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Messages - darkmorford

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Kegging and Bottling / Re: New CO2 tank; trying to fix a leak
« on: December 12, 2011, 05:14:15 AM »
Should I take all the teflon tape off of the connection, then? There was some tape on the tank when I got it, so I assumed it was necessary.

Kegging and Bottling / New CO2 tank; trying to fix a leak
« on: December 12, 2011, 04:37:49 AM »
I just exchanged my empty CO2 cylinder for a full one, and a leak has popped up where there wasn't one before. I disconnected my keg system at the regulator to give me the fewest variables possible—just the tank and regulator—and it still won't hold pressure. After subjecting the thing to the bathtub bubble test, it looks like the leak is at the connection between the cylinder and regulator.

I've tried everything I can think of: two different washers (one fiber, one nylon), fresh teflon tape on the threads, even throwing on extra layers of tape to get a tighter seal. I'm still losing pressure at the tank connection, though it's very slow at this point. What else can I do to stop this leak? (Or do I just assume the tank's threads are shot and deal with the loss?)

Kegging and Bottling / Re: Dispensing Soda
« on: October 01, 2011, 10:13:23 PM »
Well, this is curious. The keg finally kicked, so I rinsed it out and dumped a few 2-liter bottles of store-bought soda into it. It's chilled to 38° and pressurized at 25 psi (with the CO2 tank and regulator in the fridge as well), just like I had it set before. But now the same amount of tubing is giving an almost-perfect pour! (It's coming out a little flat, so I might bump the pressure a couple psi and see what that does.)

I'm thinking that the last batch got messed up because I had carbed it at room temperature before sticking it into the fridge. Not sure how much sense that makes, but it's pretty much the only thing I changed between that batch and this one. Now I just need to find the local Pepsi supplier and see if I can buy some Mountain Dew syrup from them...

Kegging and Bottling / Re: Dispensing Soda
« on: September 24, 2011, 09:21:39 PM »
Okay, keg is at ~38°F, pressurized to 24 psi, which BeerSmith says should give me the 3.7 volumes of CO2 I'm looking for. (The gas tank is in the mini-fridge as well, if that matters.) Ten feet of 3/16" vinyl tubing on the output, ending in a Cobra picnic tap. It seems the tubing restriction is right around the 2.2 psi/ft that Tom mentioned earlier, because the flow rate at the end is about 2 oz/second, which I understand is about ideal for a tap setup.

The problem is that even though the pressure and flow rate are correct, I'm still getting mostly foam when I pour. I'm starting to wonder if it has to do with the sweetener in my soda syrup, since I know commercial diet sodas tend to fizz up more than their corn-syrup-sweetened counterparts. (This particular syrup uses Splenda.)

Any ideas how I can fix up this last little problem?

General Homebrew Discussion / Re: Pumpkin Beer
« on: September 21, 2011, 08:40:18 AM »
I've had some friends tell me that they've had some good pumpkin beers. I've never tasted one myself, but I did notice that Midwest sells a kit for a pumpkin ale. I'm thinking about brewing a batch; if I don't like it I've got people I can give it away to.

General Homebrew Discussion / Presidential Beer
« on: September 21, 2011, 08:36:26 AM »
I just came across this Daily Mail article.

US President Barack Obama has apparently been homebrewing at the White House for the better part of this year, even using honey from the White House garden beehives!

Kegging and Bottling / Re: Dispensing Soda
« on: September 18, 2011, 10:11:02 PM »
Well, after a bunch of experimenting and no luck getting a decent pour, I finally bit the bullet and bought a mini-fridge to get the keg cool. I put the keg in a couple hours ago, and while I'm waiting for it to chill I want to make sure I've got my expectations straight.

I checked the pressure on the keg just before I put it into the fridge: it was 43 psi at room temperature (74 degrees or so), which BeerSmith says is about 3.2 volumes of CO2. It's not currently hooked up to the gas tank, and so my understanding is that the pressure will drop as the keg gets colder. If I calculate 3.2 volumes at 38 degrees (serving temp) BeerSmith estimates around 18.5 psi. So do I wait for my pressure gauge to read that low to know it's ready to serve, or am I wrong about the physics here?

Kegging and Bottling / Re: Dispensing Soda
« on: September 01, 2011, 05:09:32 AM »
Good point. I hadn't thought of that. How does one measure that, then?

Kegging and Bottling / Re: Dispensing Soda
« on: September 01, 2011, 12:49:07 AM »
Okay, this is really strange. After my shank hardware showed up, I got that all assembled and tested it out. Even with the 20 feet of tubing I was getting a really fast pour with a lot of foam. So I went to Lowe's and picked up a water pressure gauge along with the necessary fittings to adapt that to a 1/4" flare. I stuck that assembly onto the faucet end of my tubing, dumped the pressure in the keg, then slowly starting bringing the pressure back up. Shockingly, it looks like my 20 feet of hose is only dropping 5 psi! I really don't know what to make of this, since that would mean my 3/16" vinyl is only restricting at a rate of 0.25 psi/ft! Can anyone explain what's going on here?

