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New Keg Setup - Carbonation

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sgw86

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Hi All,

Firstly sorry if this topic has been posted several times before. I have done a quick search but nothing seemed to fit my question.

I recently setup a new keg setup and am completely puzzled on trying to get the correct carbonation.

I am after a carbonation volume of about 2.5-3....something similar to your commercial Australian Lagers would be best (i believe this is about 2.5??)


If I wanted to achieve consistent results everytime what is the best method to achieve my carbonation volume over a day or two? I did read that you can hook up the keg and then set the reg at 30-40 PSI for 2 days but wasn't sure what carbonation level this would give me.

If I wanted to go the slower method for carbonation should I hook up the keg to the correct PSI (as per the carbonation table) for 7 days and then back it off to pouring pressure?

My keg is also sitting at roughly 2-3C in the keg fridge.

Any advice would be greatly appreciated.

Cheers,

Sam.
 

kelbygreen

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in articles up the top of the page, in serving and storing (or something like that) is a carbonation and balancing guide you can use that it helps heaps.

If you want consistent results then hooking the gas up to the beer out at the pressure and then rocking it on your knees till it stops bubbling (prob 5 or so mins) then d/c the gas leave for 15 mins or so and repeat a few times. You can burp the keg before starting again not sure if this will force more into the beer or not. I mean you will still have it under carbed but it will carb up faster then normal and you wont risk over carbing the beer. With forced carbed or this method I find the head is light and aerated for the first 2-3 days then it will settle down more into a denser, thicker and creamier head
 

quadbox

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If I wanted to go the slower method for carbonation should I hook up the keg to the correct PSI (as per the carbonation table) for 7 days and then back it off to pouring pressure?
Yes exactly what you can do if you want it spot on, however the correct pressure from the carbonation table IS the correct serving pressure. Bearing in mind if you're aiming for as high a carbonation as 2.5-3 volumes (which is high) you are going to have balancing problems unless your beer line's quite long or you've got a flow control tap in there

If you leave it for seven days to get the carbonation right as you want it and then turn the pressure down to serve you are going to have issues. The serving pressure always has to be the same as your carbonation pressure.

Alternatively you can force carb by using a much higher pressure and agitating the keg (search for the ross method). If you're doing this and you really want it to be accurate, I'd aim to slightly under-carb it then store it at the carbonation pressure you want. Let it get the last bit of the way on its own. Doing this two-stage way'll speed up carbonation significantly whilst still giving you very accurate carbonation. Well, once you get consistent with the ross method anyway, takes a bit of doing to work out where you need to be at with that imo.

Remember it's a shitload easier to give the beer more carbonation then it is to take some out.
 

sgw86

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Thanks for the feedback mate. As I am waiting on my Perlick taps from the US I am currently using a plastic picnic tap fore pouring beers on a 2M line. I am finding that at 12 PSI this is way too fast coming out which results in foam.

I did work out my line length by using a spreadsheet that compares temp and height of tap from keg to give the correct line length, which for me was about 2m.

Understand now what your saying. If I want to carb at 2.5-3 which equates to about 12 PSI I need to be serving at this pressure also.

Yes exactly what you can do if you want it spot on, however the correct pressure from the carbonation table IS the correct serving pressure. Bearing in mind if you're aiming for as high a carbonation as 2.5-3 volumes (which is high) you are going to have balancing problems unless your beer line's quite long or you've got a flow control tap in there

If you leave it for seven days to get the carbonation right as you want it and then turn the pressure down to serve you are going to have issues. The serving pressure always has to be the same as your carbonation pressure.

Alternatively you can force carb by using a much higher pressure and agitating the keg (search for the ross method). If you're doing this and you really want it to be accurate, I'd aim to slightly under-carb it then store it at the carbonation pressure you want. Let it get the last bit of the way on its own. Doing this two-stage way'll speed up carbonation significantly whilst still giving you very accurate carbonation. Well, once you get consistent with the ross method anyway, takes a bit of doing to work out where you need to be at with that imo.

