Author Topic: Kegging and bottling  (Read 7424 times)

Offline jlestos

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Kegging and bottling
« on: June 25, 2011, 03:06:08 AM »
Hi folks,

So in probably about 3 weeks I'm going to be kegging up my first batch of beer (coffee porter) and I had a question. Is it OK to keg the beer and then keep it unrefrigerated? The guidelines on the kit I bought are only for bottling so I'm a bit in the dark. As I don't own a fridge I can easily stuff a 5 gallon keg into, I felt it would be best to know well in advance.

Also, I've searched the internet a bit, but couldn't find anything conclusive. Is it OK to bottle out of a keg? And does it still need to be bottle conditioned if the keg was force carbonated?

Thanks in advance,
J

Offline DaveinPa

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Re: Kegging and bottling
« Reply #1 on: June 25, 2011, 08:15:56 AM »
As long as you purge the air out it should be no different than leaving it in the secondary longer or leaving bottles unrefrigerated.  But do you plan on drinking your beer warm??

I used to keep my keg laying on its side on the bottom shelf of a fridge before getting a small chest freezer and external temp controller. I used a picnic faucet and would occasionally reconnect the keg to the CO2 tank to pump the CO2 back up.  It worked OK and didn't use up the whole fridge but the foam level was hard to control.

If you are going to keg, I'd suggest getting a small chest freezer (5-7 cu ft) and temp control device - maybe $250, less if you can find them used.  You will find it a lot more successful.  Given the amount of work required to get to it ready to drink, its a pretty justifiable expenditure, IMO.

Offline Kevcor

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Re: Kegging and bottling
« Reply #2 on: June 25, 2011, 08:16:45 AM »
Good question on the storing in the keg, I am not sure about that so hopefully another member will shed some light.

As for bottling from the keg that is possible. The best solution is to get a beer gun which will remove the air in the bottle while maintaining the carbonation at the same time. I have tapped brew in to mason jars that I take with me when I am going to party or I have handed to friends. The key there is they need to be drank relatively quickly or they will go flat.
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Offline jlestos

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Re: Kegging and bottling
« Reply #3 on: June 25, 2011, 09:16:33 PM »
Thanks for the tips. One more question about kegging though. Would it make a huge difference/be a big problem if I bottled a couple while siphoning into the keg? Meaning the keg wouldn't be completely full? I would like to be able to have a 750ml bottle that I could condition and store away to drink a few months after I've kegged up.

In response to the drinking the beer warm, it is a porter so in truth I do generally prefer my porters closer to room temp. Plus it will give me a better grasp of the flavor profile.

Thanks again
J

Offline DaveinPa

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Re: Kegging and bottling
« Reply #4 on: June 26, 2011, 04:42:15 AM »
The keg doesn't have to be full.  You can bottle and fill the keg together, but you will have to add a priming sugar to the bottles unless you plan to add it to the whole batch.  Most people with kegging systems force carbonate rather than priming.

Offline jlestos

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Re: Kegging and bottling
« Reply #5 on: June 26, 2011, 06:07:32 PM »
ok, so if I plan on force carbonating (I do) then I do not need to add priming sugar to the batch before hand? I would just need to prime the bottles, correct? I had thought I would need to prime the whole batch before I put it in the keg.

Offline BobBrews

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Re: Kegging and bottling
« Reply #6 on: June 27, 2011, 07:25:14 AM »
jlestos,

         If you are using a standard 5lb or 10lb CO2 bottle than you don't prime. Buy some sugar tablets from your local homebrew supply shop. Add 2,3, or 4 to each bottle depending on how much you want it carbonated. It's quick and easy, no measuring.
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Offline jlestos

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Re: Kegging and bottling
« Reply #7 on: June 27, 2011, 06:48:09 PM »
Awesome, thanks for the info. Every moment it seems like I have some semblance of an idea, random things pop up and help reiterate all that I do not know yet

Offline Maine Homebrewer

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Re: Kegging and bottling
« Reply #8 on: June 27, 2011, 07:00:52 PM »
I've use the carb tabs with results I found to be unfavorable. I brew exclusively all grain because I can't stomach the "tang" associated with extract brewing (my negative karma is a result of someone taking my distaste for extract brews personally and smiting every post of mine he could find.  It was once quite high. Maybe you will be kind and not smite me for being a beer snob?), and carb tabs add to that off taste.

With a recent batch I did some math to find how much boiled priming sugar (as opposed to crystalline pressed tablets) was needed for two gallons.

