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Old 04-30-2010, 03:59 AM   #1
ajmartinez
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Default Sorting the keg issues out...

A while back, I finished my keezer build and kegged my first beer. Carbonating that beer seems to be causing me more problems than it should. For now, I am going to blame my lack of patience. There is some carbonation, but not as much as I think there should be. Then again, there is a persistant head on the beer and I don't know that such a thing is possible without steady carbonation. The German Kölsch has spent a good deal of time (far more than two weeks) at 35°F under 10psi.

Anyway, I've kegged another beer and now have it force carbonating as well. My "Adventure Ale" will not have a beer line connected to it until it has sat under CO2 pressure (10psi @ 35°F) for at least three weeks. We will see if I end up with better carbonation results than I did with the German Kölsch. One thing I intend to do before too long is build a small plenum inside the keezer to keep the cold air moving inside, instead of all just settling down on the floor. There is a fairly significant, at least if you're CO2 dissolved into an aqueous solution, temperature gradient from the floor of the keezer (35°F) to the shanks for my faucets (39°F). Right now, my best guess is that the temperature gradient is responsible for loss of carbonation between the keg and my glass. My beer lines (6', 3/16" ID), despite being completely at an upward slope from the top of the keg to the back of the shank, end up with large pockets of air in them between pours if the flow stops for more than five minutes or so. This happens with the lid open (which throws the temperature up top even more out of whack), and with the lid closed the entire time.


At least the German Kölsch looks nice. Tastes pretty good too, just doesn't have a carbonation profile I can really mention.

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Old 04-30-2010, 08:07 PM   #2
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it sounds like your beer lines are getting warm. if you don't like the carbonation level change the pressure. its as simple as that.

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Old 04-30-2010, 08:41 PM   #3
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ajmartinez: when your beer pours, is there way too much head? That's a sure sign that the beer is warming up in the line (causing foam and losing carbonation). I had that problem and fixed it 100% using Bradsul's DIY PVC Tower Cooling system. Cost about $20 and fixed the problem forever. (HBT rules!)

If, however, your beer is pouring with an average or little bit of head, and is flat after a few weeks of being hooked to CO2, then it's not an issue of temperature gradience (IMHO) but something else.

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Old 05-01-2010, 06:16 AM   #4
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Originally Posted by TipsyDragon View Post
it sounds like your beer lines are getting warm. if you don't like the carbonation level change the pressure. its as simple as that.
I'm thinking there's a temperature problem as well. I've gone higher (and lower) on the pressure without any difference at all.

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ajmartinez: when your beer pours, is there way too much head? That's a sure sign that the beer is warming up in the line (causing foam and losing carbonation). I had that problem and fixed it 100% using Bradsul's DIY PVC Tower Cooling system. Cost about $20 and fixed the problem forever. (HBT rules!)

If, however, your beer is pouring with an average or little bit of head, and is flat after a few weeks of being hooked to CO2, then it's not an issue of temperature gradience (IMHO) but something else.
My initial pours, predictably, are shot of foam, beer, shot of foam. This suggests gas in my beer lines from warm lines. Once the lines are cool, to the point the actual faucet sweats, my pours are fine and there's normal head - but the beer still seems insufficiently carbonated to me.
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Old 05-01-2010, 12:38 PM   #5
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Ohh gotcha. Well, like I said, Bradsul's DIY guide to insulating the tower with copper tubing fixed that problem for me 100%. Might want to check it out

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Old 05-01-2010, 02:55 PM   #6
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Heh, I'm not sure how that'd work out for me. I don't have a tower, just a collar. Thanks, though!

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Old 05-01-2010, 07:23 PM   #7
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Going higher, or lower, on the pressure will again require 1-2 weeks to equilibrate. I.e. ,if you jack your Kolsch up to 13 PSI to get some more carbonation out of it, you'll have to wait a week or two to see the effects in the beer.

Also, very pretty picture.

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Old 05-01-2010, 07:33 PM   #8
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Going higher, or lower, on the pressure will again require 1-2 weeks to equilibrate. I.e. ,if you jack your Kolsch up to 13 PSI to get some more carbonation out of it, you'll have to wait a week or two to see the effects in the beer.

Also, very pretty picture.
Understood. The first time I bumped up the pressure it was a good 10 days before I even had time to try it again. At any rate, I'm going to leave both kegs alone until sometime in the middle of May. Hopefully I'm greeted with tasty carbonated beer at that point!

Thanks, photography is something I enjoy almost as much as drinking good beer. A lot of my photo contacts have commented, recently, that I seem to take photos of beer a lot more than I do female models. Most of them are unsure how to feel about that.
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Old 05-01-2010, 07:34 PM   #9
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Put a small fan inside to move air around and keep the temp consistent. That will probably fix your problem.

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Old 05-01-2010, 07:37 PM   #10
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Put a small fan inside to move air around and keep the temp consistent. That will probably fix your problem.
Thanks, that's what I plan on doing. Right after I, hopefully, ace this Cal2 exam tomorrow. Also, excellent avatar. Easily one of the best movies ever.
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