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Home Brew Forums > Home Brewing Beer > Equipment/Sanitation > About to throw in the towel...before I even begin (balancing questions)
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Old 03-31-2014, 01:01 AM   #1
Foamy_Dan
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Default About to throw in the towel...before I even begin (balancing questions)

Reaching out to all ye beer lovers for help - I purchased a Nostalgic Electric KRS-2100 kegerator in the hopes of beginning to home-brew in the near future. From what I read the modification required to fit corny kegs is minimal and cheap. So first things first, let's try a regular keg and balance the system. Picked up a 5 gallon keg of Racer 5 IPA. I am now 1.5 weeks into this keg and have had nothing but issues. I've been scouring this (and other) websites reading up on everything required to balance a system and I'm still having issues.

1. I have a 2.5lb co2 tank, dual gauge reg, 5 feet of 3/16 beer line, and the beer temperature at 38 degrees.

2. On another forum someone contacted the brewmaster and Co2 volume is 2.25. Per the beer chart (http://www.draft-beer-made-easy.com/.../carbchart.pdf) I should be at 11-12 PSI.

3. Started with 12 PSI and the beer was waaay to foamy - like 90% foam. Adjusted to 8 PSI and beer flow was much better, however I noticed there was co2 in the beer line. After work i would come home and there would be a few inches of c02 in the line at the coupler.

This was not ideal, but I poured a few beers anyway and after the 3rd beer it started spurting out foam! Beer was also very cloudy. Check the line and it's about 1inch of beer for every inch of co2. Seems like I am way under pressured...WHY!? I am clearly not balanced here?

4. Figured something was off so started over. Checked for leaks everywhere and can't find one.Washers seem to be in place. Emptied Co2 from keg and regulator. PSI is back to 10 and I'm pouring cloudy beer (flow is good) and there is Co2 in the line....noooo. Note: I did wait about 30 hours before trying again.

Suggestions ? This experience is making me want to throw in the towel on home brewing before i even start! What am i missing?! Thanks in advance for any help!

pics - http://imgur.com/rU92fDm

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Old 03-31-2014, 01:17 AM   #2
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I would think there will always be co2 in the beer line as it will come out of suspension once it's left the keg if it's staying in the line.

Honestly I think your beer line is just too short, I think the standard is 1 foot per psi.
I bet if you used 10 foot lines everything would work at your current pressures

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Old 03-31-2014, 01:33 AM   #3
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I was also thinking of longer beer line. I started with picnic taps and they seem to do fairly well at about 5 ft. but, I had to keep the pressure fairly low and it was uneven. Now I have Perlick 525ss and 630ss taps and 10 ft. lines. It takes over a week for things to stabilize and fully carbonate.

Also, I would not put kegging and homebrewing together. Most start off bottling and then progress to kegging, myself included. Get a homebrew going while fine tuning your keg setup. If you haven't figured out the kegerator, you can always bottle the batch.

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Old 03-31-2014, 02:10 AM   #4
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I believe you might have one more ft than required for 3\16 tubing. That diameter should give you 3psi/ft resistance. So if you have your keg at 12 psi and 5 ft that's 15psi total resistance.

I would say cut the ft and it should work fine. Calculation doesn't account for tap resistance loss also.

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Old 03-31-2014, 02:15 AM   #5
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i believe you might have one more ft than required for 3\16 tubing. That diameter should give you 3psi/ft resistance. So if you have your keg at 12 psi and 5 ft that's 15psi total resistance.

I would say cut the ft and it should work fine. Calculation doesn't account for tap resistance loss also.
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Old 03-31-2014, 03:12 AM   #6
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Start with at least 10ft of 3/16"ID beer line. Don't trust the calculators.

Reducing the line length is going to get you nowhere.

If 10ft doesn't help, then I'd recommend looking at the seals on the tap. It may be leaking CO2 off the headspace into the beer line. Is it a Sanke style keg? I only see one pic of the gauges. Picture of the keg and beer lines maybe.

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Old 03-31-2014, 03:42 AM   #7
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Start with at least 10ft of 3/16"ID beer line. Don't trust the calculators.

Reducing the line length is going to get you nowhere.

If 10ft doesn't help, then I'd recommend looking at the seals on the tap. It may be leaking CO2 off the headspace into the beer line. Is it a Sanke style keg? I only see one pic of the gauges. Picture of the keg and beer lines maybe.
I would like to respectfully disagree. I have three kegs set with 3/16 at about 4 ft each to the tap. Also check this article out it should help a lot.

http://beersmith.com/blog/2011/07/14...of-draft-beer/
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Old 03-31-2014, 05:17 AM   #8
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Thanks for the quick reply everyone. Yeah I figured that the line length might be the culprit. It's basically the only variable I have not adjusted for yet. My ideal PSI is 9, so per the formula my length is 2.67ft.

L = (PSI -1) / 3
L = (9-1)/3 = 2.67

I think I'm inclined to start long and work my way short. I can start with 10ft and bring it back by 6in increments, but is the line length causing the few inches of co2/air in line near the coupler? No cooler on the tower but it is insulated.

Keg coupler is sanke. Picture is attached (you can see the air starting to form in the line).

photo-1.jpg  
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Old 03-31-2014, 07:12 AM   #9
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Originally Posted by Foamy_Dan View Post
Thanks for the quick reply everyone. Yeah I figured that the line length might be the culprit. It's basically the only variable I have not adjusted for yet. My ideal PSI is 9, so per the formula my length is 2.67ft.

L = (PSI -1) / 3
L = (9-1)/3 = 2.67

I think I'm inclined to start long and work my way short. I can start with 10ft and bring it back by 6in increments, but is the line length causing the few inches of co2/air in line near the coupler? No cooler on the tower but it is insulated.

Keg coupler is sanke. Picture is attached (you can see he air starting to form in the line).
Well you already have a 5 foot section, so cutting it down to 3 feet isnt going to waste anything at this point...if it works great if it doesnt get a 15 foot section and work back. 15 will likely be too slow, so cut it back a foot at a time until your satisfied with the speed vs foaming. I'd say just wait an hour or two between length check pours, so that your lines have a chance to reach their median temp that you will normally be serving beer at..if you just throw them on warm and pump beer through it immediately you might get "false" foaming.

Im more inclined to say you need longer rather than shorter, i cant imagine running 3 feet lines for 10PSI, sounds crazy to me regardless of what the calculators say. I run 13 feet of Accuflex bevseal 3/16 and run at like 10-12PSI, it may pour a tad on the slow side but never any foaming and if i want head on the beer just drop the glass lower at the end and a nice head forms every time.

Im not in a bar pumping out drinks at a record pace, so if my pint takes 15 seconds to fill instead of 10 its not the end of the world..i'd rather not waste the beer or my time with foam.
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Old 03-31-2014, 01:16 PM   #10
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I wouldn't worry too much about seeing what is in the lines.

What temp is your kegorator running at? You might just need to turn down the temp a bit as well.

Also check for any kinks, or sediment build up in the taps. I doubt your line has beer stone/scale in it this quickly but it might be worth a shot at cleaning the lines.

Since you are new to kegging, make sure you are pouring the beer correctly. always use a clean glass and hold the glass at a 45 degree angle not letting it touch the faucet. When a little over 1/2 full turn the glass so its straight up and down. Make sure when you open/close the faucet you do it quickly and fully. When people come over my house the number 1 mistake I see is people opening the faucets too slowly and not opening them all the way up. A quick 20 second lesson and they are pouring perfect beers.

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