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Foamy Keg!!!

Discussion in 'Home Bar' started by mtpuls, Oct 24, 2012.

  1. mtpuls

    mtpuls Aspirant (30) Oct 24, 2012

    Hey Everyone, I have read countless thread on this and have not been able to solve my problem. I am getting all foam from my kegerator. I need to balance this for a coors light keg for now (no barbs about the crappy beer please, the home brew is going in afterwards) and I have been changing things based on recommendations from other peoples issues that I have read about, but can't get this solved. Here are the facts:

    -Mini-fridge style kegerator with tower and circulating fan to keep tower cool
    -Tower goes 2 feet above keg
    -Temperature of beer: 34 degrees
    -line length: 12feet of 3/16" beer grade line kept in the fridge, above the keg
    -pressure: 10psi
    -Altitude: ~7500 feet (in Colorado)
    -Everything has been cleaned thoroughly
    -Brand new CO2 regulator
    -Keg was placed in the kegerator for three days to settle, then tapped and vented and sat for another 48 hours

    I have tried line lengths from 3ft to 12ft, Pressures from 3psi to 16 psi, and temperatures from 33degrees to 40 degrees. Every time I change something I let the whole system settle. All I ever get is foam, foam, foam. If anyone has any ideas I am more than happy to try pretty much anything at this point as I am thoroughly frustrated. Thanks in advance.
  2. billandsuz

    billandsuz Savant (380) New York Sep 1, 2004

    if you have screwed around with your pressure very frequently you have probably altered the vols of the beer in keg, so it is difficult to determine if the keg beer is over carbed, under carbed or something else. not much can be done about that now though.

    be sure the beer in the glass is the correct temp. the first pour should be your desired temp. measure with an accurate thermometer on the first pour.

    let's assume that everything works.

    you are at 7,500 feet. about 1 pound of restriction must be added for every 2,000 feet above sea level. so a bit less than 4 psi, roughly, in additional restriction to overcome. you don't have an altimeter i assume, and we just need to be close enough.

    you need something closer to 18-20 psi with this beer at 38 degrees. try 5' of 3/16" vinyl and shorthen to 4' if needed.

    i am going off memory here, and a pro can likely dial it in a bit better but i think we are pretty close. your applied pressure is too low.
    let us know how it works. you might need a second keg.
    Cheers.
  3. bbeane

    bbeane Savant (350) Pennsylvania May 10, 2009

    If you are fooling with the pressure, you should turn the regulator down to zero, bleed the keg of the co2, then turn it back up to desired psi...
  4. billandsuz

    billandsuz Savant (380) New York Sep 1, 2004

    unless the beer was at 3 psi for a subtsantial amount of time in which case this keg needs more co2, not less. there is no way to know in this instance. bleeding gas might help. might not. if he dispensed half a keg with 3 psi, he got alot of foam and made the keg go flat.
    bbeane likes this.
  5. tgchief

    tgchief Savant (270) Iowa Nov 30, 2010

    Here is what you need to do always to pour great beer:

    1. Set and check your beer temp and serve between 38 and 40.
    2. Keep your line short and use the smallest diameter beer line.
    3. Set psi at 10 for all beers except hoppy ones and set them at 11 and leave it.
    4. Use all stainless steel facets and connectors which touch beer and clean these lines weekly (minimum every 2 weeks). Be sure to disassemble facets and tappers and clean.
    5. When serving beer - Open and close the facet briskly and fully! If you try to open it slowly it creates turbulence and foam.

    If this does not work, come down to our brewery for remedial training!

    Cheers!
  6. billandsuz

    billandsuz Savant (380) New York Sep 1, 2004

    i don't even know where to begin... smallest diameter beer line? short beer line? so 16" of 1/8" vinyl? at 10 psi? unless its hoppy then 11 psi?

    i'm just not on board here. maybe its just me.
    Cheers!
    checktherhyme and cubbyswans like this.
  7. tgchief

    tgchief Savant (270) Iowa Nov 30, 2010

    Smallest Diameter : 3/8
    Short beer line: 6 ft or less
    Hoppy beer : not coors light
    Psi: 11 psi works best for a permanent setting. Many gauges stick....tap it.

    Is your tower cooled? If not a sacrifice is in order when many hours have passed between pints.
  8. tgchief

    tgchief Savant (270) Iowa Nov 30, 2010

    Oops......3/16 not 3/8 for smallest diameter beer line.... sorry!
  9. mtpuls

    mtpuls Aspirant (30) Oct 24, 2012

    Thanks you for all the responses! I am concerned that shortening the beer line with a higher psi (5 feet of line and higher than 12psi) is going to make the beer shoot out of the tap rather than flow nicely, thoughts? Also, every time I changed the pressure, I would turn the co2 off, bleed the co2 out of the keg, then set the regulator and let sit for 24 hours before touching again. I just poured some beer/foam to measure the temperature again and the first glass was 39 degrees and the next was 38 degrees and the third was 38 degrees. Will 10psi (or more) and 5-6 foot of line really help me do you guys think?
  10. billandsuz

    billandsuz Savant (380) New York Sep 1, 2004

    at 7,500 feet, typical guidelines do not apply.

