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Old 07-23-2010, 11:07 PM   #1
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Default An alternative to line length for balancing?

I've just tapped my first keg a couple of days ago and have been unfortunately having foaming issues!

The background:
-being impatient, I carbonated in a hurry for this first batch with the 30psi+shake method, then reduced to 12psi for this red ale
-using a picnic tap with 3ft of proper clear 3/16ID beer line I had lots of foam
-tried 10ft of 3/16 braided beverage line, still just as foamy

The only way I could serve a foam-free glass was to pop off the gas, bleed almost all the pressure from the keg, then serve. I'm pretty sure having the proper 6+ feet of proper clear hose (rather than braided) would solve my problem but I'm having trouble finding some locally.

Just as an experiment, I've tried putting a C-clamp on the serving line to add resistance. It's a delicate balance, but if I set the pinch on the line just right I can pour a glass without foam, very slowly however. Too little pinch and it foams terribly.

I'm still trying to find some proper line, but I'm wondering if anyone has tried using a valve or somesuch (like my c-clamp) to provide a variable amount of line resistance for balancing? It might be an alternative to having all that extra hose in the kegerator or turning your CO2 pressure down for serving.

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Old 07-23-2010, 11:09 PM   #2
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Can't you just cut a longer line down to 6 feet?

EDIT: nevermind I have no reading comprehension


You could always order the beer line online...

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Old 07-23-2010, 11:21 PM   #3
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You could also give these a try:

Short Hose Troubles

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Old 07-23-2010, 11:43 PM   #4
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the issue isn't so much the pressure, but the pressure gradient. in other words, as the beer travels through its path, if there is any point along the way in which the pressure lessens suddenly, it's foam time. for each length and diameter of hose, there's a sweet spot of keg pressure, above which foaming will start to occur at the tap.

Your only real solution is to get a longer or narrower line, i believe.

EDIT: Just read the post linked above. That's a cool solution, hadn't thought of something like that. A long, stainless spring could be fed through any length of tubing for a similar effect.

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Old 07-23-2010, 11:53 PM   #5
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An easier long term fix would be to not set the psi to 30 psi and shake. That will encourage faster carbonation, but it will also over carb the beer so that you have to reduce the pressure to pour without foam. If you set it at 12 psi, and walk away for a week, it'll be about perfect. If you MUST shake because you can't wait a week, set it at 12 psi and shake. Any higher, and it will be overcarbed. A longer serving line will help for the 12 psi serving pressure.

A fix for this beer would be to reduce the pressure, to push the beer with foam free pours, and then to keep pulling the pressure release valve until it's no longer overcarbed.

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Old 07-23-2010, 11:54 PM   #6
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Shooter View Post
You could also give these a try:

Short Hose Troubles
As an aside, I tried that and they clogged up my dip tube, cutting off almost all flow so all I could get was a couple drops at a time...
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Old 07-24-2010, 12:00 AM   #7
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Quote:
Originally Posted by YooperBrew View Post
An easier long term fix would be to not set the psi to 30 psi and shake. That will encourage faster carbonation, but it will also over carb the beer so that you have to reduce the pressure to pour without foam. If you set it at 12 psi, and walk away for a week, it'll be about perfect. If you MUST shake because you can't wait a week, set it at 12 psi and shake. Any higher, and it will be overcarbed. A longer serving line will help for the 12 psi serving pressure.

A fix for this beer would be to reduce the pressure, to push the beer with foam free pours, and then to keep pulling the pressure release valve until it's no longer overcarbed.
+1
You beat me to it.
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Old 07-24-2010, 03:11 AM   #8
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Quote:
Originally Posted by PintOfBitter View Post
the issue isn't so much the pressure, but the pressure gradient. in other words, as the beer travels through its path, if there is any point along the way in which the pressure lessens suddenly, it's foam time. for each length and diameter of hose, there's a sweet spot of keg pressure, above which foaming will start to occur at the tap.

Your only real solution is to get a longer or narrower line, i believe.
Bingo. You're right. The sudden pressure change is causing foaming. The c-clamp pinch method hasn't worked consistently for me since the first pour that inspired the valve idea, unfortunately. I'll look into the idea linked above as well as continuing to seek out proper line, but I'll likely have to wait until my second, non-shaken keg to really know if I've make a difference. Truthfully, I knew I'd have problems with the shake method but I was really eager to try my new keg setup!

On that note, where have you guys found beer hose? All the LHBS in my city are pretty clueless about kegs, I've tried a few restaurant equipment shops, but I might just have to order some line off the web.
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Old 07-24-2010, 03:54 AM   #9
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Quote:
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As an aside, I tried that and they clogged up my dip tube, cutting off almost all flow so all I could get was a couple drops at a time...
Well, how the heck did you manage to do that?!?!?

I always clear a pint to get the bulk of any sediment through the diptube, purge, and then install the restrictor.
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Old 07-24-2010, 06:43 AM   #10
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Shooter View Post
Well, how the heck did you manage to do that?!?!?

I always clear a pint to get the bulk of any sediment through the diptube, purge, and then install the restrictor.
I dunno I can't figure it out. It was running fine until I dropped it in, then it completely stopped flowing except for a couple drops at a time. I take them out, and it runs fine again. I put them in and it clogs up.
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