First time kegging - Not sure what is happening

Homebrew Talk - Beer, Wine, Mead, & Cider Brewing Discussion Forum

Help Support Homebrew Talk:

whovous

Waterloo Sunset
HBT Supporter
Joined
Dec 20, 2013
Messages
1,450
Reaction score
267
Location
Washington
I kegged my first beer about two weeks ago. 7% IPA into a 2.5 gallon ball lock keg. I've left the carbing lid connected and use a picnic tap. All equipment is new and I am pretty sure I have no leaks as the level on the regulator is not moving. The keg is cooled in a chest freezer with a Fermostat set at 43F.

I am definitely still in the learning stage. I did a StarSan purge before filling the keg, then set the regulator at about 14psi for 24 hours. I was extremely happy with my first pour both because of the carbonation level (when I bottled I often over or under carbed) and because I got an extremely persistent head and lacing.

After the first beer, I dialed the regulator back to about 3psi. First mistake. The next day the beer had very little head or lacing. So, I went back to 12psi and have left it there since. Normally I drink about 16 oz a day, and the beers have looked and tasted very good.

I had family over last night to show off my new toy and drew about a half gallon in short order. The first beer was as gorgeous and persistent as always. The last beer drawn was mine; it had a small head and the lacing basically went away a few seconds after each sip. The beer also seemed to be a bit on the flat side.

Is this normal? Am I only going to get a single pour at a time before things start to go flat? What should I do differently? I brew mostly for myself, but when I serve others I want it to look and to taste as good as possible.
 

doogie

Well-Known Member
Joined
Oct 20, 2016
Messages
229
Reaction score
153
Location
SouthEastern PA
My normal process is to transfer my beer into the keg and pressurize it to 15 psi or so, purge the head space a few times to get rid of some oxygen, then let it sit for at least a day before I even hook up the beer line. Normally after 2 days I take a half a beer sample. After 2-4 days it is normally carbonated to the level I like, then I back it off to somewhere between 5 and 10 psi.
I think your issue was that you turned down the CO2 too early. Those samples as it's carbonating will always come out fast and may have a deceptive head, trust the mouthfeel.
 
OP
whovous

whovous

Waterloo Sunset
HBT Supporter
Joined
Dec 20, 2013
Messages
1,450
Reaction score
267
Location
Washington
I used a carb lid, so it should have been fully carbed in a day. In any case, I turned it back to 12psi after one day at 3psi and it has been at 12psi for about two weeks. When I draw only one pint, the head and the mouthfeel are both superb.

The beer was very well liked last night, I am just confused about the head and lacing.
 

cubalz

Beer Whore
Joined
Dec 30, 2013
Messages
918
Reaction score
380
Location
Magnolia, DE
What I have always done is to connect the gas line, adjust to 12 psi, purge it 4 times. Let it sit for 3 days, purge again and adjust to serving pressure (usually 10 psi for me) It is perfect every single time.
 

xpops

Well-Known Member
Joined
Sep 10, 2014
Messages
500
Reaction score
124
Location
London
agreed with cubalz.

i've tried the carbing lid (waste of co2 in my opinion) i tried the brulosophy quick carb method (too much carb bite, and needs to sit a few days anyways). setting it to serving and let it do it's thing for 4-5 days, and pour away.

does the pressure at which your second, third, fourth, etc..pours visually change? it sounds like you're losing pressure in order to push the beer out of your keg. all the beer will be carbonated to the same level, and that shouldnt be changing from pint to pint.

not sure why you were dropping your pressure down to 3psi...i do that occasionally to bottle of a growler/bottles to bring somehwere with me, but other than that there really isnt a reason to drop it that low.

cheers,
 
OP
whovous

whovous

Waterloo Sunset
HBT Supporter
Joined
Dec 20, 2013
Messages
1,450
Reaction score
267
Location
Washington
Let me get the 3psi issue out of the way. I did that for one day because I did not know any better. I put it back the next day. I do not think that can explain something that happened days later.

