kegging and carbonation

Discussion in 'General Brewing Discussions' started by BigfootBrew, Oct 13, 2017.

  1. BigfootBrew

    BigfootBrew New Member

    Joined:
    May 8, 2016
    Messages:
    5
    Likes Received:
    0
    Trophy Points:
    1
    I need some help with my keg system. I am a novice brewer and I have always had a problem with carbonation. Fizz Drops were a total bust, priming sugar seemed to take forever on anything darker than a blonde, and my results were just never consistent. Some some of my beer buddies and I went in on a Drafter Brewer Tap & Keg system. I figured the tap would be great for parties but I could still bottle for easy transport.

    So I set my system up according to instructions. I sanitized everything and filled my keg with a wonderful coffee stout. I dont have the capacity to crash the beer beforehand so my beer is around 67F degrees. I set the keg pressure to 30 psi. I proceeded to do all the force carbonation things I had read online; I turned the keg on its side, I rocked it gently back and forth. I rocked it 300 times as I had read. I left it for three hours to settle. I bottled the beer with a Last Straw bottle filler. I filled 10-12 bottles and then stopped to cap them before moving on. I put one bottle in the fridge overnight, opened it the next day and nothing - no hiss, no fizz, no bubbles. Flat beer. Tasty beer but flat.

    I didnt want to waste the stout so I opened all the bottles and poured them back into the keg. I pressurized the keg to 30 psi again, I laid the keg down again this time making sure the gas intake wasnt submerged. I heard all the things I read that I should. I heard the hissing, I heard the gurgling. I rocked about 250 times before the gurgling stopped. I left it overnight to calm down. Next day, I bottled again with serving pressure around 12-15 psi and again did 10-12 before stopping to cap. I took one bottle and chilled it overnight. Today I went to crack it, barely got a hiss, and poured a very very tasty but ultimately flat beer.

    I am so bitterly disappointed to say the very least. I thought this kegging system would let me go from fermentation vessel to bottle with consistency but clearly I am missing something. Are darker beers just harder to carb? Should I have rocked it more, perhaps on a second day? is 250-300 the magic window or should I have rocked longer? What am I doing wrong?

    Can anyone point a brew noob in the right direction?
     
  2. jeffpn

    jeffpn Well-Known Member

    Joined:
    Apr 28, 2015
    Messages:
    3,240
    Likes Received:
    1,557
    Trophy Points:
    113
    #2 jeffpn, Oct 13, 2017
    Last edited: Oct 13, 2017
    Wait until your beer is cold before you force carb it. I wait a full day after kegging. I don’t bottle, but I don’t believe you can bottle a day after force carbing. The CO2 takes time to properly dissolve in your beer. It’s a good 2 weeks or so before my beer is fully carbed once I tap it. Patience, my friend. In your shoes, I’d wait a month after you set the keg to serving pressure (and temperature) before I’d bottle it.
     
  3. J A

    J A Well-Known Member

    Joined:
    Jan 19, 2016
    Messages:
    3,474
    Likes Received:
    2,689
    Trophy Points:
    113
    Location:
    Austin, Texas
    Here's the routine if you want it fast:
    Keg the beer - preferably cold crashed but as clear as you can possibly get it
    Chill the beer - This can happen as you carb, but it has to happen. 38 degrees is about minimum, 33-35 is much better
    Carb the beer - Pressure up to 40 lbs and let it sit overnight - if it's not already cold, you should leave the CO2 hooked up overnight. If you've left it hooked up it will be mostly carbed overnight or within 24 hours. Check the carb level and drop the pressure to 10 or less and let it sit another night. You have to judge the level of carbonation by tapping it. You should eventually be holding at about 5 or 6 lbs of pressure at 35 degrees. Don't proceed to bottling until you're satisfied that the carb level is where you want it and in fact maybe slightly over-carbed.
    Chill the bottles - down to the same temp as the beer - 35 degrees - this keeps the CO2 in suspension as it hits the bottle and keeps foaming to a minimum.
    Fill the bottles - I use a home-made counter pressure gun but anything that puts the beer gently into the bottom of the bottle will work. The keg can't have more than a pound or two of pressure so the beer just comes out at an even rate with little or no foam.
    Cap the bottles - Put in the beer, top it up with foam with a little squirt, drop the cap on it. Don't let it stand long before you crimp the cap...either fill one at a time or maybe 2 or 3 at a time at most.

    Carbing will still take a few days if you want it to stabilize enough for bottling from the keg. Cold is your friend. CO2 won't stay in suspension at room temp. Even if you get it to carb under pressure at room temp, it'll just foam up when you try to bottle it if it's not cold.
     
