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Old 01-09-2013, 03:22 PM   #1
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Default Foamy SN Commerical Keg

I have a small keezer in my garage. It is my backup system. I have a 5 gal CO2 bottle that connects the gas side to 2 kegs via a simple splitter. I don't have a full blown manifold. There is a fan to circulate cold air inside the unit. It keeps the temp consistent. I've tested it with an infrared laser thermometer.

Currently I have a 5-gallon Corny containing an Imerial Red Ale and a 1/6 Sankey commercial keg of SN Celebration Ale. Both kegs have 10ft beer lines out to the taps. I keep the Keezer at a steady 38F. I don' think there is any tempurature stratification inside the keezer, especially duing the winter.

My problem is that I'm getting about 80% foam with the commercial keg. The Corny is fine. I've turned my CO2 down to as low as 2 PSI to try to fix the problem. It stops foaming at about 3 PSI, but at that point the beer is literally trickling out of the faucet. It takes about a minute to fill a glass. When I turn it any higher than 3 PSI I get the foam back.

I know commercial kegs generally need a lower serving pressure, but I thought 6 PSI would be sufficient, especially with the longer beer lines.

Any ideas? Is mixing a commerical keg and a Corny a bad idea? Could it be a problem with the tap? I picked it up used.

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Old 01-09-2013, 03:25 PM   #2
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Quote:
Originally Posted by b-boy
I have a small keezer in my garage. It is my backup system. I have a 5 gal CO2 bottle that connects the gas side to 2 kegs via a simple splitter. I don't have a full blown manifold. There is a fan to circulate cold air inside the unit. It keeps the temp consistent. I've tested it with an infrared laser thermometer.

Currently I have a 5-gallon Corny containing an Imerial Red Ale and a 1/6 Sankey commercial keg of SN Celebration Ale. Both kegs have 10ft beer lines out to the taps. I keep the Keezer at a steady 38F. I don' think there is any tempurature stratification inside the keezer, especially duing the winter.

My problem is that I'm getting about 80% foam with the commercial keg. The Corny is fine. I've turned my CO2 down to as low as 2 PSI to try to fix the problem. It stops foaming at about 3 PSI, but at that point the beer is literally trickling out of the faucet. It takes about a minute to fill a glass. When I turn it any higher than 3 PSI I get the foam back.

I know commercial kegs generally need a lower serving pressure, but I thought 6 PSI would be sufficient, especially with the longer beer lines.

Any ideas? Is mixing a commerical keg and a Corny a bad idea? Could it be a problem with the tap? I picked it up used.
Was the Sierra keg stored cold when you purchased it, or has it sat at room temperature for any extended period. Wondering if it had an opportunity to start fermentation again. When we sold draught, we never let our kegs get over 46 degrees for fear of secondary fermentation (and foamy beer as a result)
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Old 01-09-2013, 03:30 PM   #3
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Since I got it, it's been kept cold. I special ordered the keg and they called me when it arrived. It was cold when I got it and it went straight into the keezer.

One other thing I've noticed is that I usually get a small puff of CO2 when i pour the first pint of the day. It looks like it's building up in the beer lines, so it's coming out of solution while that keg is sitting. My corny is not doing that.

Could the keg just be over-carbed?

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Old 01-09-2013, 05:09 PM   #4
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The keg isn't really overcarbed, but it is overcarbed relative to your 6 PSI.

6 psi at 38 degrees = 2 volumes of CO2. Sierra Nevada carbs their kegs to 2.6-2.7 volumes, so I'd aim for about 13 psi. Any less, and CO2 is going to break out of the solution and cause exactly the symptoms you're describing (foamy pours and pockets of gas in the beer line).

If you pour multiple beers in a row, is only the initial pour foamy? That would back up my hypothesis. Right now as you drink it, the keg is losing carbonation and will be pretty flat eventually if you don't crank up the pressure.

In the future I'd try to find out the carbonation level of a commercial keg before you tap it, so you can set your regulator appropriately and get foam-free pours from the start. E-mail/call the brewery, google around, or look on this forum. I remember seeing a small "commercial keg carbonation level" thread at some point.

Finally, at the risk of going off topic: your serving pressure should never be dictated by line length, only temperature and desired volumes of CO2. Carbonate the beer to the level that you want, if you can't serve it properly then check the line length. Saying "I thought 6 psi would be sufficient, especially with the longer beer lines" doesn't make much sense.

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Old 01-09-2013, 05:25 PM   #5
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All my pours are foamy. I've tried runing it at all ranges of CO2 up to about 15 PSI I get exactly the same results. No issues with the other keg.

I understand there is more to the whole process than line length, but it's been a fairly good compromise for this keezer. This is a backup unit I use for overflow. It's pretty basic.

That fact that I'm not seeing any foaming in the second keg is where I'm a little cofused. Even when I jack up the pressure to 15+ I have no issues. It was force carbed at 12psi for 3 weeks prior to adding the second keg to the mix. Since the whole system is pretty much tied together by a splitter I'd assume I'd get similar results in both kegs.

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Old 01-09-2013, 05:34 PM   #6
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There might be an additional problem. Maybe check out the coupler? Could be some gunk in there causing foaming. Or some crud in the faucet, etc. Either way I'd boost the pressure back up. If the other keg was carbed at 12 PSI you should be OK running them both at that pressure.

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Old 01-09-2013, 05:38 PM   #7
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have you vented the celebration? it would be a damn shame to lose a keg of delicious celebration.

having them on a splitter shouldn't be a problem unless one is overcarbed and the gas is seeping between the two.

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Old 01-09-2013, 05:59 PM   #8
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have you vented the celebration? it would be a damn shame to lose a keg of delicious celebration.

having them on a splitter shouldn't be a problem unless one is overcarbed and the gas is seeping between the two.
Trust me. I'll drink it flat if I have to.

It only comes around once a year and I had to jump through hoops to get my hands on this one. I was ready to start bribing people.
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Old 01-09-2013, 06:40 PM   #9
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I got one right before Thanksgiving. It went fast.

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Old 01-10-2013, 07:20 PM   #10
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I'm starting to think I have a bad tap. I jacked up the pressure yesterday and I'm still getting the same foaming. I tried to raise it a little more and noticed that when I do I immediatly get CO2 bubbling into the beer line. I think there is a leak of some kind. My other Sankey tap doesn't do this.

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