Author Topic: Uh-oh... Leaky Keg Blues  (Read 1555 times)

Offline darkmorford

  • Cellarman
  • **
  • Posts: 69
  • Redmond, WA
    • View Profile
Uh-oh... Leaky Keg Blues
« on: July 06, 2011, 04:13:30 PM »
I went out over lunch today and bought a used Corny from my LHBS—my first one. I got it home, rinsed it out, and dumped a gallon of PBW into it. Even standing on its head to make sure the gas tube got cleaned, it didn't leak a drop. Then I emptied it out, disassembled it, and let the posts and O-rings soak in the PBW for about 10–15 minutes. I put everything back together, filled it with Star-San, and now the lid is leaking like crazy. I've tried re-seating it, flipping it the other way, turning the O-ring over, coating it with Vaseline as a sealant (I forgot to buy keg lube. :-\)... but no matter what I try, the lid starts bubbling as soon as I hook up the gas. Is PBW bad for O-rings? Do I need to replace them all now?

Offline tschmidlin

  • I must live here
  • **********
  • Posts: 8130
  • Redmond, WA
    • View Profile
Re: Uh-oh... Leaky Keg Blues
« Reply #1 on: July 06, 2011, 04:24:21 PM »
You should replace all of the o-rings anyway.

If it's leaking around the lid o-ring, put some pressure on it and bang it with a rubber mallet, that will help it seat.  Have you sprayed it with starsan to confirm where the bubbles are coming from?  I've found that a leaking PRV can sometimes be mistaken for a leaking lid.  I know you said the lid starts bubbling but sometimes it is deceptive.  Or maybe i'm the only one who ever makes that mistake. :)
Tom Schmidlin

Offline Bret

  • Assistant Brewer
  • ***
  • Posts: 210
    • View Profile
Re: Uh-oh... Leaky Keg Blues
« Reply #2 on: July 06, 2011, 04:28:32 PM »
Sometimes the lid just needs to be jiggled around a bit to get it to seat==how the lid fits inside the space.

Did the LHBS recondition it?  Otherwise follow Tom's advice and get a rebuild kit.
Member #: 900000767

Offline darkmorford

  • Cellarman
  • **
  • Posts: 69
  • Redmond, WA
    • View Profile
Re: Uh-oh... Leaky Keg Blues
« Reply #3 on: July 06, 2011, 04:44:10 PM »
Thanks for the quick tips, guys. The reason I figured it was a problem with the O-ring is that I'd opened and shut the thing about half a dozen times in the process of rinsing and cleaning and it never leaked a drop until after I'd soaked the rings in PBW. The rubber mallet trick seems to have worked for now, but I think I'll pick up a replacement ring kit next time I'm at the store, just to be sure. Luckily, I won't actually be needing to use the keg for at least a couple of weeks, so it's not an emergency situation.

Next question: How do I get the outside of this thing cleaned up? There's at least two or three labels stuck on it, and it just plain needs a good polishing.

Offline Joe Sr.

  • Brewmaster General
  • *******
  • Posts: 2325
  • Chicago - NORTH SIDE
    • View Profile
Re: Uh-oh... Leaky Keg Blues
« Reply #4 on: July 06, 2011, 04:48:14 PM »
Outside: Bar Keepers Friend.  This stuff will clean it up nice.  You might need to peel at the labels a bit first, but BKF will do a heck of a job on the stainless.

As far as the leaking, if you hit it initially with 30 lb or so of pressure it often helps to seat the top so it doesn't leak.  You can also try putting the lid o-ring in warm water to soften it up before you seal the keg.  That has helped me in the past.

As far as replacement o-rings, you can get them at McMaster Carr super cheap.
It's all in the reflexes. - Jack Burton

Offline tschmidlin

  • I must live here
  • **********
  • Posts: 8130
  • Redmond, WA
    • View Profile
Re: Uh-oh... Leaky Keg Blues
« Reply #5 on: July 06, 2011, 05:06:44 PM »
Did you get the keg at Mountain?  If you plan on having more than one keg buying through McMaster Carr is a great way to go.  If you have time to wait I can give you some o-rings cheap rather than you having to order them by the 10 or 100, but I'll miss the meeting Tuesday and have little time to meet up.  I could maybe meet you at Malt and Vine this Friday during the day.
Tom Schmidlin

Offline Bret

  • Assistant Brewer
  • ***
  • Posts: 210
    • View Profile
Re: Uh-oh... Leaky Keg Blues
« Reply #6 on: July 06, 2011, 05:15:31 PM »
+1 to Bar Keepers Friend.  Thought the wife had bought a new tea kettle---turns out she just reconditioned it!
Member #: 900000767

Offline darkmorford

  • Cellarman
  • **
  • Posts: 69
  • Redmond, WA
    • View Profile
Re: Uh-oh... Leaky Keg Blues
« Reply #7 on: July 06, 2011, 05:21:35 PM »
Yeah, I went to Mountain for it. Figured it'd end up being cheaper paying the tax locally instead of paying shipping from one of the online places, since the actual unit price was pretty much identical. And I got to pick out exactly which keg I wanted! :)

I'm probably just going to stick with the one keg for now—partly for financial reasons and partly because I'm a very low-volume brewer at the moment. I do want to pick up at least one or two more eventually, but I don't see that happening until next summer at the earliest.