Why is the carbing lid a waste of CO2? I don't think it uses any more CO2 than any other method. The beer I poured after 24 hours under the lid was just about perfect in terms of head and lacing. It is the inconsistency that has me baffled. I am not 100% certain, but I do not think the pressure visually changed for later pours. I don't expect to do back to back pours any time soon, so I do not have a good way to test this.
 

parjay

Well-Known Member
Joined
Nov 6, 2017
Messages
132
Reaction score
72
I am not sure what carb lid you are using, but the ones that I have read about recommend switching to a regular lid once the desired carbonation level is reached. I haven't started kegging yet, and therefore have zero practical experience, but I have done quite a bit of reading as I start piecing together my kit. Good luck getting things sorted.
 

SleepyCreekBrews

Well-Known Member
Joined
Jul 18, 2012
Messages
940
Reaction score
270
Location
Leesville, NC
I don't know how some of y'all are getting carbonated beer after 3 days, it seems to take nearly 10 for me at serving pressure.
@whovous , follow the chart below, generally you want to be in the 2.2-2.4 range. Set the pressure based on the temperature of the beer. Use the set it and forget it method for best results.
Screen Shot 2017-12-19 at 5.38.30 PM.png
 

brew703

Well-Known Member
Joined
Jul 8, 2015
Messages
2,207
Reaction score
467
Location
Outside of Nola
I just started kegging. Total of three kegs so far. Here's my process.
After cleaning, I fill serving keg with starsan and let it sit for 10-20 min, turning it upside down etc.
Then I hook up my jumper line, connect co2 (1psi) and transfer starsan to another keg. Once that is done, I transfer my beer (closed transfer).

I place the filled keg in my keezer for 24 hrs at 35 degrees. At that point I hook up the gas at 30 psi for 24-26 hrs. At that point I purge and reset at 12 psi for another day. At that point the three kegs I've done were carbed pretty much how I like it.

After about a week, I drop down to 10 psi.
So far it's worked for me.
 
OP
whovous

whovous

Waterloo Sunset
HBT Supporter
Joined
Dec 20, 2013
Messages
1,450
Reaction score
267
Location
Washington
I am not sure what carb lid you are using, but the ones that I have read about recommend switching to a regular lid once the desired carbonation level is reached. I haven't started kegging yet, and therefore have zero practical experience, but I have done quite a bit of reading as I start piecing together my kit. Good luck getting things sorted.
My research suggested I'd need to swap the lid out as well, but the instructions that came with the lid said that swapping it out was fully optional. I figured that removing and replacing the lid would expose the beer to more oxygen, so I decided to just leave the lid on. It is a 2.5 or 3 gallon keg and I figure it will kick before I have another brew ready to carb.
 
OP
whovous

whovous

Waterloo Sunset
HBT Supporter
Joined
Dec 20, 2013
Messages
1,450
Reaction score
267
Location
Washington
I don't know how some of y'all are getting carbonated beer after 3 days, it seems to take nearly 10 for me at serving pressure.
@whovous , follow the chart below, generally you want to be in the 2.2-2.4 range. Set the pressure based on the temperature of the beer. Use the set it and forget it method for best results.
That is what a carbing lid is all about. A diffusion stone on the end of a tube reaches the bottom of the keg. The stone diffuses gas slowly and doing so from the bottom helps to speed the absorption of the CO2 into the beer.
It seemed to work for me, as the beer was just great after 12 hours. Still, I do not have an explanation that makes sense of my problems trying to make multiple pours in succession.
 

parjay

Well-Known Member
Joined
Nov 6, 2017
Messages
132
Reaction score
72
My research suggested I'd need to swap the lid out as well, but the instructions that came with the lid said that swapping it out was fully optional. I figured that removing and replacing the lid would expose the beer to more oxygen, so I decided to just leave the lid on. It is a 2.5 or 3 gallon keg and I figure it will kick before I have another brew ready to carb.
Shoot, it was worth a shot.
 

dobeluvr

Well-Known Member
Joined
Aug 2, 2009
Messages
128
Reaction score
3
Location
nw indiana
kegged about 2 weeks ago? That is pretty young and is probably not fully carbed yet. My keezers at 38 degrees, 12 pounds co2. i set it and forget it. Matter of fact, wherever it was set a few years ago, it is still there.

