July 2, 2017 – Force Carbonation & Leak Detection of Keg

Low n’ slow method:

  1. Clean and sanitize your keg.
  2. Purge Oxygen from keg by connecting the CO2 line (red) to the “In” plug of keg. If you’re not sure which one this is, look inside of keg, the short dip tube will be your gas in line. Turn the CO2 on and make sure the regulator is set to about 10 pounds and let run for only a couple of seconds. (CO2 is heavier so it will push the oxygen out).
  3. Siphon your finished beer into your keg.
  4. After siphon is finished install lid and put about 10-20 pounds of pressure on the keg. This is necessary to seal the lid. Release the pressure on the keg a couple of times to make sure all oxygen has been removed. This is a great opportunity to test your keg for leaks, spraying all points of connection with Star San solution, if leaking CO2 it will bubble. You can disconnect the CO2 now or leave it connected if you keep the CO2 in the refrigerator.
  5. Put keg in the refrigerator and let it sit for 24 hours to get cold. A warm beer will not absorb CO2 well. You need the beer to be below 50 degrees. 35 to 40 are the best.
  6. Set regulator to 5 PSI, install CO2 line on keg and let sit in the refrigerator for 1-2 weeks.

The shake n’ bake method:

  1. Clean and sanitize your keg.
  2. Purge Oxygen from keg by connecting the CO2 line (red) to the “In” plug of keg. If you’re not sure which one this is, look inside of keg, the short dip tube will be your gas in line. Turn the CO2 on and make sure the regulator is set to about 10 pounds and let run for only a couple of seconds. (CO2 is heavier so it will push the oxygen out).
  3. Siphon your finished beer into your keg.
  4. After siphon is finished install lid and put about 10-20 pounds of pressure on the keg. This is necessary to seal the lid. Release the pressure on the keg a couple of times to make sure all oxygen has been removed. This is a great opportunity to test your keg for leaks, spraying all points of connection with Star San solution, if leaking CO2 it will bubble. You can disconnect the CO2 now or leave it connected if you keep the CO2 in the refrigerator.
  5. Put keg in the refrigerator and let it sit for 24 hours to get cold. A warm beer will not absorb CO2 well. You need the beer to be below 50 degrees. 35 to 40 are the best.
  6. After the beer gets to the proper temperature. Remove from the refrigerator.
  7. Turn regulator to 30 pounds of pressure and connect back to the keg. Shake the keg hard for about 20 minutes. You will hear the Co2 bubbling in the keg. When you stop shaking you will hear the CO2 stop bubbling. When you start again you will hear the CO2 bubbling back into solution again
  8. Put back into Refrigerator and let stand for another 24 hours.
  9. Remove from refrigerator and repeat step 7 for only about 10 minutes.
  10. Disconnect CO2 from keg & release pressure on keg
  11. Turn regulator down to 5 pounds of pressure.
  12. Reconnect to keg and test the Carbonation of your beer. If it is not where you want it, repeat step 8 & 9.

Best of both worlds:

  1. Clean and sanitize your keg.
  2. Purge Oxygen from keg by connecting the CO2 line (red) to the “In” plug of keg. If you’re not sure which one this is, look inside of keg, the short tube will be your gas in line. Turn the CO2 on and make sure the regulator is set to about 10 pounds and let run for only a couple of seconds. (CO2 is heavier so it will push the oxygen out).
  3. Siphon your finished beer into your keg.
  4. After siphon is finished install lid and put about 10-20 pounds of pressure on the keg. This is necessary to seal the lid. Release the pressure on the keg a couple of times to make sure all oxygen has been removed. This is a great opportunity to test your keg for leaks, spraying all points of connection with Star San solution, if leaking CO2 it will bubble. You can disconnect the CO2 now or leave it connected if you keep the CO2 in the refrigerator.
  5. Put keg in the refrigerator and let it sit for 24 hours to get cold. A warm beer will not absorb CO2 well. You need the beer to be below 50 degrees. 35 to 40 are the best.
  6. When chilled, set regulator to 30 PSI and leave CO2 connected. Leave in refrigerator for 36 hours.
  7. Disconnect CO2 and purge excess pressure from keg. Turn regulator down to 5 PSI & reconnect to keg.NOTE: With any of these methods, the carbonation quality tends to improve over time. Serving pressure may vary from 5-10 PSI, it’s best to start at a lower pressure and increase as needed as you get to know your system. All three methods have their advantages, whether quicker or lower chance of over carbonating your beer.

Leak Detection

5 lbs. of CO2 should carbonate and dispense about five 5 gl. kegs of beer.

A leak in your kegging system will greatly impact this and can be greatly discouraging. Have Star San no rinse sanitizing solution at the ready in a spray bottle. Star San is notoriously foamy and will bubble at the faintest leak. You may use dish soap or similar detergents though they tend to leave residue. Plus, Star San is handy to have around in a spray bottle for quickly sanitizing items. Identify connection points prone to leakage, spray with Star San solution and watch for bubbles.

  1. Start by spraying around the keg lid.
  2. Spray into pressure relief valve on lid.
  3. Spray at the base of the gas “In” and beer “Out” fittings.
  4. Without disconnects installed on keg, spray top of the gas “In” and beer “Out” fittings aiming at the poppets.
  5. Spray cap of disconnect and where the nut and hose barb thread onto disconnect.
  6. Spray connection between CO2 tank and regulator.

 

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