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Guide to Beer Carbonation

Guide to Beer Carbonation

Microbreweries are a popular choice for craft beer lovers. Because craft beer has a unique taste, confidential formula, and limited brewing batches, it usually has many enthusiastic followers. Although the flavor of craft beer is very unique, it has a common feature compared with industrial beer: carbonation.
Carbonation of beverages is to make them “foam.” Carbonation has always been one of the most iconic characteristics that distinguish beer from other alcohols. Of course, you can also say that there is a unique non-carbonated beer, but the audience for non-carbonated beer is small and uncommon. In addition, during the fermentation process of beer, more or less part of the carbonation will occur.
Guide to Beer Carbonation
What is beer carbonation

What is beer carbonation?

In the simplest terms, the carbonation of beer is by adding carbon dioxide to the beer, so that the carbon dioxide is dissolved in the beer. In order to keep the carbon dioxide gas in the liquid, pressure is required. For beer, this pressure may be a sealed bottle cap or label. When the pressure is released, the carbon dioxide rises and escapes in the form of bubbles.
The degree of carbonation of beer depends on the beer style. Most Ales contain approximately 1.8 grams per liter (or 2.7 grams per pint) of carbon dioxide. Lagers and wheat beers are usually more than Ayer beer, while keg beer is usually less.
The most common method of carbonation of beer is to simply press carbon dioxide into the beer under pressure. There are many ways to achieve this goal, and which method is used depends on the brewery. However, carbonation is generally carried out after the beer is fermented and cooled (about 0°C), and will be carried out as the last step of the beer before packaging and storage.
In addition, the lower the temperature of the liquid, the more gas it contains. This is known as Henry’s Law. Winemakers need to know and use this law, which states that higher pressures and lower temperatures help to absorb gas more efficiently through liquids.
What are the ways to carbonate beer

What are the ways to carbonate beer?

Above we have answered what is beer carbonation, and what are the ways to carbonate beer, especially in microbreweries. There are two ways of carbonation of beer: natural carbonation and artificial carbonation.

Natural Carbonation

The most commonly used method for carbonation of naturally carbonated fossil beer. The natural carbonation of beer and other alcoholic beverages occurs during the fermentation process. During the fermentation process, ingredients such as barley are consumed by yeast and produce carbon dioxide. Although most of the carbon dioxide will be lost in the subsequent production process, it usually leaves a part in the beer.
Another natural carbonation method is to leave a part of the yeast and air in the beer when the beer is bottled, allowing the yeast to continue the fermentation process in the beer. However, this method is not common because the effect may not be as good as carbonation in the fermentation process.
All of these will produce a naturally carbonated beer to some extent. Although it seems that there is a lot of carbon dioxide, there are still many shortcomings for people who like soft drinks. At this time, the beer needs to be carbonated manually.

Artificial Carbonation

As the name suggests, artificial carbonation is the process of carbonating beer with the help of various equipment. The most common strategy for artificial carbonation is through the so-called “forced carbonation”, which is to cool the beer and put the beer in a sealed container to complete the carbonation process. When the cooling operation is completed, the carbon dioxide is forced into the container and kept for a few days. Changes in pressure and temperature allow carbon dioxide gas to be stably absorbed into the beer and complete the required degree of carbonation. In the end, the carbon dioxide is usually completely absorbed within a few days or a week and gives the beer the iconic bubbles.
The most commonly used carbonation keg strategy for forced carbonated fossils is used by almost every winemaker. Because it is one of the most cost-effective and simple methods in the carbonation process.

Steps to Force Carbonate your Beer:

  • Siphon the beer into a sanitized keg and attach the keg lid.
  • Connect gas line and increase pressure to about 40 psi. You need a double-check for leaks!
  • CO2 dissolves into beer much more easily when the beer is cold, so ideally, place a keg with a gas line attached to the fridge and leave it under pressure for about 24 hours.
  • Adjust pressure down to 20 PSI for 24 hours.
  • Test carbonation level: turn down regulator pressure to about 10 psi and release excess pressure in the keg by lifting the pressure relief valve.
  • Attach sanitized beer line assembly, pour a beer and enjoy. If more carbonation is needed, turn the regulator up to about 20 psi and leave for another 24 hrs.
How to maintain the carbonation level of beer

How to maintain the carbonation level of beer?

Please note that the level of carbonation will decrease over time and may eventually lose “bubbles”. This is because the gas will eventually escape into the surrounding environment unless it is stored under pressure. Beer and cola are very similar to carbonated drinks. The carbon dioxide in cola that is not stored under pressure will escape to the surrounding environment and lose its “bubbles.”
The only way to keep the beer carbonated is to store the beer under the same conditions that allow the carbonation to occur. In other words, if you want to store carbon dioxide in beer, you must store the beer under pressure and low-temperature conditions.
After the beer is opened, it should be consumed within a few hours. If it takes a little longer, the taste of the beer will be very different from what you expected, and the carbonation will disappear and it will not be pleasant. Most beer with a lower alcohol content calculated by volume (ABV) can be stored unopened for about 6 months. Most beers with high ABV values are aged, so keeping them unopened for several years will improve their flavor. Beers with higher ABV that can be aged include Lambik and Stout.

How to store beer properly?

Beer does not like light, so it should be stored in dark bottles and stored in a cool, dark place. If beer is packed in kegs or cans, it will not be penetrated by sunlight, ensuring that your beer will not be affected by strong light.

Frequently Asked Questions about Beer Carbonation

Yes. A cold crashed beer will still carbonate. If you have the ability and you like packaging clearer beer, do it without worry, there’s still plenty of yeast in suspension to consume the priming sugar and produce CO2. If you have a beer that isn’t carbonating, it’s likely due to a poor seal or the temperature being a bit cool. Some people experience beers tend as taking a bit longer to carbonate as well.
Absolutely! Fining agents help to drop the yeast out of suspension, but not nearly enough to make carbonating your beer an issue. In fact, some of the best bottle-conditioned beer I’ve had was fined with gelatin prior to being packaged, and it was beautifully clear to boot!
Absolutely. If you’re concerned, which I’ve never been, you can always toss in some additional yeast while racking the beer from fermentation tank to bottling bucket, just try to make sure it’s well homogenized before packaging. I’ve heard of people having success with anywhere from half a pack of dry yeast to a full pack of liquid, but I’ve never done this, so do your research if choose to.
Assuming you used the proper amount of priming sugar, the cause of “gushers” can likely be explained by one of two things.
First, it’s possible you packaged your beer before it was done fermenting, meaning the yeast continued to ferment the residual sugars in addition to whatever else you added.
The other cause, which I sadly think is responsible for the large majority of gushers, is contamination. The bottling process can leave the fermented beer more vulnerable to wild yeast and bacteria, many of which are capable of chowing down on sugars the brewer’s yeast left behind. A consequence of over-carbonated bottles is bottle bombs, which can lead to potentially tragic injuries, please exercise caution when opening or disposing of such bottles.
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