Easy Corny Keg Fix - Cleaner Pours

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When unfiltered beer is kegged and refrigerated trub and hop particles continue to settle out of suspension and drop to the bottom of the keg near the dip tube. As the layer of settled particles around the dip tube increases eventually they cover the dip tube end and get sucked up into your glass, this is especially likely to happen with hoppy beers. The 'cold crashing' process is really a great way to clean up any beer and combined with a minor fix to shorten the keg's dip tube length it's an easy way to enjoy cleaner pours from first glass to last. The entire fix can be completed in about a half an hour, is simple enough to do for even a novice DIY'er and the only tools needed are a small tubing cutter and an adjustable wrench.

There are two types of corny kegs used by home brewers today the Pepsi Cola designed 'ball lock', made by IMI Cornelius and to a somewhat lesser extent the Coca-Cola designed 'pin lock' made by Firestone. It seems Coke and Pepsi didn't want their syrups to be easily switched out to their competitor's product without them having to make a lot of hardware changes. Needless to say that would also explain the incompatibilities between pin lock and ball lock keg parts. Depending on the type of threads used on the pin lock kegs some can be converted to ball locks, but only Cornelius keg parts are interchangeable with Cornelius kegs. Ball lock kegs have a pressure relief valve that's built into the keg lid that makes purging CO2 from the kegs extremely easy to do with just your finger.

Use an adjustable wrench to turn the 'beer out' post counter clockwise and unscrew the ball lock connector from the threaded keg post. Next lift the connector off of the post and use your fingers to remove the dip tube from the post by simply lifting it out. I marked my dip tube a half inch from the end that points into the bottom of the keg and then used the small tubing cutter to gently cut through the stainless steel dip tube. Each keg bottom has a small dimple in it that acts as a reservoir for trub. With the dip tube centered above the reservoir there is a little space between the dip tube end and the keg bottom to keep the trub from being sucked up with beer when pouring a glass. Shortening the dip tube by half an inch increases the space between the keg bottom and the end of the dip tube so even more trub can collect in the reservoir without being sucked up the dip tube resulting in cleaner pours.

As long as the cutting wheel isn't chipped the tubing cutter will make a very clean cut so there won't be any burrs or sharp edges to sand. After cutting the tube end off rinse the dip tube under running water before inserting it back into the keg post and threading the ball lock connector onto the post. With the dip tube in place and the ball lock connector threads started take the adjustable wrench and tighten the connector by turning it in a clockwise direction. Be sure to keep an eye on the end of the dip tube at this point, the idea is to position the end of the dip tube directly over the center of the reservoir at the bottom of the keg when the connector is fully tightened on the keg post.

Since making this simple modification to my corny kegs I've been pouring consistently clearer and noticeably cleaner tasting beers each and every pour. Now when a keg is kicked and it's time to clean it there is always a nice layer of trub at the bottom of the keg that was just out of reach of the dip tube. Adding Whirlfloc to the end of the boil and whirl pooling the wort in the kettle before transferring it to the fermentor will also keep a lot of trub out of your finished beer. If you have a spare refrigerator large enough to hold a fermentor using it to cold crash the fermented beer for a few days before kegging will also help eliminate a lot of trub from getting into your keg while making force carbonating the beer easier to do. Follow these simple steps for the cleanest tasting beer possible without using mechanical filtration, you'll be glad you did.

Vince Feminella [aka: ScrewyBrewer]
www.thescrewybrewer.com
[email protected]
 
I don't mean to offend, but the beer pictured doesn't look particularly clear? Also, I can get clear beer without cutting my dip tube (admittedly it might take a couple pints, but...)?
 
Have to agree with afr0byte. Maybe this works for you (if so, great!), but I find that with better kegging practices, you get much clearer beer, no modifications to the hardware (or filtering) required. To each his own though.
And I agree, the pictured beer is a poor example of clear beer. *Maybe* it's just chill haze, but it doesn't do much to underline your point regardless.
Clear beer in, clear beer out.
 
Easier, and requires no hardware mods:
Cold crash in primary (or secondary if you're inclined), gelatin fine, then siphon clear beer into keg a day or two later.
 
Accutually you can get perfectly brite wheat beer by bringing the temp of the beer down to 32f then hitting it with a dose of gelatin. Wait a week or so and the gelatin will drag all the proteins to the bottom of the keg. First pint will be cloudy the rest will be brite.
 
I did this with 1 keg. I would transfer into the keg and chill for a few days. Then I would use a jumper to transfer to another keg (out to out), and then carb it. It worked well if I had a keg I needed to take with me to a festival...not a lot to get stirred back up.
I have recently cut all my other kegs. I find even with whirlfloc in the boil and gelatin in the keg, I still pull some stuff out. Pretty easy, not a huge loss of beer and clear from the beginning.
 
How very timely! I always cold crash my fermentor in the fridge before kegging but for the first time I decided to add 0.5 oz of op pellets directly to the keg as second dry hop addition. I paid for it with my first-ever clogged dip tube. Even vanilla beans and cocoa nibs thrown right into the keg didn't do that. I'll try the cutting method if I can't suck the hops out with a pump. Thanks!
 
I've never had enough "junk" in the bottom of my kegs to justify shortening the dip tube. More commonly, I get chill haze throughout the early life of a keg (although none live long) with late clearing. The bottom has at most an 1/8" of sediment. I've considered Williams Brewing's Clear Beer Draft System (http://www.williamsbrewing.com/CLEAR-BEER-DRAUGHT-SYSTEM-P3612.aspx).
 
i don't cut my dip tube cause after putting starsan to sanitize, i then purge the starsan and o2 in the keg to get it ready for beer. If i cut the dip tube i wont be able to get out all the starsan. Also you can cold crashin the primary and add gelitin and then rack to keg. Also just dump the first pint and the rest should be clear.
Its also better to BEND the dip tube to get it higher up than to cut it. You can always bend it back.
 
Only reason to cut a dip tube in my opinion is if you use biofine. It doesn't ever cake enough to pour clear with a full dip tube.
 
I had a diptube which almost COMPLETELY cut off the flow of a hopped up beer to my keg....I was pulling my hair out until I readjusted it to suck up more beer... I thought it was my kegging system NOT that diptube...
 
I have 10 kegs. One has the tube cut. I hate that keg. I'll never cut one myself. Sorry OP, vas deferens stays intact on my delivery system.
 
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