Beer doesn't seem to carb in corny kegs

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gregmosu

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I'm sure this has been posted a million times, so I apologize, but I do have some questions..

When I first started kegging, I used Sanke kegs provided to me by a local distributor. I never had a single issue with Sankes other then they are HARD to break into and clean. Recently I decided to give corny kegs a try. Purchased 4 of them and haven't had a decently carbed beer since. I thought it was probably bad seals, but a buddy of mine that I brew with replaced all o-rings and springs on his corny kegs and we're still not really satisfied w/the carbonation even though they have been refurbished.

At this point, I'm ready to toss these corny kegs. I bought them so I could easily clean them, but I can't even get my arm in them much past my wrist anyways. So the questions are..

1) Am I missing something? What did I do correctly w/the Sanke kegs when carbing that I haven't done w/the Corny kegs??

2) If I go back to my Sanke kegs, what's the best method for cleaning w/out breaking into them. I've seen numerous youtube videos on homemade pump cleaner systems, but I feel like I'm not convinced they work. Does anyone have any experience with this?
 

giraffe

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How were you carbing the corny kegs? at what psi? At what temp? How long?

I usually hook up the gas, at a psi according to a chart, and let it sit at 33 for 7-10 days, carbonation is as intended.
 
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gregmosu

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Sorry!! Forgot to include some important details. Brown ale carbed at 13-14 psi in a 35(or so) degree fridge for 4 weeks now. When I pour a beer, there are bubbles.. but very little head forms and after a minute or so it just seems flat. I've had many other people say the same thing.

I've also sprayed every connection I can think of down numerous times and I don't see that any of my equipment is leaking gas.
 

Stillraining

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I dont clean my kegs but about every 3rd fill, I just rince out and sanitize with star-san...if you ferment in them then I can see every time but if not and kept closed under co2 once kicked its a waste of time IMO...when I do clean I use these. Which would work equally well in sankeys, no scrubbing required.
Cant help you with your carb issue your process seems sound. I get perfict carbonation with the set it and forget it method @ 9 to 11 PSI after 2 or 3 weeks every time. Its only if I rush things I get problems.. If I did 33 lbs for 7 days as another poster stated mine would be WAY over carbed...so maybe its a gauge accuracy issue we all have???

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doug293cz

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Sorry!! Forgot to include some important details. Brown ale carbed at 13-14 psi in a 35(or so) degree fridge for 4 weeks now. When I pour a beer, there are bubbles.. but very little head forms and after a minute or so it just seems flat. I've had many other people say the same thing.

I've also sprayed every connection I can think of down numerous times and I don't see that any of my equipment is leaking gas.
Leaks won't prevent carbonation, as all carbonation cares about is the CO2 headspace pressure, the temperature, and the surface area exposed to the headspace (which affects only rate, not equilibrium carb level.) Leaks just cause you to lose all your CO2 in a hurry.

Couple of questions for you:
  1. What are the details of you headspace purging protocol?
  2. Is there a chance the keg is overfilled (liquid level above the cylindrical portion)?

Brew on :mug:
 
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gregmosu

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I don't ferment in my kegs and unfortunately there's no chance they are overfilled. I brewed w/some homebrew club guys and ended up keeping about 7-8 gallons for myself which I split up into 2 kegs.. more than enough room in each. The funny thing is that one keg is WAY more carbed than the other. But for both kegs, if I hit the relief valve, it gives off a pretty big hiss for both. I"m just at a total loss. I guess it could be the gauge... freaking tanks never stand up very well and always seem to fall right on the gauges!! :)
 

Stillraining

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The funny thing is that one keg is WAY more carbed than the other. But for both kegs, if I hit the relief valve, it gives off a pretty big hiss for both. I"m just at a total loss. I guess it could be the gauge... freaking tanks never stand up very well and always seem to fall right on the gauges!! :)
Are these on a splitter? If so this doesnt make sense..If not then something is wrong with one keg not getting the same pressure which is also suspect and unlikely.

Maybe they have the same carb but the head retention is just way different due to soap residue or some oils of some sort specific to that keg so the perception is different.
 
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gregmosu

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Are these on a splitter? If so this doesnt make sense..If not then something is wrong with one keg not getting the same pressure which is also suspect and unlikely.

Maybe they have the same carb but the head retention is just way different due to soap residue or some oils of some sort specific to that keg so the perception is different.
Yeah, I've got a 4-way manifold setup. I am very meticulous when it comes to keeping my equipment clean. I scrub and rinse before filling everytime.. I even make sure I clean the kegs the very day that I'm filling them. There's a chance that something is getting left behind, but I rinse with a filtered water line.
 

Yooper

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I dont clean my kegs but about every 3rd fill, I just rince out and sanitize with star-san...if you ferment in them then I can see every time but if not and kept closed under co2 once kicked its a waste of time IMO...when I do clean I use these. Which would work equally well in sankeys, no scrubbing required.
Cant help you with your carb issue your process seems sound. I get perfict carbonation with the set it and forget it method @ 9 to 11 PSI after 2 or 3 weeks every time. Its only if I rush things I get problems.. If I did 33 lbs for 7 days as another poster stated mine would be WAY over carbed...so maybe its a gauge accuracy issue we all have???
ewwww- that's like saying I don't wash my dishes but every third me. Yuck. But I'm such a girl that way. I work FAR too hard on brewdays to not take 5 minutes to clean a keg when I package the beer.

