Natural Carbonation in a Keg (How To Do It & How Long To Wait)

Lined Circle
Lined Circle

Natural carbonation occurs during the fermentation process, when yeast consumes sugar, producing carbon dioxide. 

What is carbonation?

Carbonation stimulates something called the trigeminal nerve found in your mouth. The purpose of the trigeminal nerve is to sense hotness, coldness, or irritants. 

Carbonation can have a noticeable impact on beer flavor. By stirring volatile aroma compounds in the beer, carbonation helps make them more detectable. 

Inside the fermentation vessel, the carbon dioxide has nowhere to escape, so it saturates the beer and transforms into carbonic acid (the liquid form of CO2). That carbonic acid then binds to the flavor and aroma compounds in the beer. 

What is carbonation in beer?

Can you carbonate a keg naturally?

Nowadays, it is relatively uncommon to carbonate an entire keg naturally. However, the process is possible and uncomplicated. 

Here are some of the reasons why you might choose natural carbonation:  - Natural carbonation requires less equipment than forced carbonation.  - Homebrewers who prefer natural carbonation over forced carbonation say the natural carbonation results in a thicker head, smaller bubbles, and more lacing 

How long does natural keg carbonation take?

There is no strict value, but the general consensus suggests a timeline of 2-3 weeks.  

While it is possible to keg beer without a carbon dioxide setup, beer served without it will spoil much more quickly. 

Can you use a keg without CO2?

Keep reading to learn more about Natural Carbonation in a Keg and more!