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View Full Version : Question for you keg guru's



Squatchy
12-05-2015, 01:49 PM
So I have to start moving stuff out of my carboys. I have way to many to buy more and everything is aged well enough to bottle/keg. I have been torn as to which way to go. Kegs or bottles. Space is one confinement. And I don't want to buy a bunch of stuff and then not want/like it.

My most immediate question is this. I want to be able to force carb a few things from time to time.

I was looking at this for just something to take to small family parties. http://www.northernbrewer.com/promotional-categories/take-21-off-draft-brewer-keg-systems/draft-brewer-mini-keg-system

Any thoughts?

Secondly. I have been told yes and no to this question so I am confused. If I force carb something and put it into EZtop bottles will the carb stay or disappear? If it goes away how long could I expect brand new ones to hold some fizz?

Thanks

P.S. I'm open for other alternatives

danr
12-05-2015, 02:30 PM
I am not a guru, but here is my 2-cents:

If the mini keg is the right volume for you, it looks like it would work fine.

When you transfer from keg to bottle you lose some of the carbonation in the process, but once you put it in an EZ top bottle, it should retain whatever is left. These bottle generally hold carbonation well. You can use argon or nitrogen instead of CO2 if you prefer to use your keg for a still mead, although these need a different regulator. You can also just use CO2 at low pressure for a still mead.

A couple of other options for bringing small volumes of carbonated mead to parties:
Carbonater Cap (http://www.amazon.com/LiquidBread-The-Carbonater/dp/B0064OKADS) with any standard PET bottles
PET Growler with Carbonation Cap (http://www.williamsbrewing.com/-WILLIAMS-PET-64-OUNCE-GROWLER-CARBONATION-CAP-P3832.aspx)
I personally would not want to store my mead in a PET bottle long term though. I have seen Kickstarter campaigns with growlers that can be pressurized - DrinkTank, Brauler - but these have received mixed reviews. I have used the Carbonater cap and 16 oz. PET bottles for homemade root beer and it works well for short term storage.

If you are using 5 gallon carboys, you would probably want to store your mead in a 5 gallon keg and transfer to the smaller containers when taking the mead to go. You can often find used 5 gallon "Corny" kegs (old Coke or Pepsi syrup kegs) for sale relatively cheap.

One thing to keep in mind with carbonation is that you need the mead to be cold in order to hold the carbonation. Ex. if you have a 5 gallon keg out at room temperature, it will not carbonate well - the CO2 will tend to fill the headspace. Depending on your refrigeration options, the mini keg or carbonator caps may work best if you do not have a way to refrigerate a 5 gallon keg.

Squatchy
12-05-2015, 03:27 PM
I am not a guru, but here is my 2-cents:

If the mini keg is the right volume for you, it looks like it would work fine.

When you transfer from keg to bottle you lose some of the carbonation in the process, but once you put it in an EZ top bottle, it should retain whatever is left. These bottle generally hold carbonation well. You can use argon or nitrogen instead of CO2 if you prefer to use your keg for a still mead, although these need a different regulator. You can also just use CO2 at low pressure for a still mead.

A couple of other options for bringing small volumes of carbonated mead to parties:
Carbonater Cap (http://www.amazon.com/LiquidBread-The-Carbonater/dp/B0064OKADS) with any standard PET bottles
PET Growler with Carbonation Cap (http://www.williamsbrewing.com/-WILLIAMS-PET-64-OUNCE-GROWLER-CARBONATION-CAP-P3832.aspx)
I personally would not want to store my mead in a PET bottle long term though. I have seen Kickstarter campaigns with growlers that can be pressurized - DrinkTank, Brauler - but these have received mixed reviews. I have used the Carbonater cap and 16 oz. PET bottles for homemade root beer and it works well for short term storage.

If you are using 5 gallon carboys, you would probably want to store your mead in a 5 gallon keg and transfer to the smaller containers when taking the mead to go. You can often find used 5 gallon "Corny" kegs (old Coke or Pepsi syrup kegs) for sale relatively cheap.

One thing to keep in mind with carbonation is that you need the mead to be cold in order to hold the carbonation. Ex. if you have a 5 gallon keg out at room temperature, it will not carbonate well - the CO2 will tend to fill the headspace. Depending on your refrigeration options, the mini keg or carbonator caps may work best if you do not have a way to refrigerate a 5 gallon keg.

Thanks for the reply.
One question then. If you carb with cold mead and then it heats up some does that increase the amount of carbonation? With that little "party keg" I linked to. They have an option where you can just use a CO2 cartridge like I carry on mt bicycles while I'm out riding to fix a flat. How would that work for such a small keg and a cyser in it?

EbonHawk
12-05-2015, 06:18 PM
I am not a guru, but here is my 2-cents:

If the mini keg is the right volume for you, it looks like it would work fine.

When you transfer from keg to bottle you lose some of the carbonation in the process, but once you put it in an EZ top bottle, it should retain whatever is left. These bottle generally hold carbonation well. You can use argon or nitrogen instead of CO2 if you prefer to use your keg for a still mead, although these need a different regulator. You can also just use CO2 at low pressure for a still mead.

