How to Keg and Force Carbonate Your Homebrew

How to force carbonate beer

In olden times, beer was stored in wooden casks but now we use aluminum or stainless steel kegs to carbonate, store, and serve our beer. Here are some tips and simple instructions for kegging your beer.
  • Draught beer refers to beer which is stored and served from a keg or cask. 
  • A corny keg is easy to clean and maintain while a commercial Sankey keg has a unique coupler and requires a special keg opening tool to access the inside of the vessel. Corny kegs are a good choice for homebrewers as they are relatively compact and easy to maintain. 
  • Homebrew can be pressurized with either carbon dioxide gas alone, or nitrogen, or a combination of both the gases. Earlier carbon dioxide was the only option for kegging systems, but now people are blending nitrogen with carbon dioxide. The combination of both gases allows an elevated pressure and  is ideal for complex dispensing systems.
  • Avoid shaking your keg during transportation as it may result in the formation of unwanted foam. This usually happens when you remove the keg from your car and drag it inside your home. Any agitation or disturbance will force CO2 out of solution and cause foaming issues.

Steps to Force Carbonate your Beer:

  1. Siphon beer into a sanitized homebrew keg and attach keg lid.
  2. Connect gas line and increase pressure to about 40 psi - double check for leaks! You can use soapy water or star san and look for any bubbles.
  3. CO2 dissolves into beer much more easily when the beer is cold, so ideally, place keg with gas line attached into fridge and leave under pressure for about 24 hours.
  4. Adjust pressure down to 20 PSI for 24 hours.
  5. Test carbonation level - turn down regulator pressure to about 10 psi and release excess pressure in keg by lifting the pressure relief valve.
  6. Attach sanitized beer line assembly, pour a beer and enjoy. If more carbonation is needed, turn regulator up to about 20 psi and leave for another 24 hrs.

Additional Resources:

To begin or continue your homebrewing education, check out Northern Brewer University for our Homebrew Video Courses.