Remember it's a shitload easier to give the beer more carbonation then it is to take some out.
 

quadbox

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Thanks for the feedback mate. As I am waiting on my Perlick taps from the US I am currently using a plastic picnic tap fore pouring beers on a 2M line. I am finding that at 12 PSI this is way too fast coming out which results in foam.

I did work out my line length by using a spreadsheet that compares temp and height of tap from keg to give the correct line length, which for me was about 2m.

Understand now what your saying. If I want to carb at 2.5-3 which equates to about 12 PSI I need to be serving at this pressure also.
2m? for 2.5 to 3 volumes of co2? try more like 5 or 6. More if it's 6mm ID instead of 4 or 5.

ESPECIALLY on a home scale without a flow control tap you're usually better off going with a longer line and dealing with the slow pour, which matters not particularly when you arent pouring for a hundred people just for two or three. 2m is not going to balance with 2.5 volumes of co2 even if it's 4mm ID. Not in a million years.

Look at the highest point of your line. if you can see bubbles forming inside the line, it isnt balanced. (OR you've got an airleak at one end or the other, but more commonly a balance issue)

EDIT - A beer pouring a bit slow has no negative effect on the beer particularly. A beer pouring too fast? yeah, that's a problem. That's where I'm driving

Anyways, you'll find it a learning experience. I always have, and I'm going on three different commercial setups both long line and short line, and my own two setups over the years. Always been a learning curve with a new system. Half the fun :)
 

sgw86

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The only reason I went with 2M for line length is i followed the spreadsheet floating around here in which you put in your storage temp (2C), desired carbonation leve (2.7) and the height above the center of the keg. Also speaking with other people on this forum has suggested that I should be looking at 2M line length.

Step 1 What is your desired serving temperature in whole or half degrees C between 0 & 15.5? 2 degrees C 2 What is your desired carbonation level (volume of CO2)? (refer to charts on next tab) 2.7 L CO2 / L beer 3 How high is your tap above the centre of the keg? 0.4 metres 4 What size beer line are you using? 5mm I.D. plastic beer line select from list In psi In bar Required regulator setting for desired volume of CO2 @ desired serving temperature 83.0 Kpa 12.0 0.8 5 Calculated line length (standard pressure output ie 6.89KPa) 2.17 metres Calculated line length (higher pressure output ie 13.78 KPa) 1.96 metres

I have attached the spreadsheet as well.

Cheers,

Sam.

2m? for 2.5 to 3 volumes of co2? try more like 5 or 6. More if it's 6mm ID instead of 4 or 5.

ESPECIALLY on a home scale without a flow control tap you're usually better off going with a longer line and dealing with the slow pour, which matters not particularly when you arent pouring for a hundred people just for two or three. 2m is not going to balance with 2.5 volumes of co2 even if it's 4mm ID. Not in a million years.

Look at the highest point of your line. if you can see bubbles forming inside the line, it isnt balanced. (OR you've got an airleak at one end or the other, but more commonly a balance issue)

EDIT - A beer pouring a bit slow has no negative effect on the beer particularly. A beer pouring too fast? yeah, that's a problem. That's where I'm driving

Anyways, you'll find it a learning experience. I always have, and I'm going on three different commercial setups both long line and short line, and my own two setups over the years. Always been a learning curve with a new system. Half the fun :)
View attachment co2_and_keg_balancing_v1.2.xls
 

kelbygreen

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sounds about right. Are you sure its 5mm ID? mine is about 2.2m long with 5mm and its fine, it does pour fastish, well prob 7 secs for a schooner I am not to sure whats fast or not though lol
 

sgw86

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Kelbygreen,

Pretty sure it's 5mm ID. As per the quote from CraftBrewer when I ordered below is the line I got.
BLINECOBRA5MM Beer/Gas line (Flexmaster) $2.50 Metre


Mine would pour a pot a lot quicker than that. I am using this tap though (http://www.grainandgrape.com.au/product_in...s_id=8630)until my Perlicks arrive. Perhaps this could be the issue?




sounds about right. Are you sure its 5mm ID? mine is about 2.2m long with 5mm and its fine, it does pour fastish, well prob 7 secs for a schooner I am not to sure whats fast or not though lol
 

jkmeldrum

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Sambo7 I've had a keg setup for only a few months, and had troubles trying to force carbonate....only because it's easier to slowly add carbonation that it is to get rid of it if you put too much in.

