Author Topic: Issue with fast pours  (Read 268 times)

Offline tippyc

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Issue with fast pours
« on: October 09, 2019, 05:07:50 AM »
Not usually one to post questions on forums, but i haven't exactly found an answer to this by searching.  I have a homebuilt kegerator with taps in the door of a regular fridge.  It has been working well with my corny kegs, but commercial kegs pour way too fast, and the beer just turns to foam once it hits the glass.  The basic answer i'm finding is that i need longer lines to slow the flow, but mine are already pretty long and I'm wondering if I'm missing something.

The setup is 3 identical taps: Perlick 630ss taps, shanks with 3/16" bore, 12' of 3/16" line (at fridge temperature), and MFL fittings.  I just screw on a MFL to Sankey adapter for the commercial kegs, and bam off to the races.  All things equal though, the commercial keg with the Sankey adapter pours way faster than the homebrew in the corny keg right next to it.  Pressure is about equal by the gauge on each gas supply (14 psi), and temperature is equal since both kegs are at the same level in the fridge (about 42-43F by 2 different thermometers).  Both kegs have sat long enough to equalize, and without any significant elevation correction this should yield me about 2.5 volumes.  As I type, my own Hefeweizen yields 2.5 fingers of head, and the Sierra Nevada Pale Ale gives me about 2.5 fingers of beer.

I already have half a roll of 3/16" line on hand to make an extension for the Sankey tap, and that should brute force it under control.  My lines are already 12' long though, which seems to be longer than what most people quote.  This is the 4th commercial keg that I've had and they've all had the same issue.  If I drop pressure enough to get a good pour, i get CO2 coming out in the line.  Am I doing something wrong here, or have other people seen similar issues switching between commercial and corny kegs? 

Yeah im a newbie here, go easy please!

Offline ynotbrusum

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Re: Issue with fast pours
« Reply #1 on: October 09, 2019, 03:19:42 PM »
I can’t say that I understand the dynamics here, but you could simply pour into a pitcher and then into a glass....That is what I do when I run into temporary overcarbed kegs (then vent and take the keg offline).

If I recall correctly, Dr. Tom Schmidlin (sp?) did a presentation a few years back at an NHC on balancing lines.  Good luck!
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Offline denny

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Offline ynotbrusum

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Re: Issue with fast pours
« Reply #3 on: October 09, 2019, 07:50:30 PM »
Good one, Denny.  That should help him.

Here's the one I attended with Dr. Tom in Grand Rapids in 2014 in which he covered a bunch of draft system issues, including the balancing of beer lines:

https://www.homebrewersassociation.org/attachments/presentations/pdf/2014/Draft%20System%20Design%20and%20Maintenance.pdf

One of the things I recall from Dr. T's presentation was: "If the calculations seem daunting, just start with a longish draft line and cut it off bit by bit until you get what you want - beer line is cheap!"  Talk about pragmatism - that was surely it.

Cheers.
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Offline tippyc

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Re: Issue with fast pours
« Reply #4 on: October 09, 2019, 08:21:15 PM »
Thanks all, I am aware of line balancing.  I'm already at 12' though and the guy at the local brew shop thinks I'm nuts for having them that long to begin with.  Going even longer should work.  But most people seem happy at 10', and I'm starting to feel like I'm doing something wrong.  I guess since nobody pointed out any red flags in my setup, i should just extend it and stop worrying.

Offline kramerog

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Re: Issue with fast pours
« Reply #5 on: October 09, 2019, 08:59:58 PM »
It is a mystery why your cornies are pouring fine but the sanke is not despite almost identical setups.  Maybe there is less of a pressure drop coming out of a commercial keg?

Offline joe_meadmaker

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Re: Issue with fast pours
« Reply #6 on: October 09, 2019, 09:32:21 PM »
It is a mystery why your cornies are pouring fine but the sanke is not despite almost identical setups.  Maybe there is less of a pressure drop coming out of a commercial keg?

That's a thought.  The spear in a commercial keg will have a much larger diameter than the dip tube in a corny.  At least the ones I've seen have been.  There could very well be a lesser pressure drop from the keg itself.

Offline Thirsty_Monk

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Re: Issue with fast pours
« Reply #7 on: October 10, 2019, 01:22:51 AM »
Beer lines usually goes from keg coupler up and then with line weight make a loop and go down.
Question?
If you do not pour beer for 24 hours. Do you have a gas bubble in the high Loop point of your beer line on commercial keg?

If yes this means that commercial beer is carbonated with more volumes of CO2 then your system is balanced to. Commercial keg is releasing CO2 and released gas goes to the coupler Loop because it is the highest spot.

I think your beer is carbonated less then what is the commercial beer.
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Offline jeffy

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Re: Issue with fast pours
« Reply #8 on: October 10, 2019, 11:21:08 AM »
Beer lines usually goes from keg coupler up and then with line weight make a loop and go down.
Question?
If you do not pour beer for 24 hours. Do you have a gas bubble in the high Loop point of your beer line on commercial keg?

If yes this means that commercial beer is carbonated with more volumes of CO2 then your system is balanced to. Commercial keg is releasing CO2 and released gas goes to the coupler Loop because it is the highest spot.

I think your beer is carbonated less then what is the commercial beer.
I tend to agree with this.  Another question: does the commercial beer eventually start to pour normally or does it pour too foamy all the way to the bottom of the keg? 
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Offline tippyc

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Re: Issue with fast pours
« Reply #9 on: October 11, 2019, 01:44:46 AM »
If you do not pour beer for 24 hours. Do you have a gas bubble in the high Loop point of your beer line on commercial keg?
No, While I was trying to figure this out, I adjusted the pressure to the point were that doesnt happen.

I tend to agree with this.  Another question: does the commercial beer eventually start to pour normally or does it pour too foamy all the way to the bottom of the keg? 
It poured foamy all the way to the bottom.

That's a thought.  The spear in a commercial keg will have a much larger diameter than the dip tube in a corny.  At least the ones I've seen have been.  There could very well be a lesser pressure drop from the keg itself.
Thanks for the feedback.  I'm thinking this is it.  The ball lock coupler looks like it probably adds a ton of restriction too that isnt there in the sankey coupler.  I did manage to get an extension stuck in the line last night and let it chill in to fridge temp.  The pour is ok now, but I went too long and i'll have to cut it back.  I'll try to remember to come back and update once i settle on the right length.

Offline tippyc

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Re: Issue with fast pours
« Reply #10 on: October 16, 2019, 05:16:26 AM »
Following up, the beer may have been slightly overcarbed like a couple of you thought.  However, extending the hose seems to get me where I wanted to be.  I ended up adding 50% to my original length, which is where I think I'm going to stay.