Author Topic: Counterpressure filling too much foam  (Read 2948 times)

Offline Pi

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Counterpressure filling too much foam
« on: April 20, 2011, 07:37:42 AM »
I have 2 corneys of wheat ready to be bottled. I force carbonated them to 20 PSI at31 degrees F. when i try to fill it seems like alot of foam. I bled down the keg an am trying to fill at a minimum amount of pressure but still getting a good amount of foam. And when I unstop the filler off I get foam everywhere and the bottles are only two thirds full. The last 2 batches filled ok but came out nearly flat. What gives?
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Offline narvin

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Re: Counterpressure filling too much foam
« Reply #1 on: April 20, 2011, 07:47:02 AM »
I've never used a counter-pressure filler, but should you be bleeding down the keg and turning down the pressure before bottling?  The point of the counter-pressure is to keep CO2 in solution... without it, a highly carbonated beer like a wheat is going to start foaming.
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Offline Pi

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Re: Counterpressure filling too much foam
« Reply #2 on: April 20, 2011, 07:51:11 AM »
Problem is if I try to bottle at, say 10 or 15psi, when you remove the filler it's like opening a shook-up bottle of champagne...
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Offline narvin

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Re: Counterpressure filling too much foam
« Reply #3 on: April 20, 2011, 08:01:12 AM »
Chilling the bottles might help.  I'd also try to slowly release the pressure by pulling up on one side of the stopper ever so slightly instead of yanking it out, if that's possible.  I just use some tubing that is stuck through a rubber stopper and connected to a picnic tap, and this works fine for me with little foaming at 12 PSI.
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Offline johnf

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Re: Counterpressure filling too much foam
« Reply #4 on: April 20, 2011, 08:02:54 AM »
Counterpressure doesn't really work (as designed anyway) unless you are filling at a higher pressure than the equilibrium pressure for the beer. You can lower this equilibrium pressure by chilling the beer as cold as it will go without freezing, you should be able to go to 28 at least.

I found counterpressure a bit finnicky with high carbed beers too. I actually have better luck with a Beer Gun (whose functionality you can approximate with standard equipment) doing everything I can to reduce foam. I go very slow, bottles and beer are very cold, I keep as much of the beer line as I can cold (in the freezer) as you will notice co2 comes out of solution quickly in the warm part. Going fast bottle to bottle (having a second person to cap) helps to keep the beer from warming much in the warm part of the line.

I was skeptical of the Beer Gun as it does not use counterpressure but for most beers it works so well I am trying to get more foam to cap on.

Offline Beer Monger

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Re: Counterpressure filling too much foam
« Reply #5 on: April 20, 2011, 08:19:05 AM »
I've had great success with counter-pressure bottling.  I don't do anything special - I bottle at the same pressure I store my beer at. 

Are you purging the oxygen out of the bottle first with some CO2?  Thereby presurizing the bottle before you start to fill it?   
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Offline johnf

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Re: Counterpressure filling too much foam
« Reply #6 on: April 20, 2011, 08:26:23 AM »
I've had great success with counter-pressure bottling.  I don't do anything special - I bottle at the same pressure I store my beer at. 

Are you purging the oxygen out of the bottle first with some CO2?  Thereby presurizing the bottle before you start to fill it?   

His problem is after he depressurizes the bottle but before he caps. Other than capping faster, there is nothing you can do about that.

I had counter-pressure success in general, how often are you bottling beers at, say, 4 volumes and do you really not see worse performance?

Offline Beer Monger

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Re: Counterpressure filling too much foam
« Reply #7 on: April 20, 2011, 08:39:23 AM »
I've had great success with counter-pressure bottling.  I don't do anything special - I bottle at the same pressure I store my beer at. 

Are you purging the oxygen out of the bottle first with some CO2?  Thereby presurizing the bottle before you start to fill it?   

His problem is after he depressurizes the bottle but before he caps. Other than capping faster, there is nothing you can do about that.

