EVABarrier Line Balancing

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3 Dawg Night

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I am at a loss. I brewed an Australian sparkling ale. It's kegged and pressurized to 23 psi, and I'm using 4mm EVABarrier tubing. I used Mike Soltys' calculator to determine that I need 8.6 feet of tubing to balance at 23 psi. I read elsewhere here on HBT that a good rule of thumb is to multiply that by 1.5 for the EVABarrier, so I'm using 12.9 ft of tubing. I'm still getting mostly foam when I pour. What gives?

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day_trippr

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23 psi is going to be a trial of any dispensing system.
I would try to determine if there is foam in the line while pouring.
What is the beer temperature in the keg?

Cheers!
 

sibelman

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A tap tower in a hot garage seems to correlate with foaming -- at least at my house:confused: and even with ~9 foot EVAbarrier 4mm ID tubing. Seems more of a summertime thing. I think I need a better tower cooling solution than stock Kegco.

But enough about me -- 23psi is far outside my experience as an ale brewer. Ditto to @day_trippr 's question re temperature. Are you sure you really want/need 23psi to achieve your desired carb level?
 

Kickass

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Without running some numbers, 23psi just seems really high. My setup: I have the same lines, 40* beer temp in the summer and 10ft of line. My regulator crept up to 15psi on me (assuming its accurate, and your's for that matter) and my pours looked like yours.
 

duncan.brown

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What @day_trippr said... If you're shooting for 3.5 vols, that's tough even in the best balanced system. I'm curious how many volumes you're going for and what the keg and line temperatures are?
 
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@day_trippr How do I go about determining if there's foam in the line. Pint after pint pours the same way.

My keezer is set to 45F, and I am targeting 3.5 vols. This is my first shot at a highly-carbonated beer, so maybe that's just it. Probably should have bottle-carbonated this one.
 

Noob_Brewer

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I had a Belgian dubbed that I carbed to ~3.2Vols. Have the same lines you do, my keezer temp averages 39 degrees, and set the PSI to 19. Use the same calculator as you and ended up with 7ft of tubing. I didn't multiply it by 1.5. I found this to be intense but nice foam. Needed to tilt that glass a lot initially to minimize foam, turn upright, let settle some, then top it off. Im wondering what type of keezer/kegerator you have. If its a tower, Im wondering if your lines are warmer than your kegerator temps.
 

bkboiler

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23psi seems high, but I don't know your system. I have a standard length of EVA barrier, I think it's 8ft...it came that way as part of a "tap kit". It does pour perfect at 12 psi, as advertised...but one improvement I still need to do to my keezer is to add a fan to keep air circulating...that will help keep the taps cooler as well as the beer in the line cooler. Should help bring foaming down and keep the lines tasting fresher longer.
You could try bringing the fridge temp down to maybe 36F...to see if that doesn't make it a bit easier to carb...
 

duncan.brown

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My first thought is that 45F is way too high for a 3.5 vol beer. You need it icy cold to pour without foam.

@3 Dawg Night how closely are you monitoring the temperatures in your keezer? I brought six cheap DS18B20 temperature probes and hooked them up to a raspberry pi to monitor the temperatures in my keezer. I place them at various points around the keezer and then run a script on the pi that displays the highest and lowest temperatures. Even with two fans circulating air, I often get a 4 degree differential between the highest and lowest temperatures (my keezer is set to 42F). At 3.5 vols, going from 45 to 50F would get you foam in the line.

Keep the keezer shut and let the temperatures equilibrate as best they can. Pour a pint and then (quickly) open the keezer and shine a flashlight through the beer line near the tap. Do you see yellow beer or white foam?

FWIW, here’s an excerpt of a pro-brewer discussion on serving very highly carbed beers:

Wow. That's gonna be a problem.

At 35 F and 3.22 v/v (the highest my P/T chart goes), I get 17 psi equilibrium pressure. For 3.5 v/v, that would be more like 20 psi!

About the only way I could see to make this work would be to set up a separate tap system, custom balanced and using a separate regulator and probably around 10' of 3/16" choker line, for each and every account. The alternative is serving pure foam, until the carbonation equalizes to the pressure of the existing system--around 2.5 v/v.
 
