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Carbonate and maintain carbonation

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trustyrusty

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Hi There

Once your beer has carbonation how do you maintain carbonation.

I have MK2 regulator and use gas beer line, that I think is about 6/8mm ID. About 1.5 metre as tank is outside fridge. About 3/4 degrees inside.

Do you leave gas on at pouring pressure or do you turn on (ie off when not using) at pouring pressure when you are drinking.

I tend to worry about leaks so I like to turn it off but when I turn on gas I don't really see anything happen until you hear gas going in, don't know how to set at low low like 3 psi, I can hear

gas going in at about10 psi, but before that nothing. So I don't really know if it 2 or 3 psi or how to set it low psi. Maybe a I need a new regulator?

I was thinking or getting one this small regulators that you use when when taking to parties, that sits on the keg/grey disconnect to be more accurate for smaller readings?

What I have been doing is pour a few beers - add a bit of gas back, seems to work ok but inconsistent.

thanks
 

TwoCrows

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I have had a over use of gas lately and have lost a bottle of gas. My lines are tight although the connection to the post is the likely issue.
I now should swap out the seals on the posts and food grade lube them.
I am currently turn of the bottle.

If you have carbonated to 10 psi and then reduce your regulator to 3 psi , no gas will be going into the keg until it is under 3 psi. The keg pressure is holding it back.
 

trustyrusty

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That is why I turn off, because there many factors - like gas posts, lines, clamps that can cause leaks. So is better off, then on when using. Would be good to get a small reg or at least a psi gauge on the keg to make it easier to see.. cheers
 

TwoCrows

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I have replaced the post orings and food grade lubed them. Like new and no lost gas.
 

Grmblz

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Hi There

Once your beer has carbonation how do you maintain carbonation.

I have MK2 regulator and use gas beer line, that I think is about 6/8mm ID. About 1.5 metre as tank is outside fridge. About 3/4 degrees inside.

Do you leave gas on at pouring pressure or do you turn on (ie off when not using) at pouring pressure when you are drinking.

I tend to worry about leaks so I like to turn it off but when I turn on gas I don't really see anything happen until you hear gas going in, don't know how to set at low low like 3 psi, I can hear

gas going in at about10 psi, but before that nothing. So I don't really know if it 2 or 3 psi or how to set it low psi. Maybe a I need a new regulator?

I was thinking or getting one this small regulators that you use when when taking to parties, that sits on the keg/grey disconnect to be more accurate for smaller readings?

What I have been doing is pour a few beers - add a bit of gas back, seems to work ok but inconsistent.

thanks
Think of a bottle of beer, it sits on the shelf for weeks/months and the carbonation level doesn't change, your keg should do the same BUT (there's always a but as MHB is fond of saying) if your regulator is leaking, and I don't mean to the outside world but past the seal into the keg, then gradually your carbonation level will increase, conversely if you have a leak to the outside world then turning the bottle off will lower the carb level, and leaving it on will result in an empty co2 bottle eventually.
Cheap regulators are notorious for being inaccurate, and leaking, I'm not saying they're all bad just a case of getting what you pay for.
As a bare minimum micromatic have a good reputation CO2 Regulator - Micromatic Premium Primary | Grain and Grape.
Personally I use reg's from BOC BOC Hospitality CO2 Beverage Regulator - Dual Gauge | BOC Gas.
Something else to consider is a reg designed to handle 100 psi isn't going to be very good at 3 psi no matter who makes it, and the gauges just don't have the resolution even if the reg can perform to that pressure, if you really want low pressure accuracy then a secondary reg will be necessary, something that maxes out at 25 psi will be pretty accurate 3 or 4 psi.
An interesting little build that demonstrates the principal Low Pressure CO2 Regulator Build
As HBers we confront issues that bars/pubs don't have to contend with, kegs on tap for more than a couple of days is one of them, most of the equipment we use is designed for the commercial environment so we have to be a bit inventive, or use the sometimes questionable stuff from China.
You pays yer money and takes yer chances.
 

trustyrusty

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Thanks that is what I was thinking... a second regulator or gauge to handle small psi readings/control.
Atm I find my bubbles slightly big, how do you get those nice heads with tiny bubbles?
 
