How To Carbonate Your Kegs

One of the most frequently asked questions we get in the home brew store is “how do I carbonate beer in kegs?”.

While there are many ways to answer this question, here we will discuss two of the most common methods that give the best results. The low, slow, set & forget method and the quick force carbonation method.

For both methods you will get the best results if your beer is chilled between 2-4 degrees Celsius before starting the carbonation process as Co2 absorbs into cold liquid easier and more effectively than room temperature liquid.

For the most reliable results, we prefer the low and slow method. This method does take the longest time to carbonate, but will result in the best pour from the kegging system and is the most hands off approach without over carbonating.

Low, slow, set and forget method

Transfer your beer to a keg by using your preferred method, ie. syphon,  fermenter tap, pressure transfer etc.

Once you have transferred your beer, connect your Co2 connector to the Co2 post on your keg and set the Co2 bottle regulator to 10-12 psi. Let the Co2 build up in the keg then pull the pressure relief valve 2-3 times. Waiting between pulls to allow the pressure to build back up, purging any oxygen from the head space of the keg.

At this stage we like to check for any potential leaks in the lid, posts or PRV by simply spraying sanitiser or soapy water & checking for any bubbles coming out of connection points.

Once this is done, let the keg sit in the kegerator/fridge between 2-4 degrees Celsius for 2 weeks with the Co2 connected.

After 2 weeks your beer will be carbonated and ready to pour, no need to adjust the dial on your Co2 regulator to dispense, just pour and enjoy.

Quick Force Carbonation Method

For this next method we follow the exact same process as the previous method up until the point of getting the keg in the fridge. At this point the main difference will be the pressure that the regulator on your Co2 bottle will be set at.
Connect the Co2 connector to the Co2 post, purge the keg as before using 10-12 psi. Now with the keg purged of any oxygen, set the Co2 regulator to 25-30 psi, making sure you have the appropriate PRV that can hold at least 35 psi. Let the keg sit for 2-3 days.

After 2 full days of carbonating, you can check the carbonation levels by disconnecting the Co2 connector, pulling the PRV to release any excess pressure, then adjust your regulator to 10-12 psi, then reconnecting the Co2 connector to dispense a test sample. If your beer is not carbonated enough to your liking, adjust the regulator back to 25-30 psi and let sit for another full day.

Once your beer has done carbonating, always release excess pressure from the keg using the PRV and set the Co2 regulator back to 10-12 psi for dispensing.

And don’t forget to enjoy responsibly (or not, who are we to judge) 🍻

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