Lacing may mean glass was not as clean as before. Same way with head retention. If it tastes good, drink it.
 

Bobby_M

Vendor and Brewer
HBT Sponsor
Joined
Aug 3, 2006
Messages
25,544
Reaction score
4,767
Location
Whitehouse Station
A 2.5 gallon keg using a diffusion stone should be fully carbed in 3 days at chart pressure. Even without the stone, it's only half as much beer as a 5 gallon (which takes about 2 weeks to reach chart equilibrium) so 7-9 days max. With a carb stone AND that first 24 hours at 14psi, it should be at equilibrium by now. I suspect you may be running a short line on the picnic tap and you might be blowing a lot of CO2 out of suspension during the pour.
 

Sadu

Well-Known Member
Joined
Apr 26, 2016
Messages
1,441
Reaction score
471
Why would they say to swap the carbonation lid for a normal one? That would just let a whole lot of oxygen into your keg.
 

Bobby_M

Vendor and Brewer
HBT Sponsor
Joined
Aug 3, 2006
Messages
25,544
Reaction score
4,767
Location
Whitehouse Station
Why would they say to swap the carbonation lid for a normal one? That would just let a whole lot of oxygen into your keg.
Not that you should, but that you could. The reason would be to extend its use to more kegs without buying a new expensive lid for every keg. I don't think the exposure is that bad. When you put the plain lid on, there is very little headspace and you can purge it after.
 
OP
whovous

whovous

Waterloo Sunset
HBT Supporter
Joined
Dec 20, 2013
Messages
1,450
Reaction score
267
Location
Washington
A 2.5 gallon keg using a diffusion stone should be fully carbed in 3 days at chart pressure. Even without the stone, it's only half as much beer as a 5 gallon (which takes about 2 weeks to reach chart equilibrium) so 7-9 days max. With a carb stone AND that first 24 hours at 14psi, it should be at equilibrium by now. I suspect you may be running a short line on the picnic tap and you might be blowing a lot of CO2 out of suspension during the pour.
Your suspicion is well founded. The picnic tap is on a 4-5 foot line. I bought a 12' one at the same time I bought everything else, but did some more reading and decided that if I wasn't getting excessive foam, that this one was long enough. Should I rethink this?

Last night's pint had better head and lacing than Monday's multi-pour night, but it was not where I wanted it to be. Should I use the longer line? I am inclined to turn up the pressure by a few pounds just for fun.

Dobeluvr, you've inspired me to give my Spiegalau IPA glasses a good soak in OxyClean!
 

balrog

Supporting Member
HBT Supporter
Joined
Nov 26, 2013
Messages
4,265
Reaction score
4,440
A 2.5 gallon keg using a diffusion stone should be fully carbed in 3 days at chart pressure. Even without the stone, it's only half as much beer as a 5 gallon (which takes about 2 weeks to reach chart equilibrium) so 7-9 days max. With a carb stone AND that first 24 hours at 14psi, it should be at equilibrium by now. I suspect you may be running a short line on the picnic tap and you might be blowing a lot of CO2 out of suspension during the pour.
This is my thought too--with every pour most people make, the CO2 is coming in through a dip tube above the beer. For you, the CO2 is coming in small bubbles underneath the existing carbonated beer, thereby agitating the beer, thereby knocking out CO2?
 

xpops

Well-Known Member
Joined
Sep 10, 2014
Messages
500
Reaction score
124
Location
London
This is my thought too--with every pour most people make, the CO2 is coming in through a dip tube above the beer. For you, the CO2 is coming in small bubbles underneath the existing carbonated beer, thereby agitating the beer, thereby knocking out CO2?
this makes a lot of sense to me...seems like you're losing that equilibrium without new co2 dumping directly into the headspace as you displace beer.

