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I'm new to this homebrewing, made a mistake and wondering the consequences of my actions.

I have just completed the first week of fermentation and now have moved over to a plastic keg supplied with my kit. I noticed when I returned from work a leaking seal and wondered if the pressure in the barrel was to high and if my brass air value was malfunctioning. So I released the gas from the keg. I now know this was a big mistake. I've resealed the valve and shook the keg to build pressure up again.

I'm just wondering if this destroyed this batch of ale?

It was sitting in the keg (second stage fermentation for no more than 24 hours).

I apologize if i've failed to give enough detail and will correct it on demand.

Thanks.

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What is the volume of the batch and the plastic keg you have. That way it'll be easier to help get a fix. –  brewchez Feb 15 '11 at 13:06
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2 Answers

up vote 2 down vote accepted

You may have oxygenated the beer some when you opened it up to fix the seal, then shook the keg. The shaking thoroughly mixed the beer with the O2 you introduced. And the shaking pulled the CO2 out of the beer and put it in the head space. The beer will re-equilibrate but not to the same level it would have gone to naturally, because there isn't enough head pressure left (post bleeding off) to get the right equilibrium.

Not to worry though, we all make mistakes along the way. If you get the beer carbed up again and drink it quickly you'll be in good shape. Just learn from it and move on.

You can certainly reprime and see if you can get it to recarb. If possible, next time I'd just bleed a little gas off at a time and see if the leaky stops. I wouldn't degas the whole keg.

(See my comment about volumes and I'll edit my post with some better #s for the priming sugar, or someone will get to it before me)

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Hmm, after a day, there should still be enough priming sugar (or as-of-yet-unfermented malt) left in the beer to carbonate it. It probably wouldn't kill you to add maybe 1/3 cup of dextrose (or table sugar, if you're not fussy), dissolved in boiled water & cooled down. That's a wild guess -- 23 L (6 US gallon) batches usually use 3/4-1 cup dextrose as a priming sugar, and all you should need to do is top it up a bit. Don't worry! The beer will probably turn out great. Never throw out a batch.

FYI, shaking up the keg does nothing except shake the dissolved CO2 out of the beer, which is the opposite of what you want to do -- but the beer will reabsorb that CO2 within a couple hours, so that's no big deal.

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It won't reabsorb all the CO2 because the pressure in the head space was blown off. If you don't calculate the proper amount of priming sugar for the volume of the beer/keg he has, he could end up with the same problem. Down voted. –  brewchez Feb 15 '11 at 13:06
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