Can I convert a carbonation keg lid to dispense?

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Belgian Samurai

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Hi,

I have a liquid post on a keg that will not dispense beer. I have tried 3 different connectors by 2 different companies. I have tried my regular faucet line as well as a party tap, but the beer will not dispense (so, make that 4 connectors by 3 different companies). I gotta get the beer out of the keg! Haha

Since that post and connector can hold 30 PSI, what do you think about buying a carbonation keg lid, switch out gas post to a liquid post and then connect the floating dip tube to that and use it as a dispensing port?

Thanks!
Belgian Samurai
 

Golddiggie

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I think you're better off figuring out what's going on with your liquid out post. Make double sure you are connecting to the 'out' post. Might want to check to make sure the liquid dip tube is under the post as well. It almost sounds like you have the gas tube under the liquid post (or somehow flipped the posts on the fittings).

IMO, getting the carbonation lid for this could result in more frustration. Especially since I don't recall if the fitting under the carbonation lid post is threaded or welded into position.
 
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Belgian Samurai

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I think you're better off figuring out what's going on with your liquid out post. Make double sure you are connecting to the 'out' post. Might want to check to make sure the liquid dip tube is under the post as well. It almost sounds like you have the gas tube under the liquid post (or somehow flipped the posts on the fittings).

IMO, getting the carbonation lid for this could result in more frustration. Especially since I don't recall if the fitting under the carbonation lid post is threaded or welded into position.
I'm at a loss of what to do. I have tried every conceivable scenario. I really don't want to go through the entire scenario again, but it if will help, I will do all over so I can record a video to show you. I really don't want to tho. Haha I'm tired. I've been at this since 8 this morning. Now 4 and I'm at the local coffee shop drinking a latte.

Question: does anyone have preferences to specific brands of keg posts? Or whatever's available?

I tried a universal post, but cannot get it to thread. I bought 4 pairs of them recently. 2 pairs worked, 2 pairs did not. Is threading not consistent on kegs or posts?
 
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Golddiggie

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I don't change the posts that are on the keg. Poppets can be changed, but I'd leave the posts alone. Chances are there's nothing wrong with that part, since it doesn't move. If the QD fits (they're made to matching spec typically) then you're fine.

Some people like the universal poppets, but I've not had good luck/results with them. I have a bunch that I bought several years back, that will probably last several more. I use them for additional fittings/items I buy/make with keg ball lock connections.

Check to make 100% sure you have the correct post for the correct aspect. The gas posts (ball lock at least) have notches on the corners (of the hex). Beer posts do not. Make sure you have the short dip tube only on the gas side and the long on the liquid side.

Also, are you using a standard full length stainless dip tube or one of the 'floating' ones? I've never used a floater, but then again I've never had an issue getting beer out of a keg. ;)
 
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Belgian Samurai

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I don't change the posts that are on the keg. Poppets can be changed, but I'd leave the posts alone. Chances are there's nothing wrong with that part, since it doesn't move. If the QD fits (they're made to matching spec typically) then you're fine.

Some people like the universal poppets, but I've not had good luck/results with them. I have a bunch that I bought several years back, that will probably last several more. I use them for additional fittings/items I buy/make with keg ball lock connections.
For clarification, what is the difference between "post" and "poppit"? Isn't the "poppit" the spring inside the "post"? Orrrrr maybe, that's the "valve" in the "poppit [connector]" which connects onto the [non-removable] "post" built into the keg.
 

Golddiggie

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The post is the part that the QD goes onto. The poppet is the insert under the post (shows through the hole in the top center of the post). When the QD goes onto the post, it depresses the poppet which allows either gas or liquid to flow. The base is what both go onto (not typically removed from the keg body). The base is also what the dip tubes go through.
 

Dr_Jeff

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There were several manufacturers of ball lock kegs, look at what is imprinted in the steel.
There are also pages that describe and list the specifics of each.
Not all use the same plugs, different thread patterns and sizes depending on the maker.
Determine what you have and proceed forward from there if indeed you need new plugs.
Although they don't wear out, but can become damaged.

