How to Charge a Beer Keg

Written by michael e carpenter
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How to Charge a Beer Keg
Charging the keg with CO2 is required to get a nice foamy head on a beer. (kegs of beer image by AGITA LEIMANE from

Charging a beer keg requires forcing CO2 into the keg so the beer becomes carbonated and ready for consumption. The CO2 also expels any oxygen from the tank and avoids oxidation of the beer, which negatively affects the taste. Home brewers commonly place completed beer into kegs which will then need to be charged. Charging a beer keg is also called force carbonation. All that is required is a CO2 tank, a keg, a screw driver and a pressure gauge.

Skill level:

Things you need

  • Keg
  • CO2 tank
  • Pressure Gauge
  • Screwdriver

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  1. 1

    Clean the keg prior to placing any beer in the vessel. Many brewing shops sell sanitation packages that will not react with the beer. Once the sanitation is complete place your beer into the keg.

  2. 2

    Seat the lid onto the keg. Attach the CO2 hoses to the keg. Some kegs will require the CO2 gas valve to be opened quickly to seal the lid on the keg. Follow the instructions that came with your keg to properly seal it.

  3. 3

    Purge the air from the keg that is sitting on top of the beer. Use a screwdriver to open the pressure release valve on the keg. It will take more than once to force the air out of the keg. Try at least three to five times to make sure all air has been removed.

  4. 4

    Find the serving temperature and the correct amount of carbonation, or volume of CO2, for the beer. There are charts on the Crocket Brewing website to determine the amounts for each type of brew available. It also contains a calculator to determine the correct P.S.I.

  5. 5

    Set the CO2 tank to the correct pressure and refrigerate to the desired temperature. If the beer is left alone this process should be completed in 10 days.

  6. 6

    Roll the keg to achieve carbonation faster. Chill the keg with the CO2 tank attached overnight. Put the keg on lap, laying horizontally and keep the CO2 tank attached. Gently roll the keg up and down your lap. CO2 only dissolves into the surface layer of the beer. Rolling the beer will increase and constantly change the surface area of the beer, carbonating it more quickly.

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