On a private party or picnic when we use hand pump to push beer out of a keg the beer can relatively quickly get stale. What can be done to keep the beer in a good quality for as long as possible?

I can imagine that a low temperature and not moving the keg can help. What about air pressure? Is it better to keep it low or higher? I guess that low pressure is better because lower amount of air should dissolve in the beer in such a case. What other factors could influence the beer durability in such a situation?

3 Answers 3


Avoiding agitating the beer and reducing the temperature are the two key ways to slow down the rate of staling, but really once there's air in the beer it's just a matter of time before it goes bad.

Have you considered using a small CO2 charger like this -

corny keg charger

This uses small CO2 cartridges to push the beer. The advantage being that the keg won't stale quickly since very little air is introduced.

  • I know that small cartridges with CO2 exist but does not using of pure CO2 make the beer too fizzy? Maybe the beer becomes too fizzy only after some time (several days)? --- Are there similar cartridges with N2+CO2 mixture? In Czech Republic I have found only small CO2 cartridges and the smallest containers with a mixture like Biogon NC 20 from Linde are 20 litre gas cylinders. Commented Jan 27, 2014 at 21:35
  • I have found also DrinkGAS in 10 litre gas cylinders. It is 99% N2 without declared CO2 but it is certainly better than air :) Commented Jan 27, 2014 at 21:51
  • 1
    The CO2 only makes the beer too fizzy if you use too much. Apart from stouts/IRAs that use beer gas (n2/co2 mix), almost all beers are carbonated with only CO2. Given you only need enough pressure to push the beer out of the keg rather than carbonate, you will never use so much to make the beer too fizzy.
    – mdma
    Commented Jan 27, 2014 at 22:24

Because CO2 has a significantly higher affinity for water (and therefore beer), than O2 or N2 (the other major components in air) under normal keg conditions (pressure and temperature), I think it's worth a shot:

If you take off the air pump and start charging it with CO2, and then pump a good bit of beer/foam out of it (to rid it of some of the air), you should have a much nicer ratio of dissolved CO2 to other gases. That plus keeping it chilled and not shaking it (just like you'd treat a can of beer) should help it last a good deal longer.

(This is assuming you've got a "ruined" keg on your hands. Obviously it's preferable to start out with CO2.)


I prefer DrinkGAS. It's a good solution for a party, I use it in my restaurants.

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