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Old 02-07-2012, 11:02 PM   #1
Rundownhouse
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Default Persistent foam pours

I'd like some suggestions on how to troubleshoot the pours off the kegerator I recently built. I'll start with the details:

Set to 38F (analog controller)
PC fan circulating air
Regulator set to 12PSI
6" collar
7' 3/16 bev-grade lines
Perlick 525 faucets

I've looked at formulas for balancing a system, and given these parameters, I should only need ~5.5 ft of line. However, I got pretty bad foaming, so I tried to go to 7', and still no luck. I bought the line from MoreBeer, its the beer line they sell, so I don't think that's the problem. The regulator isn't old or ****ty or beat up or anything, so I'm ok assuming its actually at 12PSI. I hope it isn't temperature stratification or warm lines at the taps, because I've got the fan in there. The fan is kind of just sitting on the hump; I haven't mounted it yet. Still, I don't want to take up space rigging up a PVC tube to have it at the bottom and the output directed to the top. I thought just having it in there constantly circulating would be good enough. The fan is always on, not wired to the analog controller.

When I pour a pint, it's generally 3-4 inches of foam, close to half of the glass. The first pint I pour is always worst, that's close to all foam. Even if I immediately pour another, though, the next immediate pour is still half foam, so I don't think its warm beer in the lines. The pour gets increasingly poor (ha ha) the closer to the end of the keg I get. I'm pouring correctly, in that I quickly open the faucet completely and then quickly close it completely when I stop pouring.

Any ideas on what else to check? I'm at the point now where I may just end up putting 20' lines on all the taps, and then cutting them down until I find where I'm balanced, or getting some of those epoxy mixer nozzles (cure for your short hose troubles) and going that route. Given that the balance equation tells me I should be looking at 5.5' of line, I'd really rather figure out what's going on instead of putting 20' on and backing into the solution. For now, I'm opening the kegerator, venting the head pressure on the keg, and then pouring. Only way to get a decent pint.

The kegerator is a ~9cf chest freezer, analog controller set to 38F, 6" collar, perlick faucets, 5 taps, 5lb CO2 tank in the freezer into dual gauge primary regulator/dual output, with one output direct to gas QD, the other to a secondary regulator, secondary reg to a 4-way manifold, 3 of those 4 to gas QDs, the fourth to another secondary reg with out to a gas QD. My hope was to have one line for high-carb beers, three for normal (~2.5 volume) beers, and then a low-carb line.

Sorry for the long post, just wanted to be detailed. Thanks in advance for any help/advice.

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Old 02-07-2012, 11:16 PM   #2
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Unless you do the epoxy inserts (google/search) my suggestion is 10 ft lines. Make sure your glass is clean and not from the freezer. Rinse inside of glass with cold tap water. Pour a few ounces, if first pour empty those out. Then angle glass at 45 deg and pour slowly tilting glass straight as needed.

ONce I get foam I never continue pouring, your result is more foam, just stop and empty those 2 ounces. If this doesnt work look at your lines for obstructions/build up and also look at your taps. If there is a huge temp differential from taps and beer temp, the taps will cause the co2 to come out of solution. You may look and getting them colder using a fan. Goodluck.

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Old 02-07-2012, 11:30 PM   #3
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I just got mine setup as well. Since I used to have picnic taps, I'm using short 4' lines (1/4"). I've found that setting my regulator to about 8 psi gives me a perfect pour. Why not try lowering your psi? You've got nothing to lose.

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Old 02-08-2012, 06:57 AM   #4
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I just set mine up and am at 10Psi in the kegerator. Porter seems to be pouring great.. it's actually a little low on the foam. I use the creamer faucet to add a little extra head. I have 8' lines running in there so that may be part of it. . .
I'm thinking about running to 12psi just to see what it's like.

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Old 02-08-2012, 12:18 PM   #5
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You're not trying to pour slower by not opening the faucet all the way, are you? That will only make it worse...

Those calculators, based on my experience are never right. Often, people have found double the calculated length works better. Tends to give a relatively slow pour, but no foaming.

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Old 02-08-2012, 12:44 PM   #6
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Play with your CO2 pressure. When i set my kegerator up, I was having similar issues. I found that anywhere from 4-8 PSI was perfect. I also noticed my first pint was real heady on my old taps. I upgraded to Perlicks for several reasons (molding, sticking, and the head issue) and I haven't had a problem since. I think mine is currently set to 6 PSI with 5 ft lines and 38 degrees controlled temperature.

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Old 02-08-2012, 12:47 PM   #7
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I dont think adjusting psi for pouring then moving it back to maintain carbonation levels is the right approach, it seems like a pain in the butt. I've had mine at 12 psi for 3 years now, never touch it.

Again here's what I did:
10 ft lines
12 psi
Cooling fan (6 inch PC fan)
Rinse my glass prior to pouring
Always pour out 1st couple of ounces on first pour
Never continue to pour over foam

** On my portable kegerator, I use 3 foot line with 2 epoxy inserts. Works great

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Old 02-08-2012, 12:52 PM   #8
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I almost forgot to mention, which is quite important, how are you carbonating?
I suggest the set it to 12 psi and forget it method. If you're doing the whole shake and force carbonate at 30psi thing, well then good luck. I never got any good results with that other than foam pours and over carbonation. Sure you eventually figure it out, but why not just be patient.

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Old 02-08-2012, 05:10 PM   #9
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I would never recommend adjusting the pressure to get the right pour. You should always adjust the pressure to get the right volumes of CO2 based on your temperature. After that is done, you take the other steps to balance your system such as looking at line length. Search system balancing and there is a lot of additional information on that.

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Old 02-08-2012, 05:55 PM   #10
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I have a similar setup (as far as line length, temp, and PSI) and I was getting some foam, not a ton, but enough to annoy me. I dialed my pressure all the way down, then slowly brought it up until it was flowing at a reasonable speed, that landed me just shy of 10 psi, probably 9.75 psi (not that it really matters), and that had a noticeable effect. You cant tell any difference in the carbonation, but the pours are much better.

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