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Carbonation Question (dumb one)

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swampdog

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This is probably a stupid question, but I'm asking it anyway. First, the background. I just kegged my second batch since buying my first kegging system. I have two corny kegs, a 20 lbs CO2 tank, regulator and related hoses. Seems very slick. With the first batch, I chilled the keg to 38 degrees, cranked the gas to 25 psi and let it sit for two days, shaking often. Then vented off the pressure and reduced to 10 psi. I was thrilled with the carbonation level. It WAS perfect. That was four weeks ago. Now, the keg, which is still half full, dispenses nothing but foam. Now the question: What happened???? Did the 10 psi "dispensing" pressure continue to increase the co2 levels??? (I left the tank connected continuosly and raised the cooler temp to 45 degrees.) Should I have disconnected the tank when not dispensing? Any advice on what to do now? I've tried bleeding off the pressure and reducing the serving pressure to six lbs., but that did not help. Still all foam. Thanks.

John
 

Kephren

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There are lots of variables. First, 25 lbs is too much. I know it's because you're in a hurry, but now you have too much carbonation that is itching to get out. Also, you should use a long length of small diameter hose. I use 8ft of 3/16" tubing and only get minimal foam at 11-12lbs of dispensing pressure. By setting your pressure to 6lbs, the gas has a tendency to want to leave the beer. It does so as soon as the pressure drops due to dispensing. Properly carbonated beer dispensed at a higher pressure, the gas tends to want to stay in solution. So.. in short, carbonate - chilled - per the carbonation charts. Serve at the same pressure you carbonated with, and adjust your tubing length and tubing diameter to compensate for the dispensing pressure. You'll pull a perfect pint every time :)
 

Justin Chomel

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Did you leave the gas on at 25 psi for two days? That seems a bit much. I force carbonate chilled beer using 20 psi and shake the keg here and there for about 10 to 15 minutes, disconnect the gas and let it sit overnight.

Dispensing pressure is completely reliant on your equipment. I have rather short beer lines from keg to faucet, so I dispense with low pressure, about 5 or 6 psi. I have heard the rule of thumb is to dispense at about 3 psi per foot of beer line you have.

-JC
 

Dude

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First off, I think you did everything right. I force carb at 30 psi for 36-48 hours and then relieve the pressure to a serving psi like 6-12, depending on what I need. I'm thinking 2 things could be your problem:

1. Your beer is still overcarbonated from it sitting under 10 psi for so long. Over a span of 1 complete day, relieve the pressure from the corny every hour or so. You've got to get that excess CO2 out of that beer. I'm 90% sure this your problem.

2. You've got some kind of restriction in your beer line, or SOMETHING is preventing smooth flow--maybe a dirty faucet, a dirty line, a kink in your lines. Make sure that isn't the case.
 

tnlandsailor

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How do you dispense your beer? Picnic tap? Beer faucet? What is the ID and length of the beer line? This makes a huge difference in what ends up in the glass (beer or foam). There are three main factors that contribute to foam:

1) Over carbonated beer. Pretty self explanitory. Since your beer was fine initially, I doubt this is the problem.

2) Dispensing at too high a pressure. This is totally a function of your faucet type (picnic tap or beer faucet) and your beer line (ID and length). Keep turning your pressure down until you can get a glass with the right amount of foam. With a picnic faucet and a couple of feet of 1/4" ID tubing, this pressure will be down at 1 or 2 PSI just for reference. If the beer comes out at a virtual trickle to eliminate the foam, your problem is either #1 above, or........

3) Dirty faucets and lines. This is a big factor in foaming. If it's been a while since you cleaned your lines and faucets, clean them. A good chemcial cleaner is BLC (Beer Line Cleaner) available at many places like Morebeer.com. After cleaning, run through #2 again. If the beer comes out at a trickle to eliminate the foam, then see #1.

If you determine that your beer is overcarbonated, all you can do is what ORRELSE said, disconnect the gas and bleed off all the pressure and keep venting the keg for however long it takes.
 

rsitzejr

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My question is;

I just forced carbonated my first brew. An IPA. Put 30lbs on it, shook it and refrigerated it for 2 days at 45 degrees. I tried it today, it's good, but needs a little more carberation. Do you think leaving 10 lbs on it over the next couple days will help?
 
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swampdog

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Thanks for the advice all. I'm pretty sure the line is clean. (It's 1/4 ID to a faucet in an old chest freezer I've converted to a beer fridge). I'm going to try the venting technique ORELSE suggested.

John
 

Dude

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rsitzejr said:
My question is;

I just forced carbonated my first brew. An IPA. Put 30lbs on it, shook it and refrigerated it for 2 days at 45 degrees. I tried it today, it's good, but needs a little more carberation. Do you think leaving 10 lbs on it over the next couple days will help?

I've had this happen after a force carbonation at 30 psi for 2 days--and it turned out I OVER carbonated. Does your beer taste flat and just kind of odd? Over-carbonated is my guess. Vent some pressure for a a day or so and put it at serving pressure and I'll bet its fine.
 

rsitzejr

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Possibly, I vented the keg tonight, and will vent it in the morning. Then turn on the CO2 and see. Having a party Sat and wanting it to be ready by then.
 

Dude

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rsitzejr said:
Wouldn't the beer be too foamy if it was over carbonated?

You'd think so, but the one time I was having that problem I vented the C02 for a day and put it under serving pressure and the problem fixed itself. The only assumption I can make is that it was over-carbed.
 

Sasquatch

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It has been said that both over and undercarbonated beer will foam overmuch. The idea is that you have to pass a threshold where the beer decides to keep the dissolved CO2, and you require a certain amount for that.... the art in the science or the science in the art? I dunno....
 

rsitzejr

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What ever it is, I think I have it. Released the pressure several times today, put about 7 lbs on it, tasted, nice. A little sweeter then I like, but good none the less.
 
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swampdog

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I tried the method set forth above by Orelse. It solved my problem in a day. My brew is now dispensing perfectly at 2lbs pressure. Thanks again for the tips.
 

rsitzejr

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I still think mine needed a little more carbonation. It tasted much better after I did what Orelse described. Next batch is a Germen wheat beer, and I'm going to naturally carbonate it. How long do you let it sit in a keg and do I release the pressure before tapping a naturally carbonated keg?
 

Dude

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LOL...glad I could help out guys.

I learned the hard way too. I had one batch that I could not figure out for the life of my why it was foaming and why it tasted...weird. Over-carbed.

That's why I love this forum. We are all helping each other out with very little flaming. I feel comfortable asking a stupid question and not fearing getting thrown out to the wolves. That's cool. :D :cool:
 

patrck17

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Won't get away with those two for less than 60 dollars, which to the best of my knowledge is still a good deal. I don't have a fridge either so I won't be able to take advantage.
 
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