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?
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.
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.