Why is the carbing lid a waste of CO2? I don't think it uses any more CO2 than any other method.
When i originally got a carbing lid, researching it indicated that you should be burping the keg frequently, to introduce more co2 through the stone, into the beer...that's where the result of wasted co2 came from.

once you get a couple kegs in rotation, i still feel that set it and forget it at regular serving PSI provides the most consistent and smoothest carbonation. Too much carb bite with the quick carb methods for me personally. i would end up quick carbing and then let it sit for 4-5 days anyways to mellow/round out.

cheers,
 
OP
whovous

whovous

Waterloo Sunset
HBT Supporter
Joined
Dec 20, 2013
Messages
1,450
Reaction score
267
Location
Washington
OK, I want to go back and cover a couple of issues that were left open.

First, this is the lid in question:
https://www.amazon.com/dp/B01J2AD7WQ/?tag=skimlinks_replacement-20
There are a lot of other lids out there. This one is stainless and shiny, not that it matters.

Second, I think I followed the instructions for this unit (I am not going to look them up right now), but what I did seems to violate the practices developed in the reviews to the unit on the MoreBeer web site. They make a lot of starting at 4si (and have more than one way to get there) and then slowly dialing up the pressure over several hours. I started low for a few minutes, but then went straight to 14psi fairly quickly. While my first beer looked pretty good, I wonder if this violation of protocol might explain my later problems. Not that I understand the protocol.

Third, as the table above illustrates, carbonation levels vary with temps. I did my original 14psi in the mid-30s, but then I decided I didn't want to drink my IPA that cold and reset the temp to 43F. As a practical matter, my temps have been in the 44 to 45F range most times I have checked. I think this is a big deal. My carb level may have been fully satisfactory at 35F, but cranking the temp to 43F also reduces my carb level.

I raised my pressure to 15psi this AM. I am leaving town and thus leaving it there until Sunday night. Based on a small pour tonight, the beer is definitely more carbonated, but head retention is just so-so. Lacing is acceptable, but not as good as the original.
 
Last edited by a moderator:
OP
whovous

whovous

Waterloo Sunset
HBT Supporter
Joined
Dec 20, 2013
Messages
1,450
Reaction score
267
Location
Washington
This is my thought too--with every pour most people make, the CO2 is coming in through a dip tube above the beer. For you, the CO2 is coming in small bubbles underneath the existing carbonated beer, thereby agitating the beer, thereby knocking out CO2?
First, this is my first time kegging. I know I have a lot to learn.

However, second, I simply cannot wrap my mind around this. If I have beer that is adequately carbonated, and I add more CO2 to the mix, how do I wind up with something undercarbonated? I won't say that is not possible because I just don't know very much, but I will say I don't get it. What exactly does "equilibrium" mean in this context and how does drawing multiple beers upset it?

Third, how does "burping" play in all of this? My few attempts at asking the Google have produced nothing on point. What is different about the carb lid device that makes burping necessary, whether it is to restore equilibrium (whatever that means) or to do something else to make my beer all it can be?

Fourth, I don't get burping, but I did it anyway. I set a lot of CO2 free tonight. If being wasteful is what it takes, then I should have better beer when I draw another pint on Sunday night. I don't see how it can do any harm, and it has been indirectly suggested it might do some good. Like I said, I cannot wrap my mind about why this might work, but if it does, then I guess I will have to find a way to understand it.
 

balrog

Supporting Member
HBT Supporter
Joined
Nov 26, 2013
Messages
4,265
Reaction score
4,440
The slow feed protocol must be the same thing when they tell you how to oxygenate with a diffusion stone -- you want to feed enough pressure into the stone at the bottom of the liquid to make teeny tiny bubbles that will DISSOLVE IN THE LIQUID on their way up. If you have lots of foam and bubbles bursting on a roiling surface from feeding gas too fast, then it isn't dissolving on its way up.

My best guess anyway.
 

balrog

Supporting Member
HBT Supporter
Joined
Nov 26, 2013
Messages
4,265
Reaction score
4,440
Another thing, and this has been bothering me so I hope someone can enlighten me, but what would carb level have to do with head retention and lacing? I get that the amount of head can be carb level and pour speed w agitation, but retention and lacing are more related to beer recipe (proteins? sunspots? Bigfoot?).
 
