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Home Brew Forums > Home Brewing Beer > Bottling/Kegging > Correct Dispensing Pressure?
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Old 06-17-2008, 05:13 PM   #1
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Default Correct Dispensing Pressure?

If I do the math to balance the dispensing of my 2.5 Gal corny keg out of my fridge, I come up with about 10 psi. This is using about 4' of 3/16" and a picnic tap. The instructions that came with the keg say dispense at 3-5 psi. Which is correct?

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Old 06-17-2008, 05:38 PM   #2
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10 psi sounds about right for a 4' hose. I'd go for a 6' hose with 12-14psi myself. I guess it depends on if you are carbonating your own stuff or just dispensing carbonated beer. 3-5psi will get the beer out, but it will be flat if its not already carbed up.

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Old 06-17-2008, 05:42 PM   #3
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Hellbender,
You don't change your pressure to match your tubing ID and length. It's the other way around. You decide how carbonated you want your beer and based on the temp of the fridge you set the pressure to get you there. Once you know the pressure, you size your tubing so it doesn't dispense foam or dribble out. This can be anything between 3-10 feet. So, you probably wonder how you go about changing the tubing length all the time. You don't have to, if you make it too long, it just pours a little slow. If you make it too short you get a cup of foam. What's wrong with a slow pour? Nothing. 10 feet it is. It works great from 10-20i (that's an English Bitter up to a Wheat for me)

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Old 06-17-2008, 06:24 PM   #4
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Bobby_M View Post
Hellbender,
You don't change your pressure to match your tubing ID and length. It's the other way around. You decide how carbonated you want your beer and based on the temp of the fridge you set the pressure to get you there. Once you know the pressure, you size your tubing so it doesn't dispense foam or dribble out. This can be anything between 3-10 feet. So, you probably wonder how you go about changing the tubing length all the time. You don't have to, if you make it too long, it just pours a little slow. If you make it too short you get a cup of foam. What's wrong with a slow pour? Nothing. 10 feet it is. It works great from 10-20i (that's an English Bitter up to a Wheat for me)
I understand all that. What I don't understand is why the keg supplier figures (and instructs) that the beer should be dispensed at 3-5 psi. for a keg with 4' of 3/16" tubing when any reasonable calculation would indicate otherwise. Any ideas?
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Old 06-17-2008, 06:52 PM   #5
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I have no idea. There's a shrinking camp of people who ALWAYS drop pressure to dispense their kegs and many of them claim they do not lose carbonation even if they leave it there indefinitely. Those folks don't have a basic grasp of physics IMHO, but if the beer pours and they like it, great.

I hate the idea of changing my pressures depending on whether I'm serving or storing, etc. I set the pressure to what I want the beer carbed at and I call it a day. It stays there until the keg is empty.

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Old 06-17-2008, 09:28 PM   #6
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I set the pressure to what I want the beer carbed at and I call it a day. It stays there until the keg is empty.
I'm with you!
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Old 06-17-2008, 10:40 PM   #7
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I've moved over to Bobby's camp on this one.

I just swapped out my measly 4 feet of hose in my Sanyo (so dictated by doing that silly math thing) for an 8' piece.

Pressure is now set at 10PSI and the beer flows slow and smooth. No foaming. Before, I'd have to purge the keg of excess pressure and dial down to 4 or 5 PSI.

Whatever the math tells you to do...ad 3 or 4 feet and then dial up the PSI to your liking.

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Old 06-17-2008, 10:51 PM   #8
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+1 on Bobby's camp. The cobra tap will have a bit less resistance than a faucet and shank, and there won't be the added resistance of height to the faucet. This is probably why they say to lower the psi for dispensing. However, if you do the math, you don't really lose that much resistance. Also, your beer will have more vols of CO2 than 3-5psi can keep up with which will create a gradual loss in carbonation over time.

Stick to Bobby's camp on this and you will be happier.

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Old 06-18-2008, 06:03 PM   #9
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It looks like I need more line, as I am pumping a lot of foam if I don't do the purge and trickle out routine. A little bit of a tangent here. How do you carbonate different beers to different volumes? Do you have to do a different regulator on each keg?

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Old 06-18-2008, 11:52 PM   #10
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Matt Foley View Post
It looks like I need more line, as I am pumping a lot of foam if I don't do the purge and trickle out routine. A little bit of a tangent here. How do you carbonate different beers to different volumes? Do you have to do a different regulator on each keg?
The short answer is yes. The practical reality is that many beers are carbonated at about the same level so you don't necessarily have to have 4 regulators for a 4 keg kegerator.

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