The Fast and Easy Way to Carbonate Your Beer

Brewing is a mix or art and science - but sometimes you just need a fast an easy way to carbonate your beer that is neither art nor science based.

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Good morning. Happy St. Patrick’s Day. If you brewed an Irish Stout for the occasion, cheers to you. For everyone else, they will be drinking Guinness - it’s estimated that 13 million pints of Guinness are consumed on St. Patty’s Day worldwide every year.

-Brandon Copeland

The Quick And Easy Way to Carbonate Your Beer

If you bottle your beer, you are likely using priming sugar to carbonate your beer. If you’ve been doing this successfully on a consistent basis, you are a way better brewer than me - when I used to bottle, I would have some bottles that would over carbonate and pop the top, and others that were dead flat.

I am planning on bottling some beer for the AHA competition, and I purchased this counter pressure bottle filler that I will do a write up about soon - but this is much easier to do from a keg, which is what we are here to talk about.

1. How to Carbonate a Keg - “Set It and Forget It”

The easiest way to carbonate a keg is to cold crash the keg after fermentation, set the CO2 regulator to between 5 - 10 PSI, and then walk away for a week or two and you will have perfectly carbonated beer.

This method is a surefire way to have carbonated beer, without the need of tables, calculations, etc. However, if you want to be more exact, MoreBeer has a simple carbonation calculator to give you a more exact pressure SP based on your temperature and style of beer.

The problem with this method is if you’re like me, and your beer is done fermenting and has cold crashed for a day, you are dying to try it right then and there. That’s why most of the time I do it the quick and dirty way - force carbonation.

2. How to Carbonate a Keg - Force Carbonation

Photo evidence of my impatience on my last brew

When it comes to carbonation, I’m fine with “close enough”. Maybe that’s not the best way to approach brewing, but the best thing about brewing your own beer is that you call all the shots.

My method for force carbonation goes as follows: I cold crash for at least 24 hours so the beer is nice and cold, and more receptive to bonding the CO2. Then I hook up the CO2, set the regulator to 30 PSI, and the gently tip the keg on it’s side. This gives the maximum surface area of beer for the CO2 to interact with.

Once I’m setup, I gently rock the keg back and forth. Depending on the beer, the number of rocks varies - for this APA, I rocked it 120 times gently. That seemed to do the trick.

Note to the massively impatient: If you want to try you beer immediately after force carbing, you need to disconnect your pressure, vent the keg, and the reconnect pressure and set it to something closer to 5-10 PSI. Otherwise you’ll have a foam explosion into your glass.

How Do You Carbonate Your Beer?

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Beer Trivia Question

🍺 Every year, the Chicago River is dyed green with vegetable dye in honor of St. Patrick’s Day. On average, how many pounds of dye are used?

Photo credit: Business Insider

Read to the end to find out if you're right!

Homebrewing Equipment Highlight

Dual Body CO2 Regulator (Affiliate Link)

Do yourself a favor and purchase a dual body CO2 regulator from the get go, even though it’s more expensive. I am getting into bottling from a keg and you need two lines of CO2 for most counter pressure bottle fillers. I bought some adapters for the single body CO2 regulator I have now, but wish I had a dual body regulator from the beginning.

It’s useful in different applications as well - just to have a CO2 line at the ready for whatever you need. I was cleaning and storing some kegs the other day, and it would have been nice to have a spare line available to pressurize them for storage rather than having to pull the main line off my full keg of beer.

Homebrewing Knowledge Corner

This is video has some helpful tips for how to make better all grain beer. One important point is the potential off flavors you can get from milled grain dust - this is why I mill the day before brewing, before even pulling out my equipment.

Brewgr Recipe of the Week

Here at Brewgr we love a clone - especially of a beer that was discontinued in 2017. It’s a great way to start because you can recreate your favorite commercial beers right at home. Once you feel satisfied by a clone, then comes the creativity.

Credit: Beerserked

Poll Results: Would You Recommend This Starter Kit to a Friend?

Most people were in favor of offering the controversial $1k starter kit to a friend, but it’s really a tough one; if a beginner knew how amazing homebrewing was, and that they would get hooked, no question they would spend the money. However, $1k is a ton of money to spend on a new hobby you have never done before, as the naysayers reminded me.

Best solution - invite a new homebrewer to one of your brew days so they can see your awesome setup before they go purchase their own.

And the Answer Is...

🍺 Only 50 pounds of green vegetable dye is used to turn the entire river green. While this is a lot of dye, my first guess was in the thousands…

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Happy Brewing!

- Brandon, Brew Great Beer Team

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