Keg questions from a kegging noob

Discussion in 'General Brewing Discussions' started by Josh Hughes, Dec 2, 2020.

  1. Josh Hughes

    Josh Hughes Well-Known Member

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    #1 Josh Hughes, Dec 2, 2020
    Last edited: Dec 2, 2020
    1. 1.75 gallon keg, does it hold that much or it like a fermenter that less should be put in? How much?
    2. Will it hurt to put in say 1.3 gallons if Im Using a smaller fermenter for that batch?
    3. PSI to force carbonate? How long will it take to carbonate?
    4. What is a good serving psi?
    5. How long will this stay carbonated once I start drinking it from the keg?
    6. I assume I have to use c02 once it has beer in it. Can I do that and then lager it?
    7. Any special things I need to do when transferring vs my usual with a bottle?
    8. Any other advice or tips I need using the set up I have?
    https://www.northernbrewer.com/products/cannonball-system-mini-regulator
     
  2. Trialben

    Trialben Well-Known Member

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    1 you can fill it right to the brim but not recommended. Keep it below the gas dip tube as you risk beer heading up your gas line into your regulator especially if burst carbing and you've not purged keg before hooking it up.

    2 nope itll carb faster too with more headspace. Just make sure you purge that [email protected] out of the headspace by pulling the pressure release a few times.

    3 you can force carb at 30psi 24hours that'll get you in the bubbly zone go to far and shell be all foam. Or you can set and forget at 10psi but you wont have a good level of carbonation untill next week. I do the later these days no changing regulator pressures.

    4 depends on your beer line length and serving temperature but I find 10psi does a good job.

    5 as long as there is gas on the keg.

    6 lager as you drink I say some of my beers dont lager for too long:p!
     
  3. Bubba Wade

    Bubba Wade Well-Known Member

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    My 2.5 gallon kegs have a volume of 2.6 gallons. You should be able to fill to the top.

    Another option for carbonation is natural carbonation in the keg. I do this for all of my beers. It is kind of a 2 for 1 deal. While the beer is carbonating, it is also getting a chance to mature. I only get yeast in the first half glass. Another option for you.
     
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  4. Josh Hughes

    Josh Hughes Well-Known Member

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    99EA41B2-24C8-49B7-8B69-FD79CB08057C.png Here are the directions. I didn’t see them. It says what you said @Trialben abiut psi
     
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  5. Bubba Wade

    Bubba Wade Well-Known Member

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    And this also saves on the CO2 required.
     
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  6. HighVoltageMan!

    HighVoltageMan! Well-Known Member

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    Trialben hit most of the issues. As far as how long to carbonate, I can and have many times “burst” carbonate in 2 hours. Some say it’s not as good or the bubbles are not as fine, etc. But I’ve been very successful bursting and the beers go on the win competitions and even show up in the best of show. The objective of carbonating is to get co2 to dissolve into solution, the co2 and beer doesn’t care about how it’s done.

    One word of warning and trialben hit on it, is the purge the keg. I fill the keg to the top with starsan solution and force it out with co2. This is the most effective way of doing it and ironically it uses the least amount of co2. I also recommend to do a closed transfer, never allowing the beer to come in contact with the atmosphere.

    Once the beer is in the keg and COLD (it needs to be cold to do this method), set the regulator pressure to 25psi and shake the p1$$ out of it for 5 minutes. Put it back in the fridge for an hour or two and sample. If it’s a little high, then release some pressure and allow the beer to degas a bit. Most times it’s a little low, so I grab a pint and crank up the pressure to 25psi or so and check it after a couple hours. One of the best things about kegging is being able to adjust the co2 levels and get them exactly where you want them.

    Lagering can be done with co2, in fact I believe it’s the best way. The keg is under positive pressure which keeps air out. Once you got that method down or any other for that matter, you can try spunding. That’s mostly what I do now.
     
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  7. Josh Hughes

    Josh Hughes Well-Known Member

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    One word of warning and trialben hit on it, is the purge the keg. I fill the keg to the top with starsan solution and force it out with co2. This is the most effective way of doing it and ironically it uses the least amount of co2. I also recommend to do a closed transfer, never allowing the beer to come in contact with the atmosphere.

    I have no way to do a closed transfer. Also I do not have any other co2 source other than the capsule. It sails once it’s charged to hit the release and it’s then purged. I’m out of my element here so if i sounds dumb...I am :)
     
  8. Trialben

    Trialben Well-Known Member

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    Closed transfer is the next step just purge the headspace like it mentioned in the instructions and it will suffice;).

    Like all things brewing keep it simple get the kegging down pat then if you want have a look at ways to do closed transfers...
     
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  9. Josh Hughes

    Josh Hughes Well-Known Member

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    Pretty exited to get rolling. I’ll read about closed transfers. With the price of these cartridges I’m sure another co2 source will come by summer
     
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  10. Trialben

    Trialben Well-Known Member

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    Yeah like all things buying in bulk saves on $.
    That's why I linked that mini reg that takes cartridges and soda stream bottles I'm sure you could even hook em up to a bottle too.
     