I break them down, too. You wouldn't believe the crud that is up in the poppets and springs that is gross. I eyeball the long diptube and sometimes it's got grodies in it, so I use a diptube brush and clean it out and rinse and then sanitize. It only takes about 2 minutes.

Anyway, I have a gut feeling in this gas that the beer IS carbed, but the serving lines are short or there is another reason that the c02 is breaking out of solution during the trip to the glass (like a splitter, some restriction, a blocked poppet), leaving a seemingly undercarbed beer.

Can you tell us the temperature of your kegerator, the length and type of beer serving line, and if you have a tower?
 

rawlus

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Sorry!! Forgot to include some important details. Brown ale carbed at 13-14 psi in a 35(or so) degree fridge for 4 weeks now. When I pour a beer, there are bubbles.. but very little head forms and after a minute or so it just seems flat. I've had many other people say the same thing.

I've also sprayed every connection I can think of down numerous times and I don't see that any of my equipment is leaking gas.
All other things being equal, a beer at 14psi for 4 weeks will be carbed to 14psi.

How do you know it's 14psi? You mention popping the release valve lets out a forceful burst of pressure, so I suspect it's not the regulator.

What is your draft setup? Lines ID, length, tap type...

You say there are bubbles but not a lasting head... that's not necessarily a carbonation issue.

You can pour from draft into a soda bottle, cap and shake to evaluate the amount of CO2 released from the beer liquid, via foaming and/or pressure when you open the bottle cap - this wil, give you an unscientific indication if there is in fact Co2 dissolved in the liquid.
 
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gregmosu

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ewwww- that's like saying I don't wash my dishes but every third me. Yuck. But I'm such a girl that way. I work FAR too hard on brewdays to not take 5 minutes to clean a keg when I package the beer.

I break them down, too. You wouldn't believe the crud that is up in the poppets and springs that is gross. I eyeball the long diptube and sometimes it's got grodies in it, so I use a diptube brush and clean it out and rinse and then sanitize. It only takes about 2 minutes.

Anyway, I have a gut feeling in this gas that the beer IS carbed, but the serving lines are short or there is another reason that the c02 is breaking out of solution during the trip to the glass (like a splitter, some restriction, a blocked poppet), leaving a seemingly undercarbed beer.

Can you tell us the temperature of your kegerator, the length and type of beer serving line, and if you have a tower?
Fridge is about 35 degrees and I have about 8 feet of 3/16" line. The line was shorter, but I put on longer line to see if I could "fix" this carbing issue. My next step will be to tear all my kegs apart and replace everything I can/clean them up. But I can press the poppet on both kegs and they each produce a similar hissing sound.
 

Stillraining

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ewwww- that's like saying I don't wash my dishes but every third me. Yuck. But I'm such a girl that way. I work FAR too hard on brewdays to not take 5 minutes to clean a keg when I package the beer.

I break them down, too. You wouldn't believe the crud that is up in the poppets and springs that is gross. I eyeball the long diptube and sometimes it's got grodies in it, so I use a diptube brush and clean it out and rinse and then sanitize. It only takes about 2 minutes.

Anyway, I have a gut feeling in this gas that the beer IS carbed, but the serving lines are short or there is another reason that the c02 is breaking out of solution during the trip to the glass (like a splitter, some restriction, a blocked poppet), leaving a seemingly undercarbed beer.

Can you tell us the temperature of your kegerator, the length and type of beer serving line, and if you have a tower?
LOL... I brought it up just for you...to pull your chain and get you out of hiding..:ban:
 

schematix

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does your manifold have check valves on each leg? those cause a pressure drop so you might be several psi lower in the keg than the regulator indicates. they also need several psi differential to open usually, effectively blocking flow.

My 20lb co2 tank regulator reads 14 psi when the keg is actually only 8 psi. The reason is that i have 2 check valves on the manifold. I verified this with my spunding contraption, which is basically a gas QD with a pressure gauge and a pressure relief.
 
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gregmosu

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Guys, thanks for all the replies. You've given me a lot to think about. I have to call it a night, but after I drain these kegs I'm going to refurbish them, then work on the other suggestions. Thanks!
 

Yooper

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Fridge is about 35 degrees and I have about 8 feet of 3/16" line. The line was shorter, but I put on longer line to see if I could "fix" this carbing issue. My next step will be to tear all my kegs apart and replace everything I can/clean them up. But I can press the poppet on both kegs and they each produce a similar hissing sound.
Generally, if it's the post/poppets you will see some c02 breaking out of solution in the beer lines. They can still benefit from breaking them down, lubing the o-rings, making sure they aren't torn and things, but that's probably not the issue.

I would suggest 1 foot of line for every psi on your regulator. So, if you're at 14 psi, at 35-40 degrees, I would be using 14 feet of beer line. That's nearly twice what you have. That would be my first task, as I think it will solve your problem.
 

Stillraining

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ewwww- that's like saying I don't wash my dishes but every third me. Yuck.
Not even close to the same thing... But Its good to revisit your own processes so I did just that today with mine "Again" after your comment ...
Here is my out post and tube on a certified 3rd use keg with out tear down and cleaning , just a rinsing and sanitizing only. Picture is fresh tear down ..pre-rinsing/sanitizing.
Clean as a whistle. ..heck maybe I'll quit cleaning all together..;) FWIW I dont open my kegs after their kicked..I leave them disconnected but still under CO2 pressure till I need them again...then I rinse well and sanitize right before filling......just another example of my if it ain't broke mentality.
And just to be clear when I say rinse I mean rinse..I depress the popit's and spray water and sanitizer down them.

Carry on ...I will.:rockin:

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