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I'm pretty sure I have read that 1 sodastream bottle will carb and serve 1 keg. I tried it when I first starting kegging ( For about 20 Min then was like screw this and went and bought a gas bottle.) As to carbing it within a week you can try the 30psi for 2-3 days then drop to your target PSI for the volumes you are after. Normally I just set it to the PSI I need at 5deg C (about 11PSI) and start drinking if after about 11-12 days with it reaching full carbination at around the 14 day mark.
My process is pretty simple: wind up the pressure to 35psi, purge the headspace, shut the fridge door and leave it 24hrs. Then back the pressure off to serving, release the extra pressure, and start drinking it. If it's slightly under/over where I really wanted it, I'll adjust the pressure again and over the course of a few days/week it sorts itself out.
What vdog said.
When you hit it with 35psi, are you performing any rocking/rolling or shaking to help disolve the co2? Or are you simply leaving it at that psi for 24hrs? Assuming you are talking about beer at cold temps.
When you dial it back to serving pressure, how long do you leave it before you are ready to serve?
Nope, no rocking or shaking, just set and forget. I generally crash cool before kegging so it's at around 2-3C when I keg and connect the gas. Temp in the keg fridge is probably more like 7C. Once you've given it that first 24hrs and dropped it to serving pressure you can start serving straight away. It might be a tiny bit off your target for CO2 volume, but not by much.
Thanks guys for the advice.
At this stage, I am only looking at kegging occasionally with more of a portable set up, so I think Sodastream will be just fine. When I end up kegging full time, will definitely go for the big co2 bottles. I can get Sodastream swaps for $8 so this seems like a great option for the occasional keg for holidays, bbqs etc.
It sounds like I should be able to 'quick' force carb and dispense with the one bottle...but will have a second in case.
If I transfer my beer at cold crash temps into the keg and hit it with 30psi for 24-48hrs on Sunday night, Im hoping I can drop to serving pressure and be drinking by Thurs/Friday next week?!?
Easily - if you've kegged and put it to 30psi on Sunday, first pint could be today.
A note on priming and conditioning in the keg too - that will generate some yeasty trub which you'll then get in your first few (no idea how many) pints as the dip tube sits right where the trub will be. You could chop 10mm off it to avoid the worst of it if that is an issue for you.