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Old 01-24-2008, 04:50 PM   #121
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Hey guys,

A little late here with my question, but I'm finally getting to the point of building one of these. I'm still in the process of building my kegerator, so I don't have too much kegging experience. From what I understand, if you have a keg dispensing at 12 psi, you need a sufficient length of 3/16" ID thick walled tubing (between 5-10 ft) to get a tap pressure of about 1 psi. So if you have enough tubing, why is there a need to set your regulator down to 5 psi to dispense?

Thanks!

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Old 01-24-2008, 05:16 PM   #122
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Because when you're typically designing the balanced system, you still want it to regularly pour with enough force to create a bit of a head in the glass. When you're bottle filling, you want no head at all.

That being said, since this method uses a stopper for backpressure, I suppose you COULD leave the pressure where it is. I'd just say that reducing the pressure makes the filling process a bit less tense. Try it both ways.

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Old 01-24-2008, 05:22 PM   #123
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Khirsah17
Hey guys,
...So if you have enough tubing, why is there a need to set your regulator down to 5 psi to dispense?
The underlying premise is to slow your beer flow down to a "crawl". What your exact psi requirements are to do this will vary. Generally, I find that if I can get my 12 ounce bottle to fill within 35-45 seconds, that's slow enough to avoid excessive foaming and retain great carbonation.
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Old 01-24-2008, 05:49 PM   #124
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Another possible side to the argument that occurred to me:
If you drop the pressure on the beer, then obviously carbonation is released. Ideally you'd want to keep the pressure in the bottle the same as (or higher than) the storage pressure, so that all carbonation loss would be due to the mechanical agitation inherent in the filling process...
For a beer normally stored at 12psi, lowering the serving pressure to 5psi or so also lowers the maximum pressure that will build up in the bottle to the same, which would seem to do a poorer job of keeping CO2 in solution.

The obvious problem with filling bottles at 12psi is in controlling the flow rate. Squeezing a stopper with your thumb to control flow isn't so bad at 5psi, but I suspect it would take some real finesse to achieve a nice, slow flow rate if the pressure in the bottle was 12psi instead. Using a really long piece of beer line might keep the flow in check, but then again, if you rely on the beer line to control flow rather than careful stopper control, that probably means you're letting gas out too rapidly to let sufficient pressure build up in the bottle, which defeats the purpose of using a higher dispense pressure in the first place.

Seems like there's a lot of factors at work and no very obvious "best" combination... And given the amount of success people have had with the BMBF the phrase "if it ain't broke don't fix it" comes to mind...

But at the same time one of my favorite phrases also comes to mind: "if it ain't broke, it don't have enough features yet" Now to find a way to properly/easily regulate the gas flow from the stopper at higher dispense pressure without straying too far from the "cheap/simple" theme of the BMBF...

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Old 01-24-2008, 06:07 PM   #125
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Funkenjaeger
...If you drop the pressure on the beer, then obviously carbonation is released....
Temporarily dropping the gas levels long enough to fill 12 bottles won't be enough time for CO2 to come out of solution. This is especially true of beer that is stored at serving temps of around 37-42 degrees.

If that were the case, then we could apply the opposite logic and assume we could force carbonate a flat beer in a matter of hours and not days.

My flattest bottled beers were the ones where I didn't take the time to lower the PSI, bleed excess pressure and fill the bottles slowly.

But...those were for my in-laws so I didn't really care...
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Old 01-24-2008, 06:15 PM   #126
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Quote:
Originally Posted by BierMuncher
Temporarily dropping the gas levels long enough to fill 12 bottles won't be enough time for CO2 to come out of solution. This is especially true of beer that is stored at serving temps of around 37-42 degrees.
That's true if you're talking about beer sitting stationary in a keg - and the beer that is still in the keg after you fill some bottles is likely just as carbonated as when you started. But the beer in question here is that which is going into the bottles, which is getting tumbled around quite a lot by the filling process.
Quote:
Originally Posted by BierMuncher
If that were the case, then we could apply the opposite logic and assume we could force carbonate a flat beer in a matter of hours and not days.
Forget HOURS, it's easy to force carbonate a beer in a matter of MINUTES when it's being shaken. When I keg a beer, not counting the time it spends in the fridge cooling down to serving temperature, I often go from flat to drinkable in 10 minutes. So reversing back to the original logic, since the beer is being agitated, CO2 loss will occur a whole lot faster than if it was sitting still. I know the filling process isn't quite as violent to the beer as a vigorous shaking, but still, the same should be true to a lesser degree.

