Saturday, April 4, 2009

Homebrew on Tap

Every year we set a goal for ourselves, brew-wise. There are other goals that can be achieved, we don't just limit ourselves to one, but we do always have one in mind as "the next step." Last year we went from extract brewing to all-grain brewing. We also began growing, and using, our own hops. This year, the goal was to start kegging beer. Above is a photo of one of our 5 gallon kegs with our own label on it.

Here is Justin filling up the keg. Right now part of our ultra-elaborate brew set-up takes place in the kitchen. At least the bottling and kegging does. Here is what Justin had to say about kegging for the first time:
The kegging went really well. Setup went about as I expected…I had been reading different posts online about it and stuff so I pretty much knew what to expect. It was A LOT easier than bottling and it feels really nice to be able to have draft beer now. Clean up was pretty much the same as bottling...a little less since I didn’t have to clean a bottling bucket and the carboy. It was really foamy at first but like I said that’s to be expected after rocking and rolling the thing around while it’s being injected with C02….it’s like shaking up a soda can…you have to wait for it to calm back down. So I’m looking forward to pulling off a pint and seeing how it is. With this being the first keg and wanting to be able to try it last night I went the impatient route of force carbing so next time or maybe even with the IPA I will do the slower way of just hooking it up at a lower pressure (between 10 and 15 PSI) and letting it sit for a 3 – 5 days before trying to drink it.

Here he is, pouring a beer. It had been in the fridge to cool down, but he took it out so that he could do the rolling & shaking. As he noted above, pouring the beer immediately pretty much resulted in all head.

Finally, here is a shot of the keg & CO2 tank, where they belong, in the cooler. We got the cooler from Sear's, as it had the best deal going on at the time. We chose black in color since the cooler sits inside - we wanted it to look as little like a chest freezer kept inside as possible.
A couple other things that we've decided on regarding the cooler: 1) We decided NOT to put taps on the outside of it. Originally we had wanted to do this, and had planned on it - but we have two little kids. Shannon, who is 5, already knows a lot about beer, and Carrie could pour beer from a keg when she was 4 ... we figured it wasn't a wise parenting decision given the circumstances. 2) We chose a cooler that has a lock on the front. This, we felt, was another wise parenting decision. There will come a time when the boys are more curious about and interested in the beer inside the cooler, and we'll want to keep them out. Until then, it serves the easy purpose of cutting off someone (he knows who he is) who may have already had enough to drink.
So here is a "Cheers" to our "next step" completed. In the above photos we're kegging our Back Porch Brown Ale. Last night we also kegged 5 gallons of our JedHead IPA. Having two kegs on hand, ready to drink, feels good. The other beers seen in the photos are also all homebrews. That feels good too. Pretty damn good actually.


Anonymous said...

Like the setup. So do you keep the CO2 in the freezer too? I have never done that, maybe I should

Carrie and Justin said...

Yes, for now we keep it in there. If or when we get more kegs and need the room we’ll have to build a wooden collar for the freezer that we could drill through to run the gas lines into the freezer so the CO2 can be outside.

Anonymous said...

Gotcha. But otherwise there are no issues with keeping the tank in such cold temps? Sorry, I am new to kegging

Carrie and Justin said...

No, there are no issues keeping it in cold temps…co2 doesn’t freeze (become dry ice) until the temperature is below -78.5 Celcius.