Clogged Keg Dip Tube

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Stonecold_OM

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I've just started kegging and have kegged my second batch. First batch went perfect, great carbonation, great brew, no issues. The current batch I kegged about a week ago. It's been sitting on CO2 to force carbonate it so I figured I would tap it today to see how it tastes and check the carb levels. Connected it, tap open, 4 drops and nothing. I can see some beer in the tubing but no beer coming out.

I ended up releasing pressure in the keg and removing the dip tube. I found that the dip tube was completely blocked with sediment. I will assume that as soon as I tried to draft, the pressure moved sediment right into the tube. I cleaned it all out, santitized, then tried to draft again. Same thing. Removed again and found sediment in the ball lock connector of the keg. Cleaned out one more time, hooked up, and got draft. Beer is a little flat, but that's fine as it may have been a little early, but tastes good. I've also noticed there is sediment floating in the beer.

One more thing to add, this is the first batch I've brewed using only a primary without moving to a secondary. I KNOW I took the keg apart after the last batch, cleaned everything out, and sanitized.

I'm starting to think that when I transferred from the primary to the keg I accidently transferred quite a bit of sediment from the primary into the keg. And any sediment in the beer now is because I have been moving the keg to try and fix the problem. I do use a 6 gallon bucket for a fermenter, and a gravity siphon for transfer.

Any thoughts?
 

Spundit

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You want to minimize the amount of sediment you transfer to the keg but It is not unusual to transfer a little when racking your beer. Usually it will settle out and your first draft or two will be a little hazy. No worries.

Now if some hop material or other chunky trub makes its way into the keg it can and often does clog it up.

Floaters seem a little unusual to me. Was this dry hopped? I have seen some dry hop material that refused to sink.
 

Wables

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Even when I’m really clear in the secondary I get floaties in the first few pints. I’ve always assumed it’s because I don’t cold crash prior to kegging. I’ve never had a plugged dip tube though.
 
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Stonecold_OM

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You want to minimize the amount of sediment you transfer to the keg but It is not unusual to transfer a little when racking your beer. Usually it will settle out and your first draft or two will be a little hazy. No worries.

Now if some hop material or other chunky trub makes its way into the keg it can and often does clog it up.

Floaters seem a little unusual to me. Was this dry hopped? I have seen some dry hop material that refused to sink.
It was not dry hopped. I'm wondering if me moving the keg all around while trying to fix it stirred everything up. I'm going to let it settle over the weekend and see how it looks next week.

I definitely need to step up to new equipment but I can't make that investment at the moment.
 

DuncB

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@Stonecold_OM

I wouldn't tap a beer to check its' carb levels.

Measure the head space pressure ( and hence the beer pressure ) of CO2 with a gauge.
Then use this calculator with the beer temp and it will tell you the beer carb level.

Tapping it will allow a taste and gravity check but not really the carbonation, because if overcarbed you'll get foam and then taste flat beer and if undercarbed you'll get flat beer and no head. But you do state on CO2 for a week but without stating the pressure you could be low high or bang on for your carbing.

normally the sediment in the bottom of a keg will get forced up the tube and into your glass if it hasn't packed down enough.
The lack of beer coming out " a few drips " and a bit flat suggests you might not have got " enough gas " or vols in the beer yet.
 
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Stonecold_OM

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@Stonecold_OM

I wouldn't tap a beer to check its' carb levels.

Measure the head space pressure ( and hence the beer pressure ) of CO2 with a gauge.
Then use this calculator with the beer temp and it will tell you the beer carb level.

Tapping it will allow a taste and gravity check but not really the carbonation, because if overcarbed you'll get foam and then taste flat beer and if undercarbed you'll get flat beer and no head. But you do state on CO2 for a week but without stating the pressure you could be low high or bang on for your carbing.

normally the sediment in the bottom of a keg will get forced up the tube and into your glass if it hasn't packed down enough.
The lack of beer coming out " a few drips " and a bit flat suggests you might not have got " enough gas " or vols in the beer yet.
I do use a similar calculator and have it set at 8 PSI. So I know it's not over-carbed, but I wanted to make sure it has enough. That and yes, to test the flavor as I hadn't yet.

As for no beer coming out, it was the clogged dip tube. Once I cleaned that out, no problems dispensing.
 

DuncB

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ahh lesson learnt then. Glad it's sorted.
Floating dip tube on your keg is very worthwhile especially if you do really hoppy beers and you can fit a little filter on the end of it as well.
 

RolandD

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If it happens again, just hook up your gas to the liquid ball lock and blow the dip tube clear. Let it settle for a bit, but not long enough for it too get compacted down and draw it off through the tap. Repeat as necessary.
 
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Stonecold_OM

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If it happens again, just hook up your gas to the liquid ball lock and blow the dip tube clear. Let it settle for a bit, but not long enough for it too get compacted down and draw it off through the tap. Repeat as necessary.
This is a good idea. I may try it next time. I have been drafting off of the keg with no issues after the initial clean out.
 

DuncB

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@Stonecold_OM

If it's really stubborn to blow out with CO2 as RolandD mentions I have put a tiny bit of starsan in sanitised pet bottle and used the T piece adapter on it with the bottle inverted then injected gas into the bottle which forces the starsan down the tube and then some gas.
 
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