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Kegging Vs Bottling Beer

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DarrenTheDrunk

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Hello Fellow Drinkers

I have a few questions and a conundrum if I may throw it out here into the WWW (Wide World of Wisdom). I have just started kegging having purchased a 2nd hand keggerator. I have not as yet had a successful brew to sample properly as I have stuffed up just about every possible stuff up that could be made. Grahame who I "met" here from NSW has been a wealth of knowledge but there is only so much of a serial pest one can be before he stops taking my calls...so...My conundrum is that the keg samples I have drank compared to the ones I have bottled just are not as good as the bottled beer that I have had resting for 2 months or more. Now my questions:
1. As the famous Cadbury ad scientist Julius Sumner Miller once said "why is it so"
2. From my tasting at various times of the beer in a bottle, it is very evident that the longer it is "rested' in the bottle...the better it tastes. Ths even includes the improvement from 1 month to 2 and 3 months
3. Why do we not leave beer in the keg for longer periods...would the taste not improve (sorry, this is a question not a statement...I have lost the question mark key on my computer)
4. Does any experienced "kegger" have a resting time that they have notice improves (or doesn't) the taste of the beer
5. Any other advise you wise drunks ... Oops.... sorry drinkers can share would be appreciated

I am on a pension so time is not an issue but dont get me wrong...I do not like cleaning bloody beer bottles but will do this happily is the quality of the end beer is much better

kind regards
Darren
 

razz

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What is it that you do not like about your keg beers Darren? I ask because my first thought was that it is relatively easy to get bottles cleaned and sanitised but keeping kegs the same is a more detailed exercise. Also, tell us about your "stuff ups" please? If you have made good beer and kegged and/or bottled it, then it should be just as good out of either.
 

MHB

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Re: -
1/ I suspect that all of us going through school had "that teacher" the one you will respect all your life.
Mine had JSM as one of his teachers, he brought a heap of the same approach to teaching, show and then tell, still how I learn best. See it work then take it apart...
2/ Yes! some styles get better and better with age, at a guess your brewing is heavily influenced by UK and/or Belgian malt accented styles, these just keep getting better for up to decades.
3/ Who says we don't age beer in kegs? There is an old saying, "beer doesn't mature faster in kegs, just better" (well it was from German and kegs is a liberty, actually "larger volumes" would have been closer). The beers most people are drinking young tend to be highly hopped or yeast driven (think Hefeweizen). These tend to lose flavour over time, often pretty quickly. Unlike malt biased beer.
4/ For something like an ESB three weeks to six months a big stout six months or more, good rule of thumb the bigger and blacker the more you get from patience. For say a Barley Wine anything under a year is infanticide.
5/ Gratuitous advice from ...Oops... a drinker, buy lots more kegs, lots and lots more!
Mark
 

YAPN

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Keg(something) are releasing 2lt and 5lt PET bottles sometime this year. Will cut down my cleaning/sterilizing time.
 

DarrenTheDrunk

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Well to say I have not got a great response is to believe that pigs actually do fly... ie ...great response. Razz, my stuff ups were simply not sterilizing properly on TWO occasions so in a fit of despair...I dumped 92 litres of beer...I have never said I was smart. My taste in beer is ever so simple...Aussie beers either VB or Carlton draught. I will look into more exotic flavors when I can at least do the basics first. Now MHB, OMG, your reply is like "poetry of the pen" or in this case...the key board. 2) as mentioned above, I buy the can and do what is says and just want a basic Aussie beer. For the rest of your wonderful reply to which I am ever so grateful, knowing what I am trying to achieve (basic Aussie beer), can you PLEASE explain this situation or even simpler...just tell me what I need to do...!!!

Now YAPM... I take your point but 5 litres...my liver is stretched enough as it is... But I still want to learn this "keging" thing.

Thanks very much again ... kind regards. darren
 

professional_drunk

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When kegging, I find most of the time the beer is good to drink as soon as it's carbed. It does hit a peak somewhere around 3-4 weeks. But, my brewing processes are different to yours and that may affect the numbers I just told you.
Keep practicing and improving your process. There's no one thing we can tell you that will help because brewing is about doing many small things well. I'm sure I've dumped hundreds of liters of beer from my mistakes. Take it as the cost of tuition.
 

