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Bought my first Kegerator - some questions regarding foam.

Discussion in 'Home Bar' started by jtdaugh, Oct 3, 2013.

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  1. jtdaugh

    jtdaugh Sep 30, 2013 Michigan

    I've had this kegerator for about a month: http://www.amazon.com/Nostalgia-Electrics-KRS-6100SS-Kegorator-Stainless/dp/B00472MN7A

    I've been having a lot of issues with foam. About 3/4 of each pour is foam. I recently installed a fan to cool the tower but that didn't help the issue too much.

    The first question is about the beer lines. The reviews for my model say that the beer lines are low quality, and when I've taken a look at them I couldn't see any markings for the inner diameter. I'm pretty sure I need to replace the lines with high quality 3/16 lines, and am looking at these: http://www.amazon.com/Draft-Warehouse-5-Feet-16-Inch-Assembly/dp/B00829HLSA
    Do those look like a good set or could anyone point me to better beer lines online?

    I've also read differing opinions about beer line length in many threads. Some people say they can't get a good pour with a 5' line and recommend a 10' line, while others and many line length calculators say 5' of 3/16 should be good for a PSI of 12 at 43 degrees. Thoughts?

    The temperature has been a bit upsetting on this kegerator. I have it set on max and have been limiting how much I open the door, and it still never seems to drop below 43 degrees, and is often up near 46 degrees. Does anyone have this model and/or have recommendations for getting the temp down by about 5 degrees?

    The last question is about PSI. I usually have an IPA and some other ale on tap, which I've read should be pressurized at about 12 PSI. However, 12 PSI caused the pours to be way too fast and result in all foam (i suspect due to the poor beer lines). So, I've been running it at 8 PSI. This has slightly reduced the foam and slowed the pour, but the beer has been tasting pretty flat. I suspect that 8 PSI is too low for these beers which is allowing the carbonation to come out of the beer. Does that sound correct and could the under-pressurization in fact be a cause of the foam?

    Sorry for the long post. It's my first kegerator and I've clearly got a lot to learn. Any help would be greatly appreciated.
     
  2. zero_signal

    zero_signal Aug 8, 2013 New Jersey
    Beer Trader

    You probably will never solve your foam issue with a nostalgic electric unit. No offense but you purchased a low end unit. They are notorious for issues. Compressor isn't big enough to chill unit down below 38F. And as far as pressure yes 8psi is too low. Most beers will be in between 10-14psi . Buy a longer beer line to slow flow down. (Start around 10ft and cut down from there)
     
  3. zero_signal

    zero_signal Aug 8, 2013 New Jersey
    Beer Trader

    If your a hardcore draft beer guy sell that unit. And spend at least $800 on your keg unit. Or make your own.
     
  4. billandsuz

    billandsuz Sep 1, 2004 New York

    to be blunt, your Nostalgia has a great price point and not much else going for it.

    you may want to upgrade. the vendor should accept it for return. or you could spend another 50 or 100 on a tower cooler, new lines, quality regulator and a decent faucet. and have a mediocre kegerator.

    lastly, the vendor who sold you this unit must surely know something about getting a Nostalgia to work properly. that is, if a new kegerator does not pour beer correctly without major upgrades and tweaking, why are they selling it to you?
    sorry to be so blunt.
    Cheers.
     
  5. DougC123

    DougC123 Aug 21, 2012 Connecticut
    Subscriber

    Scrapss likes this.
  6. Kadonny

    Kadonny Sep 5, 2007 Pennsylvania
    Beer Trader

    46 degrees ain't gonna cut it. Even cooling your tower won't help if you maintain that temperature.
     
  7. DougC123

    DougC123 Aug 21, 2012 Connecticut
    Subscriber

    Colder is what the link is for, it is thread that discusses how to get the unit colder.
     
  8. Kadonny

    Kadonny Sep 5, 2007 Pennsylvania
    Beer Trader


    I see that now, I went and looked. Good information if you own that unit. Why in the world though would the manufacturer set the coldest temp to be 44 degrees (normal exterior setting) for a kegerator? Confusing.
     
  9. DougC123

    DougC123 Aug 21, 2012 Connecticut
    Subscriber

    Kind of strange. Maybe an English guy designed it.
     
  10. Scrapss

    Scrapss Nov 15, 2008 Pennsylvania

    Welcome to the world of tinkering. I have an older version of the NE unit, and luckily the temp gauge was able to go lower. Tower foam can be fixed with a computer fan and a longer line. The link for the thermostat setting mods works nicely for those that cannot get their kegorator down to temp. But the best mod I had to invest in was a good regulator. That solved most of my over foaming problems along with a tower cooler. longer lines have just iced that cake and made good pours great. You'll end up spending as much as a great mid-range kegerator when you're done unless you're handy and have some of these parts laying around.
     
  11. cmpenney

    cmpenney Oct 14, 2013 Michigan

    I purchased a Keggermeister a couple months ago which is essentially the same as the Nostalgia with a different door and trim on top. I fought with foam issues through my entire first keg. I was lucky in that I was able to get the beer temp down to 37-38 without much hassle but setting my PSI to the proper setting per carbonation charts seemed to make the problem worse. Installed a tower cooler and 7 ft of new 3/16 ID beer line with no really change in resolving the foam issue.

    I finally ended up buying a good regulator (The one that came with my unit was a dual gauge but seemed poorly made), Replacing the tail piece on the beer line with a 1/4 one, Replacing the faucet with a Perlick, got a new shank, removed the ball check from the tap, and replaced the very tiny CO2 line with 3/16 line.

    Since doing so I've had perfect pours. I got sick of tinkering and decided I really didn't care anymore exactly what was the source of the issue so I replaced all regulator and fittings all at once and as a result can't tell you for certain what was the exact fix.

    I do know that that my regulator did seem to wander up overnight which should not happen if a regulator is working right. I also know the ID of the fittings and especially the shank was smaller than the ID of the replacements. Knowing a little bit of physics and more specifically Boyle's Law when you push a gas or liquid with a lot of dissolved gas in it through a narrow opening and come out the other side the pressure of the pressure is going to drop and when the pressure drops the dissolved gas is going to want to come out of solution. I believe that the poor and possibly improper regulation of CO2 pressure combined with the narrow ID of some of the fittings was the source of most of my problems.
     
  12. DougC123

    DougC123 Aug 21, 2012 Connecticut
    Subscriber

    Just to further narrow down the causes in case others care (I know you no longer do). The diameter of the CO2 line has nothing to do with foam. Pressure is pressure regardless of size and you are not using gas fast enough that it will help or hurt you. The Perlick faucet actually creates more of an issue with foam because it flows faster than rear closing faucets. All things being equal when you add Perlicks to a balanced system you ordinarily need to lengthen the lines to slow the flow and prevent foam. I think it was likely the regulator and with the longer lines and tower cooler you were perfectly set up once you replaced it.
     
    Scrapss likes this.
  13. flying_dutchman

    flying_dutchman Oct 15, 2013 Ecuador

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