Kegerator Foaming Help

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jhartnett1221

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Just finished building my first kegerator and am having major foaming issues, hoping you guys can help a bit.

I converted an Avanti AR52T3SB 5.2 cu.ft. fridge that will fit 2 commercial sixtels. Before getting kegs in there a thermometer showed the fridge was holding between 38 and 41 degrees, after getting kegs in there, the bottom was showing 41 and the beer was coming out at 45-47. Using the Mike Soltys calculator, I had 13.5 feet of line serving at 16psi, but I was getting consistent foaming. Just through playing around with the regulators, I found my problem went away at 23-25 psi, which I though was odd, by I wasn't going to object. However, I recently installed a tower cooling fan and appear to be back at square one, with glasses coming out 75% foam again. The fan seems to have evened out the fridge temperature around 45, which I know is less than ideal, but I'd like to establish some balance at this level before messing with the thermostat.

Thinking the kegs may have been overcarbed, I went through the process of lowering the pressure, but that doesn't seem to have worked. There are bubbles in the beer lines coming out to the flowmeter, but not before. I've checked for kinks in the hosing, and that all looks good. I'm going to see if turning off the fan and going back to my accidentally balanced settings fixes things, but barring that I'm at a loss for what to do next. Any suggestions would be appreciated.
 

day_trippr

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You may be fighting the original problem, and an induced one.

Tower coolers are never a bad idea, imo - I have one for my 6-tap t tower. But what I didn't see mentioned is something to keep the cabinet interior "stirred up" to prevent stratification - which does happen. And then, our favorite carbonation table clearly indicates dialing up the dispensing pressure was a mistake and those kegs are almost certainly over-carbonated now. Seeing bubbles coming from the keg after lowering the gas pressure is a sure sign of CO2 break-out as the beer equalizes at the lower pressure setting (which can take days - though there is a quicker way to get there).

I think you need to get back to Square One. Add a PC fan inside the cabinet to keep things stirred up, go back to your original 41°F but use 12 or 13 psi this time (should come in around 2.4-2.5 volumes eventually). You have adequate line lengths for 13 psi so don't go above that at least until things settle down. You may want to try knocking the keg carbonation back to sanity (see reference above)....

Cheers!
 
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jhartnett1221

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Just to clarify a couple points. Currently, the kegs in the fridge are commercial kegs. I'm not a terribly prolific homebrewer at the moment, though I'm trying to remedy that, and the fridge was built with the idea that commercial kegs could always fill the gaps between brews. The bubbles are only appearing after the flowmeter, and, without a pressure adjustment, they started appearing again after I installed the fan. Also, I have the thermostat at its coldest and the 41 temp was recorded at the bottom of the fridge. My belief from taking the temperature of the beer out of the faucet is that the tower fan is circulating the colder air from the bottom, but the average temp is actually closer to 45-47 degrees. I know that probably means I have to mess with the thermostat, but I'm not necessarily prepared for that drastic a step yet. But the point about over-carbonation is well taken and I'll try alleviating that first, though I'm a little befuddled by the fact that dialing up the pressure worked to reduce foam for 4-5 days until the introduction of the fan seemed to bring it back. Also, I'm starting to run out of space in the cabinet so adding another fan is something I'm a little loathe to do.
 
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Off Balance Brewing

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How long did you have the pressure dialed up? You could still over carb commercial kegs if you have a lot of gas pressure applied to them.

Have you tried taking off the flow meter?
 
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jhartnett1221

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How long did you have the pressure dialed up? You could still over carb commercial kegs if you have a lot of gas pressure applied to them.

Have you tried taking off the flow meter?
They were on the higher pressure and pouring fine for about 4 days before the problems started again.

And I haven't taken off the meter yet, since it's mounted inline and I don't want to run new lines up the tower just yet. My process has bee to go through all the other steps first is to either resolve the issue, or to isolate the problem to the flow meter and go from there
 
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jhartnett1221

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Just wanted to give an update. After going through the steps to depressurize the kegs and bring the serving pressure down to 13psi everything seems fine. I also disconnected the hose from the tower cooling fan and am using it for regular circulation, which seems to help. However, I'd also like to alleviate foamy first pours. Has anyone had luck perforating the tube for the tower near the top of the fridge, lowering the pressure to the tower, but also recirculating air around the cabinet interior? I'm low on space and a second fan may be cutting it close.
 
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