Scott and I were discussing how we force carbonate our beers recently and I had trouble remembering why I did mine the way I had. Scott said he was still using the old “crank & shake” method, which while fun, is really potentially dangerous for your back and not all that great for the beer. Where better to turn for the answer than BYO’s Mr. Wizard?
Under-carbonated beer is of course what you had before applying the crank-n-shake method. I use the term “crank” to describe the random application of gas pressure resulting from cranking the gas regulator to its maximum setting of 30 psi and unleashing this pressure on the poor keg of beer. If beer could become ill from too much dissolved gas like scuba divers do when staying down too deep for too long, these beers would certainly suffer from a high rate of the bends.
…Once you have your gas plan, attach your keg to the carbon dioxide tank adjusted to the pressure dictated by your gas table and wait. A batch of homebrew is small and the headspace pressure will equilibrate with the beer in about 3 days. The only thing you can do to speed this method up is to periodically shake the keg. Some people want to bubble the gas through the dip tube in the keg, but this really does not speed things up much because the gas bubbles are too large and zip through the beer before much gas diffuses into solution. It also causes foaming. Take my advice and just hang tight!
Here’s the rest of the article. In summary:
- Find the correct volume of gas for your beer
- Push that pressure into your keg
Edit: Rob over at tastybrew.com has a keg pressure calculator.