Today I kegged my cinnamon stout. The brewing itself was a nightmare that I believe was sent upon me by the devil himself. I could feel a legion of his minions laughing crazily at my misfortune as I:
-Mashed at over 160ish due to a broken thermometer
-Dealt with the worst stuck sparge EVER
-Spilled wort all over the floor
-Got drunk out of sheer frustration and don't really know how long I boiled for
SOMEHOW I hit my target gravity, 1.070. But after two weeks and re-pitching, today when I took my reading it was just under 1.030... OMG UNFERMENTABLES! It will be sweeter than expected, but I don't think thats a bad thing.
Anywho, here is my guide on how to keg and force carbonate beer!
STEP 1 - PREPARE THE BEER!
Set it up on a chair or something, preferably at an angle. I do this first so that any trub I shake up on accident has time to settle again.
STEP 2 - KLEAN THAT KEG!
I was going to sanitize and clean the entire thing, but I figured its been sanitary and full of C02 up until now, so why bother? I might do a full sanitation every few brews, but for now all I did was dump some soapy water into the bottom, shoot it out with CO2, and then repeat a few times with clean water. Then I dumped some Star San in and did the same thing. I think that will suffice for now. Heres the stuff that came out!
STEP 3 - C02 CUSHION
Here we are going to pump in some C02 at low pressure for about 30 seconds.
The logic behind this is that:
A. Oxygen is bad for beer after primary fermentation
B. C02 is heavier than Oxygen, and will sit on the bottom and stay on the top of the beer as the keg fills.
That way, we are making sure that there is no oxygen in our beer! Hurrah! I tried to take a picture of the gas sitting in the keg, I hope you can make it out.
STEP 4 - FILL HER ON UP!
Grab your SANITIZED auto-siphon, or in my ghetto ass's case a SANITIZED tube with the bottom of a racking cane attached
and siphon from the carboy into your keg! Easy peasy.
This is also a good opportunity to SANITIZE the keg lid and posts.
STEP 5 - PURGE THE OXYGEN
You officially siphoned your new brew through a SANITIZED tube into your SANITIZED keg with a nice cushion of C02 and have stuck the lid back on. Congrats, you're almost home free! The last step to ensure the safety of your brew is to make sure there is no oxygen whatsoever left inside the keg.
Earlier I mentioned that C02 is heavier than Oxygen, so logic would say that if there is any oxygen left in the keg, it would be right on the top, right? What we are going to do now is pump some more C02 (at low pressure again) back into the keg, and then purge it out. Repeat this 2 or 3 times. I use pin lock kegs, which don't have the fancy pressure release valves on the lid that ball lock kegs do. So what I do is fill it a little, then push down on the lid
OR I remove the C02 lead and push down on the poppet with a knife. Either way works great, but the former method is faster at low pressures. At higher pressure it won't work as well, because you won't be able to push down on lid woth 20-30 PSI pushing back on it.
STEP 5 - CONGRATS, YOU JUST KEGGED YOUR BREW!
Its safe from almost anything now. If you want to naturally carbonate, then you would have racked the beer into the keg on top of your priming sugar. If you want to force carbonate, read on.
STEP 6 - PUMP UP DA PSI'S
The idea behind force carbonating is that instead of having slow yeast do the work by eating added sugar, you are directly injecting CO2 (which dissolves into beer), thereby bypassing that which makes beer take forever to naturally prime. To do this, jack up your C02 tank to 30-50 PSI! Make sure that you do some research to make sure that the amount of carbonation is compatible with the style you are brewing. Since this brew is a stout, I'm going to have it on the lower end of the scale, and Ill carbonate it at around 20 PSI. Let it fill up good.
STEP 7 - SHAKE HER UP
Leave the keg attached to the C02 and (carefully) SHAKE THE SHIT OUT OF IT.
Laying the keg in you lap and rolling it works too!
Keep this up until your CO2 tank stops hissing. The hissing means that the beer is absorbing the CO2 and the tank is having to pump more CO2 into the keg. So, in around 5-10 minutes you have done most of the work that will take the yeast 3 weeks to do. Good deal.
STEP 8 - WAIT N REFILL
This last step is important! Don't wake up the next day and start pouring glasses. Sure, you might think it tastes carbonated, but I guarantee if you wait a few days it will taste much better! What I do is connect it every day back to the CO2 tank and blast it again while shaking. Just to see if it will accept more C02. After 4 days, you can probably start drinking it :)
WARNING: BEFORE YOU START DRINKING, MAKE SURE YOU PURGE ALL OF THE C02 OUT OF THE KEG AND RESET YOUR TANK TO SERVING PRESSURE. FOR ME ITS ABOUT 6 PSI, BUT FOR OTHERS IT COULD BE AS MUCH AS 12PSI.
DONE. I like doing these step by steps, I hope this was helpful!