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Not satisfied with kegerator carb

Discussion in 'Gear and Equipment' started by DrJez, 29/8/19.

 

  1. DrJez

    Well-Known Member

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    Posted 29/8/19
    Ok, I bought a series 4 kegerator about 6 months ago. It came with 5ft lines, poured a bit quick and at 12psi most of the carb came out of solution and alot of head. Lower psi was lacklustre, higher only worsened the problem, and still ended up flat as a tack

    Long story short, I lengthened the lines to 11ft at 12psi, poured a tadd too slow (there was a hollow in the pour) and still 12psi just lacks carb level. Cut lines slowly to about 10ft and pours ok, but still low on carb at 12..

    I've tried going higher, up to about 16psi but just end up overcarbed abd still the co2 just comes out of solution on the pour!.. I can't seem to win and am just not happy with the level of carb, it's too low no matter what I try

    I've calibrated it with glass of water and run at 2 degrees celsius. Any suggestions, or am I being unrealistic? Pub beers I'm happy with but I've also tried a friends series 4 too and remember that being flat too. Possibly not possible with this model? 4mm ID lines by the way

    Thanks
     
  2. MHB

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    Posted 29/8/19
    Always fun getting a keg fridge running right. I find breaking the problem down can help.

    Step 1 being to know how much dissolved CO2 you want, this naturally varies from style to style and with personal taste.
    The table John Palmer put in his "How to Brew" is a pretty good starting place. They are repeated in the "Carbonation Tables" section on Braukaiser .
    Apart from your posting in mixed units (PSI & oC - seriously) if you are at about 83kPa and 2oC your carbonation should be pretty much on the money for most modern (say new world) Ales and Lagers at about 5.2g/L of dissolved CO2 (Toohey's and Carlton are probably somewhere in the 5.5-5.75g/l range). If you want it a bit higher, both Cooler beer and Higher pressure will get you there.

    Before doing anything too radical I would want to confirm the accuracy of the 2oC and 83kPa that your assuming.
    Putting a small fan in a fridge will help, there can be 5oC difference between the top and bottom of a fridge without a fan, which can sort of screw with some assumptions.
    I would be very wary of taking too much notice of a Reg Gauge that hasn't been calibrated. There are people around who do this as service, might be worth getting your gauge checked.

    After you are confident you have the desired dissolved CO2.
    Step 2 is to adjust line length/diameter/flow controllers… to get the best flow you can.

    Very important to tick all the step one boxes first or you can spend a lot of time chasing a moving target, get the temp/pressure right and stable, then wort on the lines.
    Mark
     
    Last edited: 29/8/19
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  3. onemorecell

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    Posted 30/8/19
    "It came with 5ft lines"

    So use 5ft lines

    4mm hose only needs that amount.
     
  4. DrJez

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    Posted 30/8/19
    Maybe you didn't take time to read my post Onemore. The brew store owner cut these lines, and he's not known for being any good locally whatsoever. It didn't come like this from factory and no one seems to be able ro say confidently how to run a series 4 kegerator, despite them all being essentially the same

    So Mark, I've turned the internal fan on and am noticing already that the compressor is running alot more, meaning it's probably doing a more efficient job. I've upped the reg to 13psi, will give it a day and see if it makes any difference. Pours this afternoon were all about the same, I'd describe them with the carb of a stout, barely there leaving you longing for more. I'd expect it wouldn't take more than a couple of days for 1psi to be taken up so will report back soon :)
     
  5. peteru

    Here, taste this!

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    Posted 30/8/19
    You should also keep in mind that the first pour will be different to the others. Temperature equilibrium. Your tap will almost always be warmer than the beer you are serving. Warm tap + cold beer = foam.

    At this time of the year, I'd recommend serving most pale ales at around 7-9C, warmer for most other styles. Pour about 20-25% of a glass, wait 5 seconds, do another 20-25%, wait another 5 seconds, then depending on foaming (it should be much better now that he tap has cooled down) either fill the rest of the glass or go in further increments.

    Slow pours (due to longer line) are OK. I'd much rather take 55 seconds to pour the perfect pint than have a schooner half full of foam in 15 seconds.

    Watch out for turbulence that can knock out the CO2 and cause excessive foaming. Source for turbulence can come from almost anywhere, including frayed o-rings at the tap nozzle (Intertap). It's very much an exploratory exercise - identify one variable, see what it does, fix it and move onto the next variable. Repeat until happy.
     
  6. DrJez

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    Posted 31/8/19
    I've put a glass of water on a towel, in front of the kegs, with the fan on, it seems to be coming together thanks to Mark's advice so far. When I last did this the fan was off and water sat on the back platform, this is when I 'calibrated' it. Today, the glass of water actually reads 7 degrees, as opposed to the supposed 2. Meaning I'd need to carb at 18psi to achieve 2.5vols carb

    Looking forward to sorting this once and for all! I'll be back
     
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  7. onemorecell

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    Posted 2/9/19
    I can very confidently say that 5ft lines sounds about right
    Generally you want 3m of 5mm line, or 1.5m of 4mm line
    Check exact measurements here http://www.mikesoltys.com/2012/09/17/determining-proper-hose-length-for-your-kegerator/

    Also no need to be a fkn smartass, your post says absolutely nothing about who cut your lines or their ability to be a good brew shop owner...
     
