Author Topic: Bizarre Keg Carbonation Problem  (Read 407 times)

Offline lawsont

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Bizarre Keg Carbonation Problem
« on: December 25, 2017, 08:29:18 PM »
Can anyone explain this to me?  I had a 10% ABV imperial stout in my keg for a total of 5 weeks at 14 psi and 40 degrees, and it had little if any carbonation.  After 3 weeks, I refilled my CO2 tank (though it still had 1 lb of CO2), and I replaced all parts on the top of the keg (CO2 post, lid, beer post, beer line).  I dipped a sanitized measuring cup into the beer after a couple of days with the next CO2, and the sample was carbonated.  So I waited for two more weeks.  Still no carbonation when I poured a beer (and the beer had always poured fine with no foaming, it was just not carbonated).  Today I did a keg-to-keg transfer, because it was the only thing I hadn't done yet.  Once the beer was in a new keg, it was instantly carbonated.  After kegging beers for years and not having any problems, I've never see anything like this.  Does anyone have an explanation?

Offline el_capitan

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Re: Bizarre Keg Carbonation Problem
« Reply #1 on: December 26, 2017, 11:43:16 PM »
I've noticed and posted here about big beers being slow to carb.  I experienced it again with the BVIP over the last couple weeks.  I finally boosted the regulator to 25 psi for 4 days, and it carbed up.  The only thing I can think of to explain your experience is that maybe you were pulling samples that were coming from your lines, and not pulling beer from the keg.  So you may have pulled a line sample at lower carb, while the rest of the keg finally became carbed.  How long are your lines?  Mine are about six feet, so I always pour a few ounces, empty the glass, and then pull another sample that will be representative of the beer in the keg. 

Offline lawsont

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Re: Bizarre Keg Carbonation Problem
« Reply #2 on: December 27, 2017, 04:17:03 PM »
Thanks for the reply!  My lines are fairly long (12 ft), because I've found that balances the pressure with my 1/4" ID tubing.  I know what you mean about the beer losing carbonation in the lines, and I always pour off some beer to get rid of the beer in the line.  So that wasn't my issue.  I'm completely stumped.  It appears that the beer was actually carbonated in the keg, but for some reason the carbonation wasn't reaching all the way to the bottom of the keg or it wasn't coming up the dip tube.  I think there was a lot of yeast sediment in the bottom of the keg, but that happens all the time and I've never had it reduce carbonation. 

Offline el_capitan

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Re: Bizarre Keg Carbonation Problem
« Reply #3 on: December 27, 2017, 05:11:31 PM »
You can shorten up your beverage lines if you add some flow-limiters to your dip tube.  Guys here refer to them as "swizzle sticks" but they're actually the inserts from an epoxy mixing nozzle.  I use two in each dip tube and run bev lines that are about 6' long. 



I picked mine up online at McMaster-Carr.  They hold up for a couple years, then tend to get so discolored that I replace them.  I've soaked them in cleaners and such to whiten them up, but they're so cheap it's better to just replace periodically.  This won't solve your weird carb problem, but it will allow you to shorten your lines and avoid wasting beer. 

Online Robert

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Re: Bizarre Keg Carbonation Problem
« Reply #4 on: December 27, 2017, 07:05:51 PM »
You can shorten up your beverage lines if you add some flow-limiters to your dip tube.  Guys here refer to them as "swizzle sticks" but they're actually the inserts from an epoxy mixing nozzle.  I use two in each dip tube and run bev lines that are about 6' long. 



I picked mine up online at McMaster-Carr.  They hold up for a couple years, then tend to get so discolored that I replace them.  I've soaked them in cleaners and such to whiten them up, but they're so cheap it's better to just replace periodically.  This won't solve your weird carb problem, but it will allow you to shorten your lines and avoid wasting beer.
I see McMaster-Carr have a whole bunch of different mixing nozzles on their website.  Which one specifically do you use, and do you just drop them in the spear and put the post on? I might give this a try.  Heck of a cheap way to balance a system!
Rob
Akron, Ohio

"There is always a well-known solution to every human problem -- neat, plausible, and wrong."  -- Mencken

Il meglio è nemico del bene.

De gustibus non est disputandum.

Non illegitimes carborundum.

Offline el_capitan

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Re: Bizarre Keg Carbonation Problem
« Reply #5 on: December 27, 2017, 07:53:34 PM »
You can shorten up your beverage lines if you add some flow-limiters to your dip tube.  Guys here refer to them as "swizzle sticks" but they're actually the inserts from an epoxy mixing nozzle.  I use two in each dip tube and run bev lines that are about 6' long. 



I picked mine up online at McMaster-Carr.  They hold up for a couple years, then tend to get so discolored that I replace them.  I've soaked them in cleaners and such to whiten them up, but they're so cheap it's better to just replace periodically.  This won't solve your weird carb problem, but it will allow you to shorten your lines and avoid wasting beer.
I see McMaster-Carr have a whole bunch of different mixing nozzles on their website.  Which one specifically do you use, and do you just drop them in the spear and put the post on? I might give this a try.  Heck of a cheap way to balance a system!
I'll check and see if I have an item number. I bought a 10 or 12 pack. I think they're all the same diameter, which is the key measurement. They fit perfectly in the dip tube.

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Offline alestateyall

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Re: Bizarre Keg Carbonation Problem
« Reply #6 on: December 27, 2017, 11:43:05 PM »
Flow control faucets are an easy way to enable shorter lines.

I have no beverage lines. Can’t get any shorter. I use Perlick Flow Control faucets connected directly to quick disconnects mounted on my kegs.

Here is a post on my set up. https://www.homebrewersassociation.org/forum/index.php?topic=25689.0

Offline el_capitan

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Re: Bizarre Keg Carbonation Problem
« Reply #7 on: December 28, 2017, 07:48:18 AM »
Flow control faucets are an easy way to enable shorter lines.

I have no beverage lines. Can’t get any shorter. I use Perlick Flow Control faucets connected directly to quick disconnects mounted on my kegs.

Here is a post on my set up. https://www.homebrewersassociation.org/forum/index.php?topic=25689.0

Those look sweet - but I doubt I'll ever own one.  I have Perlick Perl faucets, and love them.  Perlick is top quality, and I'm pretty sure mine will last me for life.  How would those work on a keg fridge or keezer?  You'd still have some internal lines.  One major upside to your setup - you never have to worry about cleaning lines, or buying new lines, so that's a fairly big savings right off.  Might even offset the expense of the adapter over the life of the gear.