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I would like to transfer a beer that has been fermenting for about 3 weeks directly into a Cornelius keg for secondary fermentation AND carbonation.

  • I would like to add priming sugar and naturally carbonate in the keg, not force carbonate it.
  • After a few weeks, I would then like to put the keg on pressure and serve


  1. How much priming sugar would I use for 5 gallons of beer?
  2. How should I prep the keg? Other than cleaning it, should it be filled with CO2 prior to racking?
  3. Any problems in general with this?
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Out of curiosity, what's the attraction to natural, rather than force carbonation? – Rich Armstrong Aug 30 '10 at 0:20
up vote 7 down vote accepted

How much priming?

See A Primer on Priming and How to Brew. Add sugar like you normally would.


Follow your normal keg prep work. Clean and sanitize the keg. Inspect the gaskets and seals. Purging it is not necessary, but will not hurt.

General thoughts

I do basically the same thing. My beer ferments for a few weeks, then I transfer it to kegs and allow to condition for a few more weeks. The only difference is I do not naturally carbonate in the keg.

Instead of purging the entire keg with CO2 I rack and purge the headspace. I have not had any problems with staling due to oxidation.

The first few pulls you get off the keg will be full of sediment.

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Aww, I got a downvote. Why? – Dean Brundage Mar 25 '10 at 13:55
Got a downvote with no explanation. Why? – Dean Brundage Mar 25 '10 at 13:58
I've noticed that my kegs won't seal properly unless the pressure is around 8-10 psi. If your kegs are like mine, I'd suggest that you pressurize after adding the priming sugar to make sure you've got a good seal. Otherwise the CO2 generated from the priming sugar might escape into the atmosphere. – Tobias Patton Oct 8 '11 at 18:39

I'd only add that for priming sugar, you're supposed to use roughly half of what you'd use if you were bottling, otherwise you can overcarb (which can remedied once kegged, of course, but would be a pain in the neck).

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