OP
whovous

whovous

Waterloo Sunset
HBT Supporter
Joined
Dec 20, 2013
Messages
1,450
Reaction score
267
Location
Washington
The recipe in question includes 18% flaked wheat; that should be head retention friendly. I am trying to understand why I get such differing results from the same batch. The first pour was colder than the rest. Could that be an issue? I think I will try turning the temp back down before leaving for the weekend.
 

Hwk-I-St8

Supporting Member
HBT Supporter
Joined
Jan 10, 2014
Messages
1,902
Reaction score
843
Location
The Hawkeye State
So, with that carbing lid, you effectively have two potential gas ports? (The one built into the keg and the one built into the lid?)

Just a little background (someone correct me if I have this wrong). Carbonation in a liquid will come out of solution when introduced to more nucleation points. Have you ever seen the exploding coke 2L bottle thing with mentos? That's the result of introducing a bunch of nucleation points. I think introducing more CO2 through the carb stone could effectively introduce nucleation points, causing the CO2 to come out of solution as you're pouring successive beers. Someone alluded to this in an earlier post.

If my understanding of the lid and your corny keg is right, and there are two potential gas ports (one in the lid, one on the keg), here's what I'd be doing:

Go through the normal carbing process using the port in the lid. Once you've reached the carb level you want, switch to the other port. This will ensure that the new CO2 introduced while pouring beers isn't taking CO2 out of solution.

Finally, with your desired serving temp, the CO2 should be relatively high. Furthermore, at that temp and pressure, the beer would be coming out really fast. That aggressive pour will cause a bunch of CO2 to come out of solution. At that temp/pressure, you're going to want a small ID serving hose that's pretty long. Flow rate drops with smaller diameter and it drops with longer hose. Doing both will reduce that flow rate to something manageable. If your flow rate isn't pretty high with a short picnic tap and hose, then I'd start to doubt your regulator gauges.
 

bleme

Well-Known Member
Joined
Jan 24, 2012
Messages
4,852
Reaction score
3,094
Location
Visalia
Like others have said, continuing to use the IN on your lid is the problem. All those bubbles going up are agitating the beer, like shaking a can of soda. Just move your gas over to the regular IN and you should be fine.

I would also use the longer liquid line.
 
OP
whovous

whovous

Waterloo Sunset
HBT Supporter
Joined
Dec 20, 2013
Messages
1,450
Reaction score
267
Location
Washington
OK, I think I get it. Or I'm starting to get it. One more question: If I leave it the way it is now until Sunday night, are things going to get any worse in the interim? No pours between now and then, just sitting in the chest freezer at 38F and 15psi.
 

bleme

Well-Known Member
Joined
Jan 24, 2012
Messages
4,852
Reaction score
3,094
Location
Visalia
That will be fine. If it is what we expect, it only happens when you pour.
 
OP
whovous

whovous

Waterloo Sunset
HBT Supporter
Joined
Dec 20, 2013
Messages
1,450
Reaction score
267
Location
Washington
OK, one final stupid question about the effect of creating all these tiny nucleation points when drawing a pint.

When I get home on Sunday, I will do two things:
1) Draw a pint, and,
2) Turn off the gas, release the gas, move the gas line to the "normal" input, and turn the gas back on. I will leave the carb lid in place so as not to let any O2 in, I just won't use it again for its' intended purpose on this brew.

My stupid question is this: Which should I do first, draw or switch the gas line? IOW, which order will produce the better pint? Or does it not matter?
 

bleme

Well-Known Member
Joined
Jan 24, 2012
Messages
4,852
Reaction score
3,094
Location
Visalia
Move the gas over first. You shouldn't even need to turn it off or release any as it is already at equilibrium.
 

balrog

Supporting Member
HBT Supporter
Joined
Nov 26, 2013
Messages
4,265
Reaction score
4,440
If you pour, you will remove volume from keg, which will allow CO2 to come in replacing that space, which if coming up through the diffusion stone will agitate the beer. Therefore switch first then pour
 