  8. DrJez

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    Posted 2/9/19
    Well my calculator say 10ft. Sorry you feel hurt, there's really no need to be bitter, it only hurts yourself as you hold onto it. No one else. Just let it go and be happy man :) try it for yourself. I'll be hitting the ignore button over your name because I'm tired of negative people online, I don't do that anymore. All the best to you

    UPDATE: Well I've been at 1-2 degrees celcius a few days now. Srarted off at 10-11psi, then gone up to 12 for the past two days and still a tadd undercarbed.. This is really strange but a couple people in one of the local brew groups have mentioned that check/one way valves for co2 lines will steal some of the pressure, essentially meaning you'll need to up the psi a few notches to find equilibrium. Not sure if there's truth in this but it would certainly make sense in my case

    I'll be back
     
  9. onemorecell

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    Posted 3/9/19
    sorry for trying to help i guess... :rolleyes:
     
  10. FarsideOfCrazy

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    Posted 3/9/19
    Yeah one way valves will drop the pressure by 2-3 psi, or for Mark, 13-20 kpa ;).

    If you've got a spunding valve, or can borrow one, attach it to your keg to see what the pressure is at the keg.
     
  11. MHB

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    Posted 3/9/19
    Hey, I'm old enough to remember shillings and penny's, not to mention other stupid measuring systems, still has them when I was at school.
    Dollars made sense, so did the change to metric, bit of a relief actually.
    Mark
     
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  12. DrJez

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    Posted 4/9/19
    Well I've been at 13-14psi, 1-2 degrees Celsius for a few days now, perfect!! So I take it that one way valve is stealing about 4psi from the inlet.. Or the reg is a little out aswell

    Thanks so much guys, you've really helped a Brother out. Cheers!!
     
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  13. DrJez

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    Posted 28/9/19
    Update, the back keg the fan blows on must be getting colder than the other two because it's slowly overcarbed.. This kegerator really is getting in my nerves a bit. Whats everyone doing to prevent this? I thought about putting a piece of coroflute over to shield, or perhaps even getting a manifold? It gets hot here in summer so compressor always running during the day, usually says 5 degrees now and sides very hot causing more trouble

    If I were running just two kegs I'd probably get away with careful placement but not possible with three
     
  14. stux

    Hacienda Brewhaus

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    Posted 28/9/19
    Put a small fan in the fridge. Perhaps in a better location
     
  15. MHB

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    Posted 29/9/19
    You only need a very small fan, I find a small computer fan works well.
    Remember that a fan is a heater, if you put in a 25W fan its adding the same amount of heat as many heat belts and that the fridge will have to extract all that heat, so it will be running longer.
    You could point the fan straight up, the idea is to break up the temperature gradient that forms in a fridge, it doesn't take a lot of air movement to achieve this, also moving air keeps the temperature homogenous so no keg should be hotter or colder than any other. If you are getting different levels of carbonation its more likely that you have slightly different pressures supplying the various kegs (one of the fun facts about check valves). I'm not a fan of check valves and find if you manage your kegs properly they are unnecessary.

    Mind you if your fridge is running constantly to hold 5oC, I suspect its new fridge time!
    Mark
     
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  16. scomet

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    Posted 29/9/19
    G’Day DrJez et al; What a thread to post in, how long is a piece of string! but its a topic close to my heart, keggerator actually…

    What Mark says and what peteru said and if it's still pouring foam have a think about a nucleation point. Mine took forever to get right! changed lines changed taps tried all pressures and temps etc etc. The taps are mass produced so they could be assembled incorrectly, my Perlic SSFC650 was! + I have taken all the springs out of my taps which helps but dont let your pi$$ed mates leave one open!! AND it took me a long time to get the right balance into the system. One of our local hotels spends half its life pouring foam. Persevere, closing and opening a foaming tap as peteru says can seem to 'snap’ the C02 back into solution, plus you have to carbonate them well in the first place I do 1bar for two weeks - Good luck…
     
  17. DrJez

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    Posted 29/9/19
    Cheers guys, the fridge is only 7 months old, a series 4 kegerator so I 'assume' fan is posistioned well.

    Just removed the check valve and pressure read 14psi as it did with the valve, in which case that is too high at 1-2 degrees the system has been sitting at since calibration before summer decided to arrive here last week. I've lowered to 10psi and will monitor how things go.

    Edit, I measured 36 celsius during heat of the day where kegerator sits, didn't drop below 6, soon as the sun went down it dropped to 2 so just too hot in the tropics. And it hasn't even begun to really heat up yet so going to be a rough few months. I recall the heat being unbearable out on the patio last year. My keezer in the tin shed used for fermentation however has no problem handling it all. If I had known this beforehand I'd probably have gone the keezer route. Fit more in, far more efficient, theoretically no hot/cold spots, open the door and cool air stays in, no icing up
     
    Last edited: 29/9/19

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