Author Topic: A Rant...  (Read 1742 times)

Offline Phil_M

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A Rant...
« on: February 29, 2016, 01:15:22 PM »
Gotta vent somewhere, lol...

I ended up kegging two beers last Wednesday, a brown ale and a dry Irish stout. Purged the kegs, racked the beers, purged the headspace, no major issues. Had a slightly harder time than normal getting one keg to seal up, but wasn't really a big deal.

I've been working nights lately, so the next morning I checked the pressures...and the CO2 bottle was completely empty, and the system had no pressure at all. Ran out to the local welding supply store, swapped out for another CO2 bottle, and started troubleshooting. The "issue" lid from the night before was keg lubed to try and rule that out. The third (currently unused) line from my CO2 manifold was slightly open, whether that happened when I removed the (empty) CO2 or when I racked the beers I don't know. Thinking I had everything sorted, I hooked everything back up and went in to work.

Next morning: (Friday) I was busy working on schoolwork and failed to check the CO2 till I was about to leave for work. Empty again. My wife was able to run out and get another CO2 swap, and I was able to talk her through some of the troubleshooting. The "problem" keg was given brand new O-rings, no signs of leaks anywhere. (Oetiker clamps are worth their weight in gold btw.) Turned the gas off in case there was still a leak, gave it a good 20 PSI to see how it held up overnight.

Saturday morning, again, no pressure. Turned on the gas bottle, and that's when the regulator decided to lose its mind. The gauge on the low pressure side would slowly rise to max, then the release valve would trip. Seemed like it was just getting straight high pressure from the bottle. Managed to throw valves in such a way that the kegs were pressurized and isolated from the regulator, they were still pressurized last time I checked.

Thinking (hoping) the cheap regulator I got with my kegerator was the culprit all along. I have a new Taprite regulator on order, but I've no idea when it'll show up. Meanwhile, my beers are sitting at 55o with who knows how much pressure in the kegs. I also have no idea how badly oxidized they may have become when they were sitting at atmospheric pressure. The stout is still several weeks from being tapped, hopefully it'll hold up fine. Not much I can do for our St. Patrick's day party at this point if it isn't fine.

Oh, and it was a kegco-brand regulator. That means that I've now had significant problems with every single Kegco item I've ever ordered, save the Sankey taps I've got. Ball lock taps, 1/4 MFL to Sankey adapters, new manufacture kegs, draft tower, everything but the Sankey taps has been proven to be utter crap. Expensive crap, and a frustrating mess.
Corn is a fine adjunct in beer.

And don't buy stale beer.

Offline lenphallock

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Re: A Rant...
« Reply #1 on: February 29, 2016, 01:41:25 PM »
Sucks.


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Offline HoosierBrew

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Re: A Rant...
« Reply #2 on: February 29, 2016, 01:49:53 PM »
Sorry to hear it, Phil. That sucks. Being OCD I would start the leak check (with Star San) at the new regulator and work down the system, fitting by fitting, to be sure the whole system is airtight. Dunking kegs or fittings in a tub of water can show pinhole leaks that are hard to find otherwise. Better luck !
Jon H.

Offline hopfenundmalz

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Re: A Rant...
« Reply #3 on: February 29, 2016, 02:06:01 PM »
Kegging is not all puppies and rainbows. Stuff happens.
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Offline euge

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Re: A Rant...
« Reply #4 on: February 29, 2016, 03:13:15 PM »
The beer will be fine.

The first principle is that you must not fool yourself, and you are the easiest person to fool. -Richard P. Feynman

Laws are spider-webs, which catch the little flies, but cannot hold the big ones. -Anacharsis

Offline Phil_M

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Re: A Rant...
« Reply #5 on: February 29, 2016, 04:19:43 PM »
Once the new regulator is installed I'll definitely test it for leaks, in fact I plan on trying to track down exactly where the old one was leaking as well.

As for the quality of the beers, while they may not be all they could have been I doubt they'll be dumpers. Unless all the lid openings/closings allowed some random bug into the beer. Once I have the issue sorted I'm going to drop the temps as low as I can.

As for "stuff happens", yes, nothing ever works perfectly. However, the level of frustration I have with Kegco products is incredible. Let me run down the list...

Faucets - Supposedly solid stainless, the interior of the faucets looks odd. If it is stainless, it's such a rough polish that you can't even call it a polish. I don't bottle off the tap because I don't know what's lurking in the recesses of the interior "finish".

1/4" MFL to Sankey Adapters - Like this, though I should mention I've no idea what brand is pictured/sold here: http://www.amazon.com/KegWorks-Tail-Piece-MFL-Connector/dp/B000WJ8AE2   
Made from such a cheap pot metal that they cannot be tightened enough to not leak. Great concept, poor choice of metals for execution. I stripped the threads completely off one without even trying. At the time I ordered these I didn't know they were Kegco.

1/4" Ball lock taps with MFL ends - Again, crappy pot metal. See a trend?