    Trialben likes this.
  4. The Brew Mentor

    The Brew Mentor Well-Known Member

    Joined:
    Aug 19, 2012
    Messages:
    961
    Likes Received:
    578
    Trophy Points:
    93
    Gender:
    Male
    Location:
    Mentor, Ohio
    What are you using for sanitizer?
     
  5. BigfootBrew

    BigfootBrew New Member

    Joined:
    May 8, 2016
    Messages:
    5
    Likes Received:
    0
    Trophy Points:
    1
    Star-San.
     
  6. The Brew Mentor

    The Brew Mentor Well-Known Member

    Joined:
    Aug 19, 2012
    Messages:
    961
    Likes Received:
    578
    Trophy Points:
    93
    Gender:
    Male
    Location:
    Mentor, Ohio
    I asked because some people will use a Quat sanitizer from the food and beverage industry and that will mess with head retention.
    Quick carbonation is difficult because although you may get enough gas in the beer, it may not be actually dissolved into solution. That takes a little time and temperature is your best friend with that.
    There are many ways to carbonate your beer as suggested above and you'll find what works for you in time. Don't give up, you'll get it.
    I think there may be a few things in your process that are problematic. The biggest being actually getting the beer properly carbonated prior to filling your bottles.
    J A gave a good filling process and you should have success with that.
    Good Luck,
    Brian
     
    Ozarks Mountain Brew likes this.
  7. CRUNK

    CRUNK Well-Known Member

    Joined:
    Jan 15, 2017
    Messages:
    899
    Likes Received:
    550
    Trophy Points:
    93
    Gender:
    Male
    You can try spunding your beer, 4 to 6 points before terminal gravity is achieved, transfer to your keg, let it finish fermenting and naturally carbonating itself. Simple.
     
  8. J A

    J A Well-Known Member

    Joined:
    Jan 19, 2016
    Messages:
    3,474
    Likes Received:
    2,689
    Trophy Points:
    113
    Location:
    Austin, Texas
    Still doesn't solve the problem of bottling from keg. Being room temp, the CO2 won't hold in suspension and will foam like crazy if you try to dispense it. No matter how you get the keg carbed (and he already has a way to put CO2 into the keg) it still has to be chilled and stabilized in order to bottle it.
     
  9. CRUNK

    CRUNK Well-Known Member

    Joined:
    Jan 15, 2017
    Messages:
    899
    Likes Received:
    550
    Trophy Points:
    93
    Gender:
    Male

    Learning process for next batch
     
    jeffpn likes this.
  10. Ozarks Mountain Brew

    Staff Member

    Joined:
    Nov 20, 2012
    Messages:
    7,767
    Likes Received:
    3,976
    Trophy Points:
    113
    Gender:
    Male
    Occupation:
    IT Managment
    Location:
    The Ozark Mountains of Missouri
    Even fully carbed and bottling from a very cold keg, it still can foam, I have bottling gun and it's still tricky, I have to dial down the pressure to 2psi some times
     
    J A likes this.
  11. J A

    J A Well-Known Member

    Joined:
    Jan 19, 2016
    Messages:
    3,474
    Likes Received:
    2,689
    Trophy Points:
    113
    Location:
    Austin, Texas
    Yes, that^^^^...
    It's tough to keep the regulator at just the right spot. Pressure tends to build up a little when you pause between batches of bottles - I usually fill 3 and then crimp the caps on - so it's coming out a little too forcefully on the next one and you have to purge it and then it's coming out a little too slowly, etc, etc, etc...
     
  12. BigfootBrew

    BigfootBrew New Member

    Joined:
    May 8, 2016
    Messages:
    5
    Likes Received:
    0
    Trophy Points:
    1
    S how about this poor stout? Is there any hope for it? Can I pour the bottles back into the keg and try to carb it again? Or should I chalk this up to lesson learned and move on to another batch?
     
  13. J A

    J A Well-Known Member

    Joined:
    Jan 19, 2016
    Messages:
    3,474
    Likes Received:
    2,689
    Trophy Points:
    113
    Location:
    Austin, Texas
    You gotta try...if you can manage to keep the oxygenation to a minumum, it'll be okay. Purge the keg so that there's plenty of CO2 in it and gently pour the bottles in. Maybe tip it slightly so that the beer pours down the side of the keg instead of just splashing in the bottom. Chill it and carb it up. I'd just serve as much as possible out of the keg, but bottle up as much as you want. It probably won't keep as long as a batch that hasn't been handled so much, but you'll have beer. ;)
     

Share This Page

arrow_white