Thursday, August 20, 2009

I knew I'd regret it

I feel as if things have been busy lately. Perhaps they have, but I still can't justify the degree of neglect this blog has received. My laziness came back to haunt me again earlier this week when I decided to stuff my Cobweb Ale into a Cornelius keg that was in no way ready to hold it. I bought the kegs a few months ago, but owing to lack of space I have yet to get a fridge to put them in or any gas to run them. But that didn't stop lazy old me from racking 18 litres of ale into one. It was part laziness - the thought of preparing and sanitising sufficient bottles horrified me - but also I thought I had found a way around the gas problem by buying some small 16 gram CO2 cartridges that I could prime the keg with. I knew I would run into trouble but it didn't stop me because the beer had sat on a bed of dead yeast for far too long and a move had to be made.

So I whacked the ale in the keg along with some finings and priming sugar just before I set off on holiday for a week, and returned to find the keg nicely pressurised but not at all bright and tasting kind of sharp. I think the beer was off before it went in the keg, but it became clear that any chance I had of properly carbonating it was ruined after a glimpse at the gas pressure tables told me that at the ambient 20 C the beer was sitting, a pressure of around 24 pounds per square inch is required to get sufficient gas into the beer. That's higher than the keg is rated for, I think.

A fridge is definitely in the pipe line.


Wurst/Whorst- Brewing Arts Instructor, CEO APRK said...

Those little co2 cartridges are great for dispensing beer if you have to take it beer with you. Problem solved once you get a fridge.

I'm brewing right now. Just mashed in. Hops are Columbus and Summit. Details later at APRK.

BarryM (Adeptus) said...

Thom, have you not talked to Geoff at at B&C about gas? Didn't he do a package deal with a fridge and the works?

I'm so tired of bottling, but as I give half of my beer away, I'd still need to do some even if I got cornies. How I'd love some kegs. I keep telling myself I'll get some when ever we buy a damn house. If my wife has her way we'll be out in the sticks, so I won't need to share :P

Oblivious said...

Corny's are test to 100 psi+ I belive

Thom said...

True, Geoff offered a set up, but it was top notch pricey. I think I'll take my chances with a cheap white goods fridge, but space is more of a problem.

Geoff mentioned he could get some gas for me, which I'll look into.

Oblivious - just checked my keg and it is indeed rated for greater than 100 psi - 130 in fact. But doesn't the pressure release valve kick in long before that pressure is reached?

Cormac said...

The pressure release valve will indeed kick in, but I often whack it up to 20psi, and people force carb a lot higher than that with no issues.

Geoff does a neat 3lb cylinder, but you'll fly through it if you force carb with it.

Thom said...

Cormac - What's the best way to carbonate then, if I can't get a decent sized cylinder? Prime with a decent measure of sugar and top up with the cylinder when required?

A fridge will help no end because a far lower pressure will be required for carbonation. I hope to get one soon.

Cormac said...

Yep. Prime with sugar as normal. Some people give a shot of gas to make sure the lid is sealed. Then just dispense with the gas.
The fridge also helps in clearing the beer - after the first cloudy pint I get very clear beer from the corny.