OP
whovous

whovous

Waterloo Sunset
HBT Supporter
Joined
Dec 20, 2013
Messages
1,450
Reaction score
267
Location
Washington
Thanks everyone. Is it definite that I don't need to release the pressure? I am brand new to kegging and would prefer not to discover a new way to spray beer all over the place.
 

balrog

Supporting Member
HBT Supporter
Joined
Nov 26, 2013
Messages
4,265
Reaction score
4,440
Pressure of keg must be balanced by line length for "correct" pour.
If you just have a faucet on the keg output, that's Zero line length and yes, you would want to release some of the 10-15PSI before opening it. If, however, you have 10' of 3/16" line and a picnic tap on the keg output, you're likely okay to pour with 10-12PSI.

When I have several kegs for a party, and for fun I just have the quick disconnect to a faucet so everyone feels like they're bartending their own pours, I turn my input CO2 pressure to about 2(two)PSI. When I have 10' of line and a picnic tap, which is most of the time for me, I keep the kegs at 12-15, depending on temperature
 
OP
whovous

whovous

Waterloo Sunset
HBT Supporter
Joined
Dec 20, 2013
Messages
1,450
Reaction score
267
Location
Washington
My line is roughly 5' long. Temp is 43F and pressure is just under 15psi. I bought a 12' line at the same time I bought everything else, but I've not felt the need to use it. Of course, given how little I know about kegging, that does not mean a lot.
 
OP
whovous

whovous

Waterloo Sunset
HBT Supporter
Joined
Dec 20, 2013
Messages
1,450
Reaction score
267
Location
Washington
I use this calc for balancing.
Hmm, it says nearly 12'. I recall using another calculator (Can I tell you which one? No.) that led me to think 5' was just fine. I think I recall it added temp as a variable as well.

No matter. I am going to add the longer line to the mix and see what happens.
 
OP
whovous

whovous

Waterloo Sunset
HBT Supporter
Joined
Dec 20, 2013
Messages
1,450
Reaction score
267
Location
Washington
OK, so maybe I am not going to add the 12' line to the mix. I got home tonight and was absolutely unable to remove the gas line from the carbing cap. I figured I would at least at the 3/16' ID 12' line, but it had a quite different OD which made it inflexible as all get out. I tried exposing it to some very hot water, but could not the picnic tap into it. There was a whole 'nother problem at the other end of the 12' line, but I never got that far.

The good news is that the keg is getting very light, and it has to kick soon. Both of the pints I poured tonight had very good carb levels and head retention. I will do my part to make sure it kicks soon!
 

william_shakes_beer

Well-Known Member
Joined
Oct 14, 2010
Messages
2,875
Reaction score
322
Location
Maryland
I had to look up "carbing lid" to see what all the fuss was about. The one I saw pictured only had a gas inlet and a PRV. No liquid port at all. Seems one could create the same function on standard lids by replacing the gas tube with some PVC tubing and an aeration stone. No?
 

william_shakes_beer

Well-Known Member
Joined
Oct 14, 2010
Messages
2,875
Reaction score
322
Location
Maryland
OK, so maybe I am not going to add the 12' line to the mix. I got home tonight and was absolutely unable to remove the gas line from the carbing cap. I figured I would at least at the 3/16' ID 12' line, but it had a quite different OD which made it inflexible as all get out. I tried exposing it to some very hot water, but could not the picnic tap into it. There was a whole 'nother problem at the other end of the 12' line, but I never got that far.

The good news is that the keg is getting very light, and it has to kick soon. Both of the pints I poured tonight had very good carb levels and head retention. I will do my part to make sure it kicks soon!
when I was assembling my kegging setup, I made the mistake of first purchasing 1/4" vinyl bev tubing and barbs. Had pour problems and ultimately replaced the vinyl bev line with 3/16, but kept the 1/4" barbs. A cup of hot water softens the vinyl enough to slip it onto a hose barb. Unfortunately, it also makes it impossible to remove, as you have discovered. I ended up cutting the vinyl a hair beyond the barb, then caaaarefully slitting the remaining ring with a razor blade. If you plan to do this swap regularly, get a QD to keep the line from shrinking.
 
Top