kegging carbonated water (I know) but have some technical questions

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rtv900

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so I know this is a homebrew forum but I cannot figure out how to get these questions answered so I was hoping someone on here might know.
I started attempting to make carbonated water in corny kegs, but am having a couple fundamental issues and I've never done this before so I simply
don't know what to do.
I can't get it carbonated enough. My temp is 37-40 F and I had my regulator at 35 psi for a week. Now that I'm tapping it I have it down to
20-25 only because it comes out with too much force above that. Bottom line, it foams up like hell when I pour it and once the foam settles it's
barely carbonated and on top of that it doesn't even fill a glass quickly. I'm using two taps, one with a 5mm ID push lock style connection and the other with a regular hose barb with a 3/16 ID hose and
plain old hose clamps.

Honestly the 3/16 ID hose seems less crappy, but only by a little.
Two individual corny kegs filled with tap water from my house and a tiny bit of flavor, no sugar, no sugar substitutes.
Any suggestions would be appreciated, I've never kegged anything so I'm totally new to all of this.
 

IslandLizard

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Welcome to our forums!
You've come to the right place. Water, seltzer, beer and other watery substances behave similarly when dispensing.
Chances are your dispensing lines are too short. How long are they?

Look here for some guidance on balancing temp, pressure, and line length:

They make 4 mm ID EVA Barrier line, that may be your best bet. You may still need 20-40 feet to retain carbonation. But it's fairly cheap. Just coil it up and make sure it's kept at the same temp as your kegged water. Just stand the coil vertical on the bottom, next to the kegs, where it's coldest. Sometimes a small recirculation fan in your kegerator or keezer helps keep temps inside more even.
 
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rtv900

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wow, well that would explain at least a good part of my issue. I have maybe 5-6 feet of water line in there.
I had NO idea 20-40 feet was the range I needed to be in. So I will start with that for sure.
I agree with the one comment about turning up the reg to 40-50, which I did do for a while, but when I go to serve it
it comes out like a rocket (although maybe my short lines are part of that problem???) so I'd turn it down.
Basically I left it WAY up for about a week because I read that it takes a while for the water to take on the C02, but now I want
to leave it ready to serve 100% of the time which is why I turned it down to 25ish.

Anyhow, I will be ordering a much longer length of line now and doing that ASAP.
thanks for the help thus far
 

IslandLizard

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On a side note, you can burst carbonate your water or Seltzer keg by rolling it, while supplying 60 psi CO2 to it. Keep the "in post" pointing up, and rock/roll the keg back and forth 60-some degrees in each direction. Takes about 10-15 minutes. When gas stops rushing in, you can hear it, or your regulator stops groaning, it's close to completion. Make sure the water is ice cold (32-36F) when carbonating, or it won't work.
 

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it comes out like a rocket (although maybe my short lines are part of that problem???) so I'd turn it down.

It sounds like you learned what I have learned...if I carbonate a keg higher than my lines will support then pouring a glass is forceful enough that it will foam up and push much of the carbonation out of the liquid leaving a relatively flat glass. My setup supports 4 kegs all running at the same pressure and I am using 5 to 6ft lines on picnic taps. The sweet spot for my system is 12 PSI of pressure. I can go lower, but higher just gives me foam and flat beer.

For many months I had carbonated water on tap and I set it at my that same 12 PSI and I was happy with the carbonation of the water. Maybe it would have been nicer with higher carbonation, but whatever. So until you get longer lines, you might try just lowering the carbonation level and see how you like it there.

P.S. Adding some secondary regulators, longer lines, and upgrading from the picnic taps has been on my wish list for many years.
 
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rtv900

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It sounds like you learned what I have learned...if I carbonate a keg higher than my lines will support then pouring a glass is forceful enough that it will foam up and push much of the carbonation out of the liquid leaving a relatively flat glass. My setup supports 4 kegs all running at the same pressure and I am using 5 to 6ft lines on picnic taps. The sweet spot for my system is 12 PSI of pressure. I can go lower, but higher just gives me foam and flat beer.

