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Old 11-20-2012, 06:34 AM   #1
klemms0045
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Default Misadventures in nitro kegging, a cautionary tale

About three weeks ago I finally bit the bullet and invested in a nitro setup, went out and bought a keg of Left Hand Milk Stout Nitro and life was good, amazing in fact. Had zero problems with pours, had the most satisfying cascade effect every time.

Then... today happened. Went to pour a delicious milk stout and got nothing but beer gas and foam. After mentally counting the number of beers I'd been having nightly and coming up blank, I opened the kegerator and saw this most horrible sight.

Over 10 gallons of delicious milk stout had leaked out and was now sitting at the bottom of my keezer

After a mini nervous breakdown and checking everything I could think of, I found the reason. Opened the top of the beer tower and all my insulation was soaking wet and moldy. Entire keg leaked out where the beer line was connected to the shank assembly. I had clamped every other connection in the keezer, never occurred to me to check the shank. 4+ years in this keezer serving beers at 10-12 psi and the hose barbs were enough. Apparently nitro served around 40 psi was enough for a small leak that drained the keg over the course of 3 weeks. One heck of an expensive lesson learned Fixed now though

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Old 11-20-2012, 09:29 AM   #2
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Man that sucks!

I kind of know the feeling of opening the freezer and seeing all your beer in the bottom.

A little over a week ago I went out of town and exchanged my CO2 bottle, got home late but went ahead and hooked it up and cranked it up to about 45 PSI or so. The keg had gone flat from the prior tank being run till empty and in essence sitting at atmosphere pressure for about a week.
I had every intention of letting the keg sit at 45 PSI for maybe 20 minutes, then shutting off the gas and leaving it till the next day.
Like I said it was late so I fell asleep and forgot about it. The next day I looked in the freezer and I had not only forgotten to turn the gas off, but I had a picnic tap hooked up to a full corny of Black Butte.
You guessed it. Picnic taps aren't made for holding 45 PSI so the keg was full of that awesome beer! Out of my favorite beer and out of a full bottle of CO2!
Life sucked.

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In secondary
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In primary
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Up next.. Firestone Union Jack clone

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Old 11-20-2012, 03:03 PM   #3
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Dang man... my brother would be freaking out... Glad you got it fixed.

What does s LH Milk Stout run for a keg? Where do you get it?

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Old 11-20-2012, 03:45 PM   #4
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I am very sorry for your loss. Shed a tear there looking at that picture.

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Old 11-20-2012, 03:50 PM   #5
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After last night I feel your pain sharps (insanely jealous if you own a shiloh), black butte is quickly becoming one of my favs. The kicker was knowing it took 3 weeks to leak out and I never saw it coming...I also lost about half of my bottle of beer gas and the cooling fan for that tower. Apparently beer and fans don't mix, who knew?

Sok454 - LH Milk Stout runs me $160 for a 1/2 barrel. Supposed to have another keg of it coming in by thanksgiving My lhbs also sells beer and brings in kegs for customers for $10 over cost, so I just get price lists from the major beer distributors in the area and have my lhbs call it in.

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Old 11-20-2012, 03:53 PM   #6
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Thanks Drunkle. I'll be holding a moment of silence for her later this evening. She was a damn fine intro beer to the world of nitro

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Old 11-20-2012, 04:02 PM   #7
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Left hand is awesome, I'm sorry for your loss. Thanks for posting. When you say you fix it, did you just tighten the hose clamp? Replace it with an Oetiker?

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Old 11-20-2012, 04:07 PM   #8
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There were no hose clamps on the shank assembly. Came from the factory without clamps and when I built the keezer 4 years ago I never thought to clamp those hose fittings. With regular pressure beers the barbs were more than enough to hold everything in place. Nitro beers at 40 psi, not so much, lesson learned and clamps installed now.

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Old 11-20-2012, 04:39 PM   #9
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Quote:
Originally Posted by klemms0045 View Post
After last night I feel your pain sharps (insanely jealous if you own a shiloh), black butte is quickly becoming one of my favs. The kicker was knowing it took 3 weeks to leak out and I never saw it coming...I also lost about half of my bottle of beer gas and the cooling fan for that tower. Apparently beer and fans don't mix, who knew?

Sok454 - LH Milk Stout runs me $160 for a 1/2 barrel. Supposed to have another keg of it coming in by thanksgiving My lhbs also sells beer and brings in kegs for customers for $10 over cost, so I just get price lists from the major beer distributors in the area and have my lhbs call it in.
The expensive and very very sad lessons we learn. I'm sure I would have had the same problem if it were me. Natural to assume that it would be fine since it always has been.
I think I'll be looking at clamps on my barbed connectors after reading this.

I don't own a shiloh brand sharps yet. I get to play with a 50-140 Shiloh and a 45-120 C-Sharps from time to time, but I own an italian one. I'm playing the bidding game online whenever I see a promising one come along. I'm going to get an 1859 or 1863 paper cartridge Shiloh or Pedersoli next. Looking for 54 caliber. Well that or another original 1860's trapdoor next. I don't have a 50-70 trapdoor. Love them old guns and old style guns!
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Let's see if I keep this updated!

On tap
Black Butte clone

In secondary
Pumpkin ale

In primary
Honey wit

Up next.. Firestone Union Jack clone

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Old 11-20-2012, 04:50 PM   #10
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I would recommend changing from those worm clamps to Oetiker clamps. Worm clamps do not clamp all the way around (not a full 360 degree hold/clamp) where Oetiker clamps DO. Keg Connection has them, and the crimping tool, at a good rate (the clamps are less than worm clamps too). To remove, you can either use the tool again, or some tin snips. Tin snips make short work of cutting the clamps off (it's how I do it).

I was using worm clamps, until they started failing/leaking on me. Plus, it's not easy to get them to really clamp down on all the hoses. More often than not they would slip as you would wrench them down (the worm part). Plus, the extra clamp that's left exposed on the worm clamps will cut you like there's no tomorrow. Unlike Oetiker clamps.

Just my $0.10 worth...

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