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Unsure If Keg Setup Is Unbalanced Or Over/under Carbed

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Marc One

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Ha! This sunny monday arvo I innocently started mucking around with my new keg set up. Now here I am feeling how I normally would on a Friday night (found my wobbly boot in other words) feeling defeated as I can't seem to balance my system properly!

I'll try to be short and sweet with this, you guys have heard all this before probably after doing some searching on this site. I have been investigating the last few hours on this forum and google but still not sure which way to go.

Basically I kegged my first keg yesterday with a cascade APA and let it chill o/n with only 10 or so KPA Co2 to chill it off (unsure of fridge temp, but it's up 3/4 it capability atm).

This arvo I applied the "Ross Forced Carb" method as I was impatient and was very keen to use my keg system. Followed the instructions word for word until the step "turn off the gas at the reg, and rock until reg pressure decreases between 140 to 160 kpa. After the 50 secs I shut off the gas at the reg it decreased to around 70 kpa. So turned up reg to 300 kpa, shook for an additional 10 secs, turned off reg. This time it settled on 100 kpa. Repeated this step for a third time and I ended up on 140 kpa. At this point I disconnected gas and threw the keg in the fridge for an hour.

I released the pressure after an hour and reconnected the gas line and gassed up the keg to 90kpa. Then attempted my first pour. Nothing but foam of course. After my research I came to the conclusion I had over carbed.

So, for the next couple of hours I have been shaking and burping the keg about 5 times and playing around with regulator pressures. I should mention now I have only 1 meter of beer line (inadequate I know from my research this arvo). As of the last schooner I poured about 15 mins ago (number 7, hence the wobbly boot) I have achieved a glass of beer with acceptable head to beer ratio. I have achieved this by burping the keg as previously mentioned, but also only having my dispensing pressure at 5 - 10 kpa, just barely gassing the keg. The beer itself has minimal carbonation, prob the same amount as a kilkenny on tap.

Bugger, it's a long post, sorry. What I'm wondering is should I keep my serving pressure as is and try to hit the beer with a bit more pressure over a few days to let it equalise? Will it come good after a few days in the fridge as is? Or should I completely burp my keg, buy 3m of beer line and recarb it using the "sit and wait" method of pressurizing under 90kpa over several days?

Much appreciative of any help! Marc
 

raven19

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I think you know your answer already at the end of your OP.

3-4m of beer line and sit you reg at serving pressure between 50 - 100kpa (depending on your preference to beer carbonation).

My reg sits around 60 - 70kpa and fridge at around 8 degrees usually.
 

kelbygreen

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ok firstly have you used THIS! spreadsheet and balanced your system???
1. mistake is that you got carried away carb your beer at the pressure you will serve over a week, This way you can balance your system properly. You can not balance a system with a keg thats been over or under carbed.

2. I tend to under carb a keg if force carbing as that way it will balance its self without stuffing around and burping it and a little under carbed beer wont matter just wont hold head as well.

3. you had it on the gas for a day and then you force carbed so you will not know how much carb the beer has to start with.

4. the temp and the hottest temp after fermentation will affect how carbed the beer already was befor you even connected the gas.

5. depending on the temp your kegs at 90kpa may be to high of a pour rate (see the spread sheet)

6. the beer line may be to short (see spread sheet)

Use the spreadsheet its not the be all end all and that will be perfect but its a place to start. Also always start with beer line longer then you think and then cut it down over time till it pours well (good excuse to drink heaps :p )

As I say its imposible to balance a system with a force carbed keg. Set the serving pressure you will always use and then slow carb and cut beer line to suit. People have extenders they put on the beer line as if they get a pilsen they want lower carb then they extend the beer line and can take the extension off once a ale goes back in this way you control the flow with the line not the pressure.
 

Wortgames

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I don't think you over-carbed. There are other reasons for a foamy first pour - is the beer passing through a warm tap? Is your pouring technique good?

Learn to live with it and let it settle for a few days, if your beer is too flat you need more pressure, if it pours too quick you need more line. If you don't let it settle in though you will be chasing your tail changing things that might not need to be changed.
 

