Beer Science: Force Carbonating Homebrew

May 05, 2017

From the Minds That Brought You The uKeg, The Pressurized Growler,
GrowlerWerks Presents:

Beer Science!

You can use the uKeg as a portable keg system to keep any beer fresh for 2 weeks or more.  But it can also be used to force carbonate your homebrew!  Up to one-gallon per uKeg 128.

 

Step by Step Instructions

How to force carbonate 1 gallon of homebrew in two-three days:

Step 1 -  It always helps to have a little beer while brewing.

Step 2 -  Brew your beer and complete fermentation.  When your beer is done fermenting, then it is ready to be carbonated. 

Step 3 - Sterilize your transfer equipment using a beer-safe sterilization solution like Iodophor. 

Step 4 -  Sterilize your uKeg using a beer-safe sterilization solution like Iodophore. 

Step 5 -  Charge your uKeg regulator cap using a 16gram CO2 cartridge.  See How To Video.

Step 6 -  Be sure to also sterilize the CO2 cartridge holder on the bottom of your regulator cap, after the cap is charged, and before you place the cap onto the uKeg. 

Step 7 - Begin transferring your beer into a bucket. Make sure your tap is unlocked and open so beer fills the tap assembly during the fill. Then place the transfer hose into the bottom of the ukeg.  This minimizes contact with oxygen.

NOTE:  Do not fill the ukeg above the fill line, which is at the bottom of the neck.  Allow at least 4 inches of head space below the level of the beer and the top of the uKeg.  This provides ample space for CO2 diffusion into your beer.

NOTE:  Do not use priming sugar in the uKeg. The CO2 supply will provide all the carbonation you need. Priming sugar could lead to fermentation in the uKeg and the products of that fermentation can cause your uKeg to become clogged.  Priming sugar could also cause the uKeg to over-carbonate your beer. 

Step 8 - Place the regulator cap onto the uKeg. Be sure the tap is closed and the tap lock is in the locked position.

Step 9 -  Purge oxygen from the head. Do this by turning the selector dial on until the regulator opens.  You will hear a hiss of CO2 gas. Turn the selector dial off.  Then un-screw the cap until the pressure is released. Repeat three times. This ensures no oxygen is left in the head space above your beer.

Step 10 -  Tighten the cap to a firm hand tight. Then turn the selector dial up to 15 psi.

Step 11 -  Let the ukeg carbonate.  Do this by putting the ukeg inside your refrigerator and letting it happily absorb CO2 on its own.

Step 12 -  Gently agitate the uKeg, one to three times per day, to speed up carbonation.  Do not shake the uKeg, place it on its side, or invert the uKeg.  This could cause beer to seep into the regulator cap.

Step 13 -  The beer will taste carbonated after a day or so, but won't be fully carbonated until about three days.  At that point, all of the CO2 in the cartridge will be diffused into your beer.  The beer is now fully carbonated and should still show full pressure on your gauge.  However, you will find it quickly runs out as your first beer is poured.  That's expected, and it's time to replace the cartridge to provide enough CO2 to dispense your beer.  The next step is how to replace the cartridge safely.

If you have a uKeg 64, you can avoid the following steps by buying the 16 gram cartridge sleeve adapter and using 16 gram CO2 cartridges; These hold enough CO2 to both carbonate and dispense a uKeg 64 (half-gallon).  We do not currently offer a sleeve or CO2 larger than 16 gram, so with the uKeg 128 (one gallon) you will have to replace the CO2 using the following steps:

Step 14 - Turn the selector dial into the OFF position.  Remove the regulator cap from the uKeg.  While the regulator cap is off, turn the selector dial up and allow any remaining CO2 to escape. 

Step 15 -  Once all remaining CO2 has been purged form the cap, unscrew the cartridge seal and remove the cartridge.  Replace with a new cartridge and tighten the cartridge sleeve.  Make sure the cartridge seal nut is tight.

Step 16 -  Install the cap onto the uKeg and turn the selector dial to 7-10 psi.  If you set a lower psi, you may find your pours are a bit foamy, since you just carbonated the beer to 15 psi, and the higher pressure CO2 in the beer will try to escape when beer is poured.  That should subside after that first pint and a day or two of rest in the fridge to come to equilibrium.  You can also visit our Carbonation Guide by beer style.

Please contact our product support team with any questions you have:  Contact Tech Support

Savor Your Homebrew!



Cheers,

GW