Barrel It! Kegging and Secondary Fermentation
I rarely use bottles. It's too much like hard work for one thing, and I prefer
draught beer anyway.
The barrelling process begins once primary fermentation is complete. I first
run off about a pint of beer from the fermenter; I will add priming sugar and
finings to this.
Then I run the bulk of the beer into a pressure barrel. This is done through
a piece of siphon tubing fitted to the fermenter tap, to exclude air and prevent
the beer foaming up as it runs into the barrel.
Meanwhile, I heat up the beer which I ran off earlier, and add 2oz of white
..and a sachet of gelatine. The gelatine helps the yeast to settle into a
firm deposit in the barrel, reducing the risk of clouding when the beer is run
off during use.
The beer containing the sugar and gelatine is mixed into the beer in the
barrel, which is then sealed.
During the first week or so, secondary fermentation converts the added sugar,
producing enough carbon dioxide gas to create condition and promote head
The beer will not be ready to drink straight away, though; first it needs to
The maturation process takes at least 4 weeks, but I prefer to leave it for
six weeks or more. The flavour improves during maturation, as some of the
undesirable yeast by-products from primary fermentation break down over time.
Now here's the reward!