Grmblz

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5/ Gratuitous advice from ...Oops... a drinker, buy lots more kegs, lots and lots more!
Mark
In 2004 I went on a three yr overseas posting, Allied Pickfords the storage agents refused to take my gas bottle and kegs, I assured them the kegs were full of plain water and the bottle was all but empty, they accepted the kegs, some were indeed full of a sanitising solution (I used iodophor back then) I may have forgotten to mention about the three RIS's and two Barley wines.
In 2007 I received an offer of a three yr extension which I duly accepted.
In 2010 I returned and proceeded to renovate my home, putting all my "stuff" in the garage, I had no time for HB.
2011 saw another offer for three yrs with a 12 month lead time, Ahaa get my shit sorted, needless to say 80% of the boxes packed in 2004 went back into storage unopened (just checked and I've still got 5 boxes in my garage right now from 2004 unopened lmfao) BUT! I did find my old fridge and after testing (don't drink iodophor btw) I had a serving fridge and five kegs that were nearly nine yrs old (had been under the house 12+ months before initial storage) for my farewell party.
SAD! day, two of the RIS's were undrinkable (infected/oxidised too badly? dunno) and binned, BUT! the third was mothers milk, and the barley wines were to die for, approx 20 people were written off (this is a brewing/drinking forum isn't it?) that Saturday, and various folks turned up over the course of the following week asking if there was any more of "THAT" beer left, and consequently all was consumed before I (this time) put my empty kegs into storage.
The moral of the story: you can't have too many kegs. Cheers Mark
Sorry for the indulgence folks, I read Darrens post, thought "bugger it" and am now just sat here sipping on a 1yr RIS (just a baby really) and thinking about old times. BUY MORE KEGS!
Cheers G
 

Grmblz

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2. From my tasting at various times of the beer in a bottle, it is very evident that the longer it is "rested' in the bottle...the better it tastes. Ths even includes the improvement from 1 month to 2 and 3 months
3. Why do we not leave beer in the keg for longer periods...would the taste not improve (sorry, this is a question not a statement...I have lost the question mark key on my computer)
2: As MHB says it's very dependant on style (type of beer)

3: I'll probably get crucified for this but here goes, most kegging is done for speed and is force carbonated, instead of waiting a week for secondary fermentation you can have your beer carbed in a couple of hours not a few days, but you don't force carbonate your bottled beer so you are not comparing apples with apples, as we have discussed, ^ BUY MORE KEGS! lol
Do three identical brews (easy with what you are doing) bottle one, keg and force carb one (happy to help) and keg and naturally carbonate the last. THEN compare them after 2 to 3 months, you'll need more kegs of course 🤣
 

Luxo_Aussie

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Interesting discussion. I use bottles for the diversity which I can offer when meeting up with friends/family - It's awesome to have a tasting session where I've got 10 different brews to share. Also I can give bottles away for gifts or just give away to people to enjoy the beer without me. Does anyone use bottles over kegs for this reason?

Kegging would be easier by the looks of things - I spend nearly as much time cleaning bottles, sanitizing & bottling as I do brewing.
 

Grmblz

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It's awesome to have a tasting session where I've got 10 different brews to share. Also I can give bottles away for gifts or just give away to people to enjoy the beer without me. Does anyone use bottles over kegs for this reason?

I've got 15 kegs, 6 taps, and 4 pluto guns, yes it's great having people over for a session, and going through the taps.

Kegging would be easier by the looks of things - I spend nearly as much time cleaning bottles, sanitizing & bottling as I do brewing.

I also bottle but only big beers typically over 1080, or the last of the fermenter after the keg is filled, they make great presents but I find trying to bottle everything I brew is just too time consuming, and uses way too much storage space.
 

zoigl

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I gas up my kegs with 150 gms of dextrose, spunding valves help, but they need to be watched carefully.
I also use the newer red pressure relief valves which release pressure at about 2 bar. I found my kegged beers are as good as bottled beer. I have 10 kegs lagering at about 6 c
For once, I have to disagree with MHB, my heffes are fantastic after 12 months stored at lagering temps.
 

DarrenTheDrunk

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2: As MHB says it's very dependant on style (type of beer)

3: I'll probably get crucified for this but here goes, most kegging is done for speed and is force carbonated, instead of waiting a week for secondary fermentation you can have your beer carbed in a couple of hours not a few days, but you don't force carbonate your bottled beer so you are not comparing apples with apples, as we have discussed, ^ BUY MORE KEGS! lol
Do three identical brews (easy with what you are doing) bottle one, keg and force carb one (happy to help) and keg and naturally carbonate the last. THEN compare them after 2 to 3 months, you'll need more kegs of course 🤣

My young personal Brewing Consultant...How are you. I put the post up because it is good to get many peoples experiences. I spoke to Darren from Keg Land and did not like the carbonation using sugar and told me I need to "get into the new techniques". He was a lovely and helpful fellow. Personally, I like the principle of the way you do it but of course, I an infant compared to you when it comes to brewing. Yes not in a position to be buying too many more kegs. I have 4 at the moment...dont worry about being "crucified"...only I know where you live and my silence is quite cheap!!!
 

