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Kegging questions, complete newbie.

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thisispants

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Hi, complete newbie to kegging here....I've read a bunch of information on kegging, but I've got a couple of questions before i attempt it for the first time tomorrow.

I'm going to do the set and forget method.....I'm doing a fairly small batch, about 14 liters....

1. Does the volume of beer in the keg impact what PSI you should set it to? Most things I've read suggest 12PSI. However the calculator's I've seen online suggest about 9-10.

2, What should I avoid doing to make sure that beer doesn't get into my regulator?

3. Is it ok for my CO2 tank to stay in the fridge with the keg?

4. Do I need to sterilise the gas disconnects?

5. Inbetween drinking the beer should i disconnect the gas / turn it off?

6. I've read I should chill the beer before carbing.....does this really matter with the set and forget method?

Any other tips?

Cheers, Don
 

homebrewnewb

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1. No, volume of beer would suggest that TIME would be the variable here. 14L of beer to carb v 140L for example. 12 PSI is fine regardless but dependent on your set up.
2. You can get an inline check valve. The only way i have got beer in my reg was pulling the PRV on the reg with the gas line connected - dont do that for protracted amounts of time and you should be fine.
3. Yep, just takes up space mine lives in there though to increase thermal mass, be careful though, i have kncoked mine over more than once. maybe fasten it in there?
4. Nah C02 will kill any aerobic baddies, but not anaerobic :/ couldnt hurt though. This will bring on the whole debate on the grade of C02 i suspect. i dont.
5. If you are confident in your plumbing skill then leave it on - i do.
6. No - set and forget needs to be done in/at serving temp. Remember colder is better when carbing - unless is is frozen in that case TOO MUCH. the alchol content should stop that unless you dial in to something like -1/2C

hope it helps!

edit: extra tips. have you got your set up balance? 12 PSI for example is good but how long is your line, how cool is the keg, what diameter, what's the height of the tap, blah blah blah blah all impacts serving temp ergo your set and forget calcs would be dependent on this.
 
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pcqypcqy

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Edit: had 6mm beer line in there, should be 5mm.

Good advice from @homebrewnewb there, but some additional comments:

Hi, complete newbie to kegging here....I've read a bunch of information on kegging, but I've got a couple of questions before i attempt it for the first time tomorrow.

I'm going to do the set and forget method.....I'm doing a fairly small batch, about 14 liters....
1. Does the volume of beer in the keg impact what PSI you should set it to? Most things I've read suggest 12PSI. However the calculator's I've seen online suggest about 9-10.
Does not change the pressure or the time. Your regulator will keep a constant pressure on the surface of the beer, which is the main variable here. The pressure itself depends on the beer line and tap you'll dispense it with. If you don't have flow control on your tap, you need a certain amount of line of a certain diameter so that the friction losses of the flow in the line balance the pressure in the keg.

This is an excellent calculator and description of what you need to do: http://www.mikesoltys.com/2012/09/17/determining-proper-hose-length-for-your-kegerator/

But for your purposes, 9 to 12 psi would be right, and you'll need around 2.5m of 5mm beer line between the keg and the tap (coil it up).

2, What should I avoid doing to make sure that beer doesn't get into my regulator?
Beer will only flow into the regulator if the pressure there is less than the keg.

IMO you only really need a check valve if you're fast-force-carbing. If you fast force carb then turn the pressure down, make sure you disconnect the line first and release the pressure from the keg (or wait for it to absorb in). I did this on my first brew, and you'll only need to do it once before you learn. My regulator still works fine 3 years later, no issues with cleanliness or infections or anything.

3. Is it ok for my CO2 tank to stay in the fridge with the keg?
Yes. I had it in there for a while and then moved it out as I got more and more kegs.

4. Do I need to sterilise the gas disconnects?
Can't hurt.

5. Inbetween drinking the beer should i disconnect the gas / turn it off?
Don't have to. Spray some starsan on all your fittings to check for leaks. If no leaks, then no issues.

6. I've read I should chill the beer before carbing.....does this really matter with the set and forget method?
If you're setting/forgetting, it will chill quickly enough for you. If you were fast force carbing, you'd want it chilled first.

Any other tips?

Cheers, Don
Just relax and don't worry too hard. You'll work it out.
 

homebrewnewb

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Just relax and don't worry too hard. You'll work it out.
14L is not really a lot of beer so try and get as much understood as you can - i would hate for you to be pouring liters of foam before you nail the perfect pour, ask as many questions as you can.

the other thing i would say is start low in terms of PSI and work up, it's easier going higher than having to de-gas/burp kegs. nightmare. it will take a couple days for increment to take effect so keep that in mind.
 

thisispants

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Thanks for the advice guys.

