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I am relatively new to home brewing, and so far I have bottle carbonated all of my batches. However, I have been reading some about force carbonating and I would much rather do that if possible (for clarity, and time). I was checking out this article, and it seems like it should be fairly straight forward, but I do not want to get exploding bottles.

So my two questions are these,

  1. Is there any reason I should not force carbonate my bottles?
  2. What would I need, or need to know to go this route?
  • I don't like chameleon questions. Why change meaning of your question instead of asking another one? – Mołot Sep 23 '15 at 14:43
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    @Mołot The original question I dont think was asking what I meant for it. If you think there is a better way to phrase it, than by all means change it how you want. I didnt change the question, just the title. – Metropolis Sep 23 '15 at 14:46
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Force carbonation occurs in the keg, not the bottles.

Carbonation wrt to the article, occurs in the keg using a CO2 tank. Once the beer is carbonated, it is transferred to the bottles via a counter pressure filler.

For this process you will need:

  • Keg
  • CO2 Tank
  • Regulator (CO2)
  • Lines and Connections (including a tee for gas line)
  • Counter Pressure Filler (I personally use this one, there is a version with a gauge, that is IMHO unnecessary, there are brass/copper ones as well, but these can impact your final product)
  • Bottles (which you obviously already have)
  • No. 2 Stopper - suitable for most bottles

The process is as follows:

  • Purge system with CO2
  • Transfer beer from fermentation vessel to keg (filter if desired)
  • Connect CO2 to Keg (a variety of methods exist, it comes down to a balance between time and volatilization of aromatics)
  • Once carbonated, connect counter pressure filler
  • Purge bottle with CO2 (combination of burping and allowing flow through pressure release valve (PRV))
  • Rapidly switch valve to open beer line (rapidly is key, learned after painting my kitchen in beer)
  • Bottle should slowly fill with no foam, once beer pours out PRV, close valve remove counter pressure filler and cap. (You can fob with CO2 if you have extra hands to prevent oxygen pickup for longer shelf life)

Helpful Tips

  • Sanitation is as always important! Ensure all things that touch beer are sanitized.
  • Cold is better! If you can chill your bottles you will lose less beer to foaming. Additionally, your keg should be cold, and if you'll be taking a while to transfer, insulate it to keep it cold.
  • Some bottles can be sterilized. Perform with caution ideally run a test on a couple of bottles first, as some cannot tolerate the heat. You can sterilize your bottles by capping them with tin foil, and baking them in the oven (once cleaned). Start with the oven cold, gradually raise the temperature. 65 C for 5 minutes is sufficient to provide sterilization. Gradually cool the bottles thereafter. They will remain sterile for all intents and purposes so long as the foil remains tight.
  • Great answer, thanks John! Is there a No. 2 stopper you recommend? I am not sure if I know what that is. Also, how long do I wait for carbonation of the keg? Also, what is fob? – Metropolis Sep 22 '15 at 20:57
  • To answer these I'll need a few comments, I do apologize, just limited length. Stoppers/Bungs aren't generally branded in my experience. It's the same as what you stick an airlock into, but designed for a bottle instead of a carboy. It will create the seal between the filler and the bottle. The bore should be 3/8" (standard). The one that came with the filler was a bit loose and made filling challenging. Fobbing is the process of blowing CO2 into the filled beer to create foaming and remove oxygen. Such that you can cap on foam. This is done commercially. Oxygen creates off flavours. – John Sep 22 '15 at 21:07
  • Carbonation time is dependent on method. You can carbonate at a high psi (30 psi) for a short duration, about 24 hours. Or your serving pressure (~15 psi generally) but it will take longer (several days).<br/>How-To-Article Each has its merits and drawbacks. I prefer the set and forget method, as there's less risk for losing aromatics and over-carbonating, and generally I'm a patient person anyway so I don't mind waiting a few days. – John Sep 22 '15 at 21:11
  • After bottling this way, how long should I let the bottles sit before drinking? Should I put them in the refrigerator right after filling? – Metropolis Sep 23 '15 at 14:26
  • Once bottled and sealed the beer is the same as any other. Provided you've followed good sanitation and not had much oxygen pickup it'll stand up as well as any homebrew. Even if filtered it likely still has sufficient yeast present to scavenge low oxygen content. This is where fobbing is helpful and quickly capping on foam. Beer will remain more stable in cold dark conditions. – John Sep 23 '15 at 17:35

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