Disconnect tap lines and gas between sessions?

Discussion in 'Homebrewing' started by thebriansmaude, Jul 5, 2018.

  1. thebriansmaude

    thebriansmaude Initiate (55) Dec 16, 2016 Alberta (Canada)

    Wondering about peoples preferences for this. I often notice the beer that has been sitting in the lines for a few days comes out tasting quite oxidized, and I usually end up pouring it off and tossing it (I have 10ft lines)

    I never notice fresh beer drawing from the keg tasting oxidized after I discard the stuff in the lines, so I don't usually disconnect lines at then end of a drinking session, but I feel like I'm wasting a lot of beer doing this. My main hangup with disconnecting beer lines is that it can be quite messy with some beer coming out of the QDs and posts when doing so. What do you do??
    TooHopTooHandle likes this.
  2. VikeMan

    VikeMan Meyvn (1,447) Jul 12, 2009 Pennsylvania

    Where would the O2 be coming from? If your lines are causing a flavor issue, it's probably not oxidation. What kind of tubing are you using? Also, I wonder if you're getting a warm first pour that tastes a little different because of its temperature.
    pweis909 likes this.
  3. Seacoastbrewer

    Seacoastbrewer Initiate (129) Jun 5, 2012 New Hampshire

    Agreed with VikeMan. If the beer is sitting in lines in the keezer/kegerator, there's no real difference between that and the keg.

    Might be worth cleaning your lines, hardware, and faucets though.

    Also, connecting and dis-connecting your kegs wears on your post and connector o-rings as well. I have had leaks just from post o-rings becoming worn. Easy fix, but wasn't easy to diagnose right away.

    If you're convinced the lines are the problem, you can trim those down so less beer is sitting in lines.
  4. thebriansmaude

    thebriansmaude Initiate (55) Dec 16, 2016 Alberta (Canada)

    This could be a thing for sure - lines sitting on top of kegs would be slightly warmer yes...
  5. VikeMan

    VikeMan Meyvn (1,447) Jul 12, 2009 Pennsylvania

    I wasn't really referring to the lines being higher, although that's a contributor. The biggest temperature difference comes from the warm faucet (and shank, particularly in a non-cooled tower). It's why so many systems get that first-pour-foam.
  6. VikeMan

    VikeMan Meyvn (1,447) Jul 12, 2009 Pennsylvania

    But if you do this in a system that's already balanced, you would get an unbalanced system (flow too fast, too much foam), due to the decreased resistance. (Assuming the faucets are not flow control models.)
  7. Seacoastbrewer

    Seacoastbrewer Initiate (129) Jun 5, 2012 New Hampshire

    Yes, technically you would need to adjust for the change in line length.
  8. invertalon

    invertalon Devotee (413) Jan 27, 2009 Ohio

    I was using Bev Seal Ultra lines (short lines, like 2-3ft with flow control faucets) for the past two years but decided to go back to standard line again with about 7ft long Bevlex 200 line for each tap. In the past I have also used the pricey ultra barrier tubing, but same issue.

    Like you, I always had to purge off whatever was in the line because it tasted off. I have fans inside for air circulation, tried routing my lines differently to try and fix temp differences, etc… Nothing worked.

    Last week after switching my lines to the Bevlex stuff, my issue has been fixed… Two or three days go by and if I pour, direct, a 2oz sample it tastes just as good as you would expect. Even delicate styles, like Hefeweizen or Pils (relatively speaking to say DIPA’s and Imperial Stouts…). Not oxidized and tasting wonderful. I no longer have to purge (waste) beer! Not to mention, due to the increased line resistance I can run 6-7ft lines and get even better pours as well versus requiring upwards of 20ft for the ultra tubing which still didn’t seem to help… I have flow control facuets, which allowed me to pour fine still, but I see even more improvement with the proper line length and such so I’m sticking with it.

    I think the solution with the typical thick wall beer line is the insulative properties compared to the (thinner) ultra tubing I was using. Causing it to warm up sitting near the top of my keezer as temps fluctuate and push CO2 out of the beer inside the line. Perhaps the john guest style fittings I was using as well was causing some type of oxygen ingress issue, versus just a clamp on a barbed fitting (difficult with ultra tubing though).

