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Adventures in Kegging

Adventures in Kegging

This was a presentation given by James Wilson in the May 2020 LAB meeting.

You can also find a video of the presentation on YouTube:

London Amateur Brewers

May 04, 2020

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  1. Why keg? • No more bottling days! • Can get

    beer conditioned faster • Bulk lagering/ageing • No more bottling days! • Avoid oxidation for hoppy styles • Pouring from your own tap is cool • No more bottling days!
  2. Kegs! • Kegs are pressure vessels • Need pressure inside

    to dispense • Plastic pressure barrel • Naturally carbonate • Dispense with natural carbonation or CO2 cartridges/S30 • Sankey • Designed for commercial use • Difficult for home brewer to wash and inspect internally (needs special tools) • Cornelius “Corny” • Formerly used for pub/bar soft drinks • Adopted by home brewers for ease of use • Many seals that need checking • Tricky to use at really low pressure
  3. What you’ll need • Refrigeration • A “corny” type keg

    • Lots of manufacturers • Be wary of Firestone/John Wood • CO2 cylinder (drinks gas) • CO2 regulator • Don’t buy cheap! • Disconnects • JG or barbed? • Beer line • Good for beer and gas • I use 3/8” for gas, 3/16” for liquid • A tap • Picnic/party/cobra taps are fine!
  4. Carbonation • Use a chart to figure out the pressure

    you need to be at. • Options to get there: • Connect CO2 and just leave it over a couple of weeks • Spunding • Natural priming • Faster force carbonation: • Set 35 PSI and then shake the keg for 10 minutes • Set 35 PSI and leave it for 2 days • Higher pressure = faster • Danger of over carbonating
  5. Pouring beer • Most common problem seems to be foaming

    • Possible: • Beer is over carbonated • Beer is too warm • Beer line length is important! • Calculators online seem to use USA beer line dimensions which are measured by internal diameter • UK beer line tends to be measured by outer diameter, so is narrower • 120-150cm of 3/16” OD beer line seems to pour anything • You can get flow control devices (taps, disconnects, inline) are for minor adjustments
  6. Maintenance • Adjustable spanners • Food safe silicone grease •

    Spares: • Seals • Poppets (might need new posts) • Disconnects • Pressure release valve • Quality cleaner • Long brush • Carbonator caps are useful • My cleaning routine: • Rinse out with water (inc liquid post and beer line) • Remove liquid post to check for gunk • Couple of spoons of PBW with about 3.5 litres boiling water from my kettle • Close it up, shake, then leave to soak, rotating occasionally. • Empty out via beer lines • Rinse, sanitise • Seal with a little pressure for storage
  7. Takeaways • Difficult to pour straight from tap to bottle

    • Foaming • Oxidation • Options: • Counter pressure filler • Beer gun • Carbonation caps • DIY options
  8. Kegs as fermenters • They are cheap stainless steel, high

    pressure fermenters • Avoid oxidation • Pressurised warm lager fermentation • Attach a blow off to gas in post • Use antifoam • Modify dip tube with some tubing or a float • Don’t cut them, they’re hard to replace
  9. Keg to keg transfer • Purge empty keg • Pressurise

    empty keg • Put gas on fermenter • Connect liquid to liquid posts with jumper line • Pull PRV on receiving keg or use spunding valve to reduce pressure in receiving keg and cause beer to be pushed in • Platform scales let you see progress
  10. Why stop at beer? • Make your own carbonated soft

    drinks, infusions and mixers • e.g. Tonic water, lemonade – there’s even coca cola recipes online • Sparkling wine kit • Has anyone tried this?