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Grmblz

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Are you talking about Nitrogenated (draught stout with cascading bubbles like draught Guinness) or tight white foamy head like on a Pils?
If it's the Pils type head then the simple answer is increasing your carbonation will help, BUT (there's that word again) only up to a certain point, foam formation, and head retention is quite a complex subject involving many variables, and different ingredients, have a quick read of this BYO article for a better understanding of just how involved it can get, Fabulous Foam! - Brew Your Own
In the first instance just try carbing at 15psi, you may need to lengthen your beer lines to about 2mtrs or more for a reasonable pour, this is a simple approach to a complex issue but just might give you what you're looking for without going down the rabbit hole.
 

MHB

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Even that BYO article barely touches the surface. Good head starts when you design a beer and ends with an empty glass months later.
There are head building ingredients and processes, on the other side of the coin the exact opposite head negative ingredients and processes. Unfortunately we often want things that are head negative because they are good for flavour or mouthfeel... so as is often in brewing we have to compromise.

Some basics that help -
Anything that foams other than beer is probably bad for head, like starsan and other detergents
Clean everything, glasses are critical
Good carbonation helps, you can go to far and your beer will look like soft drink, sparkling but no persistent foam.
Clean everything, even traces of fats and oils kill head.
Excessive skimming of the boil, there are a finite amount of head building ingredients in a beer, lots of them are in the early kettle foam, removing too much will affect your beer.
Clean everything, kegs and lines will really matter
Never freeze glasses, the ice crystals will act as nucleating points at the start of the pour giving you lots of foam at the start making it hard to fill the glass, glasses should be 3-4oC colder than the beer but not frozen.
Clean everything, hum did I mention cleaning?
Maturity helps, highly hopped beer and Hefeweizen are very good at head holding when young and probably fall off over time, most other beer benefits from maturation, generally 6+ weeks makes a big difference.

There are lots of things we can do to get better FOB (foam on beer) if you are making all malt beer and doing the basics right you should have reasonable head on your beer, if not go through your processes and ingredients.
Clean everything again.
Mark
 

kadmium

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It's a really simple thing but I found dishwashers and beer glasses a no no. I would soak in PBW, give a very thorough rinse.

I then salt scrub my beer glasses. Just buy cooking salt, wet the glass and your hand. Get a good handful of salt, and scrub it like you exfoliate your skin (I'm new age, come on)

Thats how I clean them now. No more PBW just salt scrubs when done a drinking session. Then air dry.

Often the rinse aid in a dishwasher or any other surfactants or detergents will destroy head.
 

trustyrusty

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To who asked before I was meaning tiny tight bubbles, just normal beer head... Mmmmm thanks might be dishwasher?

Just took photo of latest, thinks not too bad once I get psi and pouring pressure right? Glass has had few beers through.. I think dishwasher not good, so once those remnants go is ok? Thanks
Thanks
 

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Grmblz

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Thanks - do you get gas from BOC? Are they still doing CO2 refills on their own tanks?
BOC are in the rental business, they will only fill bottles if you have an account with them, and the bottle you have is linked to that account, if they do a "swap n go" they will update your account with the new bottles serial number. Their re-fill prices are cheaper than LHBS's but that's offset by their annual rental fee, in practice if you are using a bottle every couple of months they are the cheaper solution, but if like most home brewers you only use 2 or 3 bottles a year it's cheaper to just buy a bottle from KK/KL, and get it re-filled when empty, LHBS's tend to be a bit pricey you may find a fire extinguisher business in your area that will do it cheaper.
fwiw: I've got 2 x 6kg bottles, one bottle lasts about 6 months, so when one goes empty I have plenty of time to re-fill it, my LHBS charges $80 for a re-fill and I can get a swap and go in Sydney for $50 so I just wait till I'm in the big smoke' I've also got a little 2.6kg bottle for lugging around.
A point to mention is if money isn't an issue get an aluminium bottle, heaps more expensive but sooo much easier to cart around.
 

trustyrusty

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Thanks - $80 bit steep, Think I can get 6kg for 52, 2.6 is 35, anyhow

Did not know that fire companies did CO2, - ? thanks
 

trustyrusty

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I then salt scrub my beer glasses. Just buy cooking salt, wet the glass and your hand. Get a good handful of salt, and scrub it like you exfoliate your skin (I'm new age, come on)
So you salt scrub your glasses every time? Or every now and again, if so how do you normally wash ? Can just hot water be ok?
 

