Keging at 50F, beer foamy and flat

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boist

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Alas, my refrigerator-turned-keggerator is old and cranky, and rarely goes below 50F. This was fine when it was being used as a fermentation fridge, but now that it's a keggerator it means that in order to achieve 2.5vol I need to set the thing at 18-20PSI

Well it seems that at that pressure, even with a 10' line, I get mostly foam in the glass. It also seems that in addition to foam, I get flat-ish, under-carbonated beer.

And so the question is: Am I correct in blaming the warm temps and high pressure? If I were able to get the beer to, say 40F, would the situation improve?

Cheers
 

day_trippr

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The beer is serving flat because it's losing much of its carbonation to foam.

As you noted, the warmer the beer the higher the pressure required to achieve the same level of carbonation. That's fine in itself, but it means you must balance the dispensing system to handle that higher pressure.

If 10 foot lines work well with a carbing/dispensing pressure of 12psi @40°F, you're definitely going to need much longer lines to handle 20psi!

Cheers!
 

DPBISME

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Alas, my refrigerator-turned-keggerator is old and cranky, and rarely goes below 50F. This was fine when it was being used as a fermentation fridge, but now that it's a keggerator it means that in order to achieve 2.5vol I need to set the thing at 18-20PSI

Well it seems that at that pressure, even with a 10' line, I get mostly foam in the glass. It also seems that in addition to foam, I get flat-ish, under-carbonated beer.

And so the question is: Am I correct in blaming the warm temps and high pressure? If I were able to get the beer to, say 40F, would the situation improve?

Cheers
If thatg is as cool as you fridge gets I would Prime the beer.

Boil up 4 oz of corn sugar and pour it in.

Let the keg sit out at room temp for about a week. (it seems to go faster than bottles).

Put it back in, cool it and serve...
 

day_trippr

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How would ^ that make any difference?

(Hint: It won't. The root cause problem is temperature, not carbing method...)

Cheers!
 
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boist

boist

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No, I see his logic: Since you typically force carbonate at a higher pressure, he thinks that priming would resolve that. Unfortunately that would not work, since you still need a high pressure to KEEP the carbonation in, or it will go flat.

Day, in your opinion, would replacing the fridge with something that can actually cool solve the problem?
 

zachattack

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It would. The problem is you need longer lines to balance the high pressure. If you get a better fridge, you won't need the high pressure.
 

day_trippr

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No, I see his logic: Since you typically force carbonate at a higher pressure, he thinks that priming would resolve that. Unfortunately that would not work, since you still need a high pressure to KEEP the carbonation in, or it will go flat.
Can't agree with the basic premise: if you want to achieve a certain level of carbonation it doesn't matter how it is achieved - whether via priming or force carbonation. I don't use a higher pressure than what any carbonation table would provide for a given temperature and volumes of carbonation.

Day, in your opinion, would replacing the fridge with something that can actually cool solve the problem?
Bottom line, the problem is you need such a high CO2 pressure because of the beer temperature that it has exceeded your dispensing system's ability. So you have two options: either lengthen your beer lines to handle 20psi, or drop the temperature by 10 degrees so your CO2 pressure can be reduced to what the system can handle.

Given those choices, and the fact I prefer my beer held at a significantly colder level anyway, I'd replace the fridge...

Cheers!
 

solbes

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Agree, you either need really long lines to balance the pressure, or better yet get a fridge that works properly. Craigslist is your friend (I own 4 fridges and only paid for the one that came with the house!).
 

Callacave

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You could try these. I've had good success with them for beers that were carbed slightly higher than I typically carb.

Loctite Mixing Nozzle:

41LIgblrRDL__SX300_.jpg
 

JuanMoore

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And so the question is: Am I correct in blaming the warm temps and high pressure? If I were able to get the beer to, say 40F, would the situation improve?

Cheers
Yes. The warmer the beer is, the slower/gentler the flow needs to be to prevent CO2 from coming out of solution. That means that you not only need long enough lines to balance the higher pressure, but even longer than that to slow the flow down even more because of the temp. And since line resistance decreases as flow rate decreases, that means even longer lines. I'm guessing you'd need a flow rate of ~64oz/min for that temp, which would require 35' long lines (assuming 3/16" ID lines).

You could try these. I've had good success with them for beers that were carbed slightly higher than I typically carb.

Loctite Mixing Nozzle:
Those would help a little, but they're not going to provide near enough resistance for the OP's scenario by themselves.
 
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