CO2 Leak in new keezer setup?

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fognl

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Hi folks, I'm hoping someone can assist in an issue I'm having. I'm a first time kegger, and just finished building a 2 tap keezer. The two kegs I have were purchased used, so I spent a lot of time in cleaning them properly including inspecting all posts and replacing all o-rings with new ones even if they looked okay.

I have one batch of beer ready to be kegged. So, while sanitizing the keg with starsan, I decided to hook up the co2 to the keg and make sure there were no leaks. I found a leak coming off my regular by use of a starsan spray bottle and looking for leaks. That was easily fixed by tightening up the connection.

Finally after installing everything into my keezer, I re-ran the gas to the 2way manifold, and from there to the keg. Fire up the co2, and re-sprayed all connections with starsan and looked/listened for bubbles, and none were forthcoming.

Fast forward a day, and I lean into my keezer to reach for the second set of beverage/gas lines, and I can "smell" co2 in the freezer (smell not being the right word, more like feel the burn of the co2 bottle like you just finished a bottle of coke). Thinking maybe this was due to initial bleeding of the keg when I put it in, I took a big fan and pointed it into the freezer and air it out. Fast forward another day, and yet again, I'm still smelling (feeling) the co2 in the freezer.

So, I'm assuming this is 100% guaranteeing that i have a co2 leak, correct? I'm having a hell of a time tracking it down if I do. I took the tank out and re-sprayed all connections, and looked it over thoroughly. The manifold is screwed into my collar of the keezer, so I did the best I could to check connections there, but didn't see anything. Finally, re-checking the keg, I don't see/hear anything from it.

Any suggestions for me? Should I just try with a soapy water/cloth? At first I was convinced I had a leak because my co2 tank level dropped, but a bit of googling told me that happens when you put it in a keezer due to the cold.
 
Can you remove the manifold and submerge in water while pressurized? You can do this in a bathtub, a big plastic tub, kitchen sink, whatever allows you to submerge it.

Have you sprayed star-san around the lid? Sometimes there's a leak there. Did you use keg lube when you reinstalled the o-rings and the big o-ring around the lid? If you did not use keg lube, I'd bet you that's why you have a leak. Keg lube isn't acting like a caulk; rather, it lets rings and such slide into place properly.
 
Can you remove the manifold and submerge in water while pressurized? You can do this in a bathtub, a big plastic tub, kitchen sink, whatever allows you to submerge it.

I haven't thought of that, but I should be able to do it, it would require unscrewing from the collar, but it's worth it to figure this out.

Have you sprayed star-san around the lid? Sometimes there's a leak there.

Yes, star-saned around the lid and posts and checked with and without gas line plugged in

Did you use keg lube when you reinstalled the o-rings and the big o-ring around the lid? If you did not use keg lube, I'd bet you that's why you have a leak. Keg lube isn't acting like a caulk; rather, it lets rings and such slide into place properly.

No I didn't actually. I do have keg lube here, I just forgot all about it. Side question, can I bleed out the co2 from the keg and pop the lid off, apply the lube, re-attach and re-pressurize without any harm to the beer? (assuming i take all sanitary precautions)
 
Should not smell/burn like co2. Something is leaking

You could try filling your brew pot/sauce pot with water and flipping the kegs upside down and submerging in the keezer instead of disconnecting everything for a bathtub soak if you think its just from the kegs. Otherwise submerging in a tub is the only way to find pesky leaks when the bubble test doesn't work...co2 leaks suck
 
Should not smell/burn like co2. Something is leaking

You could try filling your brew pot/sauce pot with water and flipping the kegs upside down and submerging in the keezer instead of disconnecting everything for a bathtub soak if you think its just from the kegs. Otherwise submerging in a tub is the only way to find pesky leaks when the bubble test doesn't work...co2 leaks suck

That's a great idea actually, didn't think to use my boil pot full of water to check for leaks. I'll give that a go too, thanks.
 
Side question, can I bleed out the co2 from the keg and pop the lid off, apply the lube, re-attach and re-pressurize without any harm to the beer? (assuming i take all sanitary precautions)
Yes. Your just relieving keg pressure...Sanitizing is barely/not an issue...its already beer/alcohol in a keg with no Oxygen...highly unlikely for an infection
 
Sometimes the "dunk for bubbles" technique is all you can do. Another thing you can try is turning up the pressure - what may not be readily detectable at 15psi may be easier to find at 40psi. Another thing would be to track the weight of the bottle - if you have a leak, the weight will drop noticeably.

Then again, I lost an entire 5# bottle in two days (leaking tank connection) in a kegerator and didn't smell anything, so I wonder if it isn't something else that you are smelling. Your freezer probably seals a lot better than my minifridge though, so I would still hunt for a CO2 leak somewhere.
 
Sometimes the "dunk for bubbles" technique is all you can do. Another thing you can try is turning up the pressure - what may not be readily detectable at 15psi may be easier to find at 40psi. Another thing would be to track the weight of the bottle - if you have a leak, the weight will drop noticeably.

Then again, I lost an entire 5# bottle in two days (leaking tank connection) in a kegerator and didn't smell anything, so I wonder if it isn't something else that you are smelling. Your freezer probably seals a lot better than my minifridge though, so I would still hunt for a CO2 leak somewhere.

The first night it dropped down "out of the green", but has kinda stuck where it is now ever since. I'm not able to track the weight of the bottle as I don't have a scale that will work (kitchen scale just doesn't go that high).

Before I do everything, i may try this jacking pressure and re-checking to see. I guess a short burst wouldn't have much effect on the beer as it stands.
 