DarrenTheDrunk

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I gas up my kegs with 150 gms of dextrose, spunding valves help, but they need to be watched carefully.
I also use the newer red pressure relief valves which release pressure at about 2 bar. I found my kegged beers are as good as bottled beer. I have 10 kegs lagering at about 6 c
For once, I have to disagree with MHB, my heffes are fantastic after 12 months stored at lagering temps.

Hi ZOIGL. what do you mean about 6 c
 

MHB

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Ok, lets do this in small steps, it will help you a lot if you understand what is happening and why, not just take a monkey (sorry) see monkey do approach.

Lets just say you go and buy a couple of bottles of coke at woolies, if you open one warm (lets say 20oC) coke will go all over the place. The coke left in the bottle would be pretty flat.
If you put it in the fridge until it cools down to lets say 4oC, open it and there is a bit of a fizz from escaping CO2, pour a glass and its nice and fizzy.
This is the important bit - Same amount of coke and CO2 in each case!

Lets say you drank half the coke, put the cap back on and put it back in the fridge. Tomorrow, have another glass.
There will be a bit of a hiss, but not as much as the first time, pour a glass and it wont be as fizzy.
This to is important - Some of the CO2 that was dissolved in the coke has come out of solution in the coke and pressurised the empty space in the bottle.
This bit is really important - The way gas (including CO2) behaves is that as some comes out into the head space, some of the gas in the head space is going back into solution. when these are happening at the same rate we have what is called an Equilibrium (just means equal speed in and out...)

We can see that the temperature influences how willing the CO2 is to stay in the liquid and that temperature affects pressure. (there are even equations but maybe later ok)

Lets look at the half full bottle it has some coke and some CO2 in it. If we took an unopened bottle and measured the pressure at 20oC it would be a couple of hundred kPa (about 330 or ~3Bar if you like), chill it down to 4oC and the pressure in the bottle would fall to a new equilibrium pressure at say 155kPa (1.5Bar).
Imagine we fit a Fiztop to the bottle, hook it up to a regulator and increase the pressure back up to 330kPa.
Slowly the extra CO2 in the head space will move into the coke, when it reaches a new equilibrium for 4oC, the CO2 will stop flowing into the bottle and the coke will have the same fizz as when you first opened the bottle.

Sorry I have to head off to work for a couple of hours, let me know if you have any questions about the above.
When I get home I'll carry on and cover how it all applies to beer and brewing, just make sure what I have written makes sense.
If you are so inclined and want to read ahead, look up P1V1=P2V2
Mark
 

MHB

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Home Again -
From above we can tell that: -
1/ at the same pressure as your beer gets colder it will take up more gas
2/ at the same temperature as the pressure increases your beer will take up more gas
Sum it up
Colder and higher pressure more fizz.
Warmer and lower pressure less fizz.

Given that and that we can lookup the desired amount of CO2 in a beer (yes that will vary from style to style)
On the Carbonation Table from Braukaiser we can see the amount of fizz where the lines from temperature and pressure meet.
I rang Toohey's once and asked them, they told me 4.75g/L
Which raises another point how do we measure the amount of fizz in beer?
The modern metric method is in grams of CO2 / 1L of beer based on temperature in Celsius and pressure in kPa
The old fashioned American method is Volumes based on Fahrenheit and Psi.

This is my only concession to silly non-systematic ways of measuring stuff
If you put a glass of water (de-gassed water) in a closed box filled with 100% CO2 at ~20oC and left it there for a few days it would take up some CO2, until it reached an equilibrium (remember that's the same amount of CO2 going into the water as is coming out). With really good lab scales you could measure (weigh) the amount and you would find you have 0.9 Volumes of CO2 in solution, I would call it 1.8g/L of CO2 in solution. It sounds silly but the old imperial standard temperature was 60oF (15.6oC ) at that temperature it would be 1 volume.

