When to put in co2

buzz1979buzz1979 Member Posts: 6
Hi I've just brewed my first kit (woodfordes wherry). I have transferred it from the fermenter to the pressure barrel. I have the barrel with the co2 valve for using the small cartridges. The instructions with the kit said if you have this type of barrel then there's no need to add priming sugar, so I didn't. But when do I inject the co2. Immediately or after the beer has settled and is ready to drink?


  • BUDFORCEBUDFORCE Member Posts: 275
    mmmmmmmm, personally I would add priming sugar anyway, roughly 15 tea spoons for 40 pints (if you dont have priming sugar normal caster sugar will do).

    Then the beer will carbonise (get fizzy) and will build up pressure on its own inside the keg as long as it is airtight. The point of the co2 injectors is when you draw out the beer, it fills the gap that is left (otherwise you will get negative pressure) which will allow you to continue drawing out beer, and also all of the fizzyness doesn't escape fromt he liquid to the empty space.

    Its up to you though, as you say the isntructions say not to add priming sugar, which is a bit different to most, but if it were me personally I would add it anyway, or maybe wait until some others post here and you might get some different opinions.
    Beer League: 1. Young's - American Pale Ale 2. Bulldog Brews - Imperial Red Bad Cat 3. Young's - IPA 4. Young's - American Amber Ale 5. Bulldog Brews - Evil Dog Double IPA
  • HBO_StaffHBO_Staff Administrator Posts: 2,115
    Full agreement with Budforce here, usually all brews need priming with sugar to carbonate them, Woodfordes usually say 1/2 teaspoon per pint, a link to the instructions is here if of any interest:


  • buzz1979buzz1979 Member Posts: 6
    Thanks for the info. I thought I should probably put some sugar in but as its my first batch. I didn't want to take any risks. One more question. The beer has been settling for about two weeks now is it to late to add sugar at this point?
  • BUDFORCEBUDFORCE Member Posts: 275
    edited July 2015

    I am just guessing but I probably wouldn't add sugar now.

    It depends if the beer is dead (all the yeast) because if it is, what will happen is you will just get sugary tasting beer which will be horrible.

    The beer will be ok without the priming sugar, it will just be flat - in which case, it is also a complete waste of time/money to use the co2 injectors in this instance, and you might as well just release the lid and let air in when you draw the beer out of your keg.

    The first batch I did in my keg, I had a dodgy valve which leaked air in, and the beer was completely flat, I still drank it, actually most of it I just put a top of lemonade in.

    Again I am just guessing but that is what I would do.

    Put this down to a learning experience and you will nail the next batch!
    Beer League: 1. Young's - American Pale Ale 2. Bulldog Brews - Imperial Red Bad Cat 3. Young's - IPA 4. Young's - American Amber Ale 5. Bulldog Brews - Evil Dog Double IPA
  • HBO_StaffHBO_Staff Administrator Posts: 2,115
    This is a tricky one but not a disaster, as Budforce says the beer will be flat with no priming sugar in it, and this means that the beer will not dispense easily as there is no pressure created inside the barrel, and the beer will be flat. One option is to drink it flat, or once poured use some lemonade to liven it up a little, you would need to inject CO2 though to keep the pressure up. If you did slacken the lid to let air in which helps it pour more easily, then the beer is open to air and it's shelf life would probably be much reduced.

    The other option is to open the barrel and add around 80g of sugar, then seal it back up. This will then often ferment and create the carbonation naturally, but you do risk letting air into the brew when you open it up. It's a risk but we would probably open it and add sugar, then give it a shake to re-suspend any yeast which will help the priming sugar secondary ferment , and keep it around 20 degrees C for a week.

    It's a judgement call, but we think Budforce is right and it is all part of learning and your next batch will be a triumph, let us know what you do and how it turns out
  • buzz1979buzz1979 Member Posts: 6
    Thanks for the info. Greatly appreciated.
  • buzz1979buzz1979 Member Posts: 6
    Thought I would update you as you were kind enough to help me out. I went out and bought some brewing sugar with the intention of adding the 80g. The beer has been settling in the pressure barrel for just over two weeks. I thought I'll try drawing off a half to sample before deciding on adding the sugar or not. Expecting the beer to be flat I opened the tap wide only to be covered in beer and a glass full of head. I got a fresh glass and this time eased the tap open. I got a lovely golden clear, half with a decent amount of fizz and about 1cm of thick head. My wife and I sampled it and both think its a complete success. It tastes great with a lovely nose. I'm putting it down to extreme good luck. Thanks again for your comments.
  • HBO_StaffHBO_Staff Administrator Posts: 2,115
    That's fantastic, the flavours will continue to improve which can only be a good thing. Often the first pint can be frothy due to the pressure, but this will calm down, and once you perfect the speed of the pour it is usually much easier and has a more reasonable head on the pint. If there was no priming sugar added then it may be the brew had not completely finished fermenting when it was kegged, this would then build up some pressure in the barrel. Enjoy the brew!
  • buzz1979buzz1979 Member Posts: 6
    Cheers. Looking forward to my next endeavour.
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