For many months I had carbonated water on tap and I set it at my that same 12 PSI and I was happy with the carbonation of the water. Maybe it would have been nicer with higher carbonation, but whatever. So until you get longer lines, you might try just lowering the carbonation level and see how you like it there.

P.S. Adding some secondary regulators, longer lines, and upgrading from the picnic taps has been on my wish list for many years.
On a side note, you can burst carbonate your water or Seltzer keg by rolling it, while supplying 60 psi CO2 to it. Keep the "in post" pointing up, and rock/roll the keg back and forth 60-some degrees in each direction. Takes about 10-15 minutes. When gas stops rushing in, you can hear it, or your regulator stops groaning, it's close to completion. Make sure the water is ice cold (32-36F) when carbonating, or it won't work.
yeah I tried the shaking thing and I could hear gas pumping in, just didn't seem to last.
I'm definitely adding more line as a first step and hopefully I can turn the gas pressure up at that point
 

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I keep 2 kegs of water in my keezer at all times. Both have carbonation stones which helps speed up the carbonation process without having to force carbonate. You can buy a carbonation stone corny keg lid https://www.amazon.com/Ferroday-Car...ocphy=9031078&hvtargid=pla-351328117329&psc=1 or just buy the stone and a hose and slide it over your gas dip tube https://www.amazon.com/Ferroday-Diffusion-Stainless-Aeration-Carbonating/dp/B07DFF4D3H/ref=sr_1_1_sspa?crid=3ASLKV3N3G3T3&keywords=carbonation+stone+and+hose&qid=1666716299&qu=eyJxc2MiOiIyLjE2IiwicXNhIjoiMC4wMCIsInFzcCI6IjAuMDAifQ==&s=home-garden&sprefix=carbonation+stone+and+hose,garden,148&sr=1-1-spons&psc=1
I keep my water kegs at 36 degrees F and at 35 psi and run about 12 feet of 4mm evabarrier hose. I also added flow control duotight disconnects which seem to help. Duotight Flow Control Ball Lock Quick Disconnect (QD) Beverage Out - 8 mm | MoreBeer
One keg is on tap and the other is carbonating. That way, when one runs out, I switch to the other, fill the empty keg, hook it to the CO2 and start the process over again. That way I never run out.
 
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rtv900

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OMG, I think I have that flow control push fitting on my one keg.
sheesh, I didn't even think to wonder what the screw knob on top was.

Just so I'm understanding this, so just like if I had a ball valve or something on the beginning of my line, I can leave a short line and just turn down the flow at that valve and leave the pressure higher? And that should reduce the foaming at the tap eliminating the need for a long line?
 

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Just so I'm understanding this, so just like if I had a ball valve or something on the beginning of my line, I can leave a short line and just turn down the flow at that valve and leave the pressure higher? And that should reduce the foaming at the tap eliminating the need for a long line?
It is worth a try. I have read that flow control at the keg is more effective than flow control at the tap.

Note that KegLand makes a VERY similar looking disconnect that is not flow control:
 

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It's very common for people to think their beer, cider, water or whatever is not carbed up after they've just fire-hosed it into the glass. Well, a big glass of foam just shows you all the CO2 came out of solution during the pour. It doesn't mean it wasn't carbonated in the keg.

I run my seltzer keg at 28psi (I like it a little less spicy) and it pours perfectly with about 15 feet of 4mm ID EVAbarrier. If you set your regulator to 28, and put 15ft of 4mm ID EVA on there and it's still shotgunning out of the faucet, your seltzer is most likely overcarbonated and it takes some time for it to bleed down. Don't be tempted to keep turning the pressure up.
 
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rtv900

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It's very common for people to think their beer, cider, water or whatever is not carbed up after they've just fire-hosed it into the glass. Well, a big glass of foam just shows you all the CO2 came out of solution during the pour. It doesn't mean it wasn't carbonated in the keg.