A couple of other options for bringing small volumes of carbonated mead to parties:
Carbonater Cap (http://www.amazon.com/LiquidBread-The-Carbonater/dp/B0064OKADS) with any standard PET bottles
PET Growler with Carbonation Cap (http://www.williamsbrewing.com/-WILLIAMS-PET-64-OUNCE-GROWLER-CARBONATION-CAP-P3832.aspx)
I personally would not want to store my mead in a PET bottle long term though. I have seen Kickstarter campaigns with growlers that can be pressurized - DrinkTank, Brauler - but these have received mixed reviews. I have used the Carbonater cap and 16 oz. PET bottles for homemade root beer and it works well for short term storage.

If you are using 5 gallon carboys, you would probably want to store your mead in a 5 gallon keg and transfer to the smaller containers when taking the mead to go. You can often find used 5 gallon "Corny" kegs (old Coke or Pepsi syrup kegs) for sale relatively cheap.

One thing to keep in mind with carbonation is that you need the mead to be cold in order to hold the carbonation. Ex. if you have a 5 gallon keg out at room temperature, it will not carbonate well - the CO2 will tend to fill the headspace. Depending on your refrigeration options, the mini keg or carbonator caps may work best if you do not have a way to refrigerate a 5 gallon keg.It has not only to do with temp, but also with time... Things are always in a state of flux when you start adjusting one or the other...

The way I know it to work, is that when you have a cold keg of something that's carbonated well, as the temperature rises to something like room temp, the carbonation level will seem to increase drastically as the temperature rises, but this is because more of the CO2 gets released in a short period of time while you're opening a bottle, pouring it, or drinking it. But, as the brew/mead sits (either in a glass or still bottled/kegged) and starts to stabilize it will hold much less carbonation relative to the same conditions but at a colder temp. In a similar but opposite type situation, a warm bottled beer that seems to have an okay level of carbonation will seem like it has more carbonation after it's cooled and allowed to sit for a time and more of the CO2 dissolves into the liquid. So, depending on when you tried to drink it, the carbonation level could completely change.

danr
12-05-2015, 10:36 PM
They have an option where you can just use a CO2 cartridge like I carry on mt bicycles while I'm out riding to fix a flat. How would that work for such a small keg and a cyser in it?

I am skeptical that using a CO2 cartridge would be a practical way to carbonate a still mead. I think you would be much better off getting a new or used 5 lb. CO2 cylinder.

Regarding your question about CO2 when the mead warms up, I may be wrong but it is my impression that some of the CO2 comes out of solution and fills the headspace. Like when you open a warm soda bottle and you get the large rush of CO2 as soon as you open the cap. In my experience, it is much easier to carbonate a liquid when it is cold, and the carbonation holds much better when the liquid is served cold.

edit: By the way, you might want to Google search "Force Carbonate" to get some addition information on carbonating in a keg.

EbonHawk
12-06-2015, 03:23 PM
I am skeptical that using a CO2 cartridge would be a practical way to carbonate a still mead. I think you would be much better off getting a new or used 5 lb. CO2 cylinder.

Regarding your question about CO2 when the mead warms up, I may be wrong but it is my impression that some of the CO2 comes out of solution and fills the headspace. Like when you open a warm soda bottle and you get the large rush of CO2 as soon as you open the cap. In my experience, it is much easier to carbonate a liquid when it is cold, and the carbonation holds much better when the liquid is served cold.

edit: By the way, you might want to Google search "Force Carbonate" to get some addition information on carbonating in a keg.I agree. That's how it works for me as well.

akueck
12-07-2015, 11:03 PM
You can look up carbonation charts. The amount of CO2 dissolved in the liquid at a given pressure drops as temperature increases. So you can carbonate a warm mead just fine, but you need to crank the pressure up a lot. That doesn't usually work for keg systems since you want the dispensing pressure to be appropriate and the mead to not rocket out of the tap. So, cold mead at moderate pressure. But if you're just using small PET bottles and carrying them off, you can carbonate warm at high pressure and chill them later. It probably will give you some variable results compared to a stable keg system, but you'll get bubbles.

The tiny CO2 cartridges work fine but are crazy expensive. Get a small tank.

EbonHawk
12-08-2015, 11:51 AM
Carbonating warm then chilling later will get you a VERY bubbly mead, as in frothing and possibly gushing out the top. In my experience anyway.

jdranchman
12-08-2015, 03:55 PM
The small CO2 solutions are meant for dispensing - extremely portable, gets the job done and not very expensive. I only carbonate with my 20# tanks (not going to carry that to a party let alone out of my basement until it is refill time).

danr
12-16-2015, 01:59 AM
Here is a really mini (and expensive) option: http://www.williamsbrewing.com/COMPLETE-ULTIMATE-GROWLER-P4040.aspx
although I think that the CO2 is only for dispensing, not carbonating.