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Potential Keg Carbonation Solution

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  • Potential Keg Carbonation Solution

    Hi there. I'm setting up a very-Nano brewpub rig in southern Tasmania (100 litre brewhouse), and initially plan to carbonate in kegs. The "sit it on CO2 for a week or so, and hope you get the right volume" approach doesn't really appeal to me, and I'm wondering if the device linked here at Morebeer could be a short term solution?

    The process would be as follows, presuming cleaned and sanitised 50 litre kegs:
    1. Two gas lines run from a manifold, one to a gas fitting, second to a liquid fitting. Second line has a rotameter in line
    2. Carb stone is fitted to the liquid pickup hose of the fitting. This line is cut to about 3/4 of it's length, to keep it off the settled yeast
    3. Remove spear from keg, set aside in a sanitary manner
    4. Fill keg to 49.5 litres
    5. Fit Morebeer adapter, attach gas to gas post
    6. Set gas regulator to required pressure (let's say 12psi) - this is our head pressure
    7. Set rotameter (we'll need to tweak this as we go), connect fitting to liquid post
    8. Wait for rotameter to stop doing it's thing, leave beer for two days
    9. Serve beer


    I recognise the risk of venting CO2 creating a potentially dangerous situation, I have some mitigation steps to deal with this

    Any thoughts, comments, suggestions? Bear in mind that here in Aus, and particularly in Tassie, I'm limited in what I can buy - most US stores won't send to Aus, or charge like a wounded bull to do so

    Cheers,

    David

  • #2
    Stick with plan A

    That device looks like far more trouble than it's worth. Putting gas on a cold keg for a week would be far superior, IMO. How are you going to "9) serve beer"? Through the stone? That's a disaster. Plus, you would be much further toward carbonation if you spunded correctly and kept the young beer under pressure longer. dumping it into an unpressurized keg is just more wear & tear on your beer. Pulling spears is no fun, either. And you have a ton more work into a tiny amount of beer. Keep it simple! Don't even know why you're using kegs. That's also more effort for tiny amount of beer. Just crash, condition, drop bottoms, transfer to BBT, carbonate, and done.
    Phillip Kelm--Palau Brewing Company Manager--

    Comment


    • #3
      Hey Phillip, your name, and some really good information, has popped up a lot in my searches over the past few days, really appreciate you taking the time give feedback.

      An overarching answer to your questions/points is that this is a just a proof of concept stage, so I'm looking for a cost effective way to get beer ready relatively quickly. For this setup, I reckon the cost of equipment that I wouldn't re-use when scaling up is around $80, so from a monetary perspective it's not a huge investment.

      A couple of points:

      Originally posted by gitchegumee View Post
      Putting gas on a cold keg for a week would be far superior, IMO
      I was under the impression that if using this method I'd not be able to properly determine what level of carbonation I have. Very, very happy to be wrong

      Originally posted by gitchegumee View Post
      How are you going to "9) serve beer"?
      Forgot a step, which is to unclamp the ball lock head fitting and drop in a clean spear. This would be done after sitting the beer with just head pressure for two days after a day of carbonation

      Originally posted by gitchegumee View Post
      Pulling spears is no fun, either
      As I have discovered, although I have a few shiny tools that have made that a lot easier

      Originally posted by gitchegumee View Post
      Don't even know why you're using kegs
      I don't have unitanks, and it's difficult to source cheap/affordable nano BBT's here in Aus, even more so in Tasmania, so my options are limited. The goal is to prove my beer can work sold on premises, and thus justify the cost of a 2 to 3 BBL brite (perhaps even bigger if it goes nuts).

      I'm not wedded to this method, it just seemed like a relatively elegant solution to a small scale problem. I shall re-evaluate

      Comment


      • #4
        If you're going to more beer it, id get the blichmann quick carb. Keep your kegs at the right temp, set your pressure, turn it on. Should recirc just fine. You can easily adapt a sankey connector to work with this, they make ball lock to beer nut adapters.

        https://www.morebeer.com/products/bl...uick-carb.html

        Comment


        • #5
          Originally posted by jebzter View Post
          If you're going to more beer it, id get the blichmann quick carb. Keep your kegs at the right temp, set your pressure, turn it on. Should recirc just fine. You can easily adapt a sankey connector to work with this, they make ball lock to beer nut adapters.

