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New To Kegs, Foam And Beer Flat In Lines

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tredog

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Hello fellow Brewers,

I have just set up a kegerator, regulator to four way manifold with check valves and ball taps to two kegs and obviously to taps.

I have a 50 litre keg hooked up with a golden ale. Current temperature is 3 deg C with serving pressure of 12ps and a 3 metre 5mm ID flexmaster beer line. First half of the keg poured really well but now problems.

My issue is I'm getting a shot of foam after the fridge has sat between pours and the first pour tastes quite flat. Subsequent pours have better carbonation as the line is cleared. From my reading I have a problem of CO2 breakout in the lines meaning that the pressure is too low and that is giving me the flat beer and initial foam shot when opening the tap.

I have now tried PSI between 9 - 16 at the 3 deg C and have tried combinations of 2 meter, 2.5 meter and 3 meter beer line length at different PSI levels. Still getting the same problem regardless of changes in PSI and and line length.

I'm not sure what I'm missing and I have done the calculations, used the calculators and still haven't had much luck.

I'm sure I'm missing something really obvious but can't help see it from looking. Any help would be much appreciated.

Cheers, Tae.
 

river_bouy

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I find that the first glass is often foamy due to the taps been warm, even on a correctly balanced system. The warm taps cause the co2 to bubble out of the solution. Following glasses are fine.
 

tredog

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My taps are always very cool to the touch.

My concern is that I don't think I should be getting that initial spurt of foam and subsequently a flat beer.

If I only have one beer a night on tap I would like it to be a good one rather than drinking 50 litres of mediocre beer :(
 

jbowers

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Initial spurt of foam, depending on tap, is pretty common. Flat beer is not. Can't help you further, but hopefully others can. If not, I encourage you to google with specific terms relating to the problem you are having. Has helped me a great deal in the past.
 

hoppinmad

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Is your kegerator a converted chest freezer? You will find that the top section around the collar and your taps is significantly warmer than the bottom of the keg. The temp differential in the lines will cause foaming and with such long lines you will end up with a glass full of foam. One solution is to install a 12 volt computer fan to circulate air through the kegerator and use 4mm I.D lines. You will need less beer line and the beer in the lines will generally be colder... creating less foaming.
 

tredog

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Taps are chrome plated perlick forward sealing. So hopefully they are not the problem!

I have googled the specific terms and have not come cross the information I need. Hence the forum question. I suspect it might be over carbonation but am not sure.

Carbonation was done via set and forget and was perfect for the first half of the keg. But ultimately I think carbonate is fine as once two pours are done its fine.

Kegerator is an upside down fridge. Taps are very cool to the tuch and the beer lines are all in the fridge and should be nice and cool as far as I'm aware.
 

benno1973

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Before you pour your first beer, have a look at the lines in the fridge - are CO2 bubbles collecting just before the tap? If your tap is a bit highter than your keg, and the highest part of the line is where it meets the tap, CO2 can collect there and give you a shot of foam to start with.

Still it doesn't explain why the first half of the keg was fine and the second half wasn't.

How long was it pouring correctly for? (i.e. how long did it take you to get through the first half of the keg). I can't imagine that if you've done the set/forget method that it would have overcarboanted, as 12PSI is about right at that temp for 2.5 volumes CO2, which is pretty standard.

It doesn't sound like a nucleation point in the line, as it resolves itself after the first pour.

Given that line length, temp and pressure all seem fine, I can only assume that at some point in the system, the temp of the beer in the line is getting warmer. Can you stick a fan in the fridge to circulate the air a bit better and test that out? Maybe also lag the lines (especially close to the tap) so they don't warm up as quickly? If you have the lines in a coil, can you put the coil at the back of the fridge in the coldest spot?

Just suggestions...
 

evildrakey

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Actually - I've had a weird problem on the weekend.

CO2 split to 2 kegs - one came out fine, the other came out slowly and flat. Could it be a problem in one of the Corny Ball Locks?
 

tredog

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Before you pour your first beer, have a look at the lines in the fridge - are CO2 bubbles collecting just before the tap? If your tap is a bit highter than your keg, and the highest part of the line is where it meets the tap, CO2 can collect there and give you a shot of foam to start with.

Still it doesn't explain why the first half of the keg was fine and the second half wasn't.

How long was it pouring correctly for? (i.e. how long did it take you to get through the first half of the keg). I can't imagine that if you've done the set/forget method that it would have overcarboanted, as 12PSI is about right at that temp for 2.5 volumes CO2, which is pretty standard.

It doesn't sound like a nucleation point in the line, as it resolves itself after the first pour.

Given that line length, temp and pressure all seem fine, I can only assume that at some point in the system, the temp of the beer in the line is getting warmer. Can you stick a fan in the fridge to circulate the air a bit better and test that out? Maybe also lag the lines (especially close to the tap) so they don't warm up as quickly? If you have the lines in a coil, can you put the coil at the back of the fridge in the coldest spot?

Just suggestions...
Good suggestions.
I can't see any pocket of agsin the beer line but I do have 5 inch shanks so some could be sitting up there and I wouldn't see it.
I will try and get the beer lines further in the fridge to see if that helps. I have toyed with the fan idea but I check the shanks every now and again and they are nice and cool as are the taps. So they are getting a nice chill to the and on humid days I getting some crazy condensation on the taps as well.
 

np1962

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Good suggestions.
I can't see any pocket of agsin the beer line but I do have 5 inch shanks so some could be sitting up there and I wouldn't see it.
I will try and get the beer lines further in the fridge to see if that helps. I have toyed with the fan idea but I check the shanks every now and again and they are nice and cool as are the taps. So they are getting a nice chill to the and on humid days I getting some crazy condensation on the taps as well.
Cool as opposed to cold....
If you have your beer in the keg at 3C (why so low is a subject of many discussions) and you feel the shank or tap and it feels cool then it could be anything up to 20 given anything below body temp will likely feel 'cool'.
They are probably somewhere around or just below ambient temps, 12 to 14 or so. IMHO this is where your foaming issue is coming from.
In my own system, with keg temp at 6-8 and the fan not running the top of the keezer where the taps are mounted can be up to 6 warmer and I get some foaming on the first pour.
When the keg was full the differential may not of been so great, or you may of been drinking more quickly given the novelty of a new system.
If you really wanting to reduce the wastage then a fan is probably your answer.
Cheers
Nige
 

benno1973

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If you really wanting to reduce the wastage then a fan is probably your answer.
I'd agree with testing the fan, as it's an easy test.

I have an ok fridge in the kitchen, but products are colder at the back of the fridge (possibly due to me opening and closing the fridge) because it has better insualtion and is where the cooling bits are. Also the lowest shelf is colder than he top shelf, so there's always going to be some stratification of temperature unless you stir things up by using a fan. Doesn't need to be going full tilt, just enough to circulate the air around.

So if you have an old PC fan lying around, just hook it up to a 12V power pack and stick it in your fridge to see if it makes a difference. If you don't have one around, you can buy them for <$3 on ebay...
 

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