Deebo

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I would buy at least 3m of beer line then see how it pours, if it is still foamy try warming up and getting more co2 out of solution.
Also be aware that if the tap is warm it can cause the first beer to be a bit foamy but the pour after that should be better.
 

MarkBastard

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It definitely sounds like you overcarbed, just going off the method above.

Getting carbonation right is easy, however the problem is people rarely explain how to do it right.

The first thing is what temperature are you serving at. This is really really important.

The second thing is desired level of carbonation. This is also really important. With these two things you can work out ideal serving pressure to keep the system in balance.

Once you have that sorted, and the serving balance, you can work out line length based on having the beer come out of the tap at the right speed for your preferences, the way you hold your glass, the type of glass you use, and the temperature of your glass. This one doesn't really have an exact figure, it's up to you and any calculators are good for a guide only.

If your lines are too long gas will come out of solution in the lines, and your taps will 'fart' when you first pour them. This will make the first glass have more head than the second. Not the end of the world but not ideal.

If your lines are too short the beer will come out too fast and it will be HARD to pour a beer with the right head. It'll have too much head basically. For the first and for the second beer you pour.
 

kelbygreen

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is 3m needed?? I set my reg to about 83kpa and keezer at 4c and I only have 1.2m of line. As said the first say 30ml pour goes into a container and goes down the sink but after then its ok even if left for a hour you get little foaming but not to bad.
 

MarkBastard

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is 3m needed?? I set my reg to about 83kpa and keezer at 4c and I only have 1.2m of line. As said the first say 30ml pour goes into a container and goes down the sink but after then its ok even if left for a hour you get little foaming but not to bad.
Sounds like you answered your own question.
 

Marc One

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OK,thanks guys. As always I have gone in head first into something new I thought I knew everything about, yet in reality I've only taken on board 50% of what I have read. Typical Gen Y some would say!

I''ll begin by letting it sit over night I think. I'll hit LHBS or Enzed on the way home from work and get 3m of 6mm beer line. I'll pour another one tomorrow arvo and see if the same result is occurring. Will prob just install the longer line anyway and try that since that's the "norm". Process of elimination untill hopefully I get it straightened out in time for my poker night this friday!
 

MarkBastard

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Get the thinnest line you can, usually the thinnest practical line is 8mm outer diametre 5mm inner diametre. Get beer line too, not sure if ENZED stock that?
 

Maheel

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yeah wait till tomorrow and see what it's like

i kegged a DSGA today and i give it the "ross method" but i use a fire ex to force carb so have to keep giving it a "hit" of gas as i shake and roll.
my 50 sec shake is more like 3 mins... if tomorrow it's a bit low carb i give it another big hit and just leave it.
after a few days mine seems to come good and it balances it self out.

my cheap arse flow control tap seems to help if i have any issues

let it rest overnight and see what its like

anyway low carb beer is supposed to be good for you, hey ? :p
 

jkmeldrum

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I posted a similar sort of thread a few months back after I just set up my kegerator, and many of the same members replied in similar fashion (thanks) but someone also mentioned something that I've used since to great effect.

Forget about force carbing while you're new to it, and just trickle it in gently over about a week. I've done this now with about 6 kegs, I started low, my reg sits at about 50, but I got there by starting low and making small adjustments. I now know what my reg needs to be on for my beer line length and temp as per previous posts.

It's easy to adjust it up slowly if need be, but harder to go back down the other way when over-carbonated.

I know you want to be drinking your beer but it's better if you can be patient.

Cheers

Molly
 

Wortgames

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I rarely (if ever) force carb, the main reason being that I can't be bothered, but coming a close second is that I tend to keg straight out of the fermenter and let it cold condition in the serving fridge (chest freezer) so there's nothing to gain by it. Apply gas and let it carb while also cooling and settling over a few days, what's the hurry.

Still beats the crap out of bottling :super:
 

mxd

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is 3m needed?? I set my reg to about 83kpa and keezer at 4c and I only have 1.2m of line. As said the first say 30ml pour goes into a container and goes down the sink but after then its ok even if left for a hour you get little foaming but not to bad.
will also depend on the ID of the beer line you use.
 

mxd

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OK,thanks guys. As always I have gone in head first into something new I thought I knew everything about, yet in reality I've only taken on board 50% of what I have read. Typical Gen Y some would say!

