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I was wondering if there was a way to get alcohol in my pressure barrels (those £25, 23l types) to be carbonated similar to shop bought largers and ciders.

I've completed my first brew which was a 40 pint cider kit, adding normal cane sugar at the end to prime. This has produced enough co2 for me to pour a pint with no problems, but the cider inside is flat.

I didn't expect anything great from my first homebrew, but I would have liked it to have at least a little fizz. While I can drink hard ciders, I'd prefer if I didn't have too.

I read today that it's apparently impossible to get that level of carbonation you get in shop bought alcohol, without bottling. At this point I already have 2 kegs, so I'd hate to end up spending £50+ on 90+ bottles and having the kegs go to waste.

So is there any way I can get my kegs to produce a fizzy alcohol similar to shop bought products like kopparberg? My kegs say they are rated to 15 psi.

Thanks.

  • What kind of pressure barrels? There is good info on this site (see posts about kegging) but those of us not in the UK don't know what kind of barrels are available to you. – Pepi Jul 29 '15 at 12:02
  • This type of pressure barrel: tesco.com/direct/youngs-5gal-pressure-barrel/320-2149.prd Though mine also has a Co2 injection cap at the top, which also acts to release pressure if it gets to an unsafe level I believe. – Carl Ford Jul 29 '15 at 19:59
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Your barrel has the possibility to produce a high level of carbonation, but the pressure limit will make getting there a bit tricky. The problem is that at fermentation temps, you'll hit the pressure limit with only a medium level of carbonation. Check this carbonation chart and you'll see that the range possible at 15psi goes from moderate (1.7 volumes) to high (3.35)

At lower temps you can get quite a lot of carbonation, but the yeast might not want to do any work at those temperature.

There are a few things you could try:

  • Try for a temp at the bottom of the range for your yeast, and wait a bit to get as much carbonation as possible from the dose of sugar.
  • Add a lager yeast to naturally carbonate at a lower temp, and wait longer.
  • Force carbonate, at any temperature you want, and quicker. This popular choice also allows you to keep the keg pressurized as you serve the cider, so it stays fresh.
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    If you do choose to get your carbonation in this way it's worth noting that if you achieve full pressure (15psi) at a low temperature, you couldn't safely (without going over the barrel's pressure rating) let it warm up, since in a closed system a rise in temperature leads to a proportional rise in pressure. Basically you'd have to carbonate it cold and keep it cold. – Franklin P Combs Jul 31 '15 at 1:01

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