Author Topic: screwed up?  (Read 1127 times)

Offline smitty

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screwed up?
« on: December 20, 2010, 06:44:07 PM »
So, I'm new to kegging, first off.  My first couple of batches went great, however, I just kegged two batches the other day and focred carbonated them, and I think it has turned into disaster.  One, an IPA, has got so much head, it's not even funny, and the other, a Munich Helles, still tastes kind of flat.  And to make matters worse, I'm pretty sure I have a leak in the CO2 tank, as it seems to be empty now.  Any help would be greatly appreciated, thank you.

Offline beerocd

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Re: screwed up?
« Reply #1 on: December 20, 2010, 06:55:14 PM »
Well first you gotta get yourself some more co2. Hook it up, spray the snot out of it with StarSan. Find the bubbles, fix the leak.
The moral majority, is neither.

Offline kerneldustjacket

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Re: screwed up?
« Reply #2 on: December 20, 2010, 08:12:44 PM »
This is not a disaster...both problems can be fixed easily with a little patience.
As beerocd says, if there's a leak you'd better find it, otherwise you'll be wasting CO2 (aka money in this instance).
For finding the leak, as he says soapy water or StarSan works great; when the liquid meets the leak, it makes bubbles. Spray wherever there is a fitting or hose connection, including any fitting on the regulator, such as gauges; tighten anything that bubbles.
Once your sure you have no leak, you can then work on getting your carbonation right.

Lets keep it simple: if your kegs are chilled to anywhere around the low 40s temperature wise, then set your CO2 pressure to 12 PSI...this will give you around 2.2 to 2.5 volumes of CO2 (go to 15 PSI if you want a little more fizz, or if your beer is stored in the high 40s)
Start with the CO2 tank on the Munich Helles...attach it and leave it attached for a few days...this should give you reasonable levels of carbonation.Try a test glass after two days.
For the IPA, vent the keg to lower the pressure in it; after a day or two, this should cause excess CO2 in the beer to come out of solution, and lower your overall carbonation....this can be happening during the first two days the Helles is hooked up to the CO2 tank. When the Helles seems right, move the CO2 over to the IPA, and let it condition for two days then try it.


I hope this makes sense...it's sometimes difficult to explain procedures easily in a short message.
Keep checking back here as someone else may have a simpler or easier method to recommend, or may think of something I have missed. Someone else may have a better carbonation method, but I'm more consistent when I use time and the right temperature/pressure settings.
John Wilson
Savannah Brewers League
Savannah, GA

Offline oscarvan

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Re: screwed up?
« Reply #3 on: December 20, 2010, 08:24:48 PM »
Tell us how you force carbonated them....
Wooden Shoe Brew Works (not a commercial operation) Bethlehem, PA
http://www.woodenshoemusic.com/WSBW/WSBW_All_grain_Setup.html
I brew WITH style..... not necessarily TO style.....

Offline smitty

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Re: screwed up?
« Reply #4 on: December 21, 2010, 06:06:48 AM »
Tell us how you force carbonated them....

I hooked up the CO2 and set to about 15-20psi for 3-4 days.

Thanks for the advice so far guys.

Offline kerneldustjacket

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Re: screwed up?
« Reply #5 on: December 21, 2010, 06:11:30 AM »
I hooked up the CO2 and set to about 15-20psi for 3-4 days.

Thanks for the advice so far guys.

Smitty...at what temperature are you storing the kegs?
Did you follow a carbonation chart?
John Wilson
Savannah Brewers League
Savannah, GA

Offline smitty

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Re: screwed up?
« Reply #6 on: December 21, 2010, 02:47:47 PM »
The kegs are being stored around 50-55 degrees.

And I did not use a carbonaiton chart.

Offline oscarvan

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Re: screwed up?
« Reply #7 on: December 21, 2010, 03:19:41 PM »
The calculator here:

http://hbd.org/cgi-bin/recipator/recipator/carbonation.html?13146068#tag

says that for 2.2 volumes at 55 you should be looking at 16.5 psi..... So you're in the ball park.

