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Home Brew Forums > Home Brewing Beer > Bottling/Kegging > manifold configuration
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Old 06-26-2012, 01:08 PM   #1
smellie_hippie
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Default manifold configuration

My keezer is already making me happy, but it has hit a few problems. I am hoping some of the folks here can help me eliminate these issues. I have already figured out the price of one leak, after wet-vac attacking an entire lost keg. But I have another dilemma:

I have my 5# CO2 tank sitting outside my chest freezer. Gas line runs in to a 4 way manifold. Already turned the manifold off to the keg that leaked and is now empty. In order, I have the following (right to left, gas coming in on the right)
1. Empty
2. NB Honey Kolsch (Perlick tap)
3. True Brew Aged Oak Porter (picnic tap)
4. Black IPA (Perlick tap)

The kolsch is pouring like a champ, great head retention and everything. The Oak porter pours pretty slow... if at all. The Black IPA is pouring well, but has very little carb and no head. I have had my pressure set at 10-11 for three weeks. I bumped it up to 15 about three days ago, but still no change in the last two taps.
Last night I turned off the manifold switch for the Kolsch. Is it safe to assume that first splits off the manifold are taking away from gas pressure to the later branches? I have the theory that turning off the gas will help bring the other two "up to pressure" and then turning the whole system back down to 10 for serving pressure.

Oh, the system has 10' lines of 1/4" ID tubing. Approximately 3" of tubing from the manifold to each of the kegs. Temp on analog controller set for 36.

Any help or advice would be GREATLY appreciated.

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Old 06-26-2012, 03:14 PM   #2
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The gas pressure to all kegs should be the same. Pressure is naturally going to flow from high to low taking the path of least resistence. As an example, if the reg is set to dispense at 15 psi and two of your kegs are already at 15 and the other one is at 10, the gas is going to flow from the reg and the two other kegs to the one that is at 10 until they all are in equilibrium at 15. At that point, the gas will stop flowing until something changes, such as you open a tap or bleed a keg. I don't think the problem is your manifold unless there is a complete blockage in it somewhere.

Try troubleshooting one at a time.

Start with the Porter. If you close the other three valves on the manifold and leave this one open, does it flow? If not, you have a blockage somewhere in the system. Could be either dip tube, post/poppit, or the picnic tap and disconnect. Since you know the Kolsch setup is working, put its gas line on the Porter keg and see if that fixes it. If that doesn't work, then put the Kolsh's liquid line on it and try a pour using the Perlick it's connected to. If neither of these result in flowing beer, the blockage is in the keg somewhere.

Once you figure out the problem with the Porter, move on to the Black IPA. This sounds like it may be a leak with the keg or the gas line supplying it. Check that all hose clamps on your gas lines are tight. Maybe even do a leak test by submerging the manifold and all the lines/disconnects in water. Then verify that the keg has a good seal. Crank up to 30 psi and do a leak test with soapy water around the lid, PR valve, and posts. Maybe replace all O-rings and use keg lube. Even if the the keg itself is well-sealed, a worn post O-ring may be leaking when the disconnect is installed.

Of course, it could be something else entirely, but I think doing the above would be a good place to start. Be methodical and work on one problem at a time until you've isolated the cause, then move on to the next problem.

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Old 06-26-2012, 03:25 PM   #3
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Good advice! I should have time to work through this tonight. Any problems with switching around the beer lines with a bit of residual still in the tubing? I suppose a "blend" would not be terrible...

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Old 06-26-2012, 05:52 PM   #4
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It could be a few things. 1/4" tubing with 10' distance is a lot of resistance. If you have any obstructions in your kegs, it would slow the flow also. Any hop debris or some kinds of trub can do this too.

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Old 06-26-2012, 08:02 PM   #5
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Switching the beer lines should not be an issue. They only hold a few ounces at best.

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Old 06-27-2012, 02:35 AM   #6
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Quote:
Originally Posted by nebben View Post
It could be a few things. 1/4" tubing with 10' distance is a lot of resistance. I[...]
Actually, 1/4" ID tubing provides remarkably little resistance compared to 3/16" ID tubing: 0.6 to 0.85 psi/foot resistance verses 2.2 to 3.0.

So, if it takes, say, 10 feet of 3/16" ID line to provide a good pour, you'd need close to 35 feet of 1/4" ID tubing to provide the same resistance...

Cheers!
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Old 07-24-2012, 04:34 PM   #7
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Ok, so I am also noticing a few other issues that might have been good to know before I started this kegging venture.

I bought almost all of my kegging equipment for a steal (he was selling to save his marriage), but I think some of the equipment was.... improperly assembled.

I have no pics at this time, but I think some of the posts were mixed up during a keg disassembly and cleaning. I also have the wrong QDs (2 grey gas lines and 6 black beer lines). Looking at my connections last night, the posts with notches (beer lines, right?) have both been placed on one keg, or intermingled.

The problem I have at this point is that three of my four kegs have beer in the right now. It would be very convenient for me to empty them and clean the whoel wroks in order to reconfigure them the right way. That being said, is it feasible for me to use black QDs for the gas line if it is fitting on what should be a beer out post?

I just mashed the whole thing together in the first place, and am having some diffciulties removing some of the QDs, which means they have been placed on the wrong post... or more accurately, the wrong post was there in the firts place and I didn't do enough research in the first place.

Kegerator temp is good, and I don't think anyhting should be going bad since all the kegs have a good (or at least decent) seal at this time.

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Old 07-24-2012, 04:45 PM   #8
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6 point posts with notches are gas posts. Also, if you have any that have 12 points, those are gas posts as well. All liquid posts are 6 point and have no notches.

It's okay to switch disconnects so that the correct disconnect is on the post that it was designed for (black on liquid, grey on gas). Just make a note to fix it after the keg goes empty.

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Old 07-24-2012, 04:51 PM   #9
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You can also bleed off the gas in the kegs prior to dis-assembly and swap your posts and parts if you sanitize your hands first.

These problems happen to the best of us until experience teaches us the proper way to do things.

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Old 07-24-2012, 04:57 PM   #10
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Quote:
Originally Posted by E-Mursed View Post
These problems happen to the best of us until experience teaches us the proper way to do things.
Yeah... and I don't want to sound like I am blaming anything on the dude who sold me the gear. Either way, this was the direction I was heading in my homebrewing. It's just never easy to cope with defficulties... especially after the loss of a full keg.

I mean, who the hell reads the instruction booklet beforehand.. right!?
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