Author Topic: Keg System pressure  (Read 3964 times)

Offline neemox

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Keg System pressure
« on: December 04, 2012, 12:26:57 AM »
Everything I have read says to push beer at around 12 psi out of my cornies, maybe a bit higher for commercial kegs. Problem is, from effectively 0 all the way to 15 psi, I get nothing but foam. It settles out eventually, and I have poured a half glass, but it is really getting frustrating.

I'm wondering if my regulator might be lying to me? I've noticed that after I've poured 3 or 4, the foaming goes down a lot and I'm able to pour a relatively decent beer. This makes me think that my regulator is over carbing my beer, but even if I have it set to a pressure low enough that beer almost doesn't flow and I purge the keg, I get foam coming out instead of beer.

I'm guessing this is one of those things that everyone else has learned and I haven't caught onto yet, so I'd love even the basic advice.

Offline tschmidlin

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Re: Keg System pressure
« Reply #1 on: December 04, 2012, 02:56:43 AM »
Here's what we need to know to help you:
What is the temperature of the beer?
How many volumes of CO2 do you want in your beer?
How long is the line from the keg to the tap?
What is the inner diameter of the line from the keg to the tap?
Is the beer cold all of the way from the keg to the tap?
Do you carbonate at the same temperature as you serve?

It could be caused by overcarbonation, but then it shouldn't go away after you've poured a few unless you have turned the gas off.

You can read about balancing your system here: http://www.draughtquality.org/
Tom Schmidlin

Offline neemox

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Re: Keg System pressure
« Reply #2 on: December 04, 2012, 11:06:54 AM »
Thanks Tom

The beer pours at 40°F, the keg line is 4 ft of 1/4"id hose, in the fridge entirely.

I force carb, and haven't ever looked at volumes of CO2 very accurately. I just rock the keg at 30 psi til it stops chirping (I chill the keg first) and then let it sit. I vent the excess pressure and then *try* to serve at 10 psi.

I'll check out that link right now and see what i can figure out.

As to the overcarbonation, I have had the gas low enough that it could essentially be off. I've had to deliver at pressures around 1 in order to not just blast beer/foam all over the place. Which now that I say it, makes me think that overcarbonation could be a very real issue.

Perhaps my problem is in carbonation, and not in the keg set-up.

Offline morticaixavier

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Re: Keg System pressure
« Reply #3 on: December 04, 2012, 11:19:15 AM »
Thanks Tom

The beer pours at 40°F, the keg line is 4 ft of 1/4"id hose, in the fridge entirely.

I force carb, and haven't ever looked at volumes of CO2 very accurately. I just rock the keg at 30 psi til it stops chirping (I chill the keg first) and then let it sit. I vent the excess pressure and then *try* to serve at 10 psi.

I'll check out that link right now and see what i can figure out.

As to the overcarbonation, I have had the gas low enough that it could essentially be off. I've had to deliver at pressures around 1 in order to not just blast beer/foam all over the place. Which now that I say it, makes me think that overcarbonation could be a very real issue.

Perhaps my problem is in carbonation, and not in the keg set-up.

rock and roll carbing is great. I do it all the time. but do it at serving pressure. yes 30PSI will get you there faster but it will also get you WAY over your target faster. set at 10, rock for 10 minutes or until it stops refilling. I like to hold my keg by the top handle and the bottom foot with the gas post down gas attached (never had suck back) and shift back and forth on my feet until the gas entry slows way down. It's usually okay after that but it's gunky and cloudy till the next day and the carb is better once it settles anyway.
"Creativity is the residue of wasted time" - A. Einstein

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Offline denny

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Re: Keg System pressure
« Reply #4 on: December 04, 2012, 11:26:10 AM »
The dispense tubing sounds too short and too thin to get a good balance.
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Offline neemox

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Re: Keg System pressure
« Reply #5 on: December 04, 2012, 11:29:40 AM »
rock and roll carbing is great. I do it all the time. but do it at serving pressure. yes 30PSI will get you there faster but it will also get you WAY over your target faster. set at 10, rock for 10 minutes or until it stops refilling. I like to hold my keg by the top handle and the bottom foot with the gas post down gas attached (never had suck back) and shift back and forth on my feet until the gas entry slows way down. It's usually okay after that but it's gunky and cloudy till the next day and the carb is better once it settles anyway.
So do you only rock it for ten minutes, then set it back in the fridge? This sounds like my problem. I have been carbing at 30psi for upwards of 30-40 minutes, til their is no-more gas going in whatsoever.


Offline morticaixavier

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Re: Keg System pressure
« Reply #6 on: December 04, 2012, 11:33:02 AM »
rock and roll carbing is great. I do it all the time. but do it at serving pressure. yes 30PSI will get you there faster but it will also get you WAY over your target faster. set at 10, rock for 10 minutes or until it stops refilling. I like to hold my keg by the top handle and the bottom foot with the gas post down gas attached (never had suck back) and shift back and forth on my feet until the gas entry slows way down. It's usually okay after that but it's gunky and cloudy till the next day and the carb is better once it settles anyway.
So do you only rock it for ten minutes, then set it back in the fridge? This sounds like my problem. I have been carbing at 30psi for upwards of 30-40 minutes, til their is no-more gas going in whatsoever.

yeah you are way overcarbed. think about denny's comment above as well but if you are shaking at 30PSI until no more gas goes in it's the equivelant of carbing at 30 PSI. I think the guideline for carbing at higher pressure is to fill the keg, take the gas off and shake, rest and repeat once or twice more. But I like carbing at serving pressure better.