The first night it dropped down "out of the green", but has kinda stuck where it is now ever since. I'm not able to track the weight of the bottle as I don't have a scale that will work (kitchen scale just doesn't go that high).

Before I do everything, i may try this jacking pressure and re-checking to see. I guess a short burst wouldn't have much effect on the beer as it stands.

It won't have any effect if you bleed it off through the PRV after checking.

You asked about removing the lid, applying keg lube, and resealing. I wouldn't do this unless your spraying of Star-San around the lid indicates a leak. No leak, no reason to remove the lid. Besides, you'll introduce oxygen into the keg if you do that, and no reason to add anything that oxidizes the beer.

Lids seal primarily due to the pressure pushing up on them. I've found I need at least 15 psi pressure to reliably do that, and higher is even better. The lid and o-ring gasket will slide into place, then a lower pressure and the help from the bale will keep it sealed.

Another thing you can do to check for leaks in the kegs is simply pressurize them as normal, remove the quick disconnects, and leave them alone for a day or so. If there's a leak, you'll lose pressure in the keg. You need to remove the QDs because all the kegs are connected through the manifold, and a leak in one will bleed off pressure in the other.
 
Hopefully some progress.

I took out my manifold and submerged it in water, opened the valves and jacked the pressure up to 35 psi and left it for a minute or two, and didn't see any bubbling at all.

I then took the keg out of the keezer while still attached to the gas line, and attempted to flip it upside down to submerge into brew kettle with water, however, as soon as I turned it upside down, hissing started coming out of the gas connector (the part that connects the line to the gas disconnect). So I turned off the gas, took off the gas line and double checked it was connected, and it appeared to be all the way on. I added some teflon tape and rescrewed it in, plugged it back on and tugged on it a few different ways while gas was on, and didn't get any more hissing.

While I had it out, I applied some keg lube as suggested (before I saw mongoose33's post), everything sealed up fine, re-pressurized and bled and back into the keezer now. Let's see how this goes over the next day or so, but hopefully that was it.

Thank you all for your help, I'll update my post tomorrow.
 
You asked about removing the lid, applying keg lube, and resealing. I wouldn't do this unless your spraying of Star-San around the lid indicates a leak. No leak, no reason to remove the lid. Besides, you'll introduce oxygen into the keg if you do that, and no reason to add anything that oxidizes the beer.
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Bleeding the keg just reduces pressure in an already co2 filled keg. It doesn't force oxygen in the keg. co2 is heavier than oxygen so i If the keg is filled to capacity with co2 when opened I don't see how it would introduce oxygen...seems like over thinking a simple thing like opening a keg for a quick repair
 
Bleeding the keg just reduces pressure in an already co2 filled keg. It doesn't force oxygen in the keg. co2 is heavier than oxygen so i If the keg is filled to capacity with co2 when opened I don't see how it would introduce oxygen...seems like over thinking a simple thing like opening a keg for a quick repair

The first part is correct, the second part not so much. As soon as you remove that lid, you're allowing air to mix w/ the CO2. You want to limit that as much as you can, unless you're going to drink that beer very fast and before the staling effects of O2 have had their influence.

CO2 is, of course, heavier than O2, and because of this people think it forms a blanket on their beer, protecting it. Turns out, that does not happen. I think the reason people believe this comes from seeing dry ice sublimate, and creating a vapor that then is heavier than air. But that vapor is actually water vapor, and it's sinking down because it's cold, not because it's CO2.

As soon as you open that lid you will swirl air in there, mixing with whatever CO2 is in the headspace. You can't avoid it. You may be able to limit it a bit by sliding a sanitized piece of foil over the opening to reduce mixing of air and CO2 while dealing with the lid.
 
As soon as you open that lid you will swirl air in there, mixing with whatever CO2 is in the headspace. You can't avoid it. You may be able to limit it a bit by sliding a sanitized piece of foil over the opening to reduce mixing of air and CO2 while dealing with the lid.

But, wouldn't immediately filling/bleeding co2 force any residual o2 out of the keg? How is it any different from when you first fill the keg post-fermantation?
 
But, wouldn't immediately filling/bleeding co2 force any residual o2 out of the keg? How is it any different from when you first fill the keg post-fermantation?
Transferring to the keg from fermenter is where the oxygen concern comes in. Home brewers have been transferring the same way forever...until lately. People have been diving into closed oxygen free transfers and reporting good results.
The vast majority still do it the regular way.
So to answer your question, if your OK with not doing closed transfers like most of us, opening your keg for 2 seconds is a non oxygen issue.
 
Transferring to the keg from fermenter is where the oxygen concern comes in. Home brewers have been transferring the same way forever...until lately. People have been diving into closed oxygen free transfers and reporting good results.
The vast majority still do it the regular way.
So to answer your question, if your OK with not doing closed transfers like most of us, opening your keg for 2 seconds is a non oxygen issue.

Right, forgot that some people do closed transfers. Didn't even cross my mind, thanks for the explanation!
 
Transferring to the keg from fermenter is where the oxygen concern comes in. Home brewers have been transferring the same way forever...until lately. People have been diving into closed oxygen free transfers and reporting good results.
The vast majority still do it the regular way.
So to answer your question, if your OK with not doing closed transfers like most of us, opening your keg for 2 seconds is a non oxygen issue.

It is to Jonny. Not to me.
 
Also ambient temperature does odd things with co2. The colder it gets the lower the tank pressure gauge drops making it look empty, when it gets hotter the temp rises. This is reflected on the gauges

Finding leaks is a painstaking process and is best done working from regulator toward tap and all points in between.

First make sure all hose clamps are tight, and the hose is not sliced around the barbs. Not sure if this was already mentioned, but this is a quick fix
 

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