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3 Dawg Night

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@duncan.brown I'm not monitoring my keezer temp as closely as you are, that's for sure! I just have the probe of my temperature controller hanging in space at about the midpoint of the keezer. I may try lowering my set temperature to ~40F and see what that does for me. I'll try your "peek test" as well and see if I can see foam in the line.

Bottom line: I'll probably be bottling any highly-carbonated beers from now on.
 

slurms

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just have the probe of my temperature controller hanging in space at about the midpoint of the keezer
Instead of doing this and measuring air temp, get a jug of water, put it in your keezer, and measure that water temp. It'll be more in line with the keg temps and your compressor won't kick on as much (if it is doing that). If that is in fact what you're doing, I bet your kegs are much warmer than you think and contributing to the foam.
 

duncan.brown

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Instead of doing this and measuring air temp, get a jug of water, put it in your keezer, and measure that water temp. It'll be more in line with the keg temps and your compressor won't kick on as much (if it is doing that).
+1 on that suggestion. You want the probe in contact with something with a higher thermal mass than the air (jug of water, or tape it to the side of a cool keg) both to avoid compressor strain and to give you a better read on the temperatures.

I generally don't keg carb over 3 vols. When I do a 3 vol saison, it's pushing it even with flow control taps. I put an extra 10 ft of line on that tap.
 

oakbarn

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If you carbonate to 3.5 vols, could you not just push the beer at like 5psi then return to 23 psi to keep it at the high carbonation, When I get foam, I just adjust the "push".
 

JohnDBrewer

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Your co2 regulator could be inaccurate. We calculate everything and then assume the regulator is correct. You maybe applying 30lbs of pressure thinking it is 23. Try lowering the pressure until you find it is pouring correctly and carbonated to your liking to see if you can determine if it is a regulator issue. Took me a while to figure it out that was my problem running through everything mentioned above.
 

Knightshade

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I haven't gone past IPA levels of carbonation with beer, but my cider is at almost champagne levels of bubbly. That is a bit different in regards to head retention though. I've got 3 meters of 4mm evabarrier running from each keg up a cooling tower and the happy spot seems to be between 10-13 PSI for serving. I keep it at 32 (indicated) with a recirculating fan.
 
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Your co2 regulator could be inaccurate. We calculate everything and then assume the regulator is correct. You maybe applying 30lbs of pressure thinking it is 23. Try lowering the pressure until you find it is pouring correctly and carbonated to your liking to see if you can determine if it is a regulator issue. Took me a while to figure it out that was my problem running through everything mentioned above.
Is there any way to calibrate regulators (other than just adjusting to personal preference)?
 

day_trippr

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@day_trippr How do I go about determining if there's foam in the line. Pint after pint pours the same way.
Ideally you'd observe the line while someone else pours some beer. Alternately, check the initial condition of the line pre-pour then post-pour to see if it ended up filled with foam.

My keezer is set to 45F, and I am targeting 3.5 vols. This is my first shot at a highly-carbonated beer, so maybe that's just it. Probably should have bottle-carbonated this one.
Seems reasonable enough but obviously there's something making a mess of the effort. I'd love to offer more than the standard "proper line length/id, temperature and CO2 pressure" that fits the chart but other than my imperial stout on 35psi beer gas I've never dispensed a beer at that high a volume (3.5)...

Cheers!
 

Vale71

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Is there any way to calibrate regulators (other than just adjusting to personal preference)?
Replace your mechanical manometer with an electronic one. The former are always off calibration while the latter are much more accurate and calibration is incredibly stable. These things are all manufactured in China and get knocked about an awful lot on the way to you. While it takes very little mechanical stress to knock a mechanical manometer off calibration it would take some very hard knocking to achieve the same result with an electornic one, to the point that it will probably show external damage before it goes off calibration.

To the original question, 3.5 vols is really hard to manage when dispensing kegged beer. You might manage to get a barely acceptable pour with a flow-control faucet but chances are still quite a bit of carbonation will be lost at dispensing which would make carbonating to such high levels a bit pointless.
 

Bobby_M

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The higher the volumes, the colder temps you want to pour at. It's just a fact that CO2 doesn't want to stay in solution as things warm up. Cool to 36-38F, lower the pressure under 20 and use 11 feet of 4mm EVA.
 

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