How to carbonate kegs

The ins and outs of putting your beer into kegs.

How to carbonate kegs

Postby Oliver » Sunday Jan 15, 2006 8:44 pm

Thanks to Shaun for this information

Carbonating kegs can be achieved in several ways I will try and explain each of them for you.

First natural carbonation:
This is the same as carbonating bottles you dissolve some sugar/dextrose/malt whatever you use for priming bottled beer and bulk prime your beer, then keg, seal, purge the air out of the keg and leave to mature as you would a bottled beer. The yeast will consume the extra sugar added producing CO2 that will fill the head space of the keg over time the beer will then absorb some of the CO2 until a balance is reached between the absorbed CO2 in the beer and the CO2 in the head space. Once the beer is carbonated it will take the same time as a bottle you then connect the keg up to your CO2 and use this to pour.

Next Force Carbonation with CO2:
This can be achieved two ways first, easiest, but lest accurate is to place the keg in the fridge, connect up your CO2 bottle at around 200 - 300 PSI and leave with the CO2 on at that pressure for 2-3 days. As I said this is not the most accurate way to carbonate your beer and you may over or under carbonate the first few you do until you work out your system. Once you have it worked out though it is easy.

You can also force CO2 into the beer quicker if the beer is agitated. Using a Carbonation Chart set your regulator to the required pressure corresponding to the temperature and desired carbonation level of your beer. Then connect the keg to your CO2 bottle turn it on and shake the keg. You will hear the gas rushing into the beer in the keg. Once the beer has reached your desired carbonation level you will hear the gas slow down then stop. At this point the beer is carbonated and can be dispensed as soon as it is cold. This can also be done while the keg is cold or warm and is my preferred way of gassing kegs.

When force carbonating you do not need to prime the beer. You are forcing CO2 into the beer so you do not need the yeast to produce it for you.

In all these methods you need to purge the keg of air after filling, especially if force carbonating.

You can not use CO2 chargers to prime a keg as they do not have sufficient pressure or gas to achieve carbonation.

Example of a Carbonation Chart not the best but you will get the idea
http://kotmf.com/articles/carbonation.php
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Postby tonyp » Monday Jan 16, 2006 5:27 pm

Do you need to use the CO2 to pour the beer out? I have been given a modified keg (pub style) with a tap welded into it about 3cm from the base.

Is the pressure of the Co2 inside it enough to push the beer out? I have been thinking about this and figured that you would lose pressue over time without any external Co2 so you would have to drink it soon (ie. 1 night (this would not be a problem :)) )?
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Postby Shaun » Monday Jan 16, 2006 11:22 pm

Yes you need a source of CO2 to pour.

However your kegs tap is towards the bottom of the keg and gravity will help you out with pouring. You may be able to use the keg like a cask, the keg will need a breather hole in it at the top and you will have to drink the beer within one or two days as it will go flat and can oxidise. I have no experience with casks so someone else may be able to shed some more light on it.

If you want to use it as a keg a cheaper option for CO2 to pour is a CO2 injector http://www.grainandgrape.com.au/brewingsystems_info.htm
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Postby Lebowski » Tuesday Jan 17, 2006 9:31 pm

Heres the 'Ross' Method that I use and havent had problems with yet.
After filling the keg (upto the weld mark just below the top) with cold beer turn pressure upto 300 kpa & rock keg back & forth on its side (inlet at bottom) for 50 seconds. Turn off gas (on main bottle) but continue to rock keg while monitoring the pressure dial. You will see the pressure full back quite quickly & then stabilise (100 - 200kpa). The goal is for the pressure to fall back to between 140 - 160 kpa depending on your preference (140 pommie ale - 160 Aussie beer). If the pressure falls well below 140 kpa, just turn gas back on & rock for another 10 - 15 secs, then recheck & repeat as necessary. I find that 60 secs is nearly always about the mark. Then all you have to do is release the top pressure valve on the keg (normally a couple of hours later to avoid foam flying out of the valve), connect to your gas (making sure you have set pressure back to 80 kpa or whatever you like to dispense at) & you will pour a perfect beer.

P.S. If you use this method to carbonate a keg that's not full, then reduce your rocking time accordingly, otherwise you'll over carbonate even at 50 secs...

Hope this is of help to some - I know everyone has their tried & trusted methods, but many are hit & miss without experience...
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Postby lager_girl » Friday Mar 17, 2006 1:23 pm

my regulator is a CO2 0-40 Lm weldmaster.
does anyone know how i would convert my Lm readings into Kpa?
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Postby grabman » Tuesday Mar 21, 2006 9:20 am

try going here:
http://www.onlineconversion.com/

many conversion units available
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Postby Matty » Thursday May 04, 2006 10:33 pm

Hey all,

This is the chart I use to carbonate my kegs http://www.aussiehomebrewer.com/forum/i ... st&id=5990 . My Dad found the info on the net and created a chart for it. Easy carbonation and impossible to over carbonate once you know how many ltrs of co2 you want per ltr of beer.

Same idea as one of the charts that Oliver posted, but even I can follow this!


The chart's probably self explanitary for alot of people, but I'll try and explain it anyway.

I carbonate it straight from the fermenter so I know what temp it is at.
eg. Brew is on 10'C and I want a saturation rate of 2.9 ltrs co2 per ltr of beer.

