keezer foaming

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Nicholas Tolopka

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I'm new to having a keezer having always bottled my beer. I recently picked up a 7 cu ft freezer and have it setup with temperature controller (set to 45) 5 lbs co2 (attempted to be set to 12) and a couple of kegs. My setup runs from my regulator through a 4 way manifold and out. The beer lines are 10 ft and sit coiled on my kegs. I have been having an issue with dispensing. Whenever I pull the tap handle I get a full glass of foam. No matter how many glasses are poured off I have not been able to figure out the issue. I don't think there is an issue with temperature change and have checked and cannot find any leaks in the lines to or from any of the components.

Whenever I pour my drafts I can see small bubbles in the line and when it sits for a while they dissipate giving me dead space.

The other odd thing happening is that I am struggling to set the regulator. I cannot get it to hold a constant pressure no matter how I set the dial. It always seems to creep up higher. I cannot figure out what I am doing wrong there.

Looking for any advice as I've tried searching and cannot determine that I fit any of the typical issues causing over foaming.

Thanks!

Nick


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Robert65

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Your system needs to be "balanced." That means the pressure you need to apply has to be just what is needed to maintain equilibrium in the beer, plus overcome the restriction provided by the line and tap, and the line and tap need to provide just enough restriction to counter the pressure dispensing the beer. You will primarily dial this in by determining the correct line length. Here's the best calculator available to help with this: http://www.mikesoltys.com/2012/09/17/determining-proper-hose-length-for-your-kegerator/

The next likely suspect in your problem is this corollary. Your beer needs to be carbonated to the correct level to be at equilibrium at the desired serving temperature and pressure. If you are force carbonating (or "burst carbonating,") or keg conditioning without a spunding valve, it is possible that your beer has been overcarbonated. Then it will foam unless you increase pressure and line length or reduce temperature. But the increased pressure or reduced temperature will just continue to overcarbonate the beer, so it's a vicious cycle.

Going forward, make sure you carbonate your beer to the correct level you desire, and have your draught system properly balanced to accommodate it.

Hopefully someone else explains this more clearly!
 
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Vader ipa

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I'm new to having a keezer having always bottled my beer. I recently picked up a 7 cu ft freezer and have it setup with temperature controller (set to 45) 5 lbs co2 (attempted to be set to 12) and a couple of kegs. My setup runs from my regulator through a 4 way manifold and out. The beer lines are 10 ft and sit coiled on my kegs. I have been having an issue with dispensing. Whenever I pull the tap handle I get a full glass of foam. No matter how many glasses are poured off I have not been able to figure out the issue. I don't think there is an issue with temperature change and have checked and cannot find any leaks in the lines to or from any of the components.

Whenever I pour my drafts I can see small bubbles in the line and when it sits for a while they dissipate giving me dead space.

The other odd thing happening is that I am struggling to set the regulator. I cannot get it to hold a constant pressure no matter how I set the dial. It always seems to creep up higher. I cannot figure out what I am doing wrong there.

Looking for any advice as I've tried searching and cannot determine that I fit any of the typical issues causing over foaming.

Thanks!

Nick


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Thanks for posting this. Im having ghee exact same issue with an almost identical set up and keezer.
 

jjjjfrench

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Your system is out of balance...you are pushing beer such that the pressure at your faucet is still large (>1 PSI) resulting in a significant flow rate and foaming. Further, since you set your regulator and the pressure 'creeps up' over time, you likely have over carbonated your beer (dissolved too high volume of CO2).

To balance properly you want the pressure in your keg to be 1-2 PSI greater than the pressure drop due to the restriction in your hose plus the rise between the keg and faucet. This is the easy part...For each foot of rise from the keg outlet to the faucet, subtract 0.5 PSI. Then for hose restriction, 3 psi/ft for 3/16" ID and 0.85 psi/ft for 1/4" ID.

For your system (based on the pictures), I'd guess you have ~1 ft rise and 1/4" ID. With a system set at 12 PSI you would shoot for roughly 1 PSI at pour; thus you need to lose ~11 PSI in the line. 0.5 is lost to the 1 ft rise, then you need to lose another 10.5 due to restriction. Using 1/4" ID, that requires 12.4 ft of line...not too far off from what you are using.