Good luck.

Also have you checked to insure that your dip tube is not blocked?

With the keg pressurizer, if you press on the poppit on the beer side, beer should spray everywhere.
 
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Belgian Samurai

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Here is a 3-minute video I just made illustrating the issue.

There were several manufacturers of ball lock kegs, look at what is imprinted in the steel.
Not all use the same plugs, different thread patterns and sizes depending on the maker.
Determine what you have and proceed forward from there if indeed you need new plugs.
These kegs are stamped Pepsi-Cola. I was not able to locate any specific sites listing part specs or product numbers or "Pepsi-specific" parts other than the general "we have ball lock posts for your corny keg".
 
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Belgian Samurai

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Seems to me like you have hops or some other debris clogged in the tube/spring/poppet.
The post and poppit were clear of debris. The floating dip tube has a filter screen on the end of it. When I pulled the 20" or so of dip tube out through the liquid out port for inspection, the tubing was also clear of debris. I did not pull out completely as the float was still connected. Also, I did not (have not yet) remove the keg lid to inspect the end of the floating dip tube. FWIW. If worse comes to worst, I will open the keg and inspect the float screen, but only as a last resort because of oxidation.
 
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Belgian Samurai

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Is that a new keg or an old one? Wondering if the keg ever known to worked before.
I purchased 4 of them used during an internet sale. This is the first time I've used this one. So, yeah, that could play a role, but even then, it doesn't make sense why it won't dispense. Question: (and maybe relevant) ... Have you ever had a post "bottom out" when tightening it down? This one did. That seemed odd to me. And I did not have to apply a lot of torque to the wrench either. This may be just a red herring.
 

ba-brewer

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Sounds like you have floating dip tube setup. Was there an o-ring on the short dip the flex tube connects to inside the keg? if there was not that cause the tube to drop lower.
 
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Belgian Samurai

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Sounds like you have floating dip tube setup. Was there an o-ring on the short dip the flex tube connects to inside the keg? if there was not that cause the tube to drop lower.
The O-ring is also part of the sleeve (1cm or so in length) around the 4mm x 8cm-ish (1/4" x 4"-ish) dip tube + food grade silicon tubing.

Also did you fill the keg thru the bev out post that is now not working?
I filled the keg from the kettle direct thru the keg lid opening.

Edit: From kettle to keg, I strained it thru sanitized cheese cloth so, the wort/beer shouldn't be clogging up anything.
 

Golddiggie

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Just for giggles, put a liquid QC on a CO2 line, set it to a couple PSI over what your keg is charged at (or release the pressure on it and set it to 10psi) and then connect it to the liquid post. That should clear your floater if there's something blocking it. Of course, if there's a screen on the end, that might keep the blockage there. So maybe pull the item out of the beer, remove the screen, and then run CO2 through from the post.

The only times I've dry hopped in kegs, I've used the nylon mesh bags and made damned sure no hop matter would escape. Even when using leaf hops to dry hop I would do that.
 
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Belgian Samurai

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Just for giggles, put a liquid QC on a CO2 line, set it to a couple PSI over what your keg is charged at (or release the pressure on it and set it to 10psi) and then connect it to the liquid post. That should clear your floater if there's something blocking it.
I like that idea and gave it a try, but to no avail. So then next, I depressurized the keg, hooked up the gas line to the gas post and after opening the keg lid, I open the gas ball valve and inspected the filter between the dip tube and the float. Everything was clean as expected considering it was filtered from the kettle. The only dry hopping step I did was bourbon-soaked wood chips in a tightly-knotted bag.

This tells me, according to my understanding of process of elimination, that the issue is probably with the post, poppit, or seal that is defeating the vacuum. Not the dip tube itself.

Also, FWIW, I hopefully won't use the continual flow of CO2 again while keg lid was open. It worked, but kinda froze up my gas lines due to temperature differences. Haha I shut off the main valve at the tank to let the secondary ball valves warm again so I can fully close them. Haha I learn something new every day!
 

