Foam... SO MUCH Foam....

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eric_pwb

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I am new to kegging, and I have a huge foam problem....
I bought a starter kit from homebrew-supplies.ca, it came with a dual tap tower, two kegs, co2 tank, regulators, and the rest of the bits and pieces...

I have on one tap a lager that I made from a brewhouse kit, and on the other a root beer I made from an extract... The root beer has no problems, but the beer on the other tap has nothing but foam... I have tried reducing the dispense pressures, and tried from 2 to 12 psi. The dispensing hose come attached to the tower and is about 5 1/2 ft long. The guy I bought it from says I shouldn't have any problems with it...
I thought it may be overcarbed (carbinated by shaking) so I have released the pressure from the tank a couple times a day and it is now almost flat when dispensed, but I still get a pile of foam.

Any suggestions?
 

WortMonger

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I resolved my home Kegerator foaming issues by buying longer beer line hose. This allows me to keep my keg at a higher serving pressure to avoid losing carbonation (I was having a problem swapping between Coors Light and home brews). It also really helps with the foam. I pop my kegs in and start turning the line around the kegs so they don't take up a lot of room dangling. I went ahead and did 8ft of hose, but longer could be better if you like really fizzy beers. Other than that the only thing to do is turn down the pressure to serve and then back up to store.
 
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eric_pwb

eric_pwb

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Are you sure you are opening the tap all the way? That's the only thing I can think of.
You bet I am, I have tried both the tap on the tower, and a cheap picnic tap with about 5 1/2 ft of line, and same deal...

As for getting longer hose, I am not convinced that is the problem, (I know soda is different) as my root beer does not exhibit any of these problems, and for the fact that the retailer is sure that the hose included is sufficiently long enough....

Is there anything that might be a problem with this particular keg that could cause the problem?
 

Lou

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maybe there's a leak introducing air into the line somewhere....?
 

camiller

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The only thing you haven't mentioned is temperature. There is a formula(and spreadsheet) for balancing a kegerator somewhere and pressure/line length/and temperature are all interrelated.

Also, any kinks in the beer line?
 
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eric_pwb

eric_pwb

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no kinks in beer line, the temperature of the beer coming out is 32.5 F
 
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eric_pwb

eric_pwb

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What pressure/temp did you carb the lager at? For how long?
I cheated;)
I chilled it to the 32 degrees that the fridge is cooling too... and set the regulator to 40PSI for about 10 seconds, disconnected and shook for about a minute, then gave another shot at 40PSI and shook, and once more... the beer seemed to have about the right amount of carbination, but after having foaming issues I relieved the pressure a few times a day and now it was almost flat, and still nothing but foam....
 

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I am just thinking out loud here, but I think if the root beer is ok, then the beer is overcarbed, if they are at the same pressure/temperature. Here's why- I carb my root beer HIGH. I mean, like 30-40 psi, because if it's less than that, it seems flat. That requires like 30 feet of 3/16 line to dispense, so that it's not all foam. If you're getting good root beer at less than 12 psi, and 5 feet of line, I think something is wrong.
I wonder if you have 1/4" line. That would explain the good root beer pours, but the foamy beer.
 

camiller

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I assume the beer line is 3/16 inch ID? Usually it is printed every foot or so on the outside of the line. This is the most common inside diameter for beer dispensing for short distances.

Also, is the tower insulated?


OK, according to this:
Draft system line balancing

For a typical american ale/lager at 33 F you want the storage pressure to be about 8.5 in order to produce about 2.5 volumes of CO2 in the beer. I'm going to guess 3 foot from the center of the keg to the faucet. The calculation suggests you only need 26" of beer line to drop your pressure down to 1psi at the faucet. Which seems kind of short so lets rule out a couple other things before we suggest cutting any hose.

so, this is going to be a bit time consuming. You need to set your pressure to 8.5 and bleed off any excess pressure in the kegs headspace. Wait a couple hours and bleed again. The goal here is to get the beer stabilized at about 2.5 volumes of CO2 at ~33 F. If your keg is already undercarbed just set to 8.5 and wait a week.

Once the keg is stable at 8.5 PSI if your still foaming then it is possible that the pressure in the line is dropping to near zero before the beer gets to the faucet and the CO2 is wanting to come out of solution. The 3/16" beverage line loses about 2.7 psi / foot.

Anyone have any other thoughts before he shortens his lines? It is hard to make them longer again!

I'll be away from the computer for the rest of the evening, I'll check back tomorrow. Take some time and read that article on kegerator balancing above.
 
