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Old 02-18-2006, 12:10 AM   #11
Janx
 
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Rich, I've never gone through all the numbers myself. I do what you suggest. Tweak it and mess with it until it pours right. But in the end, what you have done is balance the system. It's the kind of thing you just have to get right once, so it really doesn't suck much fun.

I've seen the results before and after of getting a commercial tap line setup right in a pub. There are definitely non-intuitive aspects to draft systems.
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Old 02-18-2006, 12:55 AM   #12
RichBrewer
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I just went down and poured (or tried to pour) a pint and got nothing but foam. My regulator is set at 10 PSI. Should I set the regulator to 5psi and try again? It seemed to pour way too fast. Also, if you dispense at 5 psi do you have to bring it back up to 10 pounds when you are done pouring to maintain the correct carbonation?
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Old 02-18-2006, 01:24 AM   #13
DAAB
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I leave mine set at 4 psi at the moment and I generaly dont have to touch it. If you think your beer is flat, set the reg to 12+psi and leave it in a cold place over night. Back off the pressure and let the excess co2 naturaly become absorbed into the beer or release the pressure and reset to somewhere around 4 psi, adjust it to give your pint more or less head. Dont allow your keg to get too warm, you'll be serving foam no matter what pressure you set.

 
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Old 02-18-2006, 04:46 PM   #14
JoeCoastie
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Quote:
Originally Posted by RichBrewer
I just went down and poured (or tried to pour) a pint and got nothing but foam. My regulator is set at 10 PSI. Should I set the regulator to 5psi and try again? It seemed to pour way too fast. Also, if you dispense at 5 psi do you have to bring it back up to 10 pounds when you are done pouring to maintain the correct carbonation?
I was wondering the same thing, I just kegged my first batch on Thursday night, it's been at 12 psi, where I plan to leave it for a couple more days. The way I understand it, once my beer has absorbed (or carbonated) at 12 psi, i can back it down to 3psi or so to serve. Once I do this, the beer should still maintain it's 12 psi, as long as there is still pressure in the keg, I don't need to keep it at 12 psi to maintain the carbonation. Correct?

Sean
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Old 02-18-2006, 05:18 PM   #15
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there's other things to consider. the ID of the lines, temp of the brew, the amount force carb'd with, and the dispensing PSI. if it's foamy, i'd disconnect the gas in, vent the keg, re-set PSI at arounf 7-9 PSI, re-attach the gas in, and let it sit for 24 hrs. try it again. that's how i've had success when needing to make adjustments, and got that from my local HBS.
sometimes not enough PSI in will result in foaming.
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Old 02-18-2006, 05:25 PM   #16
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Quote:
Originally Posted by JoeCoastie
I was wondering the same thing, I just kegged my first batch on Thursday night, it's been at 12 psi, where I plan to leave it for a couple more days. The way I understand it, once my beer has absorbed (or carbonated) at 12 psi, i can back it down to psi or so to serve. Once I do this, the beer should still maintain it's 12 psi, as long as there is still pressure in the keg, I don't need to keep it at 12 psi to maintain the carbonation. Correct?

Sean
I'm obviously no expert but from my understanding, if you leave the pressure of your keg at 3 psi the system will equalize and your beer will eventually go flat. I would think you would dispense at 3-5 psi and then turn the pressure back up to keep the beer carbonated. All that information on balancing your system says to do it differently but I for one don't understand it.
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Old 02-18-2006, 06:25 PM   #17
Mikey
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Quote:
Originally Posted by RichBrewer
I'm obviously no expert but from my understanding, if you leave the pressure of your keg at 3 psi the system will equalize and your beer will eventually go flat. I would think you would dispense at 3-5 psi and then turn the pressure back up to keep the beer carbonated. All that information on balancing your system says to do it differently but I for one don't understand it.
You're exactly right. The CO2 will not stay in solution if you reduce the pressure from 12 to 3 psi, contrary to the belief of some posters.

As an experiment, open a big bottle of coke. Pour some out. Reseal the bottle and come back in a week. Has the coke retained it's full carbonation? No. The CO2 came out of solution in an effort to equalize the pressure in the bottle. Basic physics.

The 'art' of balancing a system is actually pretty simple in practice, it just sounds complicated when you see formulas as long as your arm. You can raise and lower the pressure each time you want to pour a glass, but that wastes a lot of gas. Each to his own.

A tried-and-true balanced set up is:

1) keg chilled to serving temps
2) CO2 set to 10-12 psi for a week or so
3) outlet tube 3/16" inside diameter, 5-6 feet long.
4) pouring faucet/tap and outlet line chilled to serving temp
5) open the tap all the way whenever you pour

Our LHBS sells 'pre-packaged' setups like this, 100% success rate.

 
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Old 02-18-2006, 06:39 PM   #18
JoeCoastie
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Great! I'm glad you guys set me straight! Thanks for your insight!

Sean
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Old 02-18-2006, 07:05 PM   #19
DAAB
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If you still struggle with foam and or flat beer try this little experiment. Bring the temp of you keg/beer to above cellar temp and turn up the reg to 20 psi. Shut off the co2 valve and shake/rock the cú@P out of it and watch the co2 pressure drop as the co2 is absorbed into the beer. Now drop the temp down to cellar temp and allow time for the beer to cool.
Now turn co2 back on and set your reg to a 'low' setting and serve, you may even find that you can serve at a higher pressure than I have suggested.
The real trick is to carbonate at a temperature higher than serving temp and set your regulator lower than carbonation pressure.
Why dont you keg balancers have a go to, you've got nothing to loose as i'm not suggesting shortening or lengthening any pipework. It does involve a certain amount of physical exertion which goes against the grain of relaxing with a HB but it does work.


 
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Old 02-18-2006, 07:23 PM   #20
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Mikey
A tried-and-true balanced set up is:

1) keg chilled to serving temps
2) CO2 set to 10-12 psi for a week or so
3) outlet tube 3/16" inside diameter, 5-6 feet long.
4) pouring faucet/tap and outlet line chilled to serving temp
5) open the tap all the way whenever you pour

Our LHBS sells 'pre-packaged' setups like this, 100% success rate.
My system came with a 4 foot 3/16 ID beer line. Do I need to get a longer one? I'm Going to try and pour another glass here in a minute. Wish me luck!
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