Author Topic: Kegerator Questions.....I need help!  (Read 999 times)

Offline sweetkness

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Kegerator Questions.....I need help!
« on: August 07, 2010, 10:31:28 AM »
I have a few different questions regarding my newly built kegerator.  I will try to keep them short.

First and most important.  After getting all 4 new lines hooked up to the faucets I ran PBW and star san through the lines, thinking that I wouldn't have to worry about BLC until the lines had been used a while.  Soon after having kegs connected to the lines I started to notice contamination issues in the beer (cidery, flat, sour).  I was able to pin point this to an issue in my lines as the beer tasted great coming out of my cobra taps.  So I bought the line cleaning pump accessory and BLC and cleaned/rinsed all lines thoroughly.  Now about two weeks later I seem to be noticing the same issues, the beer quality is worse coming out of my kegerator lines compared to my cobra taps.  I use Perlick faucets and corny kegs.  As I have been carbonating my beers I have been disconnecting/reconnecting my beer lines to shake the kegs and continue to sample.   Could this reconnecting/disconnecting be whats leading to the infections?  I notice a little beer comes dribbles out each time I do this......yet my cobra taps do the same and I still haven't noticed the off flavors through them.  I'm guessing they just need to be cleaned/sanitized more thoroughly.  If there is anyone that has encountered these same issues, what process did you go through to properly clean the lines. 

Second question (should be shorter).  In choosing my line length and size I assumed most of my beers would be around 2.5 vol carbonation and my freezer would generally be around 40 degrees.  This led me to having my regulator generally at 12 psi.  So I did the math and got 4 - 4 foot 3/16" lines to hopefully have a properly balanced system.  Well this has not been the case.  I have been carbonating my IPA around 12 psi and yet my beers have been coming out as almost all foam.  Am I missing something here?

Third question.   So if my system needs to be at 12 psi to be balanced and I have carbonated a saison at 24 psi to get the right carbonation, and I move the psi back down to 12 to serve, does that mean it won't be long before my saison is soon undercarbonated? 

I really appreciate any help with these issues.

Cheers,

Jeremy













Offline beerocd

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Re: Kegerator Questions.....I need help!
« Reply #1 on: August 07, 2010, 12:48:48 PM »
I blame problems one and two on the beer line. Is it official beer line or something else that claims to be NSF or whatever? I had braided line on one tap and the original bev-line on the other. The braided line would give me foam and the proper line would pour correctly. Same keg, same psi - I would just pop the lines over from one perlick to the other. Could the flavor be a leaching from the beer line you are using; if you pour 2 or 3 pints does the later ones taste fine? 

As it is now I would also think the line is too short even for a regular 12psi pour - but for 24psi, you need an even longer line.
Someone will be along with the chart shortly, I'd almost bet on it.  :)

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Offline sweetkness

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Re: Kegerator Questions.....I need help!
« Reply #2 on: August 07, 2010, 01:20:27 PM »
Quote
I blame problems one and two on the beer line. Is it official beer line or something else that claims to be NSF or whatever? I had braided line on one tap and the original bev-line on the other. The braided line would give me foam and the proper line would pour correctly. Same keg, same psi - I would just pop the lines over from one perlick to the other. Could the flavor be a leaching from the beer line you are using; if you pour 2 or 3 pints does the later ones taste fine? 

As it is now I would also think the line is too short even for a regular 12psi pour - but for 24psi, you need an even longer line.
Someone will be along with the chart shortly, I'd almost bet on it. 


I do know of the PSI/Temperature charts, and the easiest answer for the higher carbonated beers would be to have other lines to switch onto the faucets that are longer.  I will just have to deal with that down the road. 

The lines are all "beer lines" from Keg Works, so they shouldn't be the issue.  I could always try the other 2 faucets which I haven't even used yet and pour several pints to see if the problem worsens or improves.

Offline tschmidlin

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Re: Kegerator Questions.....I need help!
« Reply #3 on: August 07, 2010, 04:12:00 PM »
For the contamination problems, I would completely disassemble and clean the lines from keg to tap, including all of the faucets.  Nuke them with PBW.  Then put it all back together.  I keep a spray bottle of starsan next to my taps and normally spray up into the faucet (perlicks) after each beer, because I can't always be sure I'll be back for another beer that night.  The little bit of residue left could be a place for bugs to grow, and from there they can get in your lines.

For the carbonation/foaming problems, your lines sound too short to me.  They give you the rating for the hose in terms of psi lost per foot based on friction, but I've found I need more length to reduce it down enough to give me a good pour.  Start with something like 6 feet and see how it goes, and cut it down a few inches at a time until you get the pour you like.  It's kind of a pain, but once you do it for one the others should all be the same.

For the saison, yeah, if you're pushing it with 12 psi it will get flatter as you go.  If you're using a splitter to push from multiple kegs, you could take the other kegs off and push it up to 24 psi again for a few days to recarbonate it, but then you'll need to blow off pressure again to serve at 12 psi or it will come out too fast, unless you swap out the hose, but then it will be too slow as the pressure in the keg drops.  It's a total pain, but I've done that juggling act.  I just got a 5-way secondary regulator though, so now I can push my kegs at different pressures.  The cost hurt, but I'm going to be happy with the flexibility.
Tom Schmidlin

Offline sweetkness

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Re: Kegerator Questions.....I need help!
« Reply #4 on: August 08, 2010, 05:26:44 AM »
Thanks for the tips tschmidlin.  I'm still trying to determine if my mind is playing tricks on me but if I notice the off flavors again I will have to do what you said and just take the entire thing apart.  When it comes to disconnects is there any disassembling that you can do or do you just throw it in the PBW as is and use a brush inside?

I tend to go through my beer fairly slow, especially on the weekdays, so maybe I should start spraying inside the faucets when not in use also.  Probably not a bad idea to do that also whenever I pull the disconnect.

Offline tschmidlin

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Re: Kegerator Questions.....I need help!
« Reply #5 on: August 08, 2010, 09:00:53 AM »
Standard ball lock disconnects can be disassembled easily - there is a slot on the top that you put a flathead screwdriver in and give it a twist.  The whole thing comes apart for easy cleaning.

And yeah, the kegs dribble a little bit right when I pull the liquid out fitting - I keep a paper towel handy to soak up the beer, and a quick spray with starsan helps.  But mostly what got rid of the mold problems in my coolers was getting some damp-rid.  At least where I live, you really need to have something to dry out the air.
Tom Schmidlin

Offline sweetkness

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Re: Kegerator Questions.....I need help!
« Reply #6 on: August 09, 2010, 04:35:52 AM »
Thanks for the info.  That was one thing that I didn't disassmble when cleaning previously.

I do have the damp-rid.  Seems to help keep the moisture in check nicely.