I run my seltzer keg at 28psi (I like it a little less spicy) and it pours perfectly with about 15 feet of 4mm ID EVAbarrier. If you set your regulator to 28, and put 15ft of 4mm ID EVA on there and it's still shotgunning out of the faucet, your seltzer is most likely overcarbonated and it takes some time for it to bleed down. Don't be tempted to keep turning the pressure up.
Fair enough. I will try that for sure before cranking it up.
I totally agree it must have had good carb in there, the foam is seriously 3/4 of the entire glass at first and then settles down and I have 2 inches of water

I have some 4mm ID hose on order already for my one keg, and the other I'm just using a regular barb fitting with plain old clear nylon tubing from home depot (hoping that wasn't another mistake)
I have extra nylon tubing at home already so I can try that immediately. Probably won't see the 4mm EVAbarrier stuff until Friday best case.
 

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Do please remember that if you are putting a carbonation stone on an extended gas post into your corny keg to put a non return valve on the line . Otherwise you'll pick up the keg and shake it, it will fall over or some other error and you'll have water in your regulator.
I have some tube from a manufacturer called DMtube it has a 4mm external but 2.5mm internal.
This makes water at 4 vols and 6 celsius manageable ( 30psi ) with 2.3 feet of line and a 15 second pour. Very handy line to use for highly carbed saisons.
I've found the flow control ball lock connectors a little disappointing.
 

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I have made carbonated (CO2) and uncarbonated (nitrogen) mineral waters for many years. I try to keep 3 five gallon kegs ready to drink, and another 3 kegs building up their carbonation. I started with the Excel spreadsheet at khymos.org. I have since modified this spreadsheet using water chemistry from Fine Bottled Water - Fine Waters and Mineral Water Atlas of the World, plus have added my own variations. The last one I added was 'Agua de Pedras' (Portugal). As for carbonation issues, I just max out the carbonation (~35psi) from my 50 or 60-pound CO2 tank (not sure what the size actually is). 'Agua de Pedras' is actually lightly carbonated, but I find higher carbonation to be better tasting. I just use picnic taps on those kegs and haven't really noticed much of an issue with hose length. I've tried various options to flavor the waters, but most products are either super expensive, lack flavor, or are bound to glycerin that imparts a nasty tone to the water.
 

DuncB

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@Mutant
The addition of salts to the water does improve it. I've used the Khymos spreadsheet, does your modification just have more recipes or have you tuned the data and output?
Not having access to CaOH ( pickling lime ) here in NZ made sparkling water salt treatment a little less accurate.
 

Mutant

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@Mutant
The addition of salts to the water does improve it. I've used the Khymos spreadsheet, does your modification just have more recipes or have you tuned the data and output?
Not having access to CaOH ( pickling lime ) here in NZ made sparkling water salt treatment a little less accurate.
I modified the main sheet to include 3, 4, 4.5, and 5 gallons, in addition to the 1, 10, and 100-liter results. I just added new rows of data on the 'mineral waters lookup' worksheet. Weird you can't get pickling lime; how do you do canning in NZ? I can usually find it next to Mason jars. I use laballey.com for sourcing chemicals. Not sure what the export restrictions would be and your import restrictions would be. I've still not found that perfect mineral combination that is just amazing to drink.
 

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@Mutant
Only way to get pickling lime here would be from an industrial chemical supplier / laboratory supplies company. It's just not an off the shelf item. I assume they use salt or vinegar to pickle with here.
I thought of bringing some back from the UK in my suitcase but think it's possibly on the restricted list being caustic.
 

Mutant

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@Mutant
Only way to get pickling lime here would be from an industrial chemical supplier / laboratory supplies company. It's just not an off the shelf item. I assume they use salt or vinegar to pickle with here.
I thought of bringing some back from the UK in my suitcase but think it's possibly on the restricted list being caustic.
How about a homebrew supply place? We also have small lab supply houses near local universities.
 

