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Old 03-03-2013, 02:09 AM   #51
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I don't know what they charge, but Wyeast will do infection analysis for you. You could take a sample from the gas line, and a sample of the beer or of the white contamination in the keg. It could save you a lot of work (if not money) to get a definitive answer.

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Old 03-19-2013, 06:08 AM   #52
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I got in touch with White Labs, who also does analysis, and they basically recommended to try and solve the problem rather than spend money shipping the sample to find what bacteria are there. I described the problems to them and they seemed to agree that it was Acetobacter, or something called Pediococcus. I don't it think it can be the gas lines, as out of the three kegs I recently had after the thorough cleaning I only noticed the taste in the first one I tapped, and only two of the three previous to that.

After further analysis of my two remaining kegs I think it likely that the problem that resurfaced in the first one after the cleaning was likely residual. I changed out my tap lines after the first keg was done, starting the new one with the second keg, and noticed a slightly similar sourness but on a much lesser scale. Also, the first keg did have a distinct souring/ vinegar taste like before but it did not develop into a much greater problem as it had before.

The first keg had a Pilsner, the second a Helles, and my third a Dopplebock. The funny thing is that the third one was one of the original two that had the original problem. I had left it lagering for nearly two months though and it has no hint whatsoever of any sour/ vinegary taste. I'm at a loss, but I'm definitely drinking everything up!

I will, of course, heed the advice of all of you and disassemble my gas lines and regulators (as I have 2 sets) though. I will also look into the Lemishine from Wal-Mart to refortify the kegs, instead of spending hundreds on new kegs. The problem seems at least to be slowly working its way out of my production line, if not already eradicated. Here's to hoping! For the true deliciousness of my dopplebock I thank you all for your help and hope the demons are exorcised, never to return again. I should also hope nothing like this happens to anyone here, as it is a true beast that feeds on the beer before you can.

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Old 03-20-2013, 07:08 PM   #53
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The other day I was tasting my dopplebock and it tasted fine but I decided to up the CO2 pressure to give it some more fiz. After doing so I noticed that a familiar sour/ sulfur taste, so yesterday I took apart my gas lines and the connections. I noticed in the ball-lock connections a small collection of caked on goop, and took off the lines from my double-ball valve isolation block to find the teflon washers there were stained from the same goop. I cleaned everything as best as I could and then sanitized everything, so I hope this is the last of the matter.

However, I could not easily open up the regulator or the hose between the it and the double-ball valve isolation block. So, my question is should I even bother trying to delve further into that portion or do I risk potentially breaking the regulator by doing so? Anyone ever take one apart before? Also, since blowback seems to have somehow gotten all the way up the hose over the last year or so would it be feasible to install some sort of filter, if one even exists for that sort of thing? Any additional help regarding these questions on this long drawn out problem will, of course, be once again greatly appreciated.

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Old 03-20-2013, 08:28 PM   #54
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If there's a chance that you have more nasty gunk in other components of the gas system, then it's absolutely worth taking it all apart and cleaning. Regulators aren't that hard to disassemble. Just be organized and keep track of where everything goes (don't let the spring get loose), and be careful with the diaphragm. They're relatively simple and only have a few parts.

What you need to prevent backflow is a check valve for each gas line, not a filter. Inline check valves are cheap insurance at only ~$2-3 each. I use the ball and spring style from us plastics.

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Old 03-21-2013, 04:11 AM   #55
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I'm not sure how a check valve would help in my case, as I always have my gas valve open to provide constant pressure for dispensing. From what I know of check valves, they only work when the pressure on the opposite side of the source (in this case, the keg with beer) is greater, to protect the source (the gas source). Beer isn't being pressurized back into the line but is rather being sucked in due to the differential pressure occurring, only when I initially pressurize or dispense I'm guessing since I see no other way this would occur. Unless I'm totally misunderstanding things, I believe what I need is a filter to provide a constant boundary so that beer does not travel into the line at all.

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Old 03-21-2013, 04:35 AM   #56
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Yes, you're totally misunderstanding things.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Aloha_Brew View Post
Beer isn't being pressurized back into the line but is rather being sucked in due to the differential pressure occurring, only when I initially pressurize or dispense I'm guessing since I see no other way this would occur.
This makes zero sense. Yes, it's a pressure differential causing the flow, meaning that the pressure on one end is higher than on the other end. You can think of it as either the lower pressure on the regulator side creating a relative vacuum and "sucking" things towards the regulator, or as the higher pressure on the keg side pushing things towards the regulator, but it's the same thing.

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From what I know of check valves, they only work when the pressure on the opposite side of the source (in this case, the keg with beer) is greater, to protect the source (the gas source).
Yes, that's exactly how they work. A check valve, when functioning properly, only allows flow in one direction. When the pressure on the gas tank side is higher than the pressure on the keg side, the valve opens and allows gas through. When the pressure on the keg side is higher than the pressure on the tank side, the valve closes and doesn't allow anything to flow through. I'm not sure what type of filter you think would allow gas through, but not beer, and yet not completely clog and block all flow the first time beer touches it.

There are many types of check valves, but here's how ball and spring check valves work. With pressures equal on either side, the spring pushes the ball against the seat, closing the valve. As long as the pressure on the left is higher than on the right, the valve will remain closed. The pressure on the right has to be high enough compared to the left to push the ball against the spring hard enough to open it. The pressure required to do this is called the cracking pressure. The cracking pressure for the ones I use is 1psi, which means that with the regulator set to 13 psi, the keg pressure has to drop below 12psi before the check valve will open and allow gas through.
fig1-19.jpg  
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Old 03-21-2013, 04:49 AM   #57
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What I'm saying is that a check valve may stop most of the problem I seem to be having with beer entering the line, but it cannot stop it all because the pressure can equalize between the line and the keg; this still allows beer dispersed by the introduction of gas to pass by a check valve. A filter though, would prevent any liquid from entering the pressurized gas line period, if only by soaking it up to the point of saturation, at which point it would not function well at all.

Truthfully, the fact that there is pressure at all should negate the need for either. I can only guess that I may have left the lines unpressurized and connected during one of the times I moved my kegs to another location.

I may have worded my response poorly but the fundamental premise is still there... Forgive me, as I'm a technician and not an engineer. :P

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Old 03-21-2013, 04:57 AM   #58
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Aloha_Brew View Post
What I'm saying is that a check valve may stop most of the problem I seem to be having with beer entering the line, but it cannot stop it all because the pressure can equalize between the line and the keg; this still allows beer dispersed by the introduction of gas to pass by a check valve.
No, I don't think you're understanding how check valves work. If the pressure equalizes, the check valve will remain in the closed position. See the edit above with the diagram added.

I promise you that check valves are what you need. There's a reason they're integrated into nearly every commercially sold CO2 distributor/manifold.
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Old 03-21-2013, 06:44 AM   #59
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Ah hah...eureka, and then some. Forgot about the fundamental fact that equalization with active resistance would result in the closing of the ball valve until pressure increased again on the gas side. I stand corrected good sir, and will now look for check valves as you have described. I've had four of my dopplebocks within 3 hours and yet I am still able to understand the mistake I have made. 'Tis amazing. Thanks for the help, and the re-education.

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Old 03-21-2013, 07:17 AM   #60
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FWIW these are what I use-

http://www.usplastic.com/catalog/ite...=searchresults

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