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Old 12-21-2013, 08:37 PM   #1
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Default Need help with foam in lines

Hi guys!

This is my firts batch of beer in a keg, and I'm having trouble with foam in beer line. Here are some info:

- Keg inside fridge at 3ºC / 37ºF
- It´s been in the fridge for 15 days
- Regulator set at 14 PSI
- I'm using 1/4" ID vinil lines (3/16" won't fit QD and picnic tap)
- Lines were chilled inside the fridge before serving
- Using Picnic taps 100% open when serving

Every time I open the tap, liquid beer flows and at about half the line lenght it gets foamy.
I tried to use shorter line lenght (about 2 ft) and lower serving pressures (4 PSI): 90% foam in the glass
I tried to use longer lines (10ft, 15ft and even 50ft!) at carbonation pressure (14 PSI): 70% foam with 10ft and 40% foam with 50ft!

And it gets worse: The beer that get to the glass is flat!

What am I doing wrong?
What should I modify to get a better pour?

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Old 12-21-2013, 09:14 PM   #2
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Sounds like you have a nucleation point somewhere in the keg that could be releasing the co2 before it ever gets to your lines. I would burb the keg, take off the out post and check to see if you have debris stuck somewhere in the dip tube or the poppet.

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Old 12-21-2013, 09:17 PM   #3
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The issue is the lines. 1/4" line is way too big. If you must use 1/4" line, then you need at least 25-30' of it. That's not a typo- 25-30 feet or so would be required to balance it as a minimum. 1/4" line is used in bars and places where there is a very long run to the tap. If it's still foamy with 50' of line, then the beer sounds overcarbed. But that's a good place to start, as long as the lines are the same temperature as the beer.

Most homebrew systems use 3/16" ID beer line, and it fits the picnic tap just fine. I have 10' of 3/16" line on each tap, and it pours perfectly from 7-15 psi or so, at fridge temps.

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Old 12-21-2013, 09:23 PM   #4
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Quote:
The issue is the lines. 1/4" line is way too big. If you must use 1/4" line, then you need at least 25-30' of it. That's not a typo- 25-30 feet or so would be required to balance it as a minimum. 1/4" line is used in bars and places where there is a very long run to the tap. If it's still foamy with 50' of line, then the beer sounds overcarbed. But that's a good place to start, as long as the lines are the same temperature as the beer.

Most homebrew systems use 3/16" ID beer line, and it fits the picnic tap just fine. I have 10' of 3/16" line on each tap, and it pours perfectly from 7-15 psi or so, at fridge temps.

^^^^^^^THIS^^^^^^^



To get the 3/16" line onto the picnic tap just boil some water in a cup in the microwave and put the end of the tube in the hot water for 10-20 seconds. Then take it out and immediately press it onto the barb of the picnic tap. It will press right on and seal up as it cools. You don't even need a clamp after doing this. Get at least 6' of line. 10' is better.
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Old 12-21-2013, 09:26 PM   #5
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How did you carbonate the beer? Sounds to me like it could be overcarbed, or you could have a bad seal on the liquid dip-tube o-ring, or you're simply pouring too fast for the carb level and temp.

Either way, you really should try using 3/16" id lines, about 17' long IMO. Stick the end of the tube in some boiling water for a few seconds and it will become pliable enough to slide right on the 1/4" fittings. At that carb level, I think you need to slow the flow down to a 10-12 second pint fill time to prevent excessive foaming. By my calculations a 12 second fill time would require 17' long 3/16" lines, or 67' long 1/4" lines.

You're using a higher than average carb level at 2.8 vol, so it's going to be tough to avoid foam completely, but you certainly should be able to get a mostly foam free pour. Make sure you're opening the faucet all the way, since opening part way will cause a restriction and create foaming. You might also try rinsing the glass with cold water before filling it, which can help eliminate nucleation points from improperly cleaned glassware.

Quote:
Originally Posted by t_ottoboni View Post
Every time I open the tap, liquid beer flows and at about half the line lenght it gets foamy.
Can you clarify what you meant here? You mean you see foam start to fill the line as you're pouring?
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Old 12-21-2013, 10:45 PM   #6
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Thanks, guys! I'll get some 15ft 3/16" line and see how it goes!

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Old 12-24-2013, 04:06 PM   #7
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PROBLEM SOLVED!!!

I got 15ft of 3/16" vinil lines installed in the system. The beer velocity in the lines decreased and I got a much better pour! But still a lot of foam!
Than I noticed the following: If I wiggle the QD sideways, the foam inside the line disappers! Also, there was a little bit of a play in the up and down direction. I could press the QD a bit further down in the keg connection: that also eliminated foam inside the line!
Occurred to me that the poppet valve in the keg wasn't been fully opened and became a restriction in the line. As soon as the beer passes through this restriction, the pressure drop forces the gas out of the beer.
The solution? Something that presses down the poppet valve a little further down:

This was made out of aluminum in a mini lathe


That the "spacer" was pressed in the valve (part inside the quick disconnect that pushed the poppet valve down)


Now the quick disconnect has became a little harder to attach to the keg, but it has no more wiggle and also presses the poppet valve all the way down.
And now I can say I have a perfect pour (at least for my standards)


Thank you guys for all the inputs about this trouble!
Now let's have a homebrew!

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Old 12-24-2013, 04:30 PM   #8
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Nice solution! That keg probably has a mismatched poppet and post, and using the correct style poppet would also fix it, and fix the hard to connect issue. Those "universal" poppets are notorious for being too long for several post types.

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