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Old 11-06-2012, 02:35 PM   #1
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Default the tale of two kegs - help!

So… I have only kegged five beers and two of them were undrinkable. I purchased one of those new Italian kegs first and then two months later I purchased a used keg. The used keg smelled fine and I cleaned it out with PBW and then plenty of fresh water. I tasted the water that came out of the keg and it didn't have any taste at all. I then sanitized the keg and siphoned a batch of beer into the keg. I set the keg at 12 PSI for three weeks while I drank my other keg. When I first tasted the used kegs beer, it tasted fine but with a very faint metallic aftertaste. As time when on, the metallic flavor got stronger and stronger. I eventually dumped the keg, when I opened the keg there was no visible infection and it just looked like beer.
I again cleaned the keg out with PBW, flushed with fresh water, tasted clean water and sanitized the keg and put another batch of beer in it. Set it at 12PSI for three weeks before touching it. Again, the beer had a slight metallic bite and got worse over time to where it was undrinkable. I dumped this batch and again, there was no visible infection.

Incidentally, I have had two other batches in the new Italian keg with no metallic taste and everything was great. I use the same C02 canister, regulator and air hose for both kegs. I set all my beer at 12PSI for three weeks before drinking them. Basically, I do the same exact thing for both kegs.

Does anyone have any idea what is going on? Can old kegs leech metallic taste into beer? I am open to all suggestions but I don’t want to waste another batch of beer.

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Old 11-06-2012, 02:40 PM   #2
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It sounds like carbonic acid and over carbing.

What temp is your kegerator/fridge and what type of beer is it?

You can fix it. In my case I turned off the gas to the keg, purged a couple times a day for 3 days and set at lower psi.

Worked like a charm.

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Old 11-06-2012, 02:46 PM   #3
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Originally Posted by JoeSpartaNJ View Post
It sounds like carbonic acid and over carbing.

What temp is your kegerator/fridge and what type of beer is it?

You can fix it. In my case I turned off the gas to the keg, purged a couple times a day for 3 days and set at lower psi.

Worked like a charm.
The keezer was set to 49 degrees and both kegs were in there. The "new" keg did not have that flavor. They were both brown ales.
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Old 11-06-2012, 02:55 PM   #4
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It sounds to me like the beers picked up an infection before they were kegged (or perhaps as they were being kegged), and it's just a coincidence that the two infected batches went into the same keg. I don't believe stainless steel leeches any kind of metallic flavors into food - that's why it's used so prolifically in the food/beverage industry.

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Old 11-06-2012, 02:57 PM   #5
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Check all the fittings, and fully inspect the inside of the used keg.

"METALLIC
CHARACTERISTICS: A harsh, metallic taste noted both on the tip of the tongue and the roof of the mouth. Can be felt throughout the tongue and mouth in large concentrations. Not desired in beer. Also described as tinny or bloodlike.
CHEMISTRY: The ferrous ion (iron) and some organic compounds formed by hydrolysis of cereal lipids in grain, and oxidization of free fatty acids.
HIGH RATE FROM PROCESS: Iron or mild steel in contact with beer; freshly-scrubbed stainless steel that has not been allowed to oxidize; improper filtering material; high iron content in water; poorly processed grain.
REDUCTION: Use of stainless steel; low-iron water; use of citric acid to re-oxidize stainless that has been abrasively cleaned; use of filtering materials that are acid-washed to remove iron; use of fresh, high-quality grain malt. "

or
Metallic
Tastes/Smells Like: Metal, mainly iron, also described as tasting like pennies or blood, Felt on the front of the mouth and back of the throat
Possible Causes: Wort being boiled in unprocessed metals, mainly iron, but also aluminum, and steel (excluding stainless) is usually the source of metallic flavors. Metallic flavors can also be extracted from metal brewing equipment, bottle caps and/or kegs. Using water that has high levels of iron will impart iron flavors. Improperly stored grains can also cause metallic off flavors.
How to Avoid: Use stainless steel pots and brewing equipment (fittings, spoons, etc.) when possible. Avoid using iron for anything that will be coming in contact with beer/wort. If using a ceramic coated steel pot, always check for cracks or scratches before using. Stainless steel will not give off any metallic flavors. Aluminum pots will generally only cause metallic flavors when using alkaline water with a pH over 9. If using an aluminum pot, you can “bake” the pot in an oven at 250ºF for 6 hours to increase the protective oxides. Always use fresh, properly stored grain. Avoid using water with iron in it, such as unfiltered well water.

You could have a fitting in the keg that's been changed out for one that's NOT stainless steel. Inspect the dip tubes and everything else you could change in it. Also look for any rust inside the keg. You might need to get an inspection mirror, if you don't already have one (doesn't everyone?)...

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Old 11-06-2012, 03:04 PM   #6
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Have you torn down that keg? Taken the poppets out and everything? What about racking? Did you use the same racking equipment for both new and old kegs, good and had batches? What was the time line? Were both bad batches racked after the good batches or before?

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Old 11-06-2012, 03:05 PM   #7
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Oh wow. What he said right before me.

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Old 11-06-2012, 03:09 PM   #8
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It's possible one of the dip tubes in the used keg isn't stainless steel. Could be aluminum (you won't know until you check). Or you could have a rusty nut in there (ouch)...

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Old 11-06-2012, 05:26 PM   #9
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As others have stated, tear the keg down replace all the rubber, after you clean with pbw you should passivate the stainless with acid. Star San will work fine. Fill it with star San and shake it around. I had a keg that actually had tiny spots of rust inside. After a star San bath for a week they were gone.

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Old 11-06-2012, 05:34 PM   #10
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If you don't want to use Star San for the rust removal, you can also use a citric acid solution. Typically 1 cup per gallon of hot water does the trick. I use that as needed for items. You can get a 5# bag of citric acid powder on Amazon pretty cheap (just look for it). If you can get it locally for a better rate, do so. You can also mix it up stronger if you really want to. Although the cup per gallon ratio is on the strong side already.

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Fermenting
K1:
K2: Epic mead
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Aging:mead
Mead [bottled]:Oaked Wildflower Traditional, Mocha Madness, Blackberry Melomel, maple wine
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