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General Category => Kegging and Bottling => Topic started by: octess on November 07, 2010, 01:08:53 AM

Title: fizz problem...
Post by: octess on November 07, 2010, 01:08:53 AM
Hi all! I'm new to this site and I recently brewed an all-grain english pale ale. Everything went cool and tasted good but the beer has been sitting in the corny's for 2 weeks with 13PSI marked on the CO2 gage and the brew is still flat...
Can't satisfy my urge before figuring out what's happening with thy bubbles! Help!!! ???
Title: Re: fizz problem...
Post by: jptheelder on November 07, 2010, 01:17:02 AM
How flat? you have checked all of your connections and valves for being properly connected I assume. How old is your guage?
Title: Re: fizz problem...
Post by: octess on November 07, 2010, 01:39:53 AM
everything is plugged. gauges are OK... there is definitely pressure in there, but not in the glass!
lines are adequate lenght, no leaks.
Title: Re: fizz problem...
Post by: euge on November 07, 2010, 05:21:18 AM
First of all welcome to the AHA forum!

You will plenty of responses.

My opinion: You have a leak or your gauge is whack. If I was a betting man (I am) then my money's on the "leak." Check again. The keg too. It might be the lid isn't seated properly, the posts leaking or even the pressure release valve. Is it a single keg system? if not what about the other kegs?
Title: Re: fizz problem...
Post by: tschmidlin on November 07, 2010, 05:42:18 AM
Even if it's leaking, if the gauge is accurate the beer will be picking up CO2.  The beer doesn't "know" if the 13psi comes from a single dose of gas or if it's leaking out and more gas is flowing in to take its place.  Just that there's 13 psi.

Assuming you have it at a reasonable temp, I'm guessing the gauge is off.  One thing I have often found with my gauges is that when I turn them down they are off by several psi.  To fix it, I turn it down until the gauge reads below my desired set point, then turn it back up until the needle gets to the right point.  Alternatively you can vent the keg and watch where the needle returns to.  It's worth checking.

You can also check the gauge if you know someone who has their own setup.  Just take the keg to them and have them pressurize to 13 psi, if gas flows in then your gauge is off.

Oh, and just as a sanity check - the gas is really connected?  And all shutoff valves leading to the keg are open?  I've pressurized kegs and then turned off or taken off the gas for one reason or another, then forgotten to put it back on. ::)
Title: Re: fizz problem...
Post by: euge on November 07, 2010, 05:55:11 AM
I mean what is flat anyway. Some carbonation will have to occurred even if the gauge was off, right? I went to Tastybrew's Keg calculator and 1.5 volumes would only need 1.4psi at 40F. For 2.6 volumes you'd need 13.4 psi. Is 1.5 volumes considered flat? Tom I'm deferring to your expertise. :D

Title: Re: fizz problem...
Post by: tschmidlin on November 07, 2010, 06:13:41 AM
I mean what is flat anyway. Some carbonation will have to occurred even if the gauge was off, right? I went to Tastybrew's Keg calculator and 1.5 volumes would only need 1.4psi at 40F. For 2.6 volumes you'd need 13.4 psi. Is 1.5 volumes considered flat? Tom I'm deferring to your expertise. :D

;D
Depends - are you used to drinking BMC or cask ale?

