Kegging Homebrewed Beer
If you are thinking about kegging homebrewed beer here is an article showing how easy and helpful kegging can be. Why keg? Well to me coming up with empty bottles, cleaning them and having to wait two weeks before trying your beer was getting old quick. Plus how cool is it to always have beer on tap at the house and cut bottle day to a 30 minute transfer session. In the article below I will describe the equipment used in kegging homebrewed beer, how to sanitize the kegs, how to transfer your beer to kegs and how to serve your beer from kegs.
Purchase Equipment for Kegging Homebrewed Beer
I must say when I found and purchased the Brew Logic Dual Tap System from midwestsupplies.com I was a bit skeptical, considering other sites/stores were selling the same setup for $100 more. But what a deal it was, I have been using the setup since Nov. 2009 and haven’t encountered a single problem, I have recommended it to a bunch of friends and everyone has been really happy with it.
Here is what the kit for kegging homebrewed beer comes with, feel free to shop around:
1. Two reconditioned 5 gallon SS Cornelius kegs
2. 5 lb New Aluminum CO2 tank
3. Double dual gauge CO2 regulator
4. Two hand held taps (the keg party kind)
5. Gas lines with disconnects
Cleaning / Sanitizing the Kegs (15 minutes)
Once your beer has completed fermentation it is time to carbonate it and serve it. To start things off the kegs will need to be cleaned and sanitized. To clean the kegs first start out by removing the posts on both the gas and beer sides (it helps to use a deep socket).
Soak all posts, tubes, poppets in a mixture of a teaspoon of beer brite and a gallon of water for 5 minutes. Once 5 minutes has past, assemble the keg and dump the beer brite/water solution into it. Close the lid, shake it for 2-3 minutes and dump out the solution. After cleaning is complete, fill the keg with about 1-2 gallons of water and a cap full of the star san (food grade sanitizer).
Place the cap back on the keg, shake it for 2 minutes and hook up the beer and gas lines. Keep in mind that the gas(IN) post and beer(OUT) post are completely different sizes, so make sure you connect to the correct post. The gas(IN) post should have a line indention around the post.
Open the valve to the CO2 tank and pressurize the keg, when it reaches 10 psi disconnect the gas line and open the beer line. This will allow all the sanitizing solution to pass through the keg. Once all of the sanitizing solution is out of the keg, pull the pressure release valve to release the rest of the CO2 and then open the lid completely. The keg is now ready for beer.
Transferring Beer to the Kegs (15 minutes)
Transferring beer from a carboy, bucket or conical to the keg is relatively easy. Just make sure all of the equipment used to transfer the beer is sanitized. If using a carboy or bucket I prefer to put it on a kitchen counter and siphon it with a little help from gravity. Notice the star san bubbles rising to the top, this is normal and will not affect the beer.
Once you have completely transferred all the beer (~5 gallons), apply a bit of keg lube. Apply the keg lube to the outside of the rubber gasket that wraps around the lid, this will help prevent any minor air leaks. After applying the keg lube, close the lid and get ready to carbonate.
Carbonating the Beer (3-4 days)
The first step in carbonation is getting all of the oxygen out of the keg, often called purging. To do this, connect the gas line and hit the keg with around 20 psi. When you hear the gas stop flowing, open the pressure release valve for a few seconds and let the oxygen out (oxygen is lighter then CO2 so it rises to the top).
Repeating this process about 4-5 times should be enough to get all of the oxygen out of the keg. Once all the oxygen has been removed, set the Co2 pressure to 12 psi and put the whole setup in the kegerator/fridge. See our DIY kegerator for build here.
After 2-3 hours you will want to check/adjust the pressure, it may be off if you put the equipment into the kegerator/fridge at room temperature. There are different methods used to force carbonate kegged beer, the one I use and is the easiest to perform is the fill it and wait method. The keg will need to sit for at least 3-4 days at 38-40 degrees to get appropriate carbonation, be sure to keep the CO2 tank on. To get exact carbonation, check out a force carbonation chart.
Serving the Beer
After 3-4 days have past with the beer carbonating it should be ready to be served. Drop the CO2 pressure down to 5-7 psi and connect the beer lines. To get a good pour hold the glass slightly tilted at the beginning then slowly straighten it out as the glass gets full.
Well that should cover the basics of kegging homebrewed beer, if you have any comments or questions please post them below. Check out our DIY step by step kegerator build as well and go Brew More Beer !