Author Topic: Kegging and Carbonation?  (Read 1459 times)

Offline CR

  • BeerSmith Grandmaster Brewer
  • *****
  • Posts: 287
  • Karma: 4
Kegging and Carbonation?
« on: January 06, 2010, 08:37:05 AM »
Why not use natural fermentation for the carbonation?
Why all the exercise to inject CO2 into the beer when you could simply add a little sugar and let it self carbonate?


Offline UselessBrewing

  • BeerSmith Grandmaster Brewer
  • *****
  • Posts: 1115
  • Karma: 19
  • Useless Brewing
    • Useless Brewing
Re: Kegging and Carbonation?
« Reply #1 on: January 07, 2010, 06:25:31 AM »
Some do, some don't. I don't, Why? Because I'm lazy. I don't want to boil DME, wait for it to cool, and then add it. I just transfer to the keg, and hook up the lines, Done! If there is a benefit from natural carbonation in a keg, I have yet to see it. So why go through the extra steps?

Cheers
Preston

The woodpecker pecks, Not to annoy, But to survive!

Offline CR

  • BeerSmith Grandmaster Brewer
  • *****
  • Posts: 287
  • Karma: 4
Re: Kegging and Carbonation?
« Reply #2 on: January 07, 2010, 07:18:06 AM »
Now I'm confused.
It is more effort to  add a little sugar to the beer before kegging than it is to invoke the carbonation process and equipment?

Mind you, I  have not even eyeballed a carbonation system all set up and running let alone used one,  but aren't there the up front costs,  CO2 pressure tank refills, connections to be made and tested each time, lines and connections to clean,  and some other things to do that all must happen for each batch~?
What I presume to be  a fair bit of exercise  and cost  make up  the reason I posed the question.

I must be missing something.

But then there are tablets you can just toss in the keg with the beer and close it up ~ ~ ~yes?
Do the tablets work as well as CO2 pressure tanks and sparging stones?


I have thought of  kegging  as merely a way to avoid the bottling stage. Filling capping exposing to air etc.
In the respect it seems like a good idea but then there's lines and chillers and plumbing to assemble pay for and maintain.
Some guys have a little bar of sorts where they have their keg chiller and beer spigots, some guys have posts talking about chilling the lines from the cellar or garage based kegs. It seems like a lot of effort. Those lines need cleaning and care. I'll never have that "wet bar" location.  I have a large enough house, but there's really no place were a bar (wet or dry)  would make sense in this building.
So If I kegged I'd be running up and down from a dusty dirty 250 year old Cellar for each refill. 
I may never get to the "keg" experience.  It may never be practical for me.





Offline 88Q

  • BeerSmith Grandmaster Brewer
  • *****
  • Posts: 145
  • Karma: 3
Re: Kegging and Carbonation?
« Reply #3 on: January 07, 2010, 09:45:39 AM »
For what my 2 cents are worth.... I have been doing a combination carbonation for years. I boil a little DME, add it to the bucket, keg it (Sankey) and then in the keggerator and put the CO2 to it at about 10-12 psi.Drop the CO2 to about 5 for delivery once ready.

 My take after years of doing this is that you get a much better (and creamy) head adding a sugar than just CO2, but the downside is that the first glass or two off the keg have lotsa sediment. But then, (and this could be just my observation) the beers always seem to be clearer that in a CO2 only batch.  But it really doesn't seem to take that much trouble. And in a CO2 only batch, it seems to take longer to bubble up. Could just be my setup.

I have a Pliny the Elder clone about to go in the cooler (what a FUN beer that was) , and I am going to CO2 only that one and see if my theories hold true. As a pretty big IPA, head isn't as important to me as a clear crisp beer.
88Q

Offline stevemwazup

  • BeerSmith Grandmaster Brewer
  • *****
  • Posts: 115
  • Karma: 1
Re: Kegging and Carbonation?
« Reply #4 on: January 07, 2010, 09:55:55 AM »
Mind you, I  have not even eyeballed a carbonation system all set up and running let alone used one,  

     So if you wanted to use priming sugar in the keg to carbonate your beer yes that would work.
I do have a some questions for you though. What keg set up do you have, just the keg and tap, or do you also have a regulator and tank? From your post it seems like you might just have a keg and tap.

I would think (and I've been proven wrong many times :) ) priming sugar would carbonate your beer in the keg, but I wouldn't think there would be enough pressure to pour out 5 gals of beer evenly.  Adding too much priming sugar would just over carbonate your beer and give you massive foam, and still might not have enough pressure to pour out the last gallon or so.
Just a thought.
stevemwazup

Offline CR

  • BeerSmith Grandmaster Brewer
  • *****
  • Posts: 287
  • Karma: 4
Re: Kegging and Carbonation?
« Reply #5 on: January 07, 2010, 01:51:49 PM »
Quote
 So if you wanted to use priming sugar in the keg to carbonate your beer yes that would work.
Cool, However would one need the CO2 anyway if for no other reason  just to keep the pressure up so the beer didn't go flat and was pump-able?

Quote
I do have a some questions for you though. What keg set up do you have, just the keg and tap, or do you also have a regulator and tank? From your post it seems like you might just have a keg and tap.

I have four SST 5-gallon  Cornelius kegs that came from the soda industry.
If I used 'em I'd have to replace the poppet valves etc., but they are clean and solid.
That's it. I got nuthin else.  I have always bottled my  beer.