MHB

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You really should use a detergent to clean. Beer contains some rosins, waxes and oils that will over time build up a film on glass.
I had one guy who was always complaining about poor head on his beer, got him to bring in a bottle, it had what looked like a coating of varnish inside, soaking in a good cleaner and it came of in strips like when you paint strip old furniture.
A biofilm is a good place for bacteria to hide to.

Washing in something like Percarbonate, PPW, BBW, Metasilicate... will remove any soil, salt alone wont.
I have only seen salt used to check how good a job of cleaning we have done. It's called the Salt Test, here is a snip from Foam by Charlie Bamforth. From experience I can tell yo that the finer the salt the better the test works, I would put some table salt in a coffee grinder or mini blender and try to get it down to something the consistency of icing sugar.
If you aren't sure the test is working, clean a glass, rub your thumb on the side of your nose, press a thumb print inside the glass and try again, it will be pretty obvious.
Salt.jpg

Salt on its own isn't really going to be enough, I suspect if you used enough with little water it would be slightly abrasive and would scour away most soil, but a detergent will do a way better job.
Mark
 

razz

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You really should use a detergent to clean. Beer contains some rosins, waxes and oils that will over time build up a film on glass.
I had one guy who was always complaining about poor head on his beer, got him to bring in a bottle, it had what looked like a coating of varnish inside, soaking in a good cleaner and it came of in strips like when you paint strip old furniture.
A biofilm is a good place for bacteria to hide to.

Washing in something like Percarbonate, PPW, BBW, Metasilicate... will remove any soil, salt alone wont.
I have only seen salt used to check how good a job of cleaning we have done. It's called the Salt Test, here is a snip from Foam by Charlie Bamforth. From experience I can tell yo that the finer the salt the better the test works, I would put some table salt in a coffee grinder or mini blender and try to get it down to something the consistency of icing sugar.
If you aren't sure the test is working, clean a glass, rub your thumb on the side of your nose, press a thumb print inside the glass and try again, it will be pretty obvious.
View attachment 119876
Salt on its own isn't really going to be enough, I suspect if you used enough with little water it would be slightly abrasive and would scour away most soil, but a detergent will do a way better job.
Mark
Charlie, the Pope of Foam! Thank you cardinal Mark. 😆
 

Grmblz

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Sticking my head out again, as an ex publican from the UK we had commercial glass washers, detergent cleaned the glasses and a "rinse aid type thing prevented spots of something on the dried glasses, I now know the rinse aid was because we had high mineral content in our water which left a deposit on the dried glasses, nothing to do with head retention more an aesthetic thing.
Bugger Mark beat me to it lol.
What I was going to suggest is what he said.
However rinse aid might be applicable if you have marks/stains from salts/minerals in your water, and we never had a head retention problem using it, bearing in mind, pommie cask conditioned ale "sparkled" lmao
 
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kadmium

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So you salt scrub your glasses every time? Or every now and again, if so how do you normally wash ? Can just hot water be ok?
Soak in PBW once every couple months. A good hot water wash and rinse if only having a pint or two, a salt scrub if I had a few and left the glass out over night and don't give a good wash before bed or had mates over etc.

I steer away from detergents or surfactants as much as I can.

A baby bottle brush, hot water and a good wash till they squeek with the fingers does me most of the time.

Every now and then I soak in PBW and rinse like a catch u next Tuesday.
 

trustyrusty

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Thanks I have that pink cleaner that I got from club once - they use it on glasses.. not sure what it’s called? Works well I think .. washed all glasses and rinsed with out water. Do you know what it is?
 
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kadmium

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Thanks I have that pink cleaner that I got from club once - they use it on glasses.. not sure what it’s called? Works well I think .. washed all glasses and rinsed with out water. Do you know what it is?
No idea sorry!
 

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