Frequently Asked Questions
“I’ve just opened the box – what do I do now?”
First, congratulate yourself on getting Keg King products. Next, follow the assembly instructions in the included manual (linked above) or by scanning the QR code on your box. This will open the product page on our website where you will also find assembly instructions as a digital file.
“I’m new to pressure fermenting. What’s the recommended pressure for fermenting?”
Pressure fermentation allows for the suppression of some yeast ester formations. This means that the esters that would have been produced at higher temperatures can be supressed so temperatures can be raised to speed the fermentation process. We feel that the sweet spot for LAGER (spelled LARGER on most homebrew forums) fermentation is somewhere around 15psi or 1bar of pressure to help the beer remain crisp and help suppress the two no no’s in crisp lager which are banana and clove esters!
Higher pressures can be damaging to the yeast’s cell walls. Ale fermentation, in general, seeks to nurture ester production so by keeping the pressure low, around 8 to 10psi, you’ll have virtually no detectable difference in flavour unless you’ve got a palate as sensitive as a gas spectrometer.
“How do I do an oxygen free transfer with my fermenter?”
THE MOST SANITARY WAY USING A GAS CYLINDER
Oxygen free/closed transfer is one of the biggest benefits of pressure fermenting in an Apollo. Closed transfer is the most sanitary, low-risk way to move your beverage from the fermenter to the keg without exposing the beverage to the atmosphere. Done properly, you will also be able to maintain the carbonation you’ve achieved in the fermenter.
You’ll need: A keg, a liquid-to-liquid ball lock transfer line, a spunding valve, a spray bottle of sanitiser, gas cylinder and regulator with a gas line running to a grey gas disconnect. *Optional: a carbonation and line cleaning cap.
Step 1. Clean, rinse and sanitise your keg. In the sanitising step, ensure you fill your keg up completely with sanitiser and then evacuate the sanitiser from the keg using CO2 either from your gas cylinder set to 10psi or from a gas harvesting link from your spunding valve during fermentation. This will leave you with a clean, sanitised keg that is free of oxygen. You can purge the keg with additional CO2 using the Pressure Relief Valve (PRV) in the keg’s lid while the keg is still connected to your gas cylinder. This will assist in removing any trace O2 remaining in the keg. Keep the pressure in the keg at 10psi and chill the keg for 20 to 30min. It’s important to ensure the walls of your keg are cool or cold. Warm kegs will cause excessive foaming in the transferring beer.
Step 2. Clean, rinse and sanitise your liquid-to-liquid ball lock transfer line. Evacuate the sanitiser from the transfer line using CO2. This can be accomplished by placing one liquid disconnect onto your empty pressurised keg and the other onto either another keg with no pressure. Alternatively, you can hook up one liquid disconnect to your empty pressurised keg and connect a carbonation and line cleaning cap on the other liquid disconnect to drain the transfer line of sanitiser, replacing the liquid with CO2.
Step 3. Remove the spunding valve from your fermenter’s gas post. Close the spunding valve’s adjustable valve stem completely. Spray the empty, sanitised, pressurised keg’s gas post with sanitiser. Now attach the spunding valve onto the gas post of the keg.
Step 4. Put the grey gas disconnect from your gas regulator’s gas line onto the notched ‘gas in’ post on your pressure fermenter, first ensuring you are at 10psi on your regulator’s output pressure.
Step 5. Spray your fermenter’s liquid out post with sanitiser. Connect one liquid ball lock disconnect from your sanitised liquid-to-liquid transfer line onto the fermenter’s liquid out post.
Step 6. Spray your clean, sanitised, pressurised keg’s liquid out post with sanitiser. Connect the other liquid ball lock disconnect from your sanitised liquid-to-liquid transfer line onto the keg’s liquid out post.
Step 7. With the fermenter at 10psi and the keg at 10psi, liquid will not flow to the keg. To begin the flow you can carefully bring the pressure on your gas regulator to 12psi. Liquid will begin to move to the keg and down the keg’s dip tube filling slowly.
Step 8. As the keg fills, the pressure in the keg’s headspace will increase and slow the liquid. To balance this, open the spunding valve’s adjustable valve stem and keep a pressure differential -2 to -5psi between the fermenter and the keg. If your fermenter is at 12psi, keep your keg at 10psi or as low as 7psi. This will minimise foaming and carbonation loss during the fill. Watch the volume indicator on your fermenter to keep track of the volume moving over to the keg.
Step 9. After the keg is full, remove the liquid transfer line from the keg post and remove the spunding valve from the gas post. Put the keg in the fridge and top up to 10psi of pressure. If you carbonated in the fermenter, you can now hook up your keg to your draught system and keep it at 10psi to 12psi for short draw systems like kegerators and Keg freezers. The beverage will settle and become more clear in the keg over time. Refer to our carbonation chart to see the proper pressures and temperatures for achieving the CO2 volumes that are right for your beverage.
How is the method described here better than the CLOSED LOOP TRANSFER method? While closed loop transfers are great for brewers who want to save a bit of money on CO2 gas, they are less sanitary. The cleanest, most sanitary way to move beer and beverages will always be in one direction as described in the steps provided here. Though only slim, the Closed Loop Transfer method still brings a risk of contamination because it is returning gas from the keg back to the fermenter.