|BACK to The Beer Journals home page|
here is a posting that I made on Brewboard a long time ago
that explains my carbonation process. Keep in mind that
there is no reason to use priming sugar if you are kegging
and have CO2 handy. The priming sugar or "natural
carbonation" will not make your beer carbonate
differently, have different bubbles, or taste different.
It will however add a very small amount of alcohol to the
beer, but again nothing noticeable.
Dissolved CO2 is dissolved CO2 for our purposes, and the controlling factors are temperature, pressure, and time. You can only affect one of these, and that is time. Agitating the liquid exposes more of the liquid to the gas, thus making the CO2 mix into solution more rapidly. Shaking the beer doesn't do anything more than help speed the process along. Don't believe anyone that tells you they don't shake because it affects the beer. The important factors are temperature and pressure. Use the standard chart to find the volumes of CO2 you want, and get going! Also, all carbonation using CO2 under pressure is force carbonation, regardless of the speed you perform it at.
Use the carbonation chart at the link above, or use the same chart available in many places around the web. At the bottom of this page are more links for carbonation that might help. Don't make this tougher than it is, and don't try to re-invent the wheel, just follow the process and learn the rules to be happy!
The best way of carbonating your beer is to set the pressure and leave the beer alone in the fridge for a few weeks. That solves two issues. The first is nice even carbonation, and the more important one is proper conditioning. So many people don't let the beer condition properly and are in a hurry to carbonate and drink it. Both carbonation and conditioning can happen at the same time in the fridge ot kegerator, so patience is the best method, and it is nearly foolproof. (OK, it is only fool-resistant, they make better fools every day).
I just don't see why people have a problem with
carbonating by the numbers, regardless of shaking (rapid
force carb) or not (regular force carb).
I call the process "chasing the needle" as I will
detail how to reduce the pressure as the CO2 goes into
solution without any backflow issues that many people
wrongly assume must happen.
Once I get the beer into the keg, I start with
setting the regulator to about 50psi for the first
shaking segment, connect the CO2 line to the GAS (IN)
port, and then lay the keg on its side and roll back and
forth for about 15 seconds listening to the bubbles. I
then turn down the gas pressure slowly while rocking the
keg and listening to the bubbles, and it is critical
that you are slowly lowering the pressure while the gas
is still flowing.
I don't go below the point where beer can
flow back into the line. I continue rocking the keg
and the bubbles will start again as the gas pressure
goes into solution and the overall pressure drops so the
gas flows again. Once the bubbles become fast again I
continue rocking while turning the gas down again,
probably 5psi at a time while you hear the bubbles. When
you drop the pressure the bubbles may slow, but this is
the time you should be rocking the keg, and as the
carbonation goes into solution, the bubbles will pick
back up again. I do this again and again until I
get to about 20psi on the regulator. At this point I'm
really close to the final pressure so I want to
drop the pressure to a few pounds above my target and
shake until the bubbles slow again and I stop. This only
takes a few minutes. This usually gets you to a place
where the beer is carbonated enough to be served, but
still usually needs some time at the proper final
pressure to be perfect. Stopping a bit early prevents me
from over-carbonating, and virtually nobody could ever
tell that you are not at an exact level of carbonation.
If you get really good at this you can just about get it
100% perfect this way very quickly and be perfect, but
people tend to over-carb so I suggest caution.
It is still better than setting at a higher pressure and leaving it for hours or days and not knowing where your carbonation level is. This method is a controlled way to get close to your target carbonation, and you can then get the last few PSI done by leaving it overnight and be perfect.
This method is nothing new, and yields very
accurate and trouble-free rapid carbonation. I've never
over-carbed doing this because the high-pressure
segments are quite short, and you have an audible
reference to let you know when the pressure is reaching
equilibrium. I'll be glad to show anyone how to perform
this method if you are in the
|As I don't claim to invent this stuff, but try to communicate the way I've found successful, here are some links to other source material to help you on your gas filled adventure!|
|Yeah, that's me, caught while rolling a keg to carbonate it quickly. You'll notice that the CO2 input is at the lower side, so I can hear the gas bubbling into the keg. As long as you are keeping a greater pressure going into the keg, you won't have a problem with backflow. Once the pressure starts to equalize you need to be careful.|