Updated: Feb 23, 2021
If you’re new to home brewing and you’re wondering what the best way to carbonate your home brew is, this guide is for you. In it, we are going to take a quick look at the options available to you and examine some of the pros and cons of each choice. But before we get into the options, we should talk a bit about the levels of carbonation you’ll be aiming for with your home brew beer.
Carbonation Levels for Different Types of Beer
If you’re brewing a traditional Aussie lager, you’ll be looking at somewhere between 2-3 volumes of CO2 but if you’re trying out an English ale, you’ll want hardly any CO2 at all. At the other end of the scale are some German lagers that have so much CO2 in them, they need to be poured a little at a time in order to stop them from frothing over the top of the glass. See our handy chart by style we found:
Forced Carbonation for Kegs
We’ll look at this option first as it’s the fastest and simplest way to carbonate larger quantities of beer. You can find all the CO2 gas tanks and accessories you’ll need in our store and if you happen to live close to our North Rocks base, you’re more than welcome to pop in and take advantage of our refill service for CO2 gas tanks. Whether you need a 450-600 gram Sodastream compatible bottle refill, a 2.6KG CO2 gas tank refill or a 6KG CO2 gas tank refill, we’ll sort it out for you when you arrive. Once you have the gas that you need, you can simply apply CO2 pressure to your refrigerated kegs and fully carbonate them in just a few days or in 24 hours. However it is easier to under-carbonate than to fix over-carbonation with burping your keg.
The reason this method is so popular is because it avoids the need to bottle your beer and it allows you more precise control over the final levels of CO2 in your beer than is possible with natural carbonation methods without exact measuring tool in either bottles or kegs.
Natural Carbonation for Kegs and Bottles
If you have plenty of time on your hands and you don’t mind conditioning at the right temperature until you hit the right levels, you can try natural carbonation in bottles or kegs. For this method, you’ll need to add sugar, dextrose or dry malt extract to your beer. A third option, which is only really suitable for bottles, is carbonation tablets, which you can add to each bottle as you fill it.
If you need more information on how to achieve the correct carbonation levels for the style of beer you’re brewing you’ll find plenty of resources online. Alternatively, you’re more than welcome to call and ask for advice. For customers who live far from our physical store, we are unfortunately unable to offer a CO2 refill service. However, we can send full CO2 2.6KG gas tanks and full CO2 6KG gas tanks by carrier to most locations. Alternatively, you can order an empty Sodastream compatible CO2 gas tank and have it filled locally.
If you are in regional areas remember to call your local CO2 provider to ensure that they will fill your CO2 tanks once it is empty.