My homebrewing misadventures

Kegging my first batch

Fun with CO2

Finally, after nearly two months of lagering, my Helles was finally ready to be kegged. But before I could transfer the beer, I needed to clean and sanitize the used Cornelius (corny) soda keg I bought from Northern Brewer.
It's actually a fairly simple process, but I thought I'd share a couple of pointers I picked up along the way. Northern Brewer has a great series of videos explaining every step in the brewing process. They are worth taking a look, and I found the one on replacing the seals on a used keg to be especially helpful here. Basically, you need to remove the lid of the keg and the gas and beer posts, take off all the washers and seals and then clean it out. To get the gas post off, I found I needed a 7/8-inch, 12-point deep socket, which of course I didn't have. I found one at Home Depot for about $4.50.

From Carboy
Once I got the posts and lid off, I was able to disassemble everything, and I used a PBW solution to clean out any dirt or residue from the sodas that used to inhabit my keg. After cleaning, I sanitized the keg, put new seals in all the appropriate places, and I was ready to rack my beer into the keg.
From Carboy
I think it will suffice to say that kegging is so much faster, easier and cleaner than dealing with dozens of bottles. I almost feel silly for waiting this long to get a keg.
From Carboy
The last thing to do to prepare the beer for drinking was to carbonate it. I had bought a CO2 canister, but needed to find a company that would fill it for me. Strangely, the local homebrew shops in Essex and Passaic counties in New Jersey were unhelpful in recommending a good place, but through a little Googling, I eventually found City Fire Equipment in East Hanover, NJ. The guys there were friendly and helpful, and they were more than happy to fill my 5-lb canister for about $15.
With my CO2 ready, I hooked up my regulator and the hoses to the keg. It took me a couple of tries to get everything connected tightly. For about a day, I had a tiny leak coming out of the beer post on the keg. So I disconnected it all and re-tightened every nut and connection, and I now seem to be in good shape. I have my CO2 pressure set at 13 psi (recommended by iBrewMaster for this German style lager). And in a few days, my beer should be force-carbed and ready to drink.
From Carboy

By Tom on 08/25/2013

Stage: Bottling

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