    The new line is far better though… I will be sticking with the Bevlex stuff from now on, clamped on the stainless barbs.

    Also, I leave my beers on CO2 and the beer out connected at all times throughout the life of the keg. Honestly, not worried about the oxygen ingress reported, as honestly, many of my beers tastes just as good (or better) by the time they kick than when freshly tapped, so until I taste proof otherwise it’s not worth the hassle. Just my .02! And my beers are usually on tap for 2-3 months on average since I have four on at a time, so it's not like it's only on for a few weeks.

    What beer line are you using? Is it actual beer line or did you pick it up at home depot or lowes? (serious question!)
    #8 invertalon, Jul 5, 2018
    Last edited: Jul 5, 2018
  9. VikeMan

    VikeMan Meyvn (1,447) Jul 12, 2009 Pennsylvania

    True, but the problem with that approach as I see it is that line length should be the variable you "back into" after establishing the serving temperature you want and the carbonation level you want. I wouldn't want to sacrifice desired temperature or CO2 level for the sake of shortening the line.
  10. thebriansmaude

    thebriansmaude Initiate (55) Dec 16, 2016 Alberta (Canada)

    @invertalon , interesting to hear what you have done. I am running bevlex 200 as well. I have pass through taps, so I can’t see too much of a temp diff near them, but I don’t circulate air so I could see a bit of difference in temp near the collar. Not sure, but I notice poor taste from first two oz or so, especially in dry hopped beers.
    invertalon likes this.
  11. thebriansmaude

    thebriansmaude Initiate (55) Dec 16, 2016 Alberta (Canada)

    So NEIPA is a good example, and this is the first time I have looked closely at color - left sample is first pull after sitting in lines since Sunday, sample on right is pulled right after. [​IMG]
  12. GreenKrusty101

    GreenKrusty101 Crusader (707) Dec 4, 2008 Nevada

    Ugh! Now oxidized beer in tap lines is something to worry about...probably has more to do with what's going on in the bottom of the keg...do I dare ask for a study?
  13. billandsuz

    billandsuz Disciple (362) Sep 1, 2004 New York

    It is really worth using the Bevlex or Kuriyama 200 tubing for choker.

    Barrier is designed to have as little resistance as possible and is thin wall to make it easy to install within a trunk line. It is not intended to use as choker, as @invertalon noted you need 20 feet to get the required resistance. If you have 30' of 12 product trunk line, it must be polyefin (barrier) or the trunk would have too much resistance and be 12" in diameter. The thin tube also transfers heat to the glycol easier.

    PVC choker is much more friendly as a choker. Standard ID is 3/16" and 7/16" OD. There is also 3/16 by 5/16 but that is thin wall and does not work nearly as well as it does not clamp to the tailpiece very well. For a few dollars, if that, use the 7/16" OD.

    I think if your homebrew is having signs of oxidation you look at your racking technique.

    Finally, clean the lines which is obvious and most of us are pretty tight with sanitation. After a year or two, replace the choker. It is cheap. Beerstone develops over time, and unless you want to mess with acid wash (you probably don't for good reason) the solution is to just toss and replace.

    GreenKrusty101 likes this.
  14. thebriansmaude

    thebriansmaude Initiate (55) Dec 16, 2016 Alberta (Canada)

    In the picture above, the first sample is from beer sitting in the bevlex lines for 4 days, the next sample is poured immediately after. This has nothing to do with racking... I’m just curious if others have noticed this.

    Honestly , I am happy going on chucking an oz or two of beer If the tap has been dormant for a few days, not a big deal, because the pours afterwards taste totally fine. I totally believe that @TheBeerery is right about oxygen permeability in plastics but what I’m describing (and photographing) here tells me that the oxidation of beer in the lines doesn’t mean that oxygen immediately homogenizes with the 5 gallons of beer in the keg. It seems like the beer in the lines oxidizes and then is expelled quickly on first pour. The next pour is always 100%...
  15. billandsuz

    billandsuz Disciple (362) Sep 1, 2004 New York

    What I am saying is that if you feel your beer is getting oxidized, the lines are not the problem.
    The Bevlex 200 you are using is standard choker and is not causing oxidation problems with the few million kegs currently being poured. Think about that.