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eric_pwb

eric_pwb

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I just double checked... it is stamped 3/16" TAPROID....
The tower is insulated with a thin sheet of a foam (it came like that)
And I made a blower to cool the tower, which runs when the fridge compressor does, it works well as when it runs the tower begins to sweat...

Instead of shorting the lines, is it possible to just increase the pressure?
Or change the temperature?
 

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I just double checked... it is stamped 3/16" TAPROID....
The tower is insulated with a thin sheet of a foam (it came like that)
And I made a blower to cool the tower, which runs when the fridge compressor does, it works well as when it runs the tower begins to sweat...

Instead of shorting the lines, is it possible to just increase the pressure?
Or change the temperature?
I wouldnt' shorten the lines, although the science seems to work out. My experience is that you need more resistance (longer lines), not less.

Hmmm. 3/16" lines, and it's still at 12 psi, and the root beer pours well?
 

McKBrew

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Seriously, try the longer line. You can pick up cheap beverage line at home depot (that's what I use). Try it and if it works, but you want something better upgrade after you see if that fixes the problem.
 
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eric_pwb

eric_pwb

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I assume the beer line is 3/16 inch ID? Usually it is printed every foot or so on the outside of the line. This is the most common inside diameter for beer dispensing for short distances.

Also, is the tower insulated?


OK, according to this:
Draft system line balancing

For a typical american ale/lager at 33 F you want the storage pressure to be about 8.5 in order to produce about 2.5 volumes of CO2 in the beer. I'm going to guess 3 foot from the center of the keg to the faucet. The calculation suggests you only need 26" of beer line to drop your pressure down to 1psi at the faucet. Which seems kind of short so lets rule out a couple other things before we suggest cutting any hose.

so, this is going to be a bit time consuming. You need to set your pressure to 8.5 and bleed off any excess pressure in the kegs headspace. Wait a couple hours and bleed again. The goal here is to get the beer stabilized at about 2.5 volumes of CO2 at ~33 F. If your keg is already undercarbed just set to 8.5 and wait a week.

Once the keg is stable at 8.5 PSI if your still foaming then it is possible that the pressure in the line is dropping to near zero before the beer gets to the faucet and the CO2 is wanting to come out of solution. The 3/16" beverage line loses about 2.7 psi / foot.

Anyone have any other thoughts before he shortens his lines? It is hard to make them longer again!

I'll be away from the computer for the rest of the evening, I'll check back tomorrow. Take some time and read that article on kegerator balancing above.
So to make sure I have got this figured....

I took a rough measurement without taking the tower off... and I have about 4' 10" of 3/16" line...
So if I were to raise the temperature to 41 degrees F and set my regulator to 15PSI that would give me 2.7 Volumes? and it should be balanced?

Next... Is 2.7 volumes an acceptable carbination level?
 

Mad_Milo

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I always thought the rule of thumb for line pressure drop was ~2 psi per running foot, plus a little bit for fixtures. Maybe specs have changed over the years?

With about 5' of 3/16 ID line, you should be able to store and serve around 10-12 psi. At a lower temp of 38 with the psi at 10-12 you would cover 2.4-2.6 vol.

2.7 vol seems to be a bit high for most styles.
 

Bobby_M

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Here's the thing, if your root beer is carbed to 4+ volumes as it should be and you're using a single regulator you COULD be running both kegs at the root beer pressure. Why? Because not all distribution manifolds (or maybe you have a simple TEE) have check valves.

Hypothetically if you carbed your root beer to 24 psi @ 33F, you have 4 volumes. Now, you decide to carb your beer to 2 volumes so you disconnect your root beer, dial the regulator down to 4-5psi and let that carb. Now you think you can connect both kegs at say 10 psi and serve. If you have no way of isolating the backflow of gas, the whole system will try equalizing at about 16psi due to the elevated pressure of the root beer.

This might be way off base because maybe you have a dual secondary regulator. Incidentally that's the only way I'd ever try kegging both beer and soda at the same time.
 

camiller

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So to make sure I have got this figured....

I took a rough measurement without taking the tower off... and I have about 4' 10" of 3/16" line...
So if I were to raise the temperature to 41 degrees F and set my regulator to 15PSI that would give me 2.7 Volumes? and it should be balanced?

Next... Is 2.7 volumes an acceptable carbination level?
the math seems to work out, 2.7 is the high end of the range for american ales and lagers, over high for english style ales but low for things like fruit lambics. It is certainly worth a shot before you spend any money. The question you have to ask yourself is do you want to drink beer at 41 F? I assumed you had the fridge at 32.5 because that is the way you wanted it.
 