5 gal. Ball Lock Kegs - The kegs themselves are great, really nicely made. The post poppets/springs were junk, and wouldn't even allow beer out of the keg. One keg had a rusty (yes, legit rust) dip tube. Customer service did nothing to help me troubleshoot the poppets, or help with the dip tube. ("It's used now, we can't help you.") This was when I wrote off kegco, the Sankey adapters were the only thing I got after this point.

I'll admit I most of these crappy parts from a "ready-made" kegerator from a online store. I now know that I could have built a better unit for a lot less money, but there have been some upsides. The fridge has digital temperature control that has proven to be very accurate. (I don't know the brand of the top of my head.) Once I dealt with the keg issues they turned out to be very nice as well.
Corn is a fine adjunct in beer.

And don't buy stale beer.

Offline flbrewer

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Re: A Rant...
« Reply #6 on: March 01, 2016, 12:03:48 AM »
Still better than bottling!  ;D

Offline brewinhard

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Re: A Rant...
« Reply #7 on: March 01, 2016, 12:10:29 AM »
Gas can be such a pain in the ass...Literally!  ;)

Offline hopfenundmalz

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Re: A Rant...
« Reply #8 on: March 01, 2016, 01:07:04 AM »
Still better than bottling!  ;D
There are times I wonder about how much better.

Leaky poppets, PRVs, and lids. Rebuilt one regulator. Leaky distribution lines. Gas bottles that go out of date. Like I said, it has some down sides.
« Last Edit: March 01, 2016, 01:09:57 AM by hopfenundmalz »
Jeff Rankert
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Home-brewing, not just a hobby, it is a lifestyle!

Offline Phil_M

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Re: A Rant...
« Reply #9 on: March 01, 2016, 01:17:48 AM »
Leaky distribution lines.

One word: Oetiker

http://www.amazon.com/Oetiker-18500060-Stepless-stainless-standard/dp/B008L4874S/ref=sr_1_1?ie=UTF8&qid=1456794869&sr=8-1&keywords=oetiker

I realize the price is steep, but I have had no leaks where I've used these clamps. I'd imagine some home-brew clubs could work out some form of "loaner" deal to offset that.
Corn is a fine adjunct in beer.

And don't buy stale beer.

Offline hopfenundmalz

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Re: A Rant...
« Reply #10 on: March 01, 2016, 04:27:57 AM »
Leaky distribution lines.

One word: Oetiker

http://www.amazon.com/Oetiker-18500060-Stepless-stainless-standard/dp/B008L4874S/ref=sr_1_1?ie=UTF8&qid=1456794869&sr=8-1&keywords=oetiker

I realize the price is steep, but I have had no leaks where I've used these clamps. I'd imagine some home-brew clubs could work out some form of "loaner" deal to offset that.

I have the tool and clamps. If you make an octopus (distribution maniflold) you have to make sure all of the connections are not leaking, including shut off valves (had one that was a leaker). That is where a big tub of water comes in handy, first time I saw that was a long time ago when a farmer uncle was changing a tire and checked for leaks.
Jeff Rankert
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Home-brewing, not just a hobby, it is a lifestyle!

Offline JT

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Re: A Rant...
« Reply #11 on: March 01, 2016, 04:57:25 AM »
The beer will be fine.
Agreed.  Unless you left the top of the keg off overnight, that beer is fine.  It's no more leaky uncarbed than a carboy bung. 

Offline klickitat jim

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Re: A Rant...
« Reply #12 on: March 01, 2016, 07:53:59 AM »
Kegging is not all puppies and rainbows. Stuff happens.
How do you do it? When ever I grumble about kegging I get lynched. Well... almost
Still better than bottling!  ;D
There are times I wonder about how much better.

Leaky poppets, PRVs, and lids. Rebuilt one regulator. Leaky distribution lines. Gas bottles that go out of date. Like I said, it has some down sides.

Offline hopfenundmalz

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Re: A Rant...
« Reply #13 on: March 01, 2016, 12:59:11 PM »
Kegging is not all puppies and rainbows. Stuff happens.
How do you do it? When ever I grumble about kegging I get lynched. Well... almost
Still better than bottling!  ;D
There are times I wonder about how much better.

Leaky poppets, PRVs, and lids. Rebuilt one regulator. Leaky distribution lines. Gas bottles that go out of date. Like I said, it has some down sides.

Maybe it is the long line of experiences that can back up why Kegging has some drawbacks?
Jeff Rankert
Ann Arbor Brewers Guild
AHA Governing Committee
BJCP National
Home-brewing, not just a hobby, it is a lifestyle!

Offline euge

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Re: A Rant...
« Reply #14 on: March 01, 2016, 03:50:52 PM »
A lot of us produce too much to bottle because of the inconvenience.

I keep bottles around for weizen- have 3 cases or so of the skinny 500ml German bottles that are idea for Hefeweizen. The same beer in the keg wouldn't be consistent experience.

But all the 12oz bottles are gone. Sanitizing, cleaning, storing and keeping track of those a was a real PITA. Despite the rare issue (usually operator error) that surfaces in the kegging system, it's the way to go IMO!
The first principle is that you must not fool yourself, and you are the easiest person to fool. -Richard P. Feynman

Laws are spider-webs, which catch the little flies, but cannot hold the big ones. -Anacharsis