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Old 04-08-2011, 03:14 PM   #1
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Default Noob kegging question

Hello, after reading tons of posts about kegging, I am still confused as to why I'm getting so much foam. I got a basic kegging system and decided to keg my first IPA. I've had great luck with bottling in the past. The kit is the basic one from northern brewers.com and consists of the keg, regulator, co2 tank, and lines.


I tried the force carbonation method, I pressurized the keg to about 20 PSI, and shook the hell out of it, let it settle for a few minutes, shook again, and repeated about 7-10 times. I then left the CO2 line hooked up and set the pressure to 15 over night. the next day I pulled the keg out of the fridge (42 degrees) vented the pressure, turned the regulator down to 10 and try to pour. I get violent sputtering and 99% foam. When the beer settles down it tastes great, but I can't pour a glass to save my life. I have tried releasing the pressure and dropping the dispensing pressure down to 5psi, 6psi, 7psi, and so on... I just get a less violent sputter and about the same amount of foam.

Is my beer overcarbonated? Is there something else I should check or try?

Any help would be much appreciated.

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Old 04-08-2011, 03:16 PM   #2
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How long is your serving line? This is the first place to start and the cause for 75% of these questions.

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Old 04-08-2011, 03:18 PM   #3
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The kit came with a 4' 3/16" line

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Old 04-08-2011, 03:20 PM   #4
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I tried the force carbonation method, I pressurized the keg to about 20 PSI, and shook the hell out of it, let it settle for a few minutes, shook again, and repeated about 7-10 times. I then left the CO2 line hooked up and set the pressure to 15 over night. the next day I pulled the keg out of the fridge (42 degrees) vented the pressure, turned the regulator down to 10 and try to pour. I get violent sputtering and 99% foam.

Is my beer overcarbonated?
Any help would be much appreciated.
You've nailed it. Setting the keg at 20 psi was bad enough. Shaking it was worse. Setting at 15 when it was already overcarbed pushed it over the limit.

Turn off the gas, and keep pulling the pressure relief valve as often as you can. That should help. In a few days, after pulling the pressure relief valve, you can try hooking it up again.

I force carb all the time. "Force carb" doesn't mean setting the psi too high and shaking the keg! I fill the keg, hit it with some co2 to help seat the lid and purge it a few times to get rid of any co2. Then, set it in my 40 degree kegerator at 12 psi. Come back in a few days, and it's carbing up. In a week, it's pretty good. In 10-14 days, it's perfect.

If you're in a HUGE hurry, you can set it in the kegerator and set it at 30 psi for 36 hours, then purge and reset to 12 psi. But even then, it may not be carbed right.

There really isn't any such thing as "serving pressure" and "carbonating pressure". I have more than one keg, and so all of the kegs are at 12 psi no matter what they are doing. If you have a balanced system (which should be the goal), you won't adjust the pressure or shake the keg or anything like that.
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Old 04-08-2011, 03:20 PM   #5
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The kit came with a 4' 3/16" line
4' is about 4' too short! I'd start with 8' lines, but you may be able to get by with 6' lines if you had to.
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Old 04-08-2011, 03:23 PM   #6
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Thanks for the quick response guys. I'll disconnect gas and vent for the next day or so, and also swing by the home brew shop and pick up an 8' line.

I feel dumb, but I guess we all start somewhere!

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Old 04-08-2011, 06:33 PM   #7
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Correction I went home at lunch and measured the line, it's a 6' line.

Just to clarify, when I try to pour a beer all I get is foam and air, the hose jumps around, which i believe is due to the air pockets in the line.

This is due to over carbonating, correct? The beer is releasing co2 in the lines which results in liquid and beer pockets in the line that come out at different velocities?

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Old 04-08-2011, 06:44 PM   #8
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Yes, you overcarbbed the crap out of it. 6' is still pretty short. Get 10', and vent the crap out of your keg to reduce carbonation.

To "decarb" you have a few options:

1) unhook gas, shake keg, vent pressure, shake keg, vent pressure, etc. (basically the reverse of what you did to carb it). This will likely spray foam out of the pressure relief valve, so it can be messy.

2) unhook gas, vent keg. Come back in a few hours and vent it again. Keep doing this for a few days to a week, until when you pull a test pint it isn't overcarbed.

3) same as 2, but pull your keg out of the fridge and let it warm up...CO2 will come out of solution much faster. This still will take a day or two.

4) Set your reg at the recommended carbing pressure, (usually 10-14 psi depending on fridge temp and desired volumes of carbonation), and wait a week or two.

In the end, once this is all said and done, put your keg in the fridge, hook it up, and leave it at the desired carbonating pressure, (10-14 PSI). Your carbonating pressure is ALSO your serving pressure. If you still have foam once you have it at the right carbonation, you most definitely need longer line. (If you are buying 8', just buy 10', as you can always cut it shorter, but you can't make it longer).

(For background, my regs recently went nuts and carbed my beer up to 26 PSI at 37F, (left to their own devices for a week). I had 6 kegs of overcarbed beer. To fix this, I shut off the fridge, opened the door, and vented all 6 kegs. Left them vented, (really just broke the seal on each lid to give each one a slow leak), for 2 days until they calmed down enough for me to reseal them and re pressurize to 13 PSI for serving).

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Old 04-08-2011, 09:32 PM   #9
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Haha, I must have totally zoned out. I didn't see what pressure you had it set at. Yeah your pressure setting is way to high. Your hose should work fine once you get some of the CO2 out of solution. Unfortunately, allowing carbonation to come out of solution takes longer than forcing it in with high pressure and agitation.

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Old 04-08-2011, 10:02 PM   #10
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Thanks for the info guys. I will follow ur advice and report back...i can't wait to try my first ipa

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