I haven't seen a temp mentioned at all, so if 13 psi is accurate but it's sitting at room temp in the OPs house it will be under 1.5 volumes.  That could seem really flat for what you're expecting from a cream ale.  And if the gauge reads high then it will be even lower.
Title: Re: fizz problem...
Post by: euge on November 07, 2010, 06:25:20 AM
Hmm the onion being peeled. Now we need a response from octess to clarify some things. ;)
Title: Re: fizz problem...
Post by: octess on November 07, 2010, 02:31:35 PM
Thanks guys!!
really cool to read your responses, makes me feel like I'm not alone!!!
so here's the info:
both the kegs are at 5 celcius degrees, they have been in the fridge since the kegging day (2 weeks ago) and the gauges do read 13PSI on both since then. I only have 1 keg linked up to the tap lines yet so I haven't check about the fizz in the other one. I'll check the gauge and vent the keg, thanks for the tip! yesterday I raised the pressure to 20 PSI to see, I'll pour another glass later on today to note if there are any changes. the two preceding 40 litres batches sort of gave me the same lack of bubbles, though they were not completely flat like this one... REALLY starting to wonder about the existence of hobgoblins in my basement...
I'm just about ready to keg another 80 litres (40L dunkelweizen and 40L english bitter) so...
Title: Re: fizz problem...
Post by: octess on November 08, 2010, 02:22:16 AM
moreover, the gauge from the co2 tank (going toward the kegerator of course) now reads 20 PSI (since I've raised it yesterday) and so do the 2 regulators on each tap. I've tried a glass from the other keg and it doesn't have any more bubbles than the first one...
still puzzled...
Title: Re: fizz problem...
Post by: tschmidlin on November 08, 2010, 02:34:31 AM
At 20 psi it's not shooting out as a glass of foam?  That's a lot of pressure to be pushing the beer, especially if it was pouring at 13 psi with the same setup.  What is your beer line length and diameter?
Title: Re: fizz problem...
Post by: octess on November 08, 2010, 03:42:41 AM
lenght is about 7 foot and diameter is a quarter inch...
Title: Re: fizz problem...
Post by: tschmidlin on November 08, 2010, 04:03:58 AM
Ok, I'm going to say you don't have 13 or 20 psi in your kegs.  According to morebeer, 1/4 inch PVC line restricts flow at .65 lbs per foot.  Assuming similar tubing, at 7' length and 1/4" you're looking at less than 5 lbs restriction.  The beer should be shooting out of the faucet at both 13 and 20 psi.  Either your gauge is wrong or there is some obstruction in the system.
Title: Re: fizz problem...
Post by: octess on November 08, 2010, 12:40:00 PM
I'll check and double check upon that, thanks for the tip!
Title: Re: fizz problem...
Post by: octess on November 09, 2010, 02:49:49 PM
pressure has been at 28 PSI for 2 days... when pouring a pint, it pours pretty strongly out! but the beer doesn't seem to have much bubbles (in quantity and size) and after 5 minutes the foam completely vanishes and so do the bubbles in the beer...
could some kind of obstruction in the line or the keg itself be responsible for that? I haven't check the accuracy of the regulators yet but guessing from the pressure the beer pour out of there, I'm assuming they are accurately reading. :-\
Title: Re: fizz problem...
Post by: tschmidlin on November 09, 2010, 05:17:52 PM
What you're describing would happen if you are pushing it with too much CO2.  I think you need to turn the CO2 down until you have a reasonable pour and see if that helps.  Then you might need to swap out your hoses for longer or more restrictive ones to get the right pour at the right carbonation level.

It might help to read through this manual that Gary posted in another thread, it will help you balance your system.
http://www.brewersassociation.org/pages/publications/draught-quality-manual
Title: Re: fizz problem...
Post by: kerneldustjacket on November 09, 2010, 05:44:06 PM
This is just my opinion, so don't shoot me!

I had the same problem with a kegged Belgian Golden Strong Ale. Tried to get higher than normal carbonation, as called for by the style guidelines. But, when I poured the beer, I had the perfect moment to insert the ole trombone "whaa-whaa-whaa" sound...as in "no bubbles for you, sad sack. :'("

What I later figured out is that I was serving the beer too cold. It was around 40 F...seems it kept the CO2 from effervescing...so no bubbles and flat on the palate. I brought the temperature up to 48, and started getting bubbles the next day; I also got more aroma and flavors.
I latered noticed the same effect when judging at a competition; really cold entries showed no signs of carbonation.

You could try this: get a bottle -- either cap-able or swingtop -- and chill it. Disconnect your CO2 cylinder and vent the keg until you have just enough pressure to s-l-o-w-l-y dispense beer into your chilled bottle, fill the bottle the the very top and cap or engage swign top.
Then either let the bottle slowly warm up to around 50 F, or store for a day in a fridge that stays in the high 40s. Then open and pour to see what you get bubble-wise.

I just think there must be a correlation between a beer's serving temperature and it's expression of carbonation. Too cold, seems flat; too warm, seems gushy.

Good luck.
Title: Re: fizz problem...
Post by: bluesman on November 09, 2010, 05:46:01 PM
It might help to read through this manual that Gary posted in another thread, it will help you balance your system.
http://www.brewersassociation.org/pages/publications/draught-quality-manual

+1 to the manual.

I would also consider using an indepedent gage (calibrated) and installing it on the keg.  This test will ensure you are really getting the pressure that you think you are getting in the keg. It will also serve as a way to pressure test your kegs.

This and can be purchased from kegkits.com

(http://www.kegkits.com/Merchant2/graphics/00000001/KegTest.jpg)
Title: Re: fizz problem...
Post by: tschmidlin on November 09, 2010, 05:52:22 PM
That's a useful gadget, thanks Ron.  I'll have to build one out of a spare regulator.
Title: Re: fizz problem...
Post by: bluesman on November 09, 2010, 06:00:53 PM
That's a useful gadget, thanks Ron.  I'll have to build one out of a spare regulator.