You note that your your pressure continues to rise while your kegs set with the regulator untouched. In fact, the picture of your regulator shows 16 PSI (I assume you set it to 12 PSI). That suggests one of two things--
1) Your regulator is malfunctioning and has a leak
OR
2) You have over-carbonated your beer and CO2 is coming out of solution and raising the pressure in the headspace with time.

IF you carbonated your beer by 'bursting' (either putting a high pressure and/or shaking the keg) to carbonate quickly, then #2 is likely the culprit. Bring your kegs out of the kegarator, let them warm up, then 'burp' the kegs a few times a day for a couple of days to reduce the volume of CO2 in the beer. Place them back in the kegerator to cool down and keep them at 12 PSI and allow the carbonation to occur slowly over ~1 week. (BTW---I shake carbonate, but I always shoot for a little under-carb and allow the kegs to come to full carb in a day or two...dealing with over-carbed beer is a PITA).

HOWEVER, IF you carbonated by letting your beer sit for a week or two with the regulator at 12 PSI (and never higher) then it is possible (however unlikely) that your regulator is bad. Creeping regulators can be a sign of a bad seal within the regulator. I've never experienced this, but I have read about it. I would check that by keeping the regulator on the tank but turning the gas off. With no gas available to go into the beer....the beer MUST stay at 12 PSI. If it still creeps up then the only possible answer is that it is over carbonated.

Another way to check is to put your CO2 on an empty keg. with an empty keg, the CO2 cannot go into solution (and their is no other source...coming out of solution) thus the pressure must remain the same if the regulator is fine.

Hope this helps you to diagnose the problem.

-J
 

Bobby_M

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Agree with the last post but the lines in the pics are definitely 3/16" ID. I'm leaning towards overcarbed. OP still has not described all steps taken to carbonate. Yes that mattets a lot. Pressure is creeping to meet equilibrium. Disconnect the gas line to the keg and pull the relief until the headspace is empty. Wait 1 hour. Do it again. Wait 1 hour, reconnect at 10 psi and try another pour.

You can verify regulator function by shutting off all the manifold outputs and seeing if it still creeps or not.
 

mongoose33

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Here's your other issue: you don't have a fan in the keezer. There will be a fair amount of temperature stratification between the bottom (where the beer is being drawn out of the keg) and the top where the faucets are. You might have a 15 degree or even higher difference in temp (mine does).

The result is that the beer in the lines at the top is warmer than in the bottom of the keg. What happens when beer warms? CO2 comes out of solution. That's why you have the big bubbles in your lines.

A small fan will mix the air in the keezer so the air temps at the top are about the same as at the bottom, thus no temperature difference causing the beer in the lines to warm.


None of that is to say the others above are wrong about balancing the system. They're right.

*********

I tried three of the small desktop fans, like this, before I gave up and bought something stouter. They'd just quit at several months.



So I ended up buying one of these:

https://www.amazon.com/gp/product/B009OXTWZI/ref=ppx_yo_dt_b_search_asin_title?ie=UTF8&psc=1

It's worked fine. Depending on the size of your keezer, you might go with a 4" model. Mine is just hung on the side of the collar, directed down so it takes the warmer air at the top and directs it to the bottom. I have virtually no stratification in the temps in the keezer, and the startup spitting and spurting is gone.
 

day_trippr

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In the history of beer dispensing, 3/16" id beer line has never provided 3 psi resistance per foot. Ever.

This oft parroted myth causes the unaware untold headaches...

Cheers!
 

Carolina_Matt

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Are you getting any beer, or is it 100% foam? I've had similar issues on occasion, even though my system is balanced. The problem was that there were small hop particles in the beer-out poppet, so I would get nothing but foam when I tapped the keg.

I'd recommend venting the PRV to remove all co2 from the headspace, taking off the beer-out poppet, and seeing if it's clear. If you see any junk in there, give it a rinse and spray it with sanitizer.
 

gnef

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There are many possible culprits, and it could be multiple variables influencing your frustration with the setup.