Equipment and Software / Re: New Carbonator Caps
« on: August 29, 2011, 09:26:27 PM »
I made one for juice bottles that had a larger cap and they worked fine, but the pressure distorted the plastic container shape, so I rarely use it.  Instead I have used the Carbonator brand on a couple 2 liter bottles for longer storage and like them, but they are pricey.  The crankandstein site has a pretty reasonable deal IMO.  I picked up a set.

Thanks for the heads up!

Prefer the Carbonator brand. I just use my keg connect from the co2 to force carb PET bottles. They need to come out with new models though because the caps and threads have changed in the past 12 months on soda bottles.
They do need to make new ones for the changed threading, yes, but they should keep making the current model as well. I still see a mix of old and new threads on the bottles around here.

Kegging and Bottling / Re: Dispensing Soda
« on: August 29, 2011, 08:29:24 PM »
Still waiting for the shank hardware to come in (FedEx says Wednesday), but in the interest of getting more information out there I figured I'd share this old BYO article I found on balancing a draft system. Going by those numbers, I should only need to drop 46–50 psi through the hose, not the full 55 psi. Though I still might not have enough if the resistance is much lower than 3 lb/ft.

Incidentally, does anyone know if it's possible to use a standard pressure gauge (like the ones on regulators) to measure liquid pressure? The article claims that 5 psi at the tap is ideal, and I was thinking it'd be nice to have a way to objectively figure out how close I'm getting to that. (If I can't use a regular gauge, what do you recommend for testing liquid pressures?)

Kegging and Bottling / Re: Tight Corny Keg Connection
« on: August 29, 2011, 07:39:05 PM »
You might want to put a dab of Keg Lube on there. (Vaseline would probably work too if you don't have any around.) It'll make it easier to get the QDs onto the posts and it also helps keep the connection airtight.

Kegging and Bottling / Re: Dispensing Soda
« on: August 24, 2011, 11:21:12 PM »
The problem is that 20' of 3/16" tubing isn't enough for 55 psi.  If the pressure at the picnic tap is low enough to get a good pour the tap will have no problem holding it.  For 55 psi I would start with a much longer length of 3/16" tubing.  I know it is supposed to restrict 2.2 lbs per foot (so the 20 feet was 5 feet too short by that measurement) but in my experience it is something less than that.
That probably explains it. I was using the Draft Beer Quality Manual and the table in there actually lists the 3/16" tubing at 3 lb/ft, so I figured that, if anything, I had a couple feet too much hose. If the restriction is as low as 2.2 lb/ft, there's definitely an issue.

I'll start playing around with the pressure once I get this shank and other stuff in. There's gotta be a point where I get a good pour and good carbonation without having a ton of hose around. Yay experimentation. >_>

Kegging and Bottling / Re: Dispensing Soda
« on: August 24, 2011, 10:29:11 PM »
The reason I concluded that the Cobra tap couldn't take that amount of pressure is because of what happened the first time I hooked it up. I had the keg at 55 psi (with the CO2 hooked up at the same pressure), 20 feet of 3/16" vinyl tubing, and the picnic tap at the end. As soon as I stuck the QD on the liquid-out post, I had soda spewing out of the tap even without me holding it open. The sheer pressure at the tap end of the hose was enough to force the valve open and release the liquid. I suppose it's possible that my LHBS sells a low quality picnic tap and that a better one would be able to contain that pressure, but I'm willing to give them the benefit of the doubt.

I purchased one of the QD-to-faucet rigs I linked earlier, and the standard rear-valve faucet is holding up to the 55 psi just fine. Of course, without any hose behind it, the soda blasts out and I get a full cup of foam. I've got an inexpensive (chrome-plated brass) shank on the way so I can put some hose between the keg and faucet, and I'll report back on how that experiment goes.

Kegging and Bottling / Re: Dispensing Soda
« on: August 20, 2011, 11:06:59 PM »
In the name of experimentation, I took a 6' length of 1/4" tubing I had (which, according to the numbers I have, should compensate for about 5 psi) and stuck a Cobra tap on it. I dumped the pressure in the keg and re-pressurized to 6 psi, to account for the hose and height difference. While the picnic tap was able to contain this lower pressure, the pour was nowhere near consistent. The soda came out in fits and spurts, and I still wound up with a glass of foam.

This is my first time working with a keg, and clearly I'm doing something wrong. These things are literally made for soda dispensing, and if I can't get it to do what it's built to do, I'm not sure I'm willing to put a batch of beer in there. I'm thinking about getting a faucet setup just so I have something more reliable than the plastic picnic taps, but I'm no longer confident that I know what I'm doing with this hardware.


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