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  11. Josh Hughes

    Josh Hughes Well-Known Member

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    #11 Josh Hughes, Dec 3, 2020
    Last edited: Dec 3, 2020
    Alright thought of a few more questions
    1. Is a 74 ounce cartridge. My guess is that is more than I needed to carb and serve 1.50 gallons. Using the regular do it “turn it off” to conserve co2? Or is it all used/gone?
    2. Let say I decide after I’ve already been drinking out of it that I want to drive to a friends house and share the rest. Is that possible? Can the faucet and co2 be removed and put back on?

    sorry for all the questions. I teach history lol. I read stuff on the NB site but I trust you guys more than those reviews.
     
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  12. Hamner Brewhouse

    Hamner Brewhouse Active Member

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    1. No. As long as you do not have a leak somewhere.
    2. Yes.
     
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  13. Frankenbrewer

    Frankenbrewer Well-Known Member

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    Before Covid, I used to transport a 5 gal keg to a gathering with about 3 to 5 of those cartridges and it looks like the same small regulator. Once the shindig was over, just disconnect everything and travel. There will still be CO2 in the keg.
     
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  14. Josh Hughes

    Josh Hughes Well-Known Member

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  15. HighVoltageMan!

    HighVoltageMan! Well-Known Member

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    #15 HighVoltageMan!, Dec 3, 2020
    Last edited: Dec 3, 2020
    It takes about 6 ounces of co2 to carb up a 5 gallon batch. The bulk of your co2 will go toward serving and the inevitable leak. Gas poppet valve/adapters (the gray deally bob) and gas lines can develop a leaks without you knowing it. The biggest thing is not have a leak in the keg. Most times the leaks are from a lid not on straight or a loose post. Food grade silicon grease can be added the the lid seal to help it seal better. Most home brew places that or something similar.

    I do things a little different than most, I disconnect all serving and co2 line from the keg when not serving and store the beer at 10-12 psi. Some people store at lower pressures, but I prefer a livelier beer with a nice head. There is no reason to leave the co2 connected unless your trying to bring up the carb level or serving more than a couple of pints. A properly sealed keg is a big can of beer, and only needs co2 if the pressure has dropped from serving or has a leak. Even a small leak will drain a 20 pound tank in no time and if it's on the liquid side, it's a big mess. That really sucks.

    A lot people leave them hooked up all the time. If you do that keep an eye out for leaks or just turn off the gas when not serving.
     
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  16. Josh Hughes

    Josh Hughes Well-Known Member

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  17. Donoroto

    Donoroto Well-Known Member

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    @Trialben covered most of it properly.

    To fill your keg from the fermenter, it is preferable to run a hose from the fermenter to the keg "out" port: It has a long dip tube that puts the beer at the bottom (as opposed to the "in" (gas) port, with its short dip tube that'll let the beer drop several inches and splash/oxidize). It is not preferred to pour the beer in through an open lid, but do what you have to. Gravity feed is OK.

    Ideally you will have your keg clean and sanitized, with the lid in place. Purge the O2 as directed in the instructions you posted. Then connect up the beer 'input' hose to the "out" port (unscrew the tap), and a 'blank' quick disconnect to the "in" port (the pic you posted shows it 'blank', meaning not connected to a regulator or hose, so shut off and disconnect the regulator) to allow pressure to escape. You stop filling when liquid comes out this port (assumes you have more than 1.75 gallons of beer). There is some gas head space at the lid, so if the lid is in place you cannot overfill it. You do not need a lot of 'head space' but some is needed.

    If you pour it in, then leave an inch or so, or more. 1.3 gallons easily fits in a 1.75 keg, so you'll be good there.

    To carbonate it, use a carbonation chart, which shows CO2 volumes by temperature and pressure. A really fizzy Hefeweitzen might want 4 volumes, a typical ale 2.5 volumes. Chill the keg good and cold (I use 38F) and first pump in maybe 30 to 40 PSI. Give the keg a shake, and you will hear gas flow in. Repeat a few times, then let it sit overnight to finish letting CO2 dissolve in the liquid. Re-set the pressure the next day to what the carbonation chart says. (You can start at the carb chart value, but it can take a few days to a week to fully carbonate).

    Drop the pressure to maybe 5-8 PSI for serving. For storage, I usually bump the pressure back up to the carb chart value, or it tends to go flat.

    A 74 ounce tank will last a few kegs worth. You should have a shutoff after the regulator, as it generally will not go down completely to zero PSI. A hardware store or Harbor Freight valve will do, $6. It can wait though, because you can leave the CO2 connected most of the time. But you don't have to!

    Note that condensation in a regulator - from chilling it with the keg and then bringing it out to the normal atmosphere - will eventually cause damage. Try to avoid that.

    Lagering in the keg: Yes, no problem, but I suggest you only give it a few PSI (3-6) with the goal of keeping O2 away from the beer. Lagering is a mechanical process, in that the 'haze stuff' sinks to the bottom of the keg. The dip tube will dispense that with the first pour, so expect that the first few may be cloudy.
     
  18. Josh Hughes

    Josh Hughes Well-Known Member

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    Good stuff thanks
     
  19. Bubba Wade

    Bubba Wade Well-Known Member

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    A conversation I had with a co-worker about life of beer in a keg.

    Co-worker: How long does beer last in the keg?
    Me: About 3 weeks.
    Co-worker: What happens then? Does it go bad?
    Me: No. It goes empty.
     
  20. Josh Hughes

    Josh Hughes Well-Known Member

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    :)
     

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