Are both these kegs on the same regulator?
Wooden Shoe Brew Works (not a commercial operation) Bethlehem, PA
http://www.woodenshoemusic.com/WSBW/WSBW_All_grain_Setup.html
I brew WITH style..... not necessarily TO style.....

Offline kerneldustjacket

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Re: screwed up?
« Reply #8 on: December 21, 2010, 03:36:12 PM »
Well, taking an average of your temperature and pressure (53 F & 18 PSI), you should have around 2.41 volumes of CO2...I'd be really happy with that for most beers, so no worry there.

Another possible problem: the tap on your IPA may be causing excessive foaming. How long is the tap(s)? (length matters for "balancing" the dispense system...short beverage lines -- 3' or less -- can cause foaming if you dispense at 15 PSI)
Maybe there's a leak somewhere in the tap?


Also, are you feeding CO2 to both kegs at the same time, or alternating one line between them? (As oscarvan just asked  :)) (You could have gotten you IPA carbonated correctly, but just as your CO2 tank ran out, so no CO2 for the Helles...and then got the foaming from your tap when used on the IPA, but not the Helles because it's not carbonated)

Sorry for all the questions, but I earnestly want to help you, and more details may help narrow down what's going on.
You have to "recreate" what could have gone wrong before you can "fix" it.
Plus it can be slow working these things out over a forum.

Edit: oscarvan, thanks for posting that link...very helpful!~
« Last Edit: December 21, 2010, 03:38:44 PM by kerneldustjacket »
John Wilson
Savannah Brewers League
Savannah, GA

Offline breslinp

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Re: screwed up?
« Reply #9 on: December 21, 2010, 06:25:31 PM »
Having just set up my new keezer a few months ago, you may want to check your beer line length as a source for the excessive foaming. Does the beer taste overcarbed or flat after the foam settles?  The calculations suggested I needed 5ft of line, but in reality I needed more.  The beer was really flying out from the tap.  I have 10ft on there now, which is a little too much (8-9 might be better), but I can just create the head I want with the pour.

Try putting 10 ft of line on there and cutting a foot off at a time to get a proper pour.

Offline oscarvan

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Re: screwed up?
« Reply #10 on: December 21, 2010, 07:14:24 PM »
DOH! Forgot about the beer line length...... What is the ID of the line?
Wooden Shoe Brew Works (not a commercial operation) Bethlehem, PA
http://www.woodenshoemusic.com/WSBW/WSBW_All_grain_Setup.html
I brew WITH style..... not necessarily TO style.....

Offline smitty

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Re: screwed up?
« Reply #11 on: December 22, 2010, 01:34:38 PM »
Thanks again everyone for all the advice and suggestions. 

I've got approx. six feet of beer line and I think I was able to indetify the leak with the new CO2 tank.

Offline smitty

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Re: screwed up?
« Reply #12 on: December 24, 2010, 02:11:53 PM »
well, you'll all be happy to know that the problems have been solved. I will go ahead and admit that I had the lines crossed.  So this whole while I was saying "why won't this Munich carbonate?  I'll up the CO2.  Strange how I've removed all the CO2 from the IPA, yet the excessive foaming doesn't seem to be wearing off." yeah, it's kind of funny.  Esp. after my third pint as I type this.  Thank you everyone for your help and advice (I learned stuff!).  Happy Holidays and Cheers!

Offline kerneldustjacket

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Re: screwed up?
« Reply #13 on: December 24, 2010, 02:43:13 PM »
I've crossed up keg lines also.

Glad you're "fixed," now you can get to emptying those kegs!
John Wilson
Savannah Brewers League
Savannah, GA

Offline oscarvan

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Re: screwed up?
« Reply #14 on: December 24, 2010, 06:55:05 PM »
Yup, it's all a big learning experience..... ;D
Wooden Shoe Brew Works (not a commercial operation) Bethlehem, PA
http://www.woodenshoemusic.com/WSBW/WSBW_All_grain_Setup.html
I brew WITH style..... not necessarily TO style.....