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I keg my beer but I would like to enter some of it into competitions. I've bottled directly out of the tap, but carbonation suffers.

What would you do in this situation?

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up vote 11 down vote accepted

I found this online a while ago and have done it this way ever since:

Filling from a Keg:

1.Keg of beer must be chilled and carbonated. I like to over carbonate by a few tenths (0.2) of a volume of CO2 to compensate for lost CO2. (some of that lost CO2 is a good thing as I’ll state later)

2.I use a black Cobra/Picnic tap to dispense the beer from. I modify the tap into a filler by using a piece of tubing that will stick right over the spout of the tap (usually 3/8 ID tubing). The length of the tubing need only be long enough to reach the bottle of the bottle.

3.I chill down the bottles I plan to fill. This reduces CO2 loss and foaming.

4.Right before I am ready to bottle (bottles and caps washed and sanitized), I dial down the CO2 on my regulator to zero PSI, then I burp the keg to release all the head pressure.

5.I put the tap with tubing filler into my first bottle and pull the trigger. Then I slowly dial up the regulator until I have just enough pressure to get the beer flowing at a decent rate. But not too fast to get excessive foaming. This can be a little tricky to manage the regulator and the bottle filler at the same time. But once you get the pressure set and the beer flowing; that’s it with fussing over the regulator settings.

6.Fill the rest of my bottles and cap them. Getting a little foam while filling is a good thing as it helps to purge out the ambient air and O2. This minimizes oxidation of the beer after bottling.

7.Once all the bottles are filled I reset the pressure on the regulator to my normal carbonating and dispensing pressure to keep the beer from going flat.

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This is in my opinion the easiest and cheapest way to fill bottles off the keg. Great answer and it should get voted up more. Counterpressure fillers are nice and gadgety, but save that money for a batch of beer and just spend $0.30 on the tubing for this method. –  brewchez Jan 12 '10 at 13:58
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For minimal carbonation loss you would use a counterpressure filler. It allows you to purge the bottle with co2 and fill it will beer. The bottle is constantly under pressure while filling. I have a friend who fills all of his bottles this way for competition, and it is also great if you want to just fill a few bottles for aging, or give to friends. Jon Plise has a great example video on YouTube.

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