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Home Brew Forums > Home Brewing Beer > Bottling/Kegging > do I need to completely disassemble forward-sealing Perlick taps to clean them?
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Old 02-12-2013, 05:44 AM   #1
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Default do I need to completely disassemble forward-sealing Perlick taps to clean them?

I am still fighting the foam in my system. I have 10' of 3/16" ID beer line which should be enough at 38 F to not allow CO2 to come out of solution. I am getting 1/4 glass of foam and 3/4 glass of beer. Watching the beer come out of the faucets, I notice 1 or 2 "pulses" of foam come out, followed by clear beer. So I think it's only spitting foam for part of the pour. I was wondering if dirty lines, faucets, or keg posts could cause CO2 to come out of solution in a Venturi-like effect.

When I switch kegs I just run 5 gal of PBW through, then 5 gal of StarSan and assume it is clean after that much exposure. I don't disassemble all the parts and soak them individually. I assumed this is whats commercial bars are doing, or do they have to break down their system between kegs? I have the Perlick 525 chrome taps, and I though the forward-sealing feature kept it clean in between pours.


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Old 02-12-2013, 05:56 AM   #2
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My first thought is that part of your beer line is warming up. Are you using a mini-fridge style of kegerator with a tap? Or perhaps a keezer with a collar and not much air circulation? Does this happen on every pour or the same tap, or only on the first one after several hours?


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Old 02-12-2013, 06:24 AM   #3
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Is the issue significantly worse on the first pour of every drinking session, and then better if you pour another beer quickly? If so, then the beer is either carbed higher than whatever corresponds to your serving pressure, or the lines/faucet/shank are getting too warm.

Dirty lines or faucets can also cause this, but they have to be really really crusty. And bars do remove the faucets and take everything apart, but they do it every few weeks instead of after each keg. They also pour a lot more beer than we do, and tend to have worse sanitation practices, so we don't need to clean ours as often.
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Old 02-12-2013, 02:07 PM   #4
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Quote:
Originally Posted by latium View Post
My first thought is that part of your beer line is warming up. Are you using a mini-fridge style of kegerator with a tap? Or perhaps a keezer with a collar and not much air circulation? Does this happen on every pour or the same tap, or only on the first one after several hours?
I have a converted side-by-side fridge with kegs in the freezer side. The lines are fully enclosed at the same temperature of the kegs, until it flows through the actual taps. I used to have the fridge outside during the summer and I think that caused even more foaming. Now it is in the garage where it's closer to 45 F right now and I'm still getting too much foam so it's not a temperature issue
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Old 02-12-2013, 02:13 PM   #5
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Originally Posted by JuanMoore View Post
Is the issue significantly worse on the first pour of every drinking session, and then better if you pour another beer quickly? If so, then the beer is either carbed higher than whatever corresponds to your serving pressure, or the lines/faucet/shank are getting too warm.

Dirty lines or faucets can also cause this, but they have to be really really crusty. And bars do remove the faucets and take everything apart, but they do it every few weeks instead of after each keg. They also pour a lot more beer than we do, and tend to have worse sanitation practices, so we don't need to clean ours as often.
I'd say it is worst the first beer, and only marginally better if I pour another one right away.

I can actually see the foam pulsing out in a couple glugs, so I don't think it is continuous foam, and like I said I get 3/4 of a glass of beer. With 10' lines, I wouldn't expect to be undercarbed at the outlet side. I pressurize the kegs to 10 psi. I have gone as high as 14 psi and tried line lengths from 5' to 8' to 10' to eliminate the problem

I also saw a video on here where someone was showing a poorly-manufactured liquid quick disconnect causing a Venturi expansion. I guess I could buy another QD and see if that fixes it.
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Old 02-12-2013, 02:18 PM   #6
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One note - sounds like you're going a little overboard on cleaning, and probably wasting a lot of CO2 as a result. All I do to clean my lines each time is to fill up a small (maybe 1qt?) bottle with warm Beer Line Cleaner (BLC) solution and run that through my line, then run probably a half gallon of warm rinse water through the line. And that's it. Maybe every other cleaning I'll break down the faucet completely and give it an overnight soak in OxiClean Free or PBW. But to run 10 gallons of fluid through the lines and tap must use up a good amount of CO2, unless you've got a way to hook up an air compressor to your set up instead.

As to the foaming, a little more detail could help. Do you get that foam every time you pour, or only on the first pour off of a given tap (well, the first time within a reasonable period - say the first time within 15 minutes or so)? Also, you mentioned your line length and temperature, but I didn't see a pressure - what pressure are you serving at?

EDIT: I just saw your answers on the pressure and frequency of foaming... It's almost starting to sound like you're getting air in your beer line somehow - the "glugs" sound really suspicious to me. Maybe the venturi expansion idea. Another thought is how is your beer line connected to your quick disconnect? Is it a barb fitting, or is it an MFL and swivel nut connection? If a swivel nut connection, maybe you need a gasket in there and/or some additonal teflon tape? If it's a barb, or if you've already got the gasket and the teflon tape covered, then you may be on the right track trying a new disconnect.
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Old 02-12-2013, 02:22 PM   #7
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What's your serving pressure? You don't need anymore than 5 psi to pour beer. (Considering that there's enough pressure on your beer)
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Old 02-12-2013, 02:29 PM   #8
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What's your serving pressure? You don't need anymore than 5 psi to pour beer. (Considering that there's enough pressure on your beer)
Not necessarily great advice here... You carb up your beer at 10psi, then drop it down to 5psi to serve, and over time your beer will off gas to achieve equilbrium with the reduced pressure in the headspace in the keg. Best case, you get flatter beer over time. Worst case, your beer is just a little too close to your gas dip tube and you wind up with beer backed up into your gas lines.
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Old 02-12-2013, 02:36 PM   #9
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Quote:
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What's your serving pressure? You don't need anymore than 5 psi to pour beer. (Considering that there's enough pressure on your beer)
Yeah that's terrible advice, sorry. If you're backing off the pressure to serve, you're introducing a ton of new potential problems (losing carb, foaming, etc). If you turn it up then purge and bring it down every time you grab a beer, you're also going to waste a whole lot of CO2. Much easier to balance the system, use a carb chart/calculator, set it and forget it.

OP, it sounds like the faucet probably isn't the problem. Check the dip tube o-rings on your beer "out" fitting, that's a common place where gas can get injected into the beer line. And flare fittings (aka swivel nuts / MFL) should never get PTFE tape. If it's a metal on metal contact you do need a nylon washer.
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Old 02-12-2013, 05:44 PM   #10
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Quote:
Originally Posted by VincentK View Post
What's your serving pressure? You don't need anymore than 5 psi to pour beer. (Considering that there's enough pressure on your beer)
That's exactly how to cause this issue, not fix it. If the serving pressure is lower than the pressure that corresponds to the carbonation, CO2 will come out of solution in the lines forming pockets of gas, which will cause the first pour to be extra foamy. Not only that, but as the keg empties it will also become undercarbonated as it reaches equilibrium with the new lower serving pressure.

Quote:
Originally Posted by zachattack View Post
Check the dip tube o-rings on your beer "out" fitting, that's a common place where gas can get injected into the beer line.
Another good suggestion.

One last possibility is a manufacturing defect in the shank. In some longer shanks the internal hole is drilled from both sides, and there have been a few cases where the holes weren't lined up properly, creating a sharp lip and restriction in the middle of the shank that can create foaming.


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