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eric_pwb

eric_pwb

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the math seems to work out, 2.7 is the high end of the range for american ales and lagers, over high for english style ales but low for things like fruit lambics. It is certainly worth a shot before you spend any money. The question you have to ask yourself is do you want to drink beer at 41 F? I assumed you had the fridge at 32.5 because that is the way you wanted it.
I set the fridge there originally not realizing that tempurature had such a bearing on it's operation, and for that reason I didn't have a thermometer to monitor the temperature either. So I worked out those numbers on the premise that a normal fridge operates in about the 4 degree C range, so 6 degrees shouldn't be that far of a stretch, so then I know If this works I should consider shortening the hose to get my system dialed in where I want it.

Edit: for reference the temperature readings I am giving here a from a probe submerged in water
 

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I had the same problem not long ago. I tried everything differnt size lines, decrease psi, and even bought longer lines. None of those things worked. It turns out it was just the keg. I finished the keg by letting pitchers settle the foam and just drank it that way. When it was all said and done I replaced all the gaskets and now....perfect pour!:mug:
 
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eric_pwb

eric_pwb

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I just tried to pour a pint, after taking a couple days to make sure that the pressure in the keg had reached equilibrium at 15PSI and the fridge was holding at 41 degrees, and still nothing but foam...:confused:

Any suggestions?? They would be greatly appreciated
 

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Just to recap:

1. Did you bleed off any and all over-pressure in that keg for a few times (over a few days if severe) prior to hooking it up to 15 PSI?

2. Has this keg worked successfully before for you? Or is this the first keg you ever dealt with?

3. During setup, did you dismantle any of the keg parts, faucets or disconnects?

I know it may seem redundant or mundane, but check and double check these items. I'm sure others will post as well.
 

Mad_Milo

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4. Did you ever try longer line on the beer keg?

5. How long is the root beer line? Same ID (3/16")?

6. Are you still running the root beer off the same reg?

7. How are the gas lines run? Reg > Shutoff valve > tube > tee > tubes to kegs?

8. Are there shutoff and/or check valves between the kegs.

Ok, back to work for me...
 
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eric_pwb

eric_pwb

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Just to recap:

1. Did you bleed off any and all over-pressure in that keg for a few times (over a few days if severe) prior to hooking it up to 15 PSI?

2. Has this keg worked successfully before for you? Or is this the first keg you ever dealt with?

3. During setup, did you dismantle any of the keg parts, faucets or disconnects?

I know it may seem redundant or mundane, but check and double check these items. I'm sure others will post as well.
I did bleed pressure off over the course of 4 days

This keg has never worked before for me, as this is my first shot at kegging, and this is the whole set-up's maiden voyage.

During set-up it came mostly dismantled and had to be assembled, but as for disconnects, not. They just had sanitizer run through.

I did not try longer line, as I was told to try balancing using what I had first, and using the equations in a post a couple back, I came up with
2.7 volumes [email protected] 15PSI @ 41 degrees F

The Root beer is on a line 3/16" the same length, and for thoroughness I tried running the root beer through the beer line and tap and vise versa, the root beer still has a good pour and the beer is still all foam.

My gas system consists of a 5# CO2 tank with a single stage dual gauge regulator, which has a tee connected to it, and to each of the tee outlets there is a shutoff/check valve which is connected to my gas lines, which connect to my kegs.
 

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Could it be your regulator is reading wrong. For root beer to pour right and have good carb you would need around 30psi and 15+' of 3/16 line. For beer you'd need about 8psi and 5' of 3/16 line. (these are just estimates at about 36ºf.) Maybe the regulator is reading 10psi when it should be reading 30psi. Root beer at low psi should not have nearly enough carb.
 

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For whatefver reason , I have 10' of 3/16" line . I usually keep beer at 12psi and 35f. It'll be fine , but if I increase the CO2 to say 14psi, over the course of a week, I start getting foam. I suggest 10ft line, and 10 psi. Bleed kegs over the course of a week just to make sure its down to 10psi. THen take it from there. I dont think increasing to 15 psi when you are having foam problems is gonna help anything. Neither is raising the temp. Co2 stays in solution at colder temps. I would also try a cold glass (not from freezer) and just run cool tap water in it briefly, then empty water out. Pour a few ounces of beer in the glass , pour it out. Then try again and fill it up. I always use a new glass. If theirs no foam , then the issue is probably the beer warming in the top of the kegerator lines and film or dirt that may be in the glass. my 2 cents. Good luck.
 
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