We had a fun experience this evening. But before I get to that…
We’re still pretty small, so the vast majority of our sales are cases (bottles) or 1/6bbl (~5 gallon) kegs. For ease of dealing with things, we store the beer in 1/2bbls. They’re still ~170lbs, but that’s easier to deal with than full barrels. Ok, anyway…
I got it into my head that it’d be interesting to try an in-keg addition to one of our beers. (I won’t give details yet. If the experiment turns out, you’ll hear about it. Or, if it’s a spectacular-enough of a failure to be a worthy story.)
Thing is, this particular keg had already been carbonated. Normally, for storage, we just keep the kegs lightly pressurized — so as to make sure there’s no air/oxygen in with the beer — but not really enough to give any but the very faintest of carbonation. Certainly not fully carbonated as this one was.
I’d sort of forgotten that this was the case with this keg. When we first started storing in 1/2bbls, we stored fully carbonated but later decided that transfers were easier with uncarbonated beer. Less foam means it’s easier to fill a sixtel to proper weight for sale, then carbonate that. This particular 1/2bbl was the last of the stored-carbonated ones, and I’d forgotten.
Luckily, just letting the pressure off and opening the keg doesn’t cause it to just foam up, so “hooray!” for that.
Not so luckily, adding things to a carbonated beverage — especially anything with particles or of a different temperature — can cause the entire keg to release its carbonation all at once, which I didn’t notice until I’d already started to put the spear back into the keg and, hoo-boy, wasn’t that a mess?!
Ah well — “live & learn”, I say.
“We do not make keg additions to the beer we wish we had…” ~Rumsfeld Brewing Company.