Follow 10'C line on right of chart across to the left until it hits the 2.9 diagonal line. Once you hit this line shoot straight up and you can see that you need to set your regulator at about 22 psi. Now you just simply shake or tip your keg until you can't hear any more co2 being absorbed, turn off gas, put in fridge to chill or store to mature and your done! The beauty of this mothod is that you can carbonate at any temp and if you know what saturation rate you want, it's impossible to over carbonate because the beer simply wont accept any more co2, and it's dead easy!

Cheers,

Matty
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Postby NTRabbit » Thursday May 04, 2006 11:50 pm

Do you have a general listing of what you would use each carbonation level for? i.e. 2.0 for a stout, 2.6 for a lager and 3.0 for a weiss?
Het Witte Konijn
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Postby Shaun » Saturday May 06, 2006 5:51 pm

British-style ales 1.5-2.0 Australian ales and lagers 2.2-2.7
Porter, stout 1.7-2.3 Lambic 2.4-2.8
Belgian ales 1.9-2.4 Fruit lambic 3.0-4.5
European lagers 2.2-2.7 German wheat beer 3.3-4.5

http://kotmf.com/articles/carbonation.php
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Postby Shagger » Monday May 22, 2006 9:41 pm

Hi All,
Great info for a newbie to kegs.
I force carbonated my first keg on the weekend.
Set the regulator at 25 psi for 2.7 ltrs of Co2 for beer at 15 deg.
It took about 5 mins for the beer to stop absorbing the gas and I noticed a tiny amount of beer in the gas line. Is this normal?
Chilled the keg for 2 days, set regulator at 10 psi to pour and just got froth. After it settled the beer was still very flat.
What do I do now?

Any help would be greatly appreciated.
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Postby Matty » Tuesday May 23, 2006 8:15 pm

Hey Shagger,

Depends on a few things, beer line length and diameter for a start. I aint no expert but I've only got about 1 metre of line and I pour at about 7 psi, little bit too much head but not enough to worry about. Not sure if that helps at all. Depends on your set up. Maybe try turning down your pouring pressure.

Cheers,

Matty
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Postby Shagger » Tuesday May 23, 2006 8:39 pm

Thanks Matty,
I'll try that. It does look like it's pouring too quick now that you mention it.
My set-up is a 23lt party keg so no beer line (tap connected to keg).

Cheers,

Shagger.
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Postby Gezza666 » Wednesday Jun 14, 2006 10:01 pm

Hi Guys,
I am new to this forum (as I have only just found this web site) but have been home brewing since 1994 (yep, i'm old) and kegging since 2001.

I have been reading with interest your method of gassing kegs at a certain psi (or kPa) based on the temperature and the amount of litres of co2 you want per litre of beer.

My method has been to turn the gauge up to 50 psi (approx 350kPa) and shake the chilled keg inverted for about 5 minutes listening for the bubbling and then leaving the keg connected at the same pressure overnight (about 8 hours). I find this method is great unless I forget to disconnect and this can cause overgassing.

With your method of dialing a specific pressure based on temperature, is the keg upright, on its side or inverted?

Thanks in advance.

Gezza666
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Postby Shaun » Thursday Jun 15, 2006 9:15 pm

Gezza

I do it with the keg on the side and rocking it, but it does not matter, do it however you like the only thing to be careful of is to not have beer back wash up the gas lines.
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Postby Aussie Claret » Friday Jun 16, 2006 9:55 am

Shagger,
A bit late, but if you are getting beer in the gas line, the keg is over carbonated. The pressure in the keg is higher than the pressure in the gas line.
When you pour the beer all you are getting is froth then the beer looks flat, I did exactly the same thing when I started kegging, it's over carbonated, release some of the pressure from the valve shake it a little and release soem more until you have lowere dthe pressure sufficiently, I pour at about 20-30 KPa.

Try gassing your next keg when it's cold 1-2c not 15c. set the pressure to around 100-120KPa and rock roll until the gas stop bubbling into the beer (you'll hear it stop), should take about 5-10minutes.

AC
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Postby Shagger » Friday Jun 16, 2006 8:11 pm

Hi AC,
Thanks for that.
I degassed the keg over a day and found that I only needed the regulator set so I could just hear some gas running - about 2 psi.
We had no trouble emptying the keg.
Had it set up at a party where the choice was my keg (Morgan's Blue Mountain) or Crown Lager. :P
There were still a few Crownies left over!

Cheers,

Shagger
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Postby lethaldog » Saturday Jul 22, 2006 10:20 pm

I am about to start kegging and was wondering the best place to get co2 from as my hbs guy said he gets it for his customers for $8 rental a month and $35 refill, think he gets it from supagas, does this price sound right and if not where else should i try ???
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Postby unicamrep » Sunday Jul 23, 2006 9:56 am

lethaldog wrote:I am about to start kegging and was wondering the best place to get co2 from as my hbs guy said he gets it for his customers for $8 rental a month and $35 refill, think he gets it from supagas, does this price sound right and if not where else should i try ???


This thread gives a couple more ideas.
http://www.homebrewandbeer.com/forum/viewtopic.php?t=2226
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Postby luke » Sunday Jul 23, 2006 5:42 pm

lethaldog wrote:I am about to start kegging and was wondering the best place to get co2 from as my hbs guy said he gets it for his customers for $8 rental a month and $35 refill, think he gets it from supagas, does this price sound right and if not where else should i try ???



i pay $1.70 per week.
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Postby lethaldog » Wednesday Jul 26, 2006 5:19 pm

If you want to store kegs in any temp ( just for storage reasons ) do you need to carb them first or just fill and leave?
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