          https://www.morebeer.com/products/bl...uick-carb.html
          I do like the look of that sort of thing, and had a good think about this unit, but if I'm heading down the BBT road in the near-ish future, $400 AUD plus shipping to Tassie is a bit much for a short term solution. If I were sticking to home brew scale, I reckon this would be a great investment

          Comment


          • #6
            If you want extremely long carb times and inconsistent results, then $400 is probably expensive.
            Moving those corney adapters around from keg to keg and then reinserting the extractor assembly is going to be time consuming and risking oxygenation and contamination. Plus, if you want to do any small batch stuff or test batches, this device would still be useful.
            I'm big on efficiency and quality, either static head pressure for a week, or I would use the machine. Your described method is neither efficient or quality as far as professional brewing goes.
            Thats just my .02 on the subject. Ive pulled many a spear, it takes time without the right tools, and you'll spend $100 USD alone on the tool to compress the gasket on the extractor valve. With the tool, its still probably 5 min to pull and replace.

            Comment


            • #7
              Originally posted by jebzter View Post
              Thats just my .02 on the subject.
              Appreciate your feedback, jebzter, and I'm becoming less and less enamoured of the corny keg thingummy with every comment added to this

              I'm not knocking the idea of the Quick Carb, it's use for small batch runs certainly appeals.

              I think it's either "sit in the keg for a week" or, if I can find the cash, the Quick Carb.

              Thanks for input from both of you, I have been, once again, saved from myself

              Comment


              • #8
                First, I will echo the sentiments mentioned. Spunding is always my first choice. Uni-tanks are your friend.

                I will just throw this out there. You could also consider using natural carbonation since you are on a smaller scale. You could in theory just mix in some dextrose after fermentation is completed and keg your beer flat, condition it for two weeks, and then serve. There will be some sedimentation of yeast, sure, but it can often be pulled off the first pint or two. You can also consider adding a fining agent at the same time as kegging (similar to true firkin preparation) to help sediment the yeast as conditioning occurs. This is probably the simplest and cheapest route for a nano. As with most things in industry you are exchanging dollars for hours. Source more kegs, brew more batches, and build the inventory so the time is not a factor.

                Even as you grow to a BBT, you will still want at least a few kegs around. You will need one or two in order to transfer and serve as your BBT gets low. Then you can run CIP, etc without being down a serving vessel/tap. You may also want to retail a few kegs for special occasions like your sisters wedding or something. Don't make distribution a part of your plan at 2bbl.

                Comment


                • #9
                  Originally posted by davidn View Post
                  Appreciate your feedback, jebzter, and I'm becoming less and less enamoured of the corny keg thingummy with every comment added to this

                  I'm not knocking the idea of the Quick Carb, it's use for small batch runs certainly appeals.

                  I think it's either "sit in the keg for a week" or, if I can find the cash, the Quick Carb.

                  Thanks for input from both of you, I have been, once again, saved from myself
                  I'm glad I found this thread. I picked one up after reading through this and some reviews of the unit. I'm operating a Nano and the Quick Carb has been a Godsend. I wish I had known about this thing earlier!

                  Comment


                  • #10
                    Originally posted by wlw33 View Post
                    I'm glad I found this thread. I picked one up after reading through this and some reviews of the unit. I'm operating a Nano and the Quick Carb has been a Godsend. I wish I had known about this thing earlier!
                    You're carbonating in 50L kegs, with commercial couplers?

                    Comment


                    • #11
                      Originally posted by davidn View Post
                      You're carbonating in 50L kegs, with commercial couplers?
                      Yes, I'm in the US so they are mostly 15.5gal (a little under 59L) but I do have a couple 50L kegs and a few 5 gallon kegs. I use the ball lock conversion kit on my sanke coupler with the one way valves removed. Works great, easy to clean, easy to connect and disconnect lines from the keg.

                      Sent from my Pixel using Tapatalk

                      Comment


                      • #12
                        Originally posted by wlw33 View Post
                        Yes, I'm in the US so they are mostly 15.5gal (a little under 59L) but I do have a couple 50L kegs and a few 5 gallon kegs. I use the ball lock conversion kit on my sanke coupler with the one way valves removed. Works great, easy to clean, easy to connect and disconnect lines from the keg
                        Bewdy, thanks. I have one on the way

                        Comment

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