    The problem you are describing, that your beer is good prior to being poured from a direct draw system and then it becomes oxidized, that specific problem is not a problem that anyone anywhere else is having. Based on this it is fact you should be looking at other areas of your brewing procedure and possibly your racking and kegging methods.

    If you are using Beverage line in your system your lines are fine. You must use Beverage tubing specifically, not Watts or some other PVC.

    You may have some other problem elsewhere as well.
    #15 billandsuz, Jul 7, 2018
    Last edited: Jul 7, 2018
    thebriansmaude likes this.
  16. GreenKrusty101

    GreenKrusty101 Crusader (707) Dec 4, 2008 Nevada

    No, I am going to play the anecdotal evidence card and tell you there might be a 1/2 dozen other explanations for why your beer is seemingly 2 different colors coming out of your tap.
    thebriansmaude likes this.
  17. thebriansmaude

    thebriansmaude Initiate (55) Dec 16, 2016 Alberta (Canada)

    Fair enough , thanks for the input everyone !
  18. SFACRKnight

    SFACRKnight Meyvn (1,208) Jan 20, 2012 Colorado

    For those of you out there concerned about oxidized beer the answer is simple...

    Quit brewing beer.
    Supergenious and invertalon like this.
  19. NorCalKid

    NorCalKid Initiate (91) Jan 10, 2018 California

    ..........(dramatic gasp)
    SFACRKnight likes this.
  20. invertalon

    invertalon Devotee (413) Jan 27, 2009 Ohio

    There is definitely a point where it's good you are following best practices to avoid oxidized beer and being WAY too obsessed over it to the point you are no longer enjoying the hobby because your being over-anal about every little thing... When you start getting into worrying about line material, unplugging your disconnects when not in use and the O2 in your CO2 tank, well then...
    SFACRKnight likes this.
  21. SFACRKnight

    SFACRKnight Meyvn (1,208) Jan 20, 2012 Colorado

    Exactly. How deeply neurotic do we need to be about a hobby? Isn't this supposed to be fun?
  22. VikeMan

    VikeMan Meyvn (1,447) Jul 12, 2009 Pennsylvania

    This conversation reminds me of the George Carlin bit where he talks about driving. Anybody driving slower than you is an idiot. Anybody driving faster is a maniac. Replace driving speed with O2 mitigation processes.

    I'd say if someone wants to replace their lines with something less oxygen permeable, why not? It's not something everyone would choose to invest in. But technically it should reduce oxidation. The question is how much, and whether it's worthwhile to the individual.
    thebriansmaude likes this.
  23. invertalon

    invertalon Devotee (413) Jan 27, 2009 Ohio

    Oh no, I agree. There is no problem with improving your process (or delivery) to better your beer. We all know oxygen is bad, but at the same time, I think *for most people* there is a point in which the process is sound enough and you don’t need to unplug your disconnects in-between use, avoid ever using external CO2, spund only OR ELSE, etc… It’s just the point in which certain things are nothing more than diminishing returns for most.

    I have brewed probably a dozen LODO batches at this point, from Pils and other light lager to IPA and Imperial Stouts. All of which have been damn good, but honestly, I don’t really notice any significant difference in the end product, in the glass, from when I didn’t do all the LODO stuff (pre-boil mash/sparge, SMB, underlet grain, mash cap, no splashing, huge pitch of yeast before O2 is added, move to keg near FG and spund, serve without any external CO2 for weeks, etc...). I’ve done it all the best I can do for my equipment and process, but have yet to really taste these benefits of the most sound practices I can personally achieve.

    My best Pilsners still remain my pre-LODO, decocted (Oh no!), D-rest and cold crash, gelatin fined, keg and force carbed examples. *Shrug*

    This is why, IMO, worrying about stuff like CO2 tank O2, for example, is just nuts to me.
  24. TheBeerery

    TheBeerery Initiate (80) May 2, 2016 Minnesota

    I love how my posts with links and references always seem to get deleted...