That said, I wouldn't mind meeting up on Friday anyway, especially since you won't be at the meeting. Right now my schedule's open pretty much any time before 4:00, but given the nature of my summer job that could change by this time tomorrow.

Offline tschmidlin

  • I must live here
  • **********
  • Posts: 8130
  • Redmond, WA
    • View Profile
Re: Uh-oh... Leaky Keg Blues
« Reply #8 on: July 06, 2011, 05:40:32 PM »
Ok, well I'll be there before 4 for sure to do some weekend shopping, I don't want to hang out for the mob at the tasting.
Tom Schmidlin

Offline bluesman

  • Global Moderator
  • I must live here
  • *****
  • Posts: 8678
  • Delaware
    • View Profile
Re: Uh-oh... Leaky Keg Blues
« Reply #9 on: July 06, 2011, 05:40:46 PM »
Inspect the flange edge of the opening and the lid for any slight dents or dings around the opening and/or outer edge, this happened to me once. I remedied the situation by flattening the dent so that the sealing surface was uniform (smooth profile) and it fixed the leak.
Ron Price

Offline WDE97

  • Assistant Brewer
  • ***
  • Posts: 112
  • Lewiston, ID
    • View Profile
Re: Uh-oh... Leaky Keg Blues
« Reply #10 on: July 06, 2011, 05:52:21 PM »
Yeah, I went to Mountain for it. Figured it'd end up being cheaper paying the tax locally instead of paying shipping from one of the online places, since the actual unit price was pretty much identical. And I got to pick out exactly which keg I wanted! :)

I'm probably just going to stick with the one keg for now—partly for financial reasons and partly because I'm a very low-volume brewer at the moment. I do want to pick up at least one or two more eventually, but I don't see that happening until next summer at the earliest.That said, I wouldn't mind meeting up on Friday anyway, especially since you won't be at the meeting. Right now my schedule's open pretty much any time before 4:00, but given the nature of my summer job that could change by this time tomorrow.

 :o
Good luck with the "one keg for now" plan!  I just started kegging this spring and am already up to 8.   ;D
Robert H.

There's a fine line between fishing and just standing on the shore like an idiot.    - Steven Wright

On tap: Oak Aged Bourbon Stout, Flander's Red, IPA, Belgian Pale, Northern English Brown Ale.

Fermenting: Flander's Red, RIS.

Aging: 4 Flander's Red Ales, Belgian Dark Strong, RIS.

Offline darkmorford

  • Cellarman
  • **
  • Posts: 69
  • Redmond, WA
    • View Profile
Re: Uh-oh... Leaky Keg Blues
« Reply #11 on: July 06, 2011, 06:09:44 PM »
Oh, yes, I'm quite familiar with that trend. Originally I wasn't even going to touch kegs until I had another couple batches under my belt. But then I bought the CO2 tank so I could recharge sodas and stuff, and then I heard that used kegs were starting to go scarce so I bought this one...

Offline tschmidlin

  • I must live here
  • **********
  • Posts: 8130
  • Redmond, WA
    • View Profile
Re: Uh-oh... Leaky Keg Blues
« Reply #12 on: July 06, 2011, 06:27:40 PM »
It is really drying up.  Jon at Mountain got them from me, and I checked with my source a couple of weeks ago (he works at the Pepsi distributor in Olympia) and he can't get any, they're gone.  I sold the last ones I wanted to a few weeks ago.
Tom Schmidlin

Offline darkmorford

  • Cellarman
  • **
  • Posts: 69
  • Redmond, WA
    • View Profile
Re: Uh-oh... Leaky Keg Blues
« Reply #13 on: July 06, 2011, 07:20:37 PM »
Ugh... That isn't what I wanted to hear. I can't really justify buying more kegs right now—because of how little I make—and even if I could, I don't have the budget for it. Not to mention trying to find a place to keep the things. But on the other hand, the "big-picture" part of my brain knows that I should probably grab a few up while I can before the used ones start shooting up in price. Decisions, decisions...

Offline WDE97

  • Assistant Brewer
  • ***
  • Posts: 112
  • Lewiston, ID
    • View Profile
Re: Uh-oh... Leaky Keg Blues
« Reply #14 on: July 07, 2011, 10:46:10 AM »
It is really drying up.  Jon at Mountain got them from me, and I checked with my source a couple of weeks ago (he works at the Pepsi distributor in Olympia) and he can't get any, they're gone.  I sold the last ones I wanted to a few weeks ago.

Keg prices do seem to be continually going up.  I guess I should consider myself lucky.  Our local Pepsi distributor will sell kegs to members of our local homebrew clubs.  Of course, who knows how long that will last.  Maybe I should pick up a few extras just in case.
Robert H.

There's a fine line between fishing and just standing on the shore like an idiot.    - Steven Wright

On tap: Oak Aged Bourbon Stout, Flander's Red, IPA, Belgian Pale, Northern English Brown Ale.

Fermenting: Flander's Red, RIS.

Aging: 4 Flander's Red Ales, Belgian Dark Strong, RIS.