days. Also after you rack your beer it is best to pull the pressure relief valve a few times to make sure to get all the air out of the keg and leave onlyl co2 in there. Kegging isn't rocket surgery which is why I love it.

    Ps also make sure to cool the beer to about 38, 10-15 psi won't do much at room temp
    inchrisin likes this.
  3. MutchBrew

    MutchBrew Initiate (0) Jul 5, 2012 Washington

    Yep. you got it right. You can also force carbonate quickly. I usually turn up to 40 psi, let it cool down, and shake vigorously. I do that a few times over the first 24-36 hours. I usually drink a couple pints testing it after the first 24 hours.... :sunglasses: Then I turn it down to about 12 psi @ 35 degrees and let it rest for another 12 hours. Then tada! wonderfully carbonated beer. You have no worries with what you are doing, it will just take a few days. Cheers.
  4. BobCS

    BobCS Aspirant (200) Sep 15, 2006 New York
    Subscriber Beer Trader

    kegging should be easy!

    if you're going to shake - disconnect your co2 line first, or you can get beer in the line. You can also put a gas line on the "beer out" connection when you're force carbonating to speed things up (makes the gas bubble through the keg rather than just pressurize the head space)

    agree that resting for a few days to a week is good, even if I can get it carbonated in a short time with shaking, it still seems to condition over a few days and is just creamier
  5. VikeMan

    VikeMan Meyvn (1,335) Jul 12, 2009 Pennsylvania
    Beer Trader

    Pressurize according to the volumes of CO2 you want in your beer (similar to using different amounts of sugar when bottling). There are plenty of charts on line that show what pressure you need for X volumes at Y temperature. Then use a beer (liquid side) line sized appropriately for the pressure you're using. (More PSI -> longer line).
    FrostyGrog likes this.
  6. mychalg9

    mychalg9 Champion (848) Apr 8, 2010 Illinois
    Beer Trader

    I'll be kegging for the first time very soon as well, thanks for making this thread.

    MMAJYK Defender (650) Jun 26, 2007 Georgia
    Industry Beer Trader

    All you have to do is cool your beer down, set it at 30 psi for 24 hours, then crank it down to 16 psi for 24 hours, then crank it down to 10 or so (serving pressure) and serve. Easy peasy. This works for most ales. If you want higher carb for a Belgian or something like that, leave it at the middle step for an extra day or two and you are in business.

    My kegs of beer are my babies...you wouldnt shake your baby, would you?! :wink: With this tried and true method, no babies are shaken or harmed in any way.

    All this is relevant on your temp, as Vikeman said, though. I stick to around 40-45 in my kegerator and serving fridge.

  8. epk

    epk Initiate (145) Jun 10, 2008 New Jersey

    I'm in the set it and forget it camp mentioned already. I typically just keep the PSI the same as I use for serving and drop the temp for the corresponding desired volumes. Let it sit for a week or so and raise the temp back up to serving.

    Or at least I think that's what I did for the last few as it's easier to just adjust the temp on the kegerator.
    robinsmv likes this.
  9. VikeMan

    VikeMan Meyvn (1,335) Jul 12, 2009 Pennsylvania
    Beer Trader

    If I understand what you're saying, that's not really set and forget. The reason is that after you achieve your desired CO2 volumes, raising the temp is going to (over time) result in less volumes as your beer is dispensed and the CO2 in the beer equalizes with the headspace (at the higher temp).
  10. epk

    epk Initiate (145) Jun 10, 2008 New Jersey

    Well, I'm pretty sure that's what I did last beer or so, if there was change in carbonation, it was negligible. It certainly makes sense, but if was really detrimental, wouldn't it be a problem for say beer bars as well? They are getting it force carbed at one temp/PSI and serving it at another - or are they? Beer just goes quick enough that it doesn't matter?

    I thought the set and forget really only applied to the fact that I'm setting it XX temp/XX PSI and letting it go for a week (rather than using the high PSI, shake, and purge, or whatever technique that takes a couple days).

    EDIT: And now that I think of it, the difference in temp really isn't that extreme either - I might turn it down to 39, but then back up to 42. So yea, negligible. It might drop .10 of a volume as it slowly equalizes. Maybe I should just leave it at 42 for carbing and serving, or maybe I just like pushing buttons.
  11. VikeMan

    VikeMan Meyvn (1,335) Jul 12, 2009 Pennsylvania
    Beer Trader

    It could be you drank the keg fast. Or it could be that your temperature difference was not large enough to make a big difference in volumes of CO2. Or it could be that the beer had not quite reached the equilibrium volumes you were shooting for before you raised the temp. Or some combination thereof.