Trial and error has enabled me to get mine pretty right every time, but instead of force carbonating, what I do is put the gas in through the beer-out post for the first couple of days, that way the gas bubbles in from the bottom of the keg through the beer. I use John Guest MFL fittings so it's not hard to quickly swap over.

I leave my reg on the same setting all the time because that's what I know is just right and I never have a problem.

Just my little tip, hope it helps.

Cheers

Molly
 

sgw86

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Molly,

Thanks for the feedback. I have ball-lock kegs and I was always under the assumption that you never connected a Gas QD to the Beer Out post? Can't this stuff your QD and posts and you'll not be able to get them off?

Other people I have spoken to tend to say that if I was to leave the Reg at 12 PSI (and then I never actually have to tough the Reg as well) and then leave it for 7 days this carb up nicely.

Has anyone had this take longer than 7 days? From what I read 7-10 days seems to be the norm.

My only issue now is the beer line length and trying to figure out what the correct length that I should be using.

Sambo7 I've had a keg setup for only a few months, and had troubles trying to force carbonate....only because it's easier to slowly add carbonation that it is to get rid of it if you put too much in.

Trial and error has enabled me to get mine pretty right every time, but instead of force carbonating, what I do is put the gas in through the beer-out post for the first couple of days, that way the gas bubbles in from the bottom of the keg through the beer. I use John Guest MFL fittings so it's not hard to quickly swap over.

I leave my reg on the same setting all the time because that's what I know is just right and I never have a problem.

Just my little tip, hope it helps.

Cheers

Molly
 

jkmeldrum

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Molly,

Thanks for the feedback. I have ball-lock kegs and I was always under the assumption that you never connected a Gas QD to the Beer Out post? Can't this stuff your QD and posts and you'll not be able to get them off?

Other people I have spoken to tend to say that if I was to leave the Reg at 12 PSI (and then I never actually have to tough the Reg as well) and then leave it for 7 days this carb up nicely.

Has anyone had this take longer than 7 days? From what I read 7-10 days seems to be the norm.

My only issue now is the beer line length and trying to figure out what the correct length that I should be using.
If you get the grey(gas) and black(beer) quick disconnects, they must be used for those indicated....but what I do is take the grey QD off my gas line and swap it over with a black QD....easy to do if they're John Guest fittings as they simply slide off with a quick push of the collet thingy! Then you are still using the correct fitting on the correct post but you are pushing the gas down through the internal stainless steel tub that is usually used for picking up the beer from the bottom of the keg. Just change them over again when it's come up to gas.

As for the time taken, I find that 7-10 is about right....probably after 5 - 7 it's nearly there but it continues to improve for days to come.
 

quadbox

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If you get the grey(gas) and black(beer) quick disconnects, they must be used for those indicated....but what I do is take the grey QD off my gas line and swap it over with a black QD....easy to do if they're John Guest fittings as they simply slide off with a quick push of the collet thingy! Then you are still using the correct fitting on the correct post but you are pushing the gas down through the internal stainless steel tub that is usually used for picking up the beer from the bottom of the keg. Just change them over again when it's come up to gas.
Or rather than pulling the actual lines out of your john guest fittings (which scratches up the end of the lines) you can just unscrew the fittings from the MFL thread and switch them over that way
 

jkmeldrum

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Or rather than pulling the actual lines out of your john guest fittings (which scratches up the end of the lines) you can just unscrew the fittings from the MFL thread and switch them over that way
Yeah come to think of it, that's what I actually do.....der!!
 

stux

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Connect your keg up at 300 kpa (43psi) for 24 hours, then dial it back to your carbonating/serving pressure and burp the headspace.

It'll have a bit of gas in it after the 24 hrs and will come up to perfect in the next day or 3. Nice thing is you can sample the beer as it comes up to carb and educate yourself ;)
 

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