It certainly comes in handy.  8)
Title: Re: fizz problem...
Post by: euge on November 09, 2010, 06:37:58 PM
That^^^ is a great idea. I do something similar already and thought of building one to monitor my primed kegs to track how the pressure builds.

Title: Re: fizz problem...
Post by: octess on November 10, 2010, 01:46:50 AM
Thanks all!
these are all great thing to check out. :D
one thing though: I was under the impression that the colder the beer, the more soluble is the CO2... in other words if you get it chilled when carbonating, you should be able to get quicker and better carbonation?
Title: Re: fizz problem...
Post by: octess on November 10, 2010, 01:52:51 AM
Oh! also, I do have a couple bottled (primed with sugar) ones... I guess I'll have to crack one open to compare it!
I'll cool it down to the keg's temperature before though.
Title: Re: fizz problem...
Post by: octess on November 10, 2010, 02:05:34 AM
It might help to read through this manual that Gary posted in another thread, it will help you balance your system.
http://www.brewersassociation.org/pages/publications/draught-quality-manual

thanks, looks like a great book.
Title: Re: fizz problem...
Post by: bluesman on November 10, 2010, 02:45:11 AM
Thanks all!
these are all great thing to check out. :D
one thing though: I was under the impression that the colder the beer, the more soluble is the CO2... in other words if you get it chilled when carbonating, you should be able to get quicker and better carbonation?

This is true.  The colder the beer, the better the capacity.

The amount of CO2 that will dissolve into your beer is dependent on two factors - temperature and pressure. Generally ales tend to be carbonated at the lower end, 1.9 to around 2.3 volumes and lagers at around 2.4 to 2.7.  The amount of CO2 dissolved in beer is referred to in terms of volumes. Volumes of CO2 are defined as the volume the CO2 gas would occupy if it were removed from the beer at atmospheric pressure and 0° C, compared to the original volume of beer. Most American beers contain roughly 2.5 volumes of CO2.

Here's a Kegging Carbonation Calculator.

http://www.tastybrew.com/calculators/carbonation.html
Title: Re: fizz problem...
Post by: octess on November 10, 2010, 05:23:17 AM
once more: thanks!
 ;)ß
Title: Re: fizz problem...
Post by: kerneldustjacket on November 10, 2010, 01:50:00 PM
Thanks all!
these are all great thing to check out. :D
one thing though: I was under the impression that the colder the beer, the more soluble is the CO2... in other words if you get it chilled when carbonating, you should be able to get quicker and better carbonation?

My apologies octess, I certainly did not mean to confuse the issue. Yes, it's true: the colder the beer, the more soluble is the CO2...you've made no error there.

I was just voicing my own belief that it may also hold true that the colder the beer, the slower the CO2  will come out of solution, making the beer seem flat. To use an analogy: it's easy to attach a really strong magnet to a piece of iron, but difficult to pull it back off.

My own practice now is to chill the beer to the correct serving temperature, and dial my pressure in based on a table/calculator like the one bluesman turned you onto. (Correct serving temperature is a whole other topic, that dosn't just break down based on "ale vs. lager")

But, as always, everyone's mileage may vary, and personal preferances make us the individuals we are...so I'm sure given time and trial, you'll find what works for you.

Cheers!
Title: Re: fizz problem...
Post by: octess on November 12, 2010, 02:39:58 AM
My apologies octess, I certainly did not mean to confuse the issue. Yes, it's true: the colder the beer, the more soluble is the CO2...you've made no error there.

I was just voicing my own belief that it may also hold true that the colder the beer, the slower the CO2  will come out of solution, making the beer seem flat.

Not to worry at all! I actually got the picture!
updates on the bubbles:
pressure has been up to 28 PSI for 4 days and bubbles are starting to appear normal! so I've turned the pressure down to 18 PSI, vented the keg a little and the pour seems nice now. Oh! I also turned the temperature down to 5 celcius degrees...I thought it was there but it actually was at 10 degrees... perhaps the extra length of time to get the CO2 dissolved was justified for the temperature control mistake... my bad! ;)
Title: Re: fizz problem...
Post by: kerneldustjacket on November 12, 2010, 02:23:29 PM

updates on the bubbles:
pressure has been up to 28 PSI for 4 days and bubbles are starting to appear normal!

That's great!         But of course now you're quickly on your way to hearing that awful sound a keg makes as the 'last glass' comes out.   :'(

(My update: I think the flatness issue I was seeing related more to bottled beer and kegs that are at a 'set' volume of CO2. Because they posses 'fixed' volumes of CO2, they will only seem properly carbonated when served at the temperature that corresponds to that fixed CO2 volume.
Of course, I may not have looked deeper into this had you not posed your question...so thanks)