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Old 01-12-2013, 12:23 PM   #1
Effigyc
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Default Help! I can't get beer in my keg to carbonate

I usually keg 3 gallons in a 5 gallon keg. I have tried the 3 major methods I know of: turning the pressure up to 30-40psi for several days then turning down to 10-12 to serve, rolling the keg, and most recently I let the beer sit in the keg at 54 F and 12 psi for 2 weeks. It still comes out flat! I would think that I have a leak, but I've used the bubble test around the connnections and they seem to be good. If I had a leak in the keg itself would I not see the volume of CO2 in the tank slowly decreasing?

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Old 01-12-2013, 12:36 PM   #2
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If the beer is taking in CO2 there will be a drop in amount in the tank set it on a scale( the only true way you can tell how much CO2 you have) 54* is a little warm the warmer the MORE CO2 you will use my chart says 18psi for 2 weeks. I also recommend setting the seals with 30psi purge air out then spray the top with star-san to see if any leaks at the keg. Gas leaks at the fittings and loss of CO2 is the reason I am shifting over to push-lock fittings.

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Old 01-12-2013, 12:38 PM   #3
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The gauge that shows tank pressure will not move until the tank is empty, then it drops to zero. That gauge is basically useless. You might have a leak, or the beer may be over carbed. If you get a glass of foam that's flat after it settles, you have over carbed it. Maybe you have a kinked serving line, or the beer radically changes temperature as it's being served? Both could cause CO2 to come out of solution.

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Old 01-12-2013, 12:39 PM   #4
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Beer absorbs more CO2 at colder temperatures. 54 is pretty warm; I've never tried it that high but have never had a problem at 40 for a few days...

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Old 01-12-2013, 12:48 PM   #5
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Frustrating! I am assuming that you are using corny keg and you are certain that the gas is getting in the keg. If the gas is getting in then you have to have a leak. One thing to look at is the post gasket on the gas side. If it is damaged the post won't show a leak but the bad gasket will start leaking when you attach the gas disconnect.

As for the volume gauge showing the loss, if the tank is full it might take a while for a slow loss to show up on most gauges.

Cheers

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Old 01-13-2013, 04:10 PM   #6
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Originally Posted by masonsjax View Post
The gauge that shows tank pressure will not move until the tank is empty, then it drops to zero. That gauge is basically useless. You might have a leak, or the beer may be over carbed. If you get a glass of foam that's flat after it settles, you have over carbed it. Maybe you have a kinked serving line, or the beer radically changes temperature as it's being served? Both could cause CO2 to come out of solution.
This is almost exactly what's happening! (although I will spray down the keg with star san this week too. I'll pick up a spray bottle the next time I go to the grocery store) What's the solution? I saw a thread a few up from mine where they told the guy to just buy a longer hose. Do I also need to adjust the psi the next time I try to carb?
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Old 01-13-2013, 05:13 PM   #7
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Patience is a virtue in the world of homebrewing. Use one of the many carbonation volume charts on the web to figure out what pressure and temperature you should be targeting for your style of beer (usually about 2.3-2.8 volumes). Set that pressure and leave it for 2 weeks. Longer lines will never hurt. Make sure they are kept cold but not frozen and are not pinched or kinked. If your beer is already over carbed, relieve the pressure from the keg several times per day until it settles. Then hopefully you can enjoy perfect carbonation!

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Old 01-13-2013, 09:21 PM   #8
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The warmer the beer, the more the CO2 wants to come out of solution, and the more care needs to be taken. At 54° you're going to need the pour to be very slow, and take meticulous care of your glassware to prevent foamy pours. Rinsing the glass with very cold water just before a pour will help a lot. You'll also need extra long serving lines to slow the pour down. Even with all of that, the temperature will still limit the amount of carbonation you'll be able to keep in solution after pouring it. That's fine if you want to cask ale carbonation levels, but you'll probably want to lower the temp if you're looking for the 2.5-2.7 vol of carbonation you find in most commercial beers.

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