I've just checked for leaks by mostly filling the keg and putting 10PSI in......sprayed on some soapy water and looks good so far.

I also just put 30PSI into the gas line overnight to see if it would lose anything over 12 hours or so, all good as well. Feeling pretty confident about tomorrow.

I've got about 2.1 meters of 5mm beer line. I'm hoping that's going to be enough. I might as well try to use it and see how I go.

I've got 5mm beer line, but 6mm gas line. It was pretty annoying getting the beer line onto the disconnect barbs. Got there though with some elbow grease and boiling water.

I'll probably have a couple more questions later this evening.

Regarding cleaning, can I just let some sodium percarbonate sit in the keg for an hour or so and then run it through the lines.....then rinse....then do the same with starsan..... then fill, burp out the remaining O2 and then throw it in the fridge at maybe 10PSI. That's my plan.

The liquid and gas post things were a little dirty, so I'll sit them in sodium percarbonate as well. Do I need to completely disassemble the gas and liquid posts or is removing and soaking going to be enough?
 

pcqypcqy

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The liquid and gas post things were a little dirty, so I'll sit them in sodium percarbonate as well. Do I need to completely disassemble the gas and liquid posts or is removing and soaking going to be enough?
Up to you. All my kegs were second hand, so over time I've progressively replaced all the poppets with new universal poppets that simply fall out when you unscrew the post. Every time I clean a keg now I remove the posts, tubes and lid, soak and clean all that in sodium perc, rinse, sanitise and reassemble.

My mates think this is way over the top and never bother. They just run cleaner through the posts via a beer line and disconnect. This should be sufficient, but depends on what you want to do.

I find if you get your kegs clean to begin with, and keep your beer reasonably clean (i.e. keep the yeast/hops out of it), it's easier to keep your kegs clean over time.
 

hobospy

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Only other thing I do (maybe just a detail) is try to flush the keg with CO2 before filling, some folk say it won't make any difference but for the small amount of time and money I do it to try and reduce O2 contact for my beer ...... hasn't helped the flavour yet but that's a different matter [emoji23]
 

pcqypcqy

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Only other thing I do (maybe just a detail) is try to flush the keg with CO2 before filling, some folk say it won't make any difference but for the small amount of time and money I do it to try and reduce O2 contact for my beer ...... hasn't helped the flavour yet but that's a different matter [emoji23]
It's generally worth doing, but if it's a young fresh IPA and you're going to smash it out in two weeks, then you can get away with not. I do it with beers that I intend to age.

To really got a good impact, you need to charge and purge a number of times. I did a calc on this a while ago. This is one area where reduced headspace helps, as it uses less gas.

Looking at the attached calculator, in the scenario there, 5 purges takes you down from approx 21% atmospheric oxygen down to 0.4%. You can play with the yellow numbers to change it do how you do it.

I'm not sure what a good final target level of oxygen in the headspace is, but I usually do it 2 or 3 times because I figure every bit helps rather than hurts, and gas is cheap.
 

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koshari

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i dont bother purging before filling as i figure the rising level of liquid (which i fill with a hose going to the bottom of the keg) will displace the o2 anyway, then i purge the headspace about 8 to 10 times.
 

pcqypcqy

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i dont bother purging before filling as i figure the rising level of liquid (which i fill with a hose going to the bottom of the keg) will displace the o2 anyway, then i purge the headspace about 8 to 10 times.
Purging like you say at the end with minimal headspace is probably the most efficient way to do it in terms of CO2 usage and end result.
 

thisispants

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So it's all done, thanks for your help lads.

It went fairly smoothly all in all, I'm extremely paranoid (for no reason) about having a leak somewhere, I can't find one so I think I'm just crazy. Fingers crossed.

My final question, I sanitised the beer line and tap and then disconnected it from the Keg. There was a decent amount of starsan foam in the line, should it still be sanitised when I come to use it in a week or so? It's all closed so I assume it will be.... Just thought I'd ask what you guys do.
 

unwrittenlaw

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Yes, that's what I do. I run a little bit of starsan as a no rinse (ratio of 1.5mL/L) and let it sit in the line for however long. When the keg is ready to be tapped, pour a foamy yeasty glass and tip it. Next glass is drinkable (albeit a little yeasty, one after that is spot on)

Do u have a carbonation and line cleaning cap? They are 20 bucks well spent.
 

pcqypcqy

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Line cleaning isn't something that needs to be done religiously in my experience. I've had decent results by keeping the line full of something (anything) and keeping it cold. But having a carb cap like that and flushing your lines occasionally can't hurt.
 

pcqypcqy

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Yeah, they're great for filling bottles with. I have one, I actually need a second one I think.
 

EalingDrop

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I clean mine after every use with hot water with a pump and a carb cap.
Since then I just pump it though the mini head spear head and everything is clean as.

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