Let's see if I can remember. There are 4 tablespoons in a 1/4 cup, which means 8 in a half. A half cup is pretty standard for a five gallon batch, right? 8 doesn't divide well by 5. OK, there are 3 teaspoons in a tablespoon. That's 24 teaspoons in a half cup.  That's better.  24 * 2/5 = 9.6.

There are 128 oz in a gallon.  I don't know what size bottles you use. I've got a mix of standard 12oz, plenty of 16oz Grolsh flip tops, and a few bombers averaging around 20oz. So I mix and match.

Reserve two gallons in your bottling bucket and keg the rest.  Mix and match bottles for 256 ounces of beer. Boil nine and a half teaspoons priming sugar in a small amount of water, add it to your bottling bucket.  Give it a good stir. Bottle and cap as usual. Force carbonate your keg. 

Enjoy!
"To alcohol! The cause of - and solution to - all of life's problems!" -Homer Simpson

Offline Maine Homebrewer

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Re: Kegging and bottling
« Reply #9 on: June 27, 2011, 07:08:36 PM »
Oh, and fill the big ones first. It's better to run out 3/4 through a 12oz bottle than 3/4 through a bomber (that could have filled a 12oz bottle).
"To alcohol! The cause of - and solution to - all of life's problems!" -Homer Simpson

Offline jomebrew

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Re: Kegging and bottling
« Reply #10 on: June 27, 2011, 09:25:35 PM »
the higher the temperature, the faster the beer stales.  The foremost expert, Dr. Charles Bamforth advises the general rule for every 10C the staling rate doubles. So if you keep[ the keg at 70F or about 20c, you increase the staling rate by a factor of 4.  You beer that would stale in 4 years is now 1 year or 1 years is stale at 3 months.  The staling tends to be noticeable before the terminal date so the beer starts getting pewpy long before it is too nasty to drink.

I have had amber beers that were 3 years old and tasted great.  They were stored at 35f and well prepared for storage.

Offline jlestos

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Re: Kegging and bottling
« Reply #11 on: June 28, 2011, 07:04:32 PM »
So next question...since I'm only bottling a few before I keg my first brew, I'm having difficulty with the math to figure out how much sugar I should put in each bottle that I'm going to condition. 1 is a 750 champagne bottle with a swing cap, and I might do a couple 12oz as well to store to dry in 6 months or so. Is there a website that has an easy conversion table or anything? I got all the numbers I thought I would need, but I'm fairly terrible at math so I don't know what to do with said numbers...

Thanks in advance
J

Offline Maine Homebrewer

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Re: Kegging and bottling
« Reply #12 on: June 30, 2011, 06:35:56 PM »
Don't put sugar in each bottle.  Reserve an amount of beer to bottle and add boiled sugar water to it like you were bottling a whole batch. That way you know you've got it right.

In my example I reserved two gallons to bottle, I figured that 9 1/2 tsp (3T 1/2tsp) was the right amount of sugar.

Here's the numbers you need:

A gallon holds 128 ounces, or ten and three quarters 12oz bottles.
1/2 cup is the total sugar for a five gallon batch, which breaks down to 4.75 teaspoons per gallon.
There are 3 teaspoons in a tablespoon (9.5 tsp = 3 T .5 tsp).

Decide how much beer you want to bottle. Say you want to do one gallon. Clean more bottles than you need (better to have too many than not enough). I'd clean the champagne bottle plus ten 12ozers to be on the safe side.  You'll probably have two left over.
Instead of boiling a 1/2 cup of sugar, boil 4 3/4 teaspoons. 
My bottling bucket does not have a one gallon mark.  Before bottle time put a measured gallon in and mark it. That's why I did two gallons before. It was the smallest marked volume on the bucket.
Start siphoning into the bottle bucket until you have the desired amount, crimp the hose, put the rest into the keg, then bottle the one gallon like you would normally.

I will be doing exactly that with my next batch so I can have some bottles to share with friends who can't come over to the house and have a draft.

Quote
I'm fairly terrible at math

That sucks. I do math for fun!
"To alcohol! The cause of - and solution to - all of life's problems!" -Homer Simpson

Offline jlestos

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Re: Kegging and bottling
« Reply #13 on: July 02, 2011, 02:08:23 AM »
Wish I could do math for fun...Thanks for all the tips though. I will be bottling my first beer this coming Tuesday and kegging the second 10 days later. I might need to relearn math...Maine Homebrewer, thus far you've been a godsend.

Offline Bootlegbrewer

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Re: Kegging and bottling
« Reply #14 on: July 10, 2011, 07:48:50 PM »
Hop aroma deteriorates quickly as well. Especially when beer is warm. I would try and store the keg in the coolest temperature possible.  This is especially important if your doing an IPA or other very happy beer.