Home Brew Forums > Home Brewing Beer > Bottling/Kegging > Shank washer - Is mine in the right place? (First 1-2 oz tastes really "off"!)
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Old 10-02-2007, 01:43 AM   #1
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Default Shank washer - Is mine in the right place? (First 1-2 oz tastes really "off"!)

The only place to put the shank washer that makes sense to me is between the nipple (tailpiece) and shank. The nut then pulls the two together, squishing the washer. But that puts the beer in contact with thes rubber/smelly washers.... Is this the right place? I makes a good seal but the reason I ask is:

I've had my setup up and running for a couple of weeks now and find that the first ounce or two (the warm stuff in the lines) tastes really "off".

To make sure that it actually tasted different, I waited 24 hours for the beer in the line to warm up, pulled 2 oz in one glass "A", then pulled a whole pint (which I drank ), then pulled 2 oz in glass "B". I let them sit for an hour to warm up. The Glass "B" (the second glass) tasted 'normal' but warm. Glass "A" which spent the night in the lines tasted weird. Kind of chemically and 'off' - almost sour. I used a homemade light lager on purpose so that any weird taste would show up.

I figured that beer left in the lines for 24+ hours would be warm but not taste "off" just from being in the lines. Is this normal? If yes, why? It's a closed system. Is the rubber in various spots to blame?

FWIW, I'm putting together a system to air cool the 4' from freezer to tap so that hopefully it doesn't happen, but I'm still curious. If it's still going to happen even with cooled lines (ie: the first oz or two will be 'off' but cold) let me know and I won't bother with the line cooling!

Thanks guys!

Kal



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Old 10-02-2007, 02:34 AM   #2
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Did you sanitize the lines? It sounds like it's picking up some kind of bug in the line which gets worse with higher temps and time. Flushing out that stuff and continuing the pour logically puts a lot more fresh beer into the glass.


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Old 10-02-2007, 02:15 PM   #3
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Thanks for the suggestion.

I did not sanitize the lines. I did pump a bunch of oxyclean through them followed by a pile of water. I'll sanitize them before I hook up beer lines again.

In reading around here I've noticed that at least 1-2 other people have mentioned that beer sitting at room temp in a few feet of line like this (mine are 4' from the freezer) will go 'skunky' over time. Is this typical behaviour?

Is it also normal to have the beer in contact with these rubber washers like I've done above? The washers have a really strong rubber smell and taste to them (that smell you get in the rubber boot aisle at your local department store). To me it just doesn't seem normal to put beer in contact with this, no?

Kal

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Old 10-02-2007, 02:20 PM   #4
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Update:

I found this thread where someone asks if the washer is to go in the nut first and then the nipple on top. There was one response that this is indeed the way to go so what I did in the picture is wrong. This would avoid the rubber contact, but one of my nipples is a special one with a 90 bend and the silly thing has a larger base than the others so the washer doesn't fit nicely between the nut and the nipple. *sigh*

I'll move them all and see what happens.

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Old 10-02-2007, 04:56 PM   #5
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Related, but not identical. I have these shanks:

And while they are washer free, I still get the exact same 2oz of funk you describe. I have a tower. Recently I've experimented with cooling....dropping the tower to ~60F by using a muffin fan for circulation. The sourness has subsided some, but not enough to my liking. I had this same setup with non-shirron faucets and never had an issue.
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Old 10-02-2007, 05:21 PM   #6
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Quote:
Originally Posted by ebeer
I had this same setup with non-shirron faucets and never had an issue.
That's very telling. I have ventmatic faucets (same forward sealing design as your shirrons).

Just to be sure: Are you saying that prior to getting the forward sealing faucets you didn't have this 2-oz of sourness on the first pour?

Maybe the rubber or something else in forward sealing faucets is to blame?

Kal

P.S. On a related note: I came across a PDF document on how to add taps to a fridge and they put the washers between the shank and the nipple like I did in the picture above. So now I've heard of 2 ways to do it.
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Old 10-02-2007, 05:33 PM   #7
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You got it right Kal. My old standard faucets would sometimes dry up (easy remedy was a little hot water and they poured perfect). I thought I'd upgrade to the Shirrons, and that's when the mess began. I'm really at a loss, I tried all the forums and tried just about everything I know. Guess the best remedy is dump a few oz's then pour, but it's a solution I'm not at all content with.
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Old 10-02-2007, 06:36 PM   #8
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Well this is very strange.

I did a TON of research before getting the Ventmatics and never once did anyone mention this problem in their posts, and most of these people were coming from standard faucets. Very strange indeed.

I'm also not content with pouring a couple of oz first. To some this is nothing as they may pour many beers in a row at parties/etc, but I tend to drink exactly 1 pint a day after which the tap sits for 24 hours unused.

Let me know if you ever figure anything out on this one...

Kal
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Old 10-02-2007, 07:40 PM   #9
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I think I'm going to call the folks at Micromatic. I notice they don't sell forward seal faucets of any kind, and I'm wondering if this is why.
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Old 10-02-2007, 09:07 PM   #10
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what kind of beverage line are you using? i have my rubber gaskets between the shank and the nipple and notice no off flavors with my beer. i also have shirrons faucets.

i purchased the braided beverage tubing at home depot and have never had an off flavor with my beers, even when they where ran up to a tower.


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