    IMO set and forget means setting the PSIs to get CO2 volumes you want at a single (carbonating/serving) temperature. Actually I've never heard of anyone reducing temps just for intitial carbonating and then raising them for serving (unless it was part of a fast force carbing strategy). But if you get good results with what you're doing, I guess it doesn't really matter what it's called.
  12. epk

    epk Initiate (145) Jun 10, 2008 New Jersey

    Eh, I guess I just liked monkeying around with things (I used to mess with the PSI as well). I think I'll just try a true set and forgot for my next one. Thanks for info.
  13. mike_v_sardina

    mike_v_sardina Initiate (147) Apr 12, 2012 Vermont

    Thanks for the solid information guys!

    Another quick question - can I rack it into the keg, and then let it sit awhile before carbonating it? Or do I need to carbonate the beer with my CO2 tank immediately after transferring from the carboy?

    Thanks again.

  14. VikeMan

    VikeMan Meyvn (1,335) Jul 12, 2009 Pennsylvania
    Beer Trader

    You should get the keg under enough pressure to seal the lid in place. (Don't rely on the lid clamp.) But after that, you can wait as long as you want before carbonating.
  15. mikehartigan

    mikehartigan Aspirant (297) Apr 9, 2007 Illinois

    ...keeping in mind, of course, that as the beer absorbs the small quantity of CO2, the pressure will drop, potentially losing the seal. I usually either leave it connected or hit it with enough that there will be enough pressure left to hold a seal.
    tommyguz likes this.
  16. axeman9182

    axeman9182 Initiate (0) Aug 5, 2009 New Jersey
    Beer Trader

    Just wanted to piggyback on this thread rather than bumping my own. If I had a keg carbonated at serving temperature (say 43 degrees), raised that keg's temperature up to 60 degrees or so for a couple days (but don't pour any beer during that time), and then bring the keg back down to 43 degrees, what effect would that have on my carbonation level?

    I ask because I'm planning right now to buy a chest freezer that will both serve as a keezer and a place to ferment my ales a little bit cooler than room temperature in my house (68 degrees), at least for the first few days of fermentation. I'm not sure if this will mess with my keg carbonation levels though.
  17. humalupa

    humalupa Initiate (0) Apr 15, 2010 Michigan

    It shouldn't mess with your carbonation levels as long as the keg has time to equilibrate to the set temperature after it has been recooled. It's no different than buying beer from the cooler, letting it warm to 60 degrees then back down to cooler temperature. No CO2 in, no CO2 out = equally carbonated beer.
  18. axeman9182

    axeman9182 Initiate (0) Aug 5, 2009 New Jersey
    Beer Trader

    Alright cool, thanks. I figured that was probably the case, but I just wanted to make sure before I went out and bought a bigger freezer than I might otherwise need.
  19. ScrewyBrewer

    ScrewyBrewer Initiate (0) Jul 20, 2010 New Jersey

    I treat my corny kegs as if they were large bottles and add priming sugar to them so the beer naturally carbonates. It saves me from having to refill my Co2 tank often since it's only used for dispensing the beer not force carbonating it. Just keep in mind to naturally carb the beer for at least a week at room temperatures before putting it in the fridge to chill down. A few hours before tapping the keg bleed off the excess pressure, this is equal to the psssfft you get when opening a bottle of beer, and hook up your Co2 at serving pressure.

    azorie likes this.
  20. VikeMan

    VikeMan Meyvn (1,335) Jul 12, 2009 Pennsylvania
    Beer Trader

    I serve my beer at the same pressure used to carbonate to the desired CO2 volumes (or in your case of sugar priming, the pressure that would have been needed to get those volumes if not sugar priming), and vary line length (if necessary) to balance. That way the beer stays at the same carbonation level from the start to the finish of the keg.
  21. ScrewyBrewer

    ScrewyBrewer Initiate (0) Jul 20, 2010 New Jersey

    Have you ever tried naturally carbonating you're kegged beer?
  22. mschofield

    mschofield Meyvn (1,450) Oct 16, 2002 Massachusetts

    I usually prime my kegs, only force carb if I need them quickly. Only problem can be getting the kegs to seal sometimes, so I keep one of those little picnic CO2 dispensers handy. Kegerator is in the basement, and I let the kegs carb on my 1st floor (about a 10 degree difference, maybe more in the winter) so they'll carb quicker. otherwise I'd just use my main co2 tank
  23. ScrewyBrewer

    ScrewyBrewer Initiate (0) Jul 20, 2010 New Jersey

    I hit my kegs with 20psi from my 5 pound Co2 tank and gauges and then purge a couple of times, the last purge leaves a few psi to keep the lid sealed tight. They then naturally carbonate/condition at room temperature for at least a week.
  24. Jmdevine03

    Jmdevine03 Initiate (0) Aug 25, 2013 Indiana

    I hooked up my kegerator conversion kit yesterday but I'm having a problem. I set the co2 tank to 10-12 psi but as soon as I pour a beer the pressure drops to almost nothing....what can I do to keep it at a constant pressure?
  25. set4ri

    set4ri Initiate (0) Nov 28, 2014 Virginia

    I just started kegging this past week and found that the pressure dropped after some time. This is really helpful to know, I was afraid there might be a leak I hadn't caught.
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