So in the two weeks since Ive last posted, my mom bought me a keg rig with 3 5 gallon corny kegs. My mom rules and I have been busy fine tuning and researching on how best to optimize my system (AKA not get beer all over the place and still have cold, carbonated beerz).
First, some pictures! This first one is the new rig.
Now onto the things Ive learned about kegging.
1. THE TASTE OF FORCE CARBING. Force carbonating is great for getting your latest brew from the fermenter to your glass quickly, but it definitely tastes different than natural carbing with priming sugar. I like the naturally carbed taste more, and Im sure it has something to do with the fact that it gives the beer an extra 2-3 weeks to age properly. At any rate, the difference between 4 days of force carbing and 3 weeks of natural carbing is small enough to continue force carbing (for me anyways). My small apartment just doesnt have the extra room I would need to have 3 kegs rockin' brew and a couple more kegs sitting around carbing.
2. GIVE IT TIME TO CARB. If you do indeed decide to force carbonate, give it at LEAST four days, taste it, and if it still tastes undercarbed, give it a few more days. I am extremely impatient and started pouring the day after I kegged my first three batches. That was a huge mistake. The beers tasted carbonated off the tap, but when I bottled a few and brought them over to a friends house, they were terribly undercarbed. Lesson learned. I pumped the kegs back up to 30 PSI and left em for 3 days, and now they are great! Just remember: 4-7 days is much better than waiting 3 weeks. Give it time!
3. RESET YOUR REGULATOR FOR SERVING PRESSURE BEFORE POURING. Force carbonating pressure is around 30 PSI. Serving pressure is between 5-12. This may be obvious to some, but let me tell you that I made a huge, marriage threatening mess by trying to pour beer into a glass at 30 PSI. And then I did it again. And again. 3rd times a charm I guess, because I finally realized I needed to:
-Purge the keg of the C02 that was in it
-Re-pressurize the keg at serving pressure (between 5-12 PSI).
Since I figured this out, its been nothing but smooth pourin'. But I still take a big empty bowl and a towel with me every time I pour.
4. KEGGING IS AWESOME. My beers are clearer. I get to drink them sooner. I DON'T HAVE TO BOTTLE. The pros of kegging outweigh the pros of bottling 100000 times over. I highly recommended it, and you can buy dirt cheap kegging stuff at www.cornykeg.com.
I am going to be kegging a stout on Friday, and now that we have our camera back Ill post a step by step on how to keg beer! But for now I have to go polish off a keg so I have an empty one on Friday, and I think the Belgian strong ale is the lucky victim.