I got an annoyance issue here. I have a Cornelius keg 19lt and 15-16 liter batch of Wit-beer almost ready to go, but poorly timed.

Issue is I currently don't have the CO2 regulator or Tank. Reason for this is currently I shouldn't really be dropping money to get it within the near future (2 months) and due to other commitments I can't really be spending time bottling either over the same period.

I'd like to just dump the whole lot in a keg. Ideally I would like to purge the keg with CO2 before adding the beer.

  1. Will 15ltr of beer in 19ltr tank have too much oxygen in the headspace, and spoil?
  2. If I prime and pull pin periodically could I successfully force out the oxygen from the headspace and force carb later if required, when I get some gas?
  3. Shall I store my wit-beer in a fridge for 2 months and then stir all the sediment back in, when I get some gas?
  4. Shall I just bottle the damn thing?
  • 2 liter soda bottles can be quicker to bottle and cheaper to come by.
    – steve
    Commented Apr 2, 2019 at 14:52

5 Answers 5


Don't pin it. This is a cask practice, but not necessary in your corny keg and will reduce the carbonation.

In fact, you can prime it (fully sealed), wait 14 days, put it in the fridge and tap it in a few hours; the pressure built up during priming will let it flow, at least for a gallon or two. After which, if you can't put CO2 on it, prime it again and put it at room temp. That should buy you a few weeks :0) It will, of course, add a small boost to your ABV each time.

I brought a keg to my neighbors and tapped it straight from priming. It sat in my garage on a cold afternoon and we drank off of it for several hours before I had to go top it up with CO2. Needless to say, we nearly finished it :)

  • 1
    Thats very ghetto, I like it. lol Commented Feb 5, 2014 at 21:30
  • In fact, I don't like the pin technique for casks (firkins, pins) as it tends to reduce the carbonation. Better to draw a few pulls of foamy beer and have the rest be fully carbed.
    – Wyrmwood
    Commented Feb 5, 2014 at 21:53
  • You don't believe the large headspace with Air would cause a problem? Commented Feb 12, 2014 at 1:22
  • 1
    I don't think so. I've primed kegs and bottles with way more than ideal headspace with success. You just may have a hard time getting the proper priming calculations as it gets lower. It's not like your doing this for the purpose of long term aging while carbed.
    – Wyrmwood
    Commented Feb 12, 2014 at 17:14

Unfortunately, none if this is ideal, but I guess you knew that!

Leaving on the yeast cake for 2 months is clearly not an option, so really the only other option is to rack, and your keg is probably the best alternative you have.

Over-priming (say with 300-400g of sugar) will mean you can try to expel some of the air and renewed activity of the yeast will help to some degree deter oxidation.

I would store the beer at around 64°F/18°C for a 5 days or until you find CO2 escaping from the relief valve when pulled. Then move to somewhere very cold - ideally under 42°F which will slow the rate of oxidation.


To answer your questions:

  1. It's not ideal, but it'll probably be fine
  2. Gasses mix, so you'll force a mix of oxygen and CO₂ out from the headspace. That will reduce the amount of oxygen, but won't eliminate it.
  3. Could work, without the "stir all sediment" bit.
  4. Could do, of course. :)

You can certainly prime a keg. I'd probably over-prime a bit since the keg can take it, and you can certainly purge some pressure off. You could even dispense that way with the residual/headspace pressure … for a little while, anways. Maybe by that point, you'll have CO₂ to top up the headspace pressure.

  • I believed CO2 was primarily heavier and would occupy mostly the bottom region of the headspace. Commented Feb 4, 2014 at 19:35
  • I was going to stir sediment back in because its a wit-beer and 2 months may over clear it. Commented Feb 4, 2014 at 19:36
  • 1
    Don't count on CO2 staying put! My (probably imperfect) understanding of Henry's Law is that there will be gas mixing. Also, unless you have some way to purge the keg when you fill it, the beer will likely be oxidized by the time you get CO2.
    – Denny Conn
    Commented Feb 4, 2014 at 21:19
  • A gas eventually dissipates to occupy the volume of it's container, regardless of density. Otherwise we'd all be suffocating in a blanket of CO2 from the earth's atmosphere.
    – mdma
    Commented Feb 5, 2014 at 6:20
  • 1
    I thought that's why giraffes evolved? Commented Feb 12, 2014 at 17:42

The cheapest solution is to:

  1. Rack it into a clean plastic (food grade obviously) $15 bucket. It can sit in "secondary" for weeks.

  2. Buy anitizer and caps while you are at LHBS getting yor bucket. they're cheap too.

  3. Start rounding up bottles for free from your friends or maybe even from a friendly local bar.

  4. Bottle the batch.

  5. Save your bottles so you can continue brewing until you can afford the CO2 setup.


Another option to consider, if you can spare $20-30 or so, is to get a portable CO2 charger such as this one: http://www.homebrewstuff.com/keg-charger-co2-injector-with-ball-lock.html along with a couple 16g CO2 canisters. This won't be an effective means of carbonating the beer (rely on priming for that), but it would work for purging the keg, and aid in dispensing. Also makes a handy backup down the road when your full-size CO2 tank runs dry at an inconvenient moment.

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