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Not having access to CaOH ( pickling lime ) here in NZ
It's actually Ca(OH)2, Calcium Hydroxide, or slaked lime, or pickling lime in canning.

Pickling lime is used in pickling to keep cucumbers crisp by soaking them 12-24 hours in a pickling lime solution before adding to the pickling jar.
It's very important that the lime is rinsed/soaked off the cukes before adding to the pickling jar. Due to Pickling Lime being alkaline, any leftover on the cukes can neutralize the acid in the pickling solution enough, which could cause botulism to grow. That's where all the scare is coming from and hence scarceness. ;)

We do find it here in the U.S. in the pickling section of the grocery or department stores (e.g., Walmart) but I've only seen it during pickling season.

IIRC, pickling lime need to be stored air free, as it will absorb CO2 from the atmosphere, and slowly turn into CaCO3, Calcium Carbonate (Chalk). It will also pick up water from the atmosphere. A well sealing pickling jar could work well for storing.

There's more information on Calcium Hydroxide on Wikipedia:
 

DuncB

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@IslandLizard
Thanks for info, I was being lazy not writing the pickling lime down as Ca(OH)2.
Yes I've checked the shops, homebrew shops and online stores. It's actually quite difficult to even get Sodium Hydroxide crystals here whereas they are off the shelf in UK supermarket.
 
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rtv900

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just curious, is there a trick to hooking up the lines to the tap shank itself that I'm missing? I feel like it's ultra difficult to get that connection made inside the tower with the nut and that round spacer on the inside hanging around the tube until it's connected and you can try and get it threaded. Fitting my fingers in there is really tough.
I feel like I need to change my other tap over to the push connect type as I'm already having little leaks with the regular nylon tubing and hose clamps. I feel like hose clamps just don't work well when tightened down that small of a diameter.
But man making those connections inside the tower is so hard.

am I doing something wrong or is this simply really tough?
 

IslandLizard

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It's actually quite difficult to even get Sodium Hydroxide crystals here
o_O Some countries are more protective toward consumers, for better and for worse.

Most (dry) drain cleaners/uncloggers (e.g., Red Devil here, and many generics) are usually 100% Sodium Hydroxide pellets. I use a little of it to fortify homemade "PBW" when recirculating through my brew system, hoses, plate chiller, and such. Hardware stores sell it here, and some also sell 17% NaOH solutions in gallon jugs for under $3. That's damn strong stuff!
 

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Thanks for info, I was being lazy not writing the pickling lime down as Ca(OH)2.
Yes I've checked the shops, homebrew shops and online stores. It's actually quite difficult to even get Sodium Hydroxide crystals here whereas they are off the shelf in UK supermarket.

I am not positive what the intended outcome of adding the pickling lime is...but if it helps Chalk (calcium carbonate) will dissolve in carbonated water. When I have added Chalk to carbonated water, I give it a few days to carbonate then give the keg a good shake to mix and dissolve the chalk.
 

IslandLizard

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just curious, is there a trick to hooking up the lines to the tap shank itself that I'm missing? I feel like it's ultra difficult to get that connection made inside the tower with the nut and that round spacer on the inside hanging around the tube until it's connected and you can try and get it threaded. Fitting my fingers in there is really tough.
I feel like I need to change my other tap over to the push connect type as I'm already having little leaks with the regular nylon tubing and hose clamps. I feel like hose clamps just don't work well when tightened down that small of a diameter.
But man making those connections inside the tower is so hard.

am I doing something wrong or is this simply really tough?
Yup, working inside tap towers is difficult. You can make all the connections outside the tower, and test for leaks. Then slide the whole assembly inside the tower. Mounting the spacer and threading nut is indeed an art form. Often the help of someone with smaller hands and skinnier fingers is invaluable for those tasks. And having the right tools.