The filling hardware is designed to minimize agitation to limit the amount of CO2 knocked out of solution, but it seems that if the pressure was maintained at the right level it could quite easily prevent any significant amount of CO2 from coming out of solution at all. Whether or not it's practical to actually maintain that level of pressure while filling is another issue entirely, and is what I'm wondering.

Quote:
Originally Posted by BierMuncher
My flattest bottled beers were the ones where I didn't take the time to lower the PSI, bleed excess pressure and fill the bottles slowly.
I definitely agree that if you fill rapidly you knock out enough CO2 to make it pretty flat, and that using a higher dispense pressure makes it quite easy to fill too rapidly. I just wonder if it would help if you managed to fill at a higher pressure but still manage a nice slow fill rate.
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Old 01-25-2008, 02:39 PM   #127
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The filling process is nowhere near as aggitating as a keg shake.

The slight wrinkle is that when you use a counterpressure filler, you can pressurize the bottle to keg pressure before any beer flows. In that case, you could bottle a Hefe with the regulator set at 30psi if you wanted to.

With the BMBF, even with the stopper seated tightly, there's going to be an initial rush of beer just prior to the bottle's pressure equalizing. That's enough, even at say 12psi, to create a good 1-2" of foam in the bottle. By then, you've already lost the battle. Lowering the pressure to 3psi or so lets a good 1" of beer into the bottle, no foam, and by then the pressure has equalized for a continued no-foam fill. Trust me, the lowered pressure does not knock the CO2 out of the beer. If it did, you'd have foam in the bottle while filling and I only get that when I don't drop the pressure.

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Old 01-25-2008, 04:05 PM   #128
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I've got everything I need to do this, but I haven't had a chance to try it out. I need to do this soon!

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Old 01-27-2008, 02:57 PM   #129
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This is great stuff, guys. I am a newbie and am a LONG time from kegging, but will save this thread for future reference. Thanks for all the time that you guys have spent sharing your knowlege.

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Old 01-28-2008, 02:53 PM   #130
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Jonnio
That's a good point Bier -- I was thinking of putting a hose that is big enough to fit over the tap and put that at the bottom of whatever container I am filling and use that...I might as well just not be cheap and spend the couple bucks to do this.

Funkenjaeger Quote: Yeah, I tried that method exactly once. Some people may get better results, but I got lots of foam and some very flat beer. I'm sure that with some tweaking I could have gotten it to work a bit better, but I'd much rather just invest the small amount of extra time and just use the BMBF which is practically foolproof.
I finally tried my adaptation of the simple hose on the tap method yesterday. Just a quick test to fill two beers to take to a buddies house. I still had some foaming but I'm very pleased. I modified my tubing into a homemade flowgate, stealing the idea of the one shown below from the maltose falcons website.
http://www.maltosefalcons.com/tech/resistivegate.php



What I did however, was to put the flowgate AFTER the tap. I've got a 10" piece of 1/4" ID tubing with a larger short section of tubing on it so it fits on a tap. Then I put TWO of the epoxy nozzle inserts into the tubing. Presto!! In my first test yesterday I could fill the Grolsch bottle up to the neck before I got foam coming out. Ideally I'd like to fill a bottle higher, and it was still a little too foamy, BUT I WAS PUSHING AT 10 PSI!! I'm sure if I turned the pressure down to 3-4 psi this will work like a charm.
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