I had counter-pressure success in general, how often are you bottling beers at, say, 4 volumes and do you really not see worse performance?

Honestly, I haven't bottled in a while - but I plan to do some this weekend.  I'll make note of how it goes. 
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Offline tom

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Re: Counterpressure filling too much foam
« Reply #8 on: April 20, 2011, 10:18:11 AM »
I don't think that you can counterpressure bottle anything over a carbonation of 2.5-3 vol because of your current predicament.  (Unless you can get into your friendly, local hyperbaric chamber.)
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Offline Tim McManus

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Re: Counterpressure filling too much foam
« Reply #9 on: April 20, 2011, 10:39:45 AM »
Drop your keg pressure down below 4 PSI.  Bleed all CO2 out of the keg before dispensing.  Fill the bottles the way your filler instructs you to.

Your beer has so much carbonation that it's getting released by the filler in the bottle.  Because you're filling it under a good amount of pressure, when you release the filler from the bottle the pressure differential allows more CO2 to escape from the bottle.  The combination of these two events will make beer erupt out of beer bottles.

Also, chill your bottles down to the temperature of the beer before filing them.  The first quantity of beer that hits the warm bottle will get very foamy.

I had a Phil's Filler for the longest time.  It would only work well at pressures under 4 PSI or less.  It takes a long time to fill bottles this way, but it works.
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Offline johnf

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Re: Counterpressure filling too much foam
« Reply #10 on: April 20, 2011, 10:57:56 AM »
Drop your keg pressure down below 4 PSI.  Bleed all CO2 out of the keg before dispensing.  Fill the bottles the way your filler instructs you to.

Your beer has so much carbonation that it's getting released by the filler in the bottle.  Because you're filling it under a good amount of pressure, when you release the filler from the bottle the pressure differential allows more CO2 to escape from the bottle.  The combination of these two events will make beer erupt out of beer bottles.

Also, chill your bottles down to the temperature of the beer before filing them.  The first quantity of beer that hits the warm bottle will get very foamy.

I had a Phil's Filler for the longest time.  It would only work well at pressures under 4 PSI or less.  It takes a long time to fill bottles this way, but it works.
I think that will work but only because you are abandoning counterpressure and using the CPF as a Beer Gun/Picnic tap type slow and cold filler.

Offline Tim McManus

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Re: Counterpressure filling too much foam
« Reply #11 on: April 20, 2011, 11:55:08 AM »
I think that will work but only because you are abandoning counterpressure and using the CPF as a Beer Gun/Picnic tap type slow and cold filler.

You actually still using counterflow.  Dropping the keg pressure reduced the need for higher bottle pressure.

You still need to seat the filler, pressurize and bleed the O2 out of the bottle.  Seal the bleeder and then flow the wort into the bottle.  Some beer will flow into the bottle but it will stop.  Then turn the bleeder back on to fill the rest of the bottle.  In my process I would shut off the beer when the bottle was full, not the bleeder.  This would allow the bottle pressure to equalize with the room pressure and minimize any foaming.

A beer gun super-simplifies this.  Put gun in bottle, blast with CO2, and fill.  I also drop the pressure of the kegs to below 4PSI to minimize the foaming that can occur from flowing beer.
Tim McManus
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Offline tom

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Re: Counterpressure filling too much foam
« Reply #12 on: April 20, 2011, 01:44:40 PM »
What's the highest carbonation level you've used a CPBF successfully?
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Offline johnf

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Re: Counterpressure filling too much foam
« Reply #13 on: April 20, 2011, 02:02:48 PM »
I think that will work but only because you are abandoning counterpressure and using the CPF as a Beer Gun/Picnic tap type slow and cold filler.

You actually still using counterflow.  Dropping the keg pressure reduced the need for higher bottle pressure.



Semantically maybe. With a picnic tap there is counter-pressure (atmospheric). I'm not sure the beer cares about +0 psi vs +4 psi when it is at 40 psi.

When people say "counter-pressure filling" they mean the receiving vessel is pressurized at the same level or more highly than the beer.