Golddiggie

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Typically if there's something in the poppet or post it stays stuck OPEN, not closed.

If you were able to push CO2 out of the floating dip tube while the gas was on it, then I don't see the issue being with the liquid side.

Having your lines freeze up would be a large concern for me. Since you would need to be running a LOT of CO2 into them. I've never had my lines, or regulator parts, freeze like that.

Take the post off the keg, inspect the poppet and o-rings on all liquid side fittings next.

If you still have the rigid dip tube that came with that keg, I'd put it back in and see if beer flows through that. If it does, then there's something wrong with the floater.

Maybe the pressure in the keg is higher than the tolerance for the line on the floater, crimping it closed. What pressure level have you had the beer keg at? This is NOT something you would need to worry about with the normal dip tubes (stainless steel).
 
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Belgian Samurai

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@Golddiggie , thanks for the reply. I will hopefully be able to report back tomorrow. I have hit the wall.

Thanks to everyone for speedily replying today in attempt to help me resolve this issue quickly. I appreciate it.

Stay tuned!
 

ba-brewer

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kind of a silly question but just to be sure the black oring was on the outside of the keg? Seem if that was the case you might have a gas leak and you should get some liquid to transfer but the flow might be less.

If the poppet spring was too long for some reason it might take extra pressure to depress. Or if the poppet spring was jammed up or crooked that might compress the spring too making it hard to depress. There is a spring inside the disconnect and it would take up the slack allowing the disconnect to seat yet no liquid out.
 

max9

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I once had a problem with a floating dip tube that was a bit too long. The tube would occasionally kink and obstruct the liquid flow. Also, when the keg was getting low, it would sometimes hold the pickup end above the surface so only gas would come out. Solved by shaking or inverting the keg to shift the tube around. Problem permanently solved after I trimmed the tube a bit.

As for your question about using a carbonation lid with a temporary dip tube, I don’t see why that wouldn’t work. Of course the lid has a gas post, so you’ll have to change that, or put a gas QD (white) on the liquid line on your tapper.
 

GlenF

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Yea, I would make sure that your floating dip tube FDT is oriented in such a way that the liquid intake on the end of the dip tube is fully submerged. The filter might be acting as a float. First give the keg a shake and see if you get flow. If you dont, try pulling the FDT out completely and testing to see how it floats in StarSan.

Good luck!
 
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there is also a tip in the disconnect that opens the poppit, these are made of plastic and could have gotten broken, try a different beverage disconnect
I’ve also disassembled a disconnect for cleaning and installed that center pin upside down and it went together fine and looked fine but would not dispense properly. That might be worth checking also if you’ve dissembled the disconnects for cleaning.
 
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Belgian Samurai

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Okay, now several days later, I have finally had time to really delve deep into the connection issue at the liquid-out post. Luckily, I had this batch of beer split between two kegs, so I still had something to drink in the mean time. Haha

TL;DR:
Both posts are now liquid-out's. Everything now correctly works.

The boring detail:
I tried different ball locks, posts, poppits, attempted to recut threads (no luck; too hard of metal for an impact driver and also wrong tool FWIW), and finally, found that only the old style post would thread on that liquid-out. So, since I had just bottled up the working keg, I swapped out that dip tube into this non-working keg, but on the gas-in side, I threaded on a new style (shape) liquid-in post and added an old style liquid-out post to that gas-in base. I then exchanged the liquid dip tube for the gas tube and switched the gas ball lock to a liquid variant. Now all works well.


PXL_20210729_011535497.jpg PXL_20210729_011538560.jpg

I hope to bottle up this keg tomorrow. I will then return to this keg in the weeks to follow and see if I can isolate the cause. I'm leaning towards a wonky base, but time will tell.

Again, thank you to everyone for your input. I'll post again if I find any conclusive or beneficial information.

Cheers!
 
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