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Old 04-14-2011, 01:32 AM   #1
badmajon
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Default Annoying tap problem

I have a picnic tap and it keeps getting full of bubbles. I don't really know how to describe it aside from the fact I see bubbles in the line and it always screws up the first beer I pour- it just shoots a mass of foam into the beer, foams it up, then the second beer is just fine. What is going on?

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Old 04-14-2011, 03:29 AM   #2
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It's the same with any style tap. The serving pressure should be a little less than the carbonation pressure. This pressure decrease happens after the first pour. If you haven't poured a beer in a while, the first beer foaming will be more pronounced.

You can let off the pressure at the keg before serving, and it should pour fine.

This is not a scientific explanation. It's just what I found when serving the first couple of beers. The more the tap is active, the better everything is...

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Old 04-14-2011, 04:08 PM   #3
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No, it's actually bubbles finding their way into the line. When I dispense, I can actually see the wad of bubbles coming through the line and then you get the spray of foam into the glass. Thanks for the advice though.

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Old 04-14-2011, 05:40 PM   #4
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CO2 getting out of suspension in the warm picnic tap line. Use as short a line as possible, and reduce the serving pressure until you find the sweet spot.

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Old 04-14-2011, 06:18 PM   #5
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Don't reduce serving pressure. Reducing serving pressure means your beer will go flat! Serving pressure should always equal carbonation pressure, or else your carbonation will drop until it does.

Your bubbles are CO2 coming out of suspension. This is caused by one of many situations:

Your line is too warm. Do you have a fan or something circulating air in your kegerator? If you have a warm spot in the line, as the beer passes it CO2 will jump out of suspension.

Your beer is overcarbonated for the pressure you are dispensing at. If your beer carbonation pressure is higher than the pressure you are serving at, CO2 will come out of suspension. How did you carb your beer? Is your regulator set at the correct carbonation pressure?

Your reg pressure is set below your carbonation pressure. Similar to #2 above, but with the fine distinction that you didn't overcarb your beer, but are holding it at a lower pressure than you should. As the beer sits in the line, at a lower pressure then, CO2 comes out, and shows up as bubbles.

These are the things that cause bubbles in the line. If you are getting super foamy beer when you dispense, but no bubbles in the line, it's because your lines are too short, (system not balanced). If you increase reg pressure to the correct carbonation pressure and get foamy beer or too fast of a pour, then increase line length.

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Old 04-14-2011, 07:13 PM   #6
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I agree with you in the case of a kegerator. If he's using a portable set-up with external beer lines, there's no way to easily chill those lines. Reducing the pressure will work, regardless that you'll lose carbonation. Usually outdoor events are not long-term affairs and the reduction is carbonation will not be noticed.

I recently had a brew club party where I was serving a hefe that was carbonated @ 17 PSI, serving from a 12-18" line to keep the cold loss down (I couldn't cool the external lines). I reduced the pressure down to 2 PSI and the foam went away. Over the course of the night, the level of carbonation may have lowered BUT the beer was never flat, far from that.

So it all depends on the conditions.

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Don't reduce serving pressure. Reducing serving pressure means your beer will go flat! Serving pressure should always equal carbonation pressure, or else your carbonation will drop until it does.

Your bubbles are CO2 coming out of suspension. This is caused by one of many situations:

Your line is too warm. Do you have a fan or something circulating air in your kegerator? If you have a warm spot in the line, as the beer passes it CO2 will jump out of suspension.

Your beer is overcarbonated for the pressure you are dispensing at. If your beer carbonation pressure is higher than the pressure you are serving at, CO2 will come out of suspension. How did you carb your beer? Is your regulator set at the correct carbonation pressure?

Your reg pressure is set below your carbonation pressure. Similar to #2 above, but with the fine distinction that you didn't overcarb your beer, but are holding it at a lower pressure than you should. As the beer sits in the line, at a lower pressure then, CO2 comes out, and shows up as bubbles.

These are the things that cause bubbles in the line. If you are getting super foamy beer when you dispense, but no bubbles in the line, it's because your lines are too short, (system not balanced). If you increase reg pressure to the correct carbonation pressure and get foamy beer or too fast of a pour, then increase line length.
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Old 04-14-2011, 10:56 PM   #7
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Misplaced_Canuck View Post
I agree with you in the case of a kegerator. If he's using a portable set-up with external beer lines, there's no way to easily chill those lines. Reducing the pressure will work, regardless that you'll lose carbonation. Usually outdoor events are not long-term affairs and the reduction is carbonation will not be noticed.

I recently had a brew club party where I was serving a hefe that was carbonated @ 17 PSI, serving from a 12-18" line to keep the cold loss down (I couldn't cool the external lines). I reduced the pressure down to 2 PSI and the foam went away. Over the course of the night, the level of carbonation may have lowered BUT the beer was never flat, far from that.

So it all depends on the conditions.

M_C
Oh most definitely. For a short term event, adjust pressure to whatever you want. I agree 100%.
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