These Brew Dudes have learned something during these New England IPA-crazed times: Oxidation can really ruin your beer. Maybe not at first but in a few short weeks, what was a light colored hop bomb is now a brown-purple, lackluster beer. Because of the level of volatile hop oils in this style of beer, it’s much more important to keep oxygen out of your brewing practice after fermentation. One part of the process where oxidation happens is in the racking or transfer of beer from fermentor to keg. In this video, we discuss different ways to do a closed transfer so that you can significantly reduce if not eliminate oxidation from your homebrewed beer.

Extra Equipment Needed

To be successful at closed transfer, you’ll need to understand what extra equipment you’ll need. I think that’s an important place to start.

  1. You’ll need 2 kegs. To purge one keg of air and fill it with CO2, you’ll need another one of equal size to where you’ll transfer sanitizing solution. (More on that below)
  2. You’ll need what they call a Jumper Line. The specific one we show in the video you can find using the keyword “Corny Keg Ball Lock Jumper Line”. I found one on MoreBeer.com. This line will enable you to transfer liquid from one keg to another.
  3. You’ll need a way to push CO2 into your fermentor the same way you’d push CO2 into your keg – via a closed seal. Here’s where there are a few options based on the fermentor you have. Mike showed us a few of the options using an orange cap and a racking tube for a carboy, a stopper with a barbed fitting for his stainless steel fermentor that has a spigot on the top, and the half inch tubing that fits nicely onto the stem of a three piece airlock. (You won’t need to push at the same pressure as carbonating beer, probably around 5 psi – just enough to push beer from your fermentor to your keg)

Closed Transfer Steps

These are the steps we like to follow when we are conducting a closed transfer. First, here are the steps to get a keg purged of air:

  1. Clean a keg and fill it with sanitizing solution
  2. Close the keg, making sure that no air gets in
  3. Connect the filled keg to another empty keg with the Jumper Line
  4. Connect your CO2 tank to the filled, closed keg and turn on the gas just enough to push all the sanitizing solution to the empty keg
  5. Once the closed keg is emptied, you now have a keg purged of air

You’ll need to figure out the best set up for this next part based on your fermentor, but the main idea is to figure out a way to get CO2 into your fermentor and have beer flow out via a closed seal.

  1. Put the closed seal on your fermentor if it’s not there already (Example, put the orange cap on the top of your carboy with the racking cane inserted into one of the openings)
  2. Connect CO2 to the closed seal
  3. Connect the fermentor to your purged keg
  4. Turn on the CO2 just enough to push beer from the fermentor to the keg
  5. Once all the beer is out of the fermentor, your closed transfer is complete

Hope this information is helpful. If you have questions, leave them in the comments below.

BREW ON!