I''ll begin by letting it sit over night I think. I'll hit LHBS or Enzed on the way home from work and get 3m of 6mm beer line. I'll pour another one tomorrow arvo and see if the same result is occurring. Will prob just install the longer line anyway and try that since that's the "norm". Process of elimination untill hopefully I get it straightened out in time for my poker night this friday!

Another way to force cab (which is possibly the safest ? N.B never done it but I think I read it here) leave reg on serving pressure (or pressure you require for carbonation level and temp your running at) and keep shaking/rocking the keg at that pressure for 5 to 10 mins, until you turn the gas off and the pressure doesn't drop when keg is shaken.
 

Deebo

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If you are in a hurry you could probably also connect your gas to a beer disconnect and bubble gas out the dip tube at serving pressure to carbonate it a bit quicker.. though you may run the risk of beer shooting up your gas line if pressure drops for some reason.
 

kelbygreen

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yeah forgot about that MXD yes beer ID does matter and mines 5mm so that would be why :p i know 8mm ID I think it said I needed 14m lol be a bit hard to squeeze in a keezer. Tony told me a trick to connect the gas at serving pressure to beer out and rock it till you cannot hear it bubbling then leave 5 mins and repeat till no bubbling happens. Again like force carbing it wont hold head perfect but you cannot over carb
 

Phoney

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One thing I learnt (the hard way) when I finished my kegerator was that "serving pressure" is not the same for every system. I have a chest freezer conversion with a collar, 4 kegs inside, 5mm ID lines at 2m lengths, chilled to 4C and 2 fans inside to keep the air circulating inside and I never force carb. Normal sounding system right? Yet if I leave it at the serving pressure I've read everyone using ie: 50 - 80kpa the kegs become over-carbonated to the point of me ending up with a schooner of foam and 1cm of beer after about 7 days.

So I set my regulator to around 10 - 20kpa, basically as soon as the needle lifts off the bar. Dont ask me why but only at this rate can I get good carbonation and the right sized head. :blink:

Maybe worth a shot?
 

krusty_oz

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Get the thinnest line you can, usually the thinnest practical line is 8mm outer diametre 5mm inner diametre. Get beer line too, not sure if ENZED stock that?
7mm OD 4mm ID flexmaster beerline and fittings are available through places like Andale and some homebrew shops. I have 4mm on my 'everyday' taps and 6mm on my flooded 'party' font
 

Pat Casey

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The rock'n'roll method is a terrible way to carbonate beer. It's inconsistent and unreliable. It's also a terrible way to treat beer. It's strictly last resort stuff.

A draught system needs to be balanced between 1. pressure of gas in the beer, 2. dispense pressure, and 3. resistance in the beer line. If the system is out of balance it will pour foam.

Generally have the fridge running at about 3 or 4 degrees. Chill the beer for 24 hours. Then gas at 300 kPa continuously applied for 24 hours. Dispense at about 70 kPa through two metres of 5 mm ID proper beer line. Check fridge temp by leaving a glass of water in the fridge for several hours and take the water temp.

If you have the time just hooking up the gas at the dispense pressure and leaving it for about a week works nicely.

Disregard the first half glass because cold beer hitting warm tap will create foam.

You can tell which way a system is out of balance by looking at the beer line. It the beer is foaming in the line all the way from the keg to the tap then either the beer is overcarbonated or the dispense pressure is too low, or a combination of both. If there is solid beer all the way down the line and it still pours foam despite a "correct" dispense pressure, then the line is too short (not enough resistance in it). If there is solid beer to a point and then foam to the tap then the line is probably too long by the length of foam.

Approximate resistances or pressure drops for beer line are:
4 mm id 44 kPa per metre,
5 mm id 32 kPa per metre,
6 mm id 20 kPa per metre.

Temperature effects pressure, so if the fridge is not running as cold as it should be then this will cause problems eg fridge needs defrosting, hot day and you've put another full keg in etc.

Pat
 

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