Wednesday, June 6, 2012

U.S. Brewery Roadmap

I came across this awesome poster the other day!  As many people have pointed out, there are a few errors and some breweries are missing, but that's to be expected with the rate of new breweries opening.

It even enlightened me to a few breweries nearby that I was unaware of like Chocolate City.  So what do you all think, is this the map for my next roadtrip?

Friday, June 1, 2012

RIS Postponed - Force Carbonation

Well, nothing ever goes as planned right?  Life caught up with me and I was not able to brew the RIS on Memorial day.  I was however, able to keg the Witty Welker and my American Pale Ale.  Wow, that Pale was ferementing and conditioning for 6 weeks!

Anyways, I thought I would use this time to discuss Force Carbonation.  It is a mystery all new keggers have pondered - How do I carbonate my beer in the keg, and how fast?  There is a lot of science to be hypothesized and tested to know exactly how to do this, so the best way is to search the forums for other brewers trials, follies and successes.  I did just this and here are my findings.

  • Shake, Rattle and Roll - This method is one of the best ways to over-carbonate your beer.  The CO2 tank is set to 30PSI and the gas disconnect is hooked up to your keg.  You open your CO2 valve and shake, rattle and/or roll your keg until you don't hear gas being expelled anymore.  This will take 5-10 minutes.  A Variable that will affect this procedure is the temperature of your beer.  If its room temp you should be somewhat ok. If it is at fridge temps you just over-carbed your beer.  If you dont have check valves on your system you also probably just loaded you gas lines with beer... uh oh!  You can also use this method on cold beer at your serving pressure(10PSI-12PSI) and should have better results.
  • Set and Forget -  This is the simple method, but requires patience.  If you have balanced your system, you set your gas to your desired carb/serving pressure and hook it up to the keg.  In 2-3 weeks your keg pressure will have reached the equilibrium and be at your desired volumes of CO2.  If you aren't in a rush, I highly recommend this method as it is hard to mess it up
  • High Pressure - This seems to be a solid method to speed up carbing a beer, but not to over-carb.  Set the regulator to 30PSI and leave it in connected to the keg for 24-48 hours. 24-36 hours if your beer is already cold and closer to 48 if you put your beer in your fridge warm.  This will get you close to 2.5 volumes or so.  So use less time if you want a lower volume level.

What did I do you ask?  I went with the High Pressure no disturbance method for the Witbier.  I needed this beer to be fully carbed and ready to serve for the party this Saturday.  I set the keg in my fridge at 70* and hooked up my gas at 30PSI and left it on for 2 Days.  I then purged my keg and tasted a sample, it was pretty spot on, but had a little harsh carbonic bite.  I then set my pressure to about 13.5 which should equal to around 2.7 volumes or so for my system.  The Pale Ale got the "Set and Forget" method at around 12 PSI and I will enjoy that in a few weeks.