Competition Carbonation?

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Postby ragin_cajun » Fri Apr 17, 2009 3:55 pm

How to naturally carbonate a keg?
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Postby aleguy » Fri Apr 17, 2009 5:07 pm

First. Airgas CO2 is not food grade. In order to get food grade CO2 they have to ship your bottle to Baton Rouge to be filled. Nobody really cares too much so we don't bother with the extra hassle. The most likely contaminants are machine oil and little bits of metal from the compressor that compresses air until the CO2 liquefies. (That's how commercial CO2 is made.)
Second. Naturally conditioning a keg is simple. You boil 1 Cup of DME with 2 Cups H2O to sanitize it. Pour it in your keg and rack the beer in on top. No need to let it cool first. Then seal up your keg and let it sit at room temperature for about 2 weeks. Refrigerate for another 2 weeks (cold conditioning, can happen in as little as 3 days, but better after two weeks.)
For a five-gallon batch of bottle conditioned beer you want to use 1 2/3 Cups DME in 3 - 4 Cups water. Put it in your bottling bucket and bottle as usual.
Draft beer is less carbonated than bottle beer. These rates are for Non-Belgian beers. Most Belgian beers would require about twice as much DME and much stronger bottles.
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Postby redtail28 » Sat Apr 18, 2009 10:38 am

This a first for me. I have my Irish Red Ale
that I'm having trouble getting to carbonate.
I have it at 33 to 35 degrees and at 40 psi.
It's a little better today in the past I could
carb a keg of night.
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Postby aleguy » Sat Apr 18, 2009 12:45 pm

Always takes me about three days at 50psi. Then it's over carbonated, which is perfect for bottle filling. Just vent the keg 'til it's barely pouring and fill the bottles with a picnic tap.
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Postby GuitarLord5000 » Sat Apr 18, 2009 8:53 pm

So, it looks like some people naturally carbonate, some force carb, but most everyone bottles from a keg. I've never done this before, so what is the best procedure? Does everyone overcarb their beer before bottling? If so, to what degree? How much carbonation can I expect to leave the bottle before I'm able to put a cap on it? Did you guys buy, or make a counterpressure filler?

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Postby Imakewort » Sat Apr 18, 2009 10:09 pm

i carb my beer to the way I want it and then I do it this way but I dry heat sterilize my bottles, 350F for 1 hour. first i wash them out and then put some tin foil loosely over the top then into the oven, and sanitise the caps in star san.
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Postby aleguy » Sun Apr 19, 2009 2:30 pm

If I were serious about competition, I would naturally condition everything in a keg, then use a counter pressure filler to ensure perfect COI2 levels and no O2 in the bottle. As it is, I force carb everything because I'm just making it to drink myself. While I appreciate the nicer flavor of a naturally conditioned beer, I'm usually in a hurry to get to the drinkin', so I cut a few corners.
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