    try 5 feet of line, 38 degrees, 18 to 20 psi. we can drop the psi to 18 or maybe lower. we can shorten the line to 4 feet. but that is a start and a good place to work from. i think youll be very close to a perfect pour and i have an oversized ego, too.

    i am not confident that your keg vols are anywhere near what they need to be. bleeding gas, applying pressure, bleeding gas, applying another pressure etc etc... it is impossible to really know how much gas is dissolved into the liquid beer at any moment.

    good news is that a keg of Coors in Colorado should be really cheap and a good brew to mess around with.

    we can get this machine tamed. its not rocket science or a mystery.

    Cheers.

    ps, where did you buy this kegerator? happy to help, but you paid for an appliance without instructions or customer service. you need to let them know if they can't follow through with the sale you will not use them again and advise against anyone else doing the same. nobody should spend $400 or whatever from a guy who can't offer useful advice because they do not understand their product.
  11. tgchief

    tgchief Savant (270) Iowa Nov 30, 2010

    I pour perfect pints from my kegs in elk camp at 10000'......if I were close to you I would come over and the help!

    In the mean time go to a good web site like www.micromatic.com or www.craftbeer.com and look for info on draft beer!
  12. mtpuls

    mtpuls Aspirant (30) Oct 24, 2012



    Reply:
    Okay, I have changed the beer line to 5ft and set the pressure at 12psi for now. I am going to let it sit for 24 hours (should i let it sit longer?) and will update with questions/concerns at that point in time. Thanks!

    PS. I got the kegerator for free from a friend that bought it new and got fed up with dealing with it and he was kind enough to give it to me! (Hopefully his loss) Everything has been thoroughly cleaned.
  13. mtpuls

    mtpuls Aspirant (30) Oct 24, 2012

    It's only been an hour and the beer/foam is coming out extremely fast with the 5ft line and 12psi. Hopefully more time will help that???
  14. mtpuls

    mtpuls Aspirant (30) Oct 24, 2012

    It's now been about 12 hours, did a quick test and the foam is shooting out like a cannon. Thoughts?
    IceAce likes this.
  15. IceAce

    IceAce Advocate (560) California Jan 8, 2004

    "Foam shooting out like cannon" is never a good sign...but you already know that! ;)

    Long-term issues such as what you are experiencing are a pain in the neck to solve…but it can be worked through. At this point, I believe your poor keg is suffering from carbonation saturation.

    Carbonation saturation occurs when a keg of beer is subjected to high CO² pressure for an extended period of time…this results in the beer absorbing more and more CO² until all of the liquid is simply nothing more than a foamy mess. If, in fact you do have this issue, the first step in solving the problem is finding the cause.

    The most common cause of CO² saturation is a damaged or ‘creeping’ regulator. While a typical CO² regulator is a pretty heart piece of equipment…the gauges upon which we rely are actually pretty fragile pieces of equipment. All it takes to damage a pressure gauge is for the CO² tank to fall over and land on the gauge one time and the readings are forever incorrect.

    When in the field on service calls, I use a pressure check device which looks like this (below) in order to verify CO² pressure. The large coupler on the right connects directly to the tapping device so that the pressure shown by the regulator gauge may be verified.

    [​IMG]

    So…how do we begin to get your unit running?

    You’ve already shown that you have the ability to change your line length and display patience, so here is my prescription:

    · Bring your beer line length up to 6½’
    · Place a glass of water (with a thermometer in it) in the back corner of your keg box so that you can monitor the internal temp
    · Dial your regulator down to 2#’s of applied pressure
    · Your regulator should have an on/off valve leading to the coupler…turn it off (Perpendicular to the gas line)
    · With the coupler attached to the keg, pull the pin on the pressure relief valve to remove most of the pressure in the keg. Give the keg a shake and place it back in the keg box to keep it cold.
    · Repeat the step above every 6 hours in an effort to bleed excess CO² out of solution.
    · Do the above step one more time before you go to bed tonight
    Tomorrow:

    · Turn on the gas from your regulator to the coupler
    · With the pressure still at 2#...check to see how the beer pours (it should just barely dribble out)
    · Increase your pressure in 1# increments each hour until the pour coming from the faucet is a full, complete circle and note the pressure gauge reading. Let the system rest for one full hour and note the pressure…it should have remained constant.
    · After the hour noted above, raise the pressure 2# and check your pour again. Your system should be packed and there should be no bubbles in the beer line directly above the coupler.

    The beer may or may not still taste ok…they all act a little differently to being overcarbed. What is critical is getting your system semi-balanced prior to purchasing and hooking up your next keg.

    I will BeerMail you my telephone number so that you may call me directly should you encounter any difficulties or have any additional questions. With a little faith and perserverance, you will have this thing up and running in less than three days! :D
    seifer1886 and billandsuz like this.

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