Quote
I would think (and I've been proven wrong many times :) ) priming sugar would carbonate your beer in the keg, but I wouldn't think there would be enough pressure to pour out 5 gals of beer evenly.

Yah, that's occurred to me.  Pressurized CO2 is prolly the easiest way to manage that plus keep the beer from going flat

Quote
Adding too much priming sugar would just over carbonate your beer and give you massive foam, and still might not have enough pressure to pour out the last gallon or so.

And test the strength of the keg I should think.  Yeasts can develop considerable pressure if  they have their way with oodles of food in a closed container.  
50 MPa (7251 PSI)  is insufficient to kill yeasts.  Seven-Thousand pounds per Sq inch is way far outside the tolerance of any keg I know of.  I believe you'd need two or three inch thick walls  for that. So if they can live  in pressures at or  above  50 MPa they can tear any  keg made to shreds.

Wild yeasts cannot take pressures higher than 220 MPa   (31,908 PSI).
It should be a  substantial comfort, I should think, to keggers everywhere to know that once yeasts develop pressures about oh say 40,000 PSI that they will probably die off - maybe.
Yeasts are tough little buggers.

Source: http://www.scielo.br/scielo.php?pid=S0100-879X2005000800012&script=sci_arttext


« Last Edit: January 07, 2010, 01:55:52 PM by CR »

Offline UselessBrewing

  • BeerSmith Grandmaster Brewer
  • *****
  • Posts: 1115
  • Karma: 19
  • Useless Brewing
    • Useless Brewing
Re: Kegging and Carbonation?
« Reply #6 on: January 07, 2010, 02:37:10 PM »
Quote
It is more effort to  add a little sugar to the beer before kegging than it is to invoke the carbonation process and equipment?
Yes. Because you transfer off extended primary, or secondary into a CO2 rich environment. Hook up a few lines and your done. My motivating factor was I wanted to be able to drink my beer without having to wait 2-4 weeks for bottle conditioning/carbonation. I still bottle mind you, but only certain styles that require it. Most everything else is keged.
Quote
but aren't there the up front costs,  CO2 pressure tank refills,
Yes but once you own one, that is a nominal cost in the big picture, and I get about 5-6 keg's worth out of a refill so the cost is minimal spread over the 5-6 kegs
Quote
Connections to be made and tested each time,
Yes on the connections but they don't need to be tested. You just hook it up and done.
Quote
lines and connections to clean,  and some other things to do that all must happen for each batch~?
Yes but this is just all part of it. Just like you have to clean the bottles wash off the labels. There is always prep work.
Quote
What I presume to be  a fair bit of exercise  and cost  make up  the reason I posed the question.
No more exercise than bottling IMO. You still jump through hoops for your bottles, If you don't you get infections. As for the cost. I have a simple system one 7lb tank with gauges and a y that splits and feeds two kegs. Total for everything was about $130. I just made room in the beer fridge and I was done.
Quote
I must be missing something.
Ya the ability to drink beer two weeks earlier... (:

Quote
But then there are tablets you can just toss in the keg with the beer and close it up ~ ~ ~yes?
Yes but if you own the keging system you already have everything you need. Why add to the risk of infection...
Quote
Do the tablets work as well as CO2 pressure tanks and sparging stones?
Don't know, never tried them.
Quote
I have thought of  kegging  as merely a way to avoid the bottling stage. Filling capping exposing to air etc.
In the respect it seems like a good idea but then there's lines and chillers and plumbing to assemble pay for and maintain.
I refill my bottle, and clean the lines only occasionally. Once a keg is empty and as long as the two beers are similar,I transfer to the next keg and keep going. everything is clean in the keg, no reason to clean every time.
Quote
Some guys have a little bar of sorts where they have their keg chiller and beer spigots, some guys have posts talking about chilling the lines from the cellar or garage based kegs. It seems like a lot of effort. Those lines need cleaning and care. I'll never have that "wet bar" location.  I have a large enough house, but there's really no place were a bar (wet or dry)  would make sense in this building.
So If I kegged I'd be running up and down from a dusty dirty 250 year old Cellar for each refill. 
I may never get to the "keg" experience.  It may never be practical for me.
Ya, my keg is in the garage. SWMBO wont let me keep the beer fridge in the house ):
The woodpecker pecks, Not to annoy, But to survive!

Offline CR

  • BeerSmith Grandmaster Brewer
  • *****
  • Posts: 287
  • Karma: 4
Re: Kegging and Carbonation?
« Reply #7 on: January 07, 2010, 08:24:57 PM »
Ya, my keg is in the garage. SWMBO wont let me keep the beer fridge in the house ):

You walk out to the garage to fill your mug?
Must help keep the beer belly down.
Hope ya got a freezer there for frosties.

Offline UselessBrewing

  • BeerSmith Grandmaster Brewer
  • *****
  • Posts: 1115
  • Karma: 19
  • Useless Brewing
    • Useless Brewing
Re: Kegging and Carbonation?
« Reply #8 on: January 08, 2010, 09:37:23 AM »
You walk out to the garage to fill your mug?
Must help keep the beer belly down.
Hope ya got a freezer there for frosties.
I keep the Beer fridge in the garage and the mugs in the house. SWMBO likes her beer in a frozen mug also, so she allows that... Go Figure!
As for the beer belly, that's a farce, but it's a Short walk anyhow!    d:

Cheers
Preston
The woodpecker pecks, Not to annoy, But to survive!