So if you see 2.5V (Volumes) of CO2, double it and you get 5.0g/L (well its 1.98 times but 2X will do). Likewise halving g/L will give you Vol.
There are three ways to measure Pressure, the metric kilopascal's (kPa), Atmospheres or Bar (is a small difference) that's the standard air pressure at sea level, and the antiquated Pounds per square inch Psi
Roughly 1Bar = 101.3kPa = 14.7Psi
Three ways to measure Temperature, The metric Celsius, the scientific Absolute which is Degrees C +273.15 and the incomprehensible Fahrenheit.
I'm going to stick to the metric system, if for no other reason than that all the calculations we use are done in metric and then converted to Imperial and Volumes, especially if we start talking about priming with sugar(s). One other reason I like metric it makes sense! another is all my gauges have kPa and Bar (the ones with Psi got hit with a hammer).
So from here on Volume it's all in L, Temperature in oC, Pressure in kPa
If you want to convert the answers to some other units your on your own (well Google will help)

If you have a look at the equation for carbonation in the link above you can see its done in g/L, Bar and the temperature is oC +273.15 (Abs), I long ago turned it into an Excel Spreadsheet called Fizzzzzzzz which is actually easier to use than the table.

We can control the amount of Fizz in a beer by varying the Temperature and the Pressure
If we put a keg of flat beer in the fridge, get the beer cold and apply pressure over time the amount of dissolved CO2 (fizz) will go up. To have control of the process we need to know the temperature and the pressure.
Both are equally important.
You said you brought a Kegerator, I'm going to assume it has a fan in it and a little digital readout displaying the temperature. If it hasn't got a fan put one in (just a little computer fan would do) a domestic fridge can be 5oC different between the top and bottom which means that as the keg empties the beer gets colder and at the same pressure the beer will get more fizz. A fan will keep it the same right through the keg.

Given the beer you said you like I am going to suggest you start at 4.75g/L and 4oC (pretty much a pub serve for mass market lager)
If we look at the CO2 content in g/l based on Celsius and kPa
1591175459038.png


In the left hand column (temperature in oC) and follow the 4 row... we come to 4.7 which is pretty close. Follow the column up and you will come to 0.7 under "head pressure" note that that's a bit like like a tachometer on a car where 2 is 2,000, 5 is 5,000. In this case its hundreds not thousands, 0.7*100= 70kPa

If you leave the beer in the kegerator at 4oC and 70kPa for about a week, it will have 4.7g/L of dissolved CO2, should taste the way you want.

I think its a good time to take a beak (and have a beer). We can look at speeding it all up next if you like but just make sure that the head is wrapped around what we have covered so far.
Time to let me know if you are keeping up. Very good idea to put a thermometer in a glass of water and leave it in the kegerator over night and see what the temperature really is, not what the digital says, often a bit of a difference. (get a decent thermometer).
Mark
 

razz

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Mark, thank you for another invaluable lesson. Always enjoy your posts, even when you get a little stroppy!
 

MHB

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We buy malt in kg's, measure hops in g, water in L, temperature in oC so WTF would we use Psi to measure pressure
Especially when we get into stuff like calculating priming sugar, the calculation is done in g/L (even in US textbooks) then people convert it to Vol and Psi.
I often wonder how much of it is just regurgitated from US websites by people who don't understand what they are doing. Maybe I do need a beer or two, feck it a cigarette and a cup of coffee just wasn't enough, perhaps a couple of pain killers, nah I'm gona open that bottle of Lagavulin, peat and ethanol that's the answer...
Mark
 

Grmblz

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I spoke to Darren from Keg Land and did not like the carbonation using sugar and told me I need to "get into the new techniques".
Get as many opinions as possible, just be aware that if you ask 5 brewers the same question you will get 6 different answers lol.
Now, Darren @ KL and his "new techniques" I bet he has the latest i phone.

I use the keg/bottle naturally carbonated method for two reasons.

1: technical advice dep't at Coopers assure me that naturally carbonated beer be it bottled or kegged has a longer shelf life than filtered force carbonated beer, all other things being equal, style,storage conditions etc.
I assume they know a thing or two about the subject and whilst some of my kegs might be emptied in a few weeks others can hang around for quite some time.

2: Using a spunding valve with a secondary fermentation is a pretty fool proof way to carbonate a keg, to your desired level of fizz.

Method: prime, and ferment at 20c at desired pressure using spunding valve, maybe 103.4kpa/15psi, when ferment finished transfer to fridge, and connect CO2 at same pressure, in this case 15psi (sorry Mark) as the beer cools it will absorb more CO2, as Mark so eloquently explains^^^
Imho this method is ideal for new keggers, silly old lazy buggers like me or people that just want an extended shelf life.

I do filter and force carb on occasion, usually if I need a keg quickly or I know it's going to be gone sooner rather than later(party time) or I want to impress with crystal clear beer. I don't think either method is right or wrong, just horses for courses.

As I mentioned Darren just do three batches using both methods, and bottling, and see what your palate prefers.
@MHB You've made my head hurt AGAIN! Love yer work though.:cheers:
 
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