The dispense tubing sounds too short and too thin to get a good balance.

wouldn't thinner line create more restriction and therefore need less length? I use ~4 foot 3/16 ID and it works fine 8-12 PSI (a little foamy at 12)
"Creativity is the residue of wasted time" - A. Einstein

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Offline neemox

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Re: Keg System pressure
« Reply #7 on: December 04, 2012, 11:37:07 AM »
On http://www.draughtquality.org/ they have a troubleshooting chart and one of the things they list is:
"Beer foaming in jumper – keg valve seal torn or ripped". When they say jumper, do they mean my dispensing line? I have one clear line and I do see bubbles forming in the line occasionally, but I think this troubleshooting chart is talking about Sankey issues that don't apply??

They do mention getting larger and longer hoses can help this problem. I'll pick up some 3/16 ID and see what happens.

I'll also NOT overcarb this next batch and see how that goes. I have had this problem on commercial kegs as well, which is what made me think it might have been a regulator issue, but perhaps this is all a funciton of overcarbonation and short skinny beer lines

Offline mtnrockhopper

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Re: Keg System pressure
« Reply #8 on: December 04, 2012, 11:38:50 AM »
The beer pours at 40°F, the keg line is 4 ft of 1/4"id hose, in the fridge entirely.
I have 9 feet of 3/16"ID hose with 10psi. A larger ID hose and shorter length won't provide the needed resistance.
 
I force carb, and haven't ever looked at volumes of CO2 very accurately. I just rock the keg at 30 psi til it stops chirping (I chill the keg first) and then let it sit. I vent the excess pressure and then *try* to serve at 10 psi.
I think this is your problem right here.
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Offline mtnrockhopper

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Re: Keg System pressure
« Reply #9 on: December 04, 2012, 11:40:06 AM »
wouldn't thinner line create more restriction and therefore need less length? I use ~4 foot 3/16 ID and it works fine 8-12 PSI (a little foamy at 12)
Yes, but 1/4" is wider than 3/16".
Jimmy K

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Offline morticaixavier

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Re: Keg System pressure
« Reply #10 on: December 04, 2012, 11:46:17 AM »
wouldn't thinner line create more restriction and therefore need less length? I use ~4 foot 3/16 ID and it works fine 8-12 PSI (a little foamy at 12)
Yes, but 1/4" is wider than 3/16".

I was responding to Denny's comment RE: too short and too thin.
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Offline denny

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Re: Keg System pressure
« Reply #11 on: December 04, 2012, 11:50:07 AM »
The dispense tubing sounds too short and too thin to get a good balance.

wouldn't thinner line create more restriction and therefore need less length? I use ~4 foot 3/16 ID and it works fine 8-12 PSI (a little foamy at 12)

Yeah, that does sound right.....
Life begins at 60.....1.060, that is!

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The best, sharpest, funniest, weirdest and most knowledgable minds in home brewing contribute on the AHA forum. - Alewyfe

Offline mtnrockhopper

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Re: Keg System pressure
« Reply #12 on: December 04, 2012, 12:23:33 PM »
wouldn't thinner line create more restriction and therefore need less length? I use ~4 foot 3/16 ID and it works fine 8-12 PSI (a little foamy at 12)
Yes, but 1/4" is wider than 3/16".

I was responding to Denny's comment RE: too short and too thin.
I just misinterpreted it
Jimmy K

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Offline morticaixavier

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Re: Keg System pressure
« Reply #13 on: December 04, 2012, 01:01:04 PM »
wouldn't thinner line create more restriction and therefore need less length? I use ~4 foot 3/16 ID and it works fine 8-12 PSI (a little foamy at 12)
Yes, but 1/4" is wider than 3/16".

I was responding to Denny's comment RE: too short and too thin.
I just misinterpreted it

I figured as much.  :D
"Creativity is the residue of wasted time" - A. Einstein

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Offline tschmidlin

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Re: Keg System pressure
« Reply #14 on: December 04, 2012, 10:18:35 PM »
Yes, the line is too short for the inner diameter.  1/4" line should restrict about 0.6 psi per foot, and you're pushing at ~10.  A 4' line will make the beer foamy weather it is homebrew or a commercial keg.  Get some 3/16" line, that restricts more like 2 psi per foot.  Start with more than 5 feet and adjust the length until you like the pour.  6 feet or so works for me, pouring at 12 psi.  But do this with a properly carbonated keg!

As stated above, carb at serving pressure and temperature - no chance of over carbonating then.  The way you've been doing it there's no wonder it's been shooting out in a spray of foam.
Tom Schmidlin