From your pictures, it looks like the CO2 is staying in solution inside the beerline, is that correct? It only gets foamy when it reaches the shanks/faucets? What shanks and faucets are you using, and have you visually examined them to see if there is any rough surface or something that could be a nucleation site? Do you have any known good spares that you could swap to check? Since it is happening on all of them, this is an unlikely culprit, unless all your faucets have poor castings (see a recent thread on the intertap faucets). I have also had shanks that were drilled from both ends, and didn't meet axially in the middle, so there was a significant ledge in the hole down the center.

Do you have a method to check the pressure reading on your regulator? It is showing 16 psi, which will give you a reasonable number of volumes of CO2 at 45F, as long as the pressure gauge is actually correct. I personally have a 4 inch test gauge that I use to check my other gauges with, it is accurate to .25% of span (60 psi, so excellent resolution), and I replaced all my standard gauges with ones that can be zeroed and have a decent accuracy rating (I use Winters P9S gauges which are 2/1/2 for accuracy, and my test gauge is a Wika 332.54 test gauge - it is fantastic). If you are in the Atlanta area, I can check your system with my test gauge if you want. I offer this to the club members here as well, since I am the only one with a test gauge.

A simple experiment to run is to run your kegerator at a lower temperature with the CO2 disconnected. If you have a spunding valve, you can check the pressure in your kegs, as well as release any if desired.

If you have extra beerline, you can cut an extra long length as well to see if that fixes your issues.

If any homebrewers around you have a spare perlick 650ss, you could try that on your system to see if that helps too.

If you have a spare picnic tap, you can also try that to eliminate other possibilities.
 

brew703

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Seems to me it's over carbed as others have mentioned.

My regulator had an issue with one of the gauges creeping up in psi.

I have a taprite dual regulator and had to replace the gasket in one of the gauges. Once i did that the the pressure stabilized.

As others have mentioned purge all the co2 out as Bobby mentioned then reset to 10-12 psi. 45 degrees is too warm as your beer is probably pouring closer to 50.

I have my ink bird controller set at 35 with a 2 degree temp swing and my beer pours around 40 degrees and I use a computer fan running 24/7.

Also make sure there is no hop debris in the poppet on your disconnect. If your shanks and faucets are new then there should be not gunk buildup. If they are not new, break them down and clean.

I recently switched my lines to the EVA barrier lines. I use 6' for each tap. I do have a little foam on the first pour, maybe a couple ounces. I just dump and repour and it's usually good.

I also rinse my cups before using and that has also helped in cutting down on the foaming issues.

I also have flow control faucets and that too helps.
 

Robert65

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I also have flow control faucets and that too helps.
The flow control ball lock disconnects sold by William's Brewing are an even better solution. FC faucets can aggravate a foam problem, or create one where it didn't exist, by introducing turbulence right at the point where there ceases to be any further restriction. Putting the FC device at the start of the line solves this. Cheaper, too, and you can keep your existing faucets.
 
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Nicholas Tolopka

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Sorry for the slow response but it was definitely an over-carbing issue. I ended up shutting everything off and bleeding the headspace. Waited a while, bled again then opened everything back up waited to see where the regulator settled out. It was better but needed the process repeated again. I have no got the kegs back down to an appropriate psi and everything seems to be much better. I don't know if I screwed up force carbing or if the previous regulator I had that had a leak (and perhaps other faults?) was the culprit but everything seems to be much happier and more settled. Until I can get something else brewed up to start from scratch and see if it carbs properly from the start next time I can't say it's completely fixed but I can definitely get a better pour.

Appreciate the comments about the fan too. The temperature is definitely stratified. I have been working bit by bit to put everything together and that's on the to-do list but just hasn't happened quite yet.

For any previous questions if I missed any yeah they are 3/16" lines and they are about 10 ft which while not perfectly fitting in line with the metrics provided in one of the first replies, they are pretty close based on pressure temp and distance from keg top to faucet.

Thanks again for all the comments!
 
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