Membership questions? Log in issues? Email info@brewersassociation.org

Author Topic: Beer line balancing - brewery bought sixtel going flat  (Read 801 times)

Offline ANichols1983

  • 1st Kit
  • *
  • Posts: 2
Beer line balancing - brewery bought sixtel going flat
« on: July 20, 2023, 07:05:04 pm »
Hello. New to the forum. Newish to at home beer taps and keezer setup. Looking for answers on why my system is imbalanced. Long set up to the question. Thanks for any feedback.

I have a keezer, modified from a  chest freezer. Wooden collar with 2 faucets. I recently moved houses and for several months after the move the keezer sat empty and unplugged. A couple weeks ago I got it cleaned and tapped with two sixtels from a couple of my favorite local breweries. I don’t home brew just tap beer I buy.
The keezer is in the garage now, it used to be inside the house and was more temperature controlled. To compensate for a hotter environment I originally cranked the thermostat down, but soon found that the beer tasted a bit too carbonated, so I upped the temperature again. I also bought a small 3” AC fan to move the air around. Now the temp is regulated and stable around 39-41 degrees, however the CO2 is way out of whack. I had it set at 12psi but saw huge bubbles and air gaps in the beer lines. I upped the psi to get rid of them, but has to set the regulator to 22. Now there are no bubbles but the beer shoots out the faucet and the beer is mostly flat in the glass. I did some calculations with online beer line calculators and they say my beer line tube should be 19 feet to compensate for pressure?

I am new to all of this but 22 psi and 19 feet of line seem high and are counterintuitive to everything I am reading online.

Looking insight. Just want a good cold beer at home. 🍻

Offline bigmunchez

  • 1st Kit
  • *
  • Posts: 15
Re: Beer line balancing - brewery bought sixtel going flat
« Reply #1 on: July 21, 2023, 12:23:00 am »
You need to start by determining your desired carbonation level and desired serving temp.  Then look up the regulator setting that will give you that carbonation level.
Once you know your required regulator setting you can then calculate your line length. (Sounds like you had that figured out initially)
Then don't mess with it!

Your problem is that you're trying to troubleshoot a non-issue.  The bubbles in the line aren't a problem, and by increasing the pressure, your beer is now overcarbonated. Hence the fast, turbulent pour which knocks all the CO2 out, creating lots of foam and ironically flat beer.

So from here, you'll need to depressurise your keg, (likely multiple times to get back to the correct carbonation level) turn your regulator back down to your correct serving pressure, and it should come good.

Don't keep the current setting and try to compensate by lengthening your lines - you might get a good pour, but the beer will be more like champagne because of the excessive carbonation level.

Hope that helps.

Offline goose

  • Senior Brewmaster
  • ******
  • Posts: 1310
Re: Beer line balancing - brewery bought sixtel going flat
« Reply #2 on: July 21, 2023, 09:21:17 am »

So from here, you'll need to depressurise your keg, (likely multiple times to get back to the correct carbonation level) turn your regulator back down to your correct serving pressure, and it should come good.

I have mentioned this before on this forum.  You can also get the excessive carbonation out of the beer a bit more quickly by depressurizing the keg then rapping on the side of the depressurized keg with a rubber mallet.  This will bring carbonation out of the beer (kind of like dropping a can of beer on the floor and then opening it).  Let it sit for a few minutes, depressurize again and repeat the process.  You may have to do this several times to drop the carbonation down to an acceptable level.  Then put the keg back in the keezer and set the serving pressure to the desired level.  FWIW, I serve at around 8 PSI or so and have minimal foaming (about a dime's width on the top of the glass).

Good luck!
Goose Steingass
Wooster, OH
Society of Akron Area Zymurgists (SAAZ)
Wayne County Brew Club
Mansfield Brew Club
BJCP Certified

Offline Kevin

  • Brewmaster
  • *****
  • Posts: 757
  • Great beer. Less work. More fun.
Re: Beer line balancing - brewery bought sixtel going flat
« Reply #3 on: July 21, 2023, 09:38:00 am »
The calculator suggest the abnormally long beer lines because you have your serving pressure at an abnormally high PSI. Back your serving pressure back down to where you had it originally... 12psi. That is reasonable for most beer.

Did you compensate for the hotter environment on the assumption that it would be a problem or did you notice an actual problem with the keezer being in the garage? Your temp controller should work to keep the beer in the keezer at a steady temp whether it is 70°F ambient or 90°F. The one thing you might wan to do is add some insulation inside around the collar. Also, your faucets could be getting hotter than usual causing the first pours to foam as cold beer from the keg hits the warm faucet.

If the hot garage wasn't causing a problem and it was only your assumption that it would that led you to start monkeying with things then you may be trying to fix something that wasn't broke.
“He was a wise man who invented beer.”
- Plato

Offline ynotbrusum

  • Official Poobah of No Life. (I Got Ban Hammered by Drew)
  • *********
  • Posts: 4903
Re: Beer line balancing - brewery bought sixtel going flat
« Reply #4 on: July 21, 2023, 10:02:17 am »
FWIW, you can also pour into a small pitcher and then pour from that into a glass for serving.  I do that routinely, anyway, as I find it more convenient to serve that way in most instances, if I have a couple people over for a beer or two.  When just serving myself, I will use an oversized glass and live with whatever foam level I get.

Cheers.
Hodge Garage Brewing: "Brew with a glad heart!"

Offline ANichols1983

  • 1st Kit
  • *
  • Posts: 2
Re: Beer line balancing - brewery bought sixtel going flat
« Reply #5 on: July 21, 2023, 02:01:50 pm »
Thank you everyone for the responses.

Addressing a couple the items/questions you all had.

With the  increased ambient temperature in the garage, I noticed the temperature of the keezer increase. The hose lines are currently coiled on top of the sixtels, near the top of the keezer. My thermometer in the keezer was registering 44-50 degrees which is hotter than I like to keep the beer (closer to 40). To compensate I cranked the cold down, until I realized the beer was too cold.

I know the a normally long beer line is related to the high psi. My line has never been a real question of mine until now. I like to keep things around 10-12 psi, which estimates me 8-10 feet of length. I have around 9 currently.

What I am stilll confused about is why my beer went flat to begin with. Two separate sixtels too. Some bubbles are not an issue, but as I watched it and poured it over a several days at 12 psi the bubbles in the line got larger and larger. The pours were still all foam and I could taste it going flat. The only thing I could do to lower the bubbles was up the co2. It also had the effect of beginning to turn around the flatness of the beer.

It has been around 25 psi since my first post yesterday. This afternoon I am going to disconnect the co2 and try purging the excess co2 from the keg. Then reset the regulator around 12.

Any other thoughts are appreciated.