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Home Brew Forums > Home Brewing Beer > Bottling/Kegging > CO2 not "dissolving"?
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Old 08-30-2013, 10:16 PM   #1
jonathanchapman1
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Default CO2 not "dissolving"?

I have this keg kit: http://stores.kegconnection.com/Detail.bok?no=707

99% satisfied! My issue is that I sometimes get the impression that my beers aren't really all that carbed, even though I have left them on 15-18PSI for MONTHS. My 20lb tank has lasted over a year (also making me wonder if somehow I make magic beers that don't absorb CO2?)
Beer comes out with a terrific head, no over or under foaming issue... the problem is mouth feel is never "carbed". I can usually see small bubbles in the solution but it just doesn't "pop". I'm sure I can just up the PSI, but at 38F, how much higher should I be upping it? I don't have foam problems now but am very nervous about them!!
Is it possible my regulators gauge is bad? I have the tank in the keezer in case I need to make some sort of adjustment?

I know this sounds crazy but I just wanted to throw it out there to see if anyone can help me decipher if I am just insane...

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Old 08-30-2013, 10:27 PM   #2
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Might just be that you like a higher volume of CO2. What beer styles do you most enjoy?

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Old 08-31-2013, 04:19 AM   #3
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So holding beer for months at 38°F and 14-18 psi should result in carbonation levels between 2.75 and 3.15 volume of CO2. That's pretty high for all but a few beer styles. If you aren't seeing a boisterous amount of carbonation, there must be something amiss. Yes, maybe you're one of those folks that really enjoys a crap ton of bubbles, but 3 volumes ought to pretty much get you there.

If you can't determine if the low pressure gauge on your regulator is accurate, you might try bumping the pressure up by a few psi and see what happens after you give the beer enough time to absorb the extra CO2...

Cheers!

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Old 08-31-2013, 01:37 PM   #4
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I definitely don't like "highly carbonated" beers by any stretch. Will crank her up for a week and see what happens!

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Old 08-31-2013, 01:59 PM   #5
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I have 16 kegs tied into a multi-regulator bank fed off a 20# tank feeding a 12 tap keezer . You should get a lot of service if your only running a two taps. How much CO2 you you go through will be based on your volume % and how many kegs you go through. (not counting leaks)

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Old 08-31-2013, 02:07 PM   #6
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Let’s see if I can make sense of this without losing sight… I believe the “pop” you are referring to only relates to the perception of mouthfeel in relation to carbonation. That perception is fairly nominal within the totality of the beer’s final character. Beer pH (primarily acidity levels / lower pH), recipe formulation and the like play a much larger role in that “pop” you may be referring to. Do you brew all grain? Extract?

I know that after simply playing with a little water chemistry, mash pH, and recipe formulation along with mash temps and fermentation control (temp) I was able to design / brew / finish beers to MY liking. I prefer a beer with a little more residual sweetness balanced with higher than typical acidity levels and less carbonation. My guess (and it’s only a guess) is the “pop” you are after is not derived from carb levels (which are only part of the “mouthfeel” equation we’re discussing). Carbonation, though related to mouthfeel, only contributes to the perception of minor characteristics… Such as sweetness, mouthfeel, aroma, etc. That perception of related characteristics as contributed from carbonation can be higher or lower depending on carb levels. But the true characteristics, in my humble opinion, are derived from what happens to the beer BEFORE carbonation is ever in question. I hope I didn’t lose you….. Cheers mate!

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-jms

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Old 09-03-2013, 01:33 AM   #7
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Originally Posted by ManhattanProjectBrewing View Post
Let’s see if I can make sense of this without losing sight… I believe the “pop” you are referring to only relates to the perception of mouthfeel in relation to carbonation. That perception is fairly nominal within the totality of the beer’s final character. Beer pH (primarily acidity levels / lower pH), recipe formulation and the like play a much larger role in that “pop” you may be referring to. Do you brew all grain? Extract?

I know that after simply playing with a little water chemistry, mash pH, and recipe formulation along with mash temps and fermentation control (temp) I was able to design / brew / finish beers to MY liking. I prefer a beer with a little more residual sweetness balanced with higher than typical acidity levels and less carbonation. My guess (and it’s only a guess) is the “pop” you are after is not derived from carb levels (which are only part of the “mouthfeel” equation we’re discussing). Carbonation, though related to mouthfeel, only contributes to the perception of minor characteristics… Such as sweetness, mouthfeel, aroma, etc. That perception of related characteristics as contributed from carbonation can be higher or lower depending on carb levels. But the true characteristics, in my humble opinion, are derived from what happens to the beer BEFORE carbonation is ever in question. I hope I didn’t lose you….. Cheers mate!

Best,

-jms

Thanks for the detailed response! I brew all-grain, and upon reflection, I tend to mash high to try to get "more mouthfeel". This is probably contributing to the lower "pop" i am looking for. I get good results from bottle conditioning which is why I was thinking it was a keg issue, but the more i think about it, i have always been putting my "thicker" beers on tap and bottling my "lighter" beers. This may explain it all!
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Old 09-03-2013, 01:45 AM   #8
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Quote:
Originally Posted by jonathanchapman1 View Post
Thanks for the detailed response! I brew all-grain, and upon reflection, I tend to mash high to try to get "more mouthfeel". This is probably contributing to the lower "pop" i am looking for. I get good results from bottle conditioning which is why I was thinking it was a keg issue, but the more i think about it, i have always been putting my "thicker" beers on tap and bottling my "lighter" beers. This may explain it all!
One thing I want to toss out there is that serving line length might be "knocking out" the bubbles into the head so the beer seems less carbonated.

With 38 degrees, and 14 psi, you should have spritzy carbonation. If your lines are short, the bubbles will come out of solution and cause nice foamy heads, but seemingly less carbonated beer.

I'd try lengthening just one beer line- to 12' (or even a bit longer). See if you notice a difference with a slow pour in the level of carbonation. It worked so well for me that I thought I'd mention it.
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Old 09-03-2013, 02:52 AM   #9
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I'd second the idea about looking at your water chemistry. You may have some pretty high chloride levels which tend to soften flavors.

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Old 09-03-2013, 07:43 AM   #10
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I think the other posts have hit on most everything, but I'll throw out one more longshot possibility. I helped a bar recently that was having a similar issue, and it turned out to be caused by to many checkvalves with high cracking pressures. They had a checkvalve at the regulator, an inline check valve in the main line between the reg and manifold, integrated check valves in each shut off at the manifold, and another inline checkvalve for each line. The inline valves all had 2 psi cracking pressure, and the others had a cracking pressure of 1 psi. This essentially reduced the pressure between the regulator and each keg by 6 psi.

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