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Old 12-20-2012, 02:35 AM   #1
scruff311
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I've only kegged about 4 beers on my new system, so there is a good chance I am doing something wrong.

I've noticed that my beers don't seem to have the same 'tingle' of carbonation that I get with commercial brews out of my draft system. I am setting the PSI to about 12 and wait for a week before sampling (I don't do any crazy shaking routines to speed up the carbonation). After about a week, the pour (when still set to 12 PSI) is pretty forceful and creates a hell of a head, but the mouthfeel is pretty flat. I also notice that there is no bubble activity visible in the glass.

Am I missing something? Any tweaks I should make to my carbonation procedure to get the nice 'tingle' on the tongue?



 
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Old 12-20-2012, 08:06 AM   #2
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If it's pouring fast and creating a lot of head, that's a lot of carbonation being lost right there. How long are your beer lines? If you're using the standard ~5' lines that come with most systems, you might try 10' of 3/16" ID line to slow the pour down a bit.

Is the first pour significantly foamier and flatter tasting than a beer poured right after? If so, you could have an issue with the beer lines/shank/faucet getting warm.

What temperature is the beer? Hard to say what your carb level is at 12 psi without also knowing the temp. Most commercial beers are carbed to around 2.7 vol. You can use a chart like this one to figure out what pressure to use to get that level of carbonation at your serving temp.


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Old 12-20-2012, 08:17 AM   #3
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You may have had a run of wild yeast infections.

 
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Old 12-20-2012, 12:20 PM   #4
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Quote:
Originally Posted by estricklin View Post
You may have had a run of wild yeast infections.
I disagree. JuanMoore nailed it IMO. Any significant foaming that you get is due to CO2 leaving the beer, so it will be flatter once the foam settles. Buy longer serving lines!

 
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Old 12-20-2012, 01:04 PM   #5
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Quote:
Originally Posted by zachattack View Post
I disagree. JuanMoore nailed it IMO. Any significant foaming that you get is due to CO2 leaving the beer, so it will be flatter once the foam settles. Buy longer serving lines!
Yep, that's all there is to it. When the beer foams like that, much of the co2 is in the head and the beer is seemingly flat. If you slow down the pour with longer lines (more resistance), the beer won't come out with a huge foamy head, and the carbonation will stay in the beer.
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Old 12-20-2012, 05:39 PM   #6
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You didn't mention if the beer was cold @ 12PSI. I assume so.
I've found that it takes closer to 2 weeks letting it naturally carb @12 PSI at 38F to get the carbonation 'locked in' at 2.5 - 2.6 volumes, which I prefer for most styles.
If you want it faster, either up the pressure (temporarily, not to serve!), or shake the keg.

 
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Old 01-07-2013, 06:45 PM   #7
scruff311
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I used this formula to figure out the ideal draft line length for my setup, and it actually comes out shorter than what I currently have.

At 12 PSI, 3/16" ID vinyl tubing, and the faucet is 2 feet above the top of the keg, I get 3.33 feet of draft line. I currently have 5.

This formula doesn't really work??

 
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Old 01-07-2013, 06:51 PM   #8
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No, the formula doesn't really work for home systems. I'm going to copy/paste my response from this thread (http://www.homebrewtalk.com/f35/disp...essure-374047/)

Line resistance isn't a fixed number, it's strongly dependent on the density/viscosity/velocity of the fluid going through it. As a result, flow rate and temperature will both dramatically change the resistance you see in your system.

It's a similar scenario when you drive your car on the highway and the drag from air resistances kills your gas mileage. All other things being equal, if you drive at 80 MPH you're going to see much lower gas mileage than if you drive at 60 MPH. This is because the faster you go, the more wind resistance you're going to see. On a cold day, when the air is denser, it's going to be even worse. It's the same with the beer in your tubing: if the beer is flying through the lines, the resistance is going to be higher. If the beer is ice cold, the resistance is going to be higher. So you can see the limitations in fixed resistance values.

To actually calculate resistance per foot of tubing you'd use a complicated equation, not a fixed number.

The balancing equations and resistance values you're referring to are for bars, and assume you're pouring ice cold beer at a high flow rate (1 gal/min I believe) which makes them basically irrelevant for home kegerators where we like our beer warmer and we pour slower.

In most cases, the standard 5' that comes with a kit is not enough at ~12-14 psi, and will result in continuous foaming.

Most of us have found that 8-12 feet of standard 3/16" ID tubing is plenty for normal serving pressures at about 40 degrees. The pour may be on the slow side, but it will be foam free.

 
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Old 01-07-2013, 07:26 PM   #9
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What he said ^

And to add to that, even if that formula didn't have all of the limitations mentioned above, it would still only give you the length needed to result in a 1gal/min flow rate, which is too fast for a lot of common serving temps and carb levels.
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Old 01-07-2013, 07:29 PM   #10
scruff311
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Awesome, thanks for the info. Any good resources/tutorials for swapping out kegerator lines? I've heard it can be difficult or awkward and I like to know what to expect before I start. I have a stainless steel 2 tap tower.



 
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