Oetiker clamps of the correct size will provide a better, more even clamp down, as they are truly round inside. A simple pair of pinchers will crimp the ear, no need for a special $$ crimping wrench.
When in a pinch (pun intended!) you can slide a short piece of thicker tubing over the line to get a worm clamp to work on smaller diameters.
 

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I am not positive what the intended outcome of adding the pickling lime is...but if it helps Chalk (calcium carbonate) will dissolve in carbonated water. When I have added Chalk to carbonated water, I give it a few days to carbonate then give the keg a good shake to mix and dissolve the chalk.
Yes I have tried this, found a lot of chalk in the bottom of my empty carbonated keg. Some must have dissolved though
 

bracconiere

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well, for some reason... this comment and the talk of adding pickling lime to drinking water...

o_O Some countries are more protective toward consumers, for better and for worse.


i want to insist you use these on the first pour....


$6 probably last you forever and prevent you having one of these installed as a solution for bad water treatment device....




edit: not that you'd need a milligram scale for a 5 gallon keg! but still....
 
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DuncB

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well, for some reason... this comment and the talk of adding pickling lime to drinking water...




i want to insist you use these on the first pour....


$6 probably last you forever and prevent you having one of these installed as a solution for bad water treatment device....




edit: not that you'd need a milligram scale for a 5 gallon keg! but still....
Yes I'm always looking for a use of the hundreds of litmus paper strips I got before the pH meter.

The trick after ingesting caustic or acid is to wash the mouth / throat/ gullet out with a substance called diphoterine.

Saves many thousands in Intensive care, theatre time and rehab.
 

bracconiere

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Yes I'm always looking for a use of the hundreds of litmus paper strips I got before the pH meter.

The trick after ingesting caustic or acid is to wash the mouth / throat/ gullet out with a substance called diphoterine.

Saves many thousands in Intensive care, theatre time and rehab.


so what you're saying is unless i see a thread where they're adding hydroflouric acid to drinking water, i should shut up?

if you use a ph meter for anything other then beer, you'll realize the strips are MUCH better....
 

DuncB

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so what you're saying is unless i see a thread where they're adding hydroflouric acid to drinking water, i should shut up?

if you use a ph meter for anything other then beer, you'll realize the strips are MUCH better....
To be honest I hardly use the meter during beer making although I should. pH strips great when I'm deciding is that starsan or PBW.

I'd recommend Hexafluorine for Hydrofluoric acid burns, it's slightly more specific for that one acid and they are fascinating but very very painful burns.
Diphoterine is really chemical witchcraft as it neutralises acids, bases, organic toxic chemicals, chillis, tear gas etc.
 

DuncB

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kinda like a ph meter buffer solution?
Well it's a multi aliphatic compound so can grab onto all kinds of different chemicals and disable their action. Tastes like slightly salty water, closely guarded secret and I don't fully understand it having been on a week long course with the developer but it's a game changer for chemical burns.
 
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rtv900

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So I've gotten my 40 feet of Evabarrier line, and it still isn't working great for whatever reason. I have the psi turned up to 35 at this point. It still comes out in random spurts like air pockets are getting in the lines.
I put all 40 feet of line on the system btw.
Should I turn down the psi?

If I change the connection to my other keg it flows differently, despite the keg being the only variable. It comes out smoother and with less initial foam.

Any ideas? Could used kegs be the issue? Like is there a chance air is seeping in somewhere on the liquid out line on one keg but not the other?
 

bracconiere

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Any ideas? Could used kegs be the issue? Like is there a chance air is seeping in somewhere on the liquid out line on one keg but not the other?


the dip tube o-ring could have a crack or something in it? for that matter the dip tube flange could be bent or deformed somehow....
 
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rtv900

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this is probably a really stupid question
but how do I even tell if the dip tube has a problem?
is there a connection on the underside of the top of the keg?
Is it threaded on from underneath?
 
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