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Thread: kegorator help

  1. #1
    Join Date
    Oct 2014
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    7

    kegorator help

    The temperature in my kegorator fluctuates, sometimes as much as 5 degrees, without me adjusting any of the settings. Is this normal?

  2. #2
    Join Date
    Oct 2008
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    317
    What is your setup?? Are you talking about just a regular store-bought mini-fridge type kegerator unit??

    I don't know a whole lot about those, but most refrigeration units have a threshold of four of five degrees.

    For example, if you set the temperature for 38 degrees, the unit might not begin cooling again until it registered a temperature of 42 degrees, and in some cases it might cool it down to a few degrees cooler than the 42 degrees you set it at.

    If refrigerators didn't work this way, they'd have to come on every ten seconds to maintain a perfect temperature within a tight one degree threshold. Maintaining the temperature within a +/- 4 or 5 degree threshold keeps the beer at roughly a constant temperature, without the need for the cooler to run all the time.

    I would bet this is probably what's going on with your unit.

    If this is an older unit, then you might give it a good cleaning, and make sure the temperature probe isn't packed with dust and lint, and make sure that all the seals are sealing properly, and that cold air is not leaking out of anywhere.

    Good luck!!

  3. #3
    Join Date
    May 2011
    Posts
    533
    +1 Botoole560

    Unless your refrigerator was designed to maintain an internal temperature within 1 or 2 degrees you will always have fluctuations like this. You can, if you really want, fix it for about 80 dollars. You'll need an AC controller with a thermoprobe input. Adding this to your refrigerator will allow you to choose a temperature and the controller will turn on and off the flow of electricity to the refrigerator to maintain it.
    Two ciders please, I'm thirsty!

    On deck: Soon Cider
    Fermenting: None
    bottled: Old and dusty something rathers
    Secondary: None
    Kegged: Carbonated Water (enjoying home made soda syrups)

  4. #4
    Join Date
    Oct 2014
    Posts
    7
    Yes, it's a store-bought mini type. My wife got it for me last Christmas.

    A couple of months ago, we started getting a LOT of foam. I changed the hoses to 10' hoses. No difference. We then noticed it was kind of warm. Adjusted the temp and then noticed we were losing CO2. It appears the CO2 isn't leaking any more, but the temp keeps fluctuating, to the point I think the beer froze. So...I don't know if it's a regulator problem, compressor or both. The company doesn't seem very helpful. I'm thinking they don't want to be out any expense.

    Appreciate any input!!

  5. #5
    Join Date
    May 2011
    Posts
    533
    That sounds quite annoying. If it's anything like my mini fridge, the temperature can be extremely erratic. I believe this is due to the cooling interface (a plate where the freon runs through it) and a poorly timed system. If you want to fine tune the fridge, I'd recommend getting a controller. purely as an example:

    http://www.amazon.com/Refrigerator-F.../dp/B004B4HAPO

    this regulates the temperature to +/- 2 degrees F. If you set the kegerator to it's coldest setting, the controller will turn the fridge on and off to regulate to the desired temperature. As for the CO2 leak, I'd double check the seals by dripping soapy water onto the connection points. If it makes bubbles, you've found a leak. Otherwise it should be fine.
    Two ciders please, I'm thirsty!

    On deck: Soon Cider
    Fermenting: None
    bottled: Old and dusty something rathers
    Secondary: None
    Kegged: Carbonated Water (enjoying home made soda syrups)

  6. #6
    Join Date
    Oct 2008
    Posts
    317
    Has this happened on more than one keg??

    I just ask because different kegs will absorb different amounts of CO2, depending on how well, or poorly carbonated the beer already is, and what the beer temperature was when you put the keg in and set it up. The style of beer can play a big role in CO2 consumption as well.

    And, keep in mind that colder beer absorbs CO2 much more effectively than warmer beer, so sometimes, especially with smaller CO2 cylinders, if you start with a keg that's a bit on the flat side, and/or warm/not so cold, and refrigerate the beer nice and cold, with the CO2 hooked up, you may see a noticeable decrease in your CO2 level.

    Yet another thing to keep in mind is that CO2 is sold by weight, but your regulator tries to show you the pressure, which can vary widely depending on the ambient temperature.

    Do you store the CO2 cylinder inside the refrigerator, by chance?? Doing this gives you what looks like a low reading on the regulator, when the actual weight of the CO2 inside the cylinder has not changed. Also, as we all know, when gas is under high pressure, the temperature increases, and decreases when the pressure is released. So, when large amounts of CO2 are released from your cylinder, such as when connected to a cold, flat keg, the regulator will get ice cold, giving it an even more inaccurate reading.

    I would check for leaks in the CO2 like Malty said to do, and if you don't find anything, maybe just give it another try on your next keg and see how you come out. Unfortunately, though, this is just kind of how having draft beer at home is. For many kegs and serving setups, you'll find yourself spending more time trying to achieve a perfect pour than actually drinking the beer!! The best thing you can do is just be patient with it, and keep working on it. (The worst thing you can do is tell yourself that you just need to adjust this, or adjust that, and pour one more beer and it will finally be perfect, because once you finally get that perfect pour, you'll look up and have ten beers on the counter that you now must drink!!)

    Oh, and as far as beer freezing in the keg, you may have some warning signs before that happens, depending on how frequently you drink from it. The earliest warning sign is of course really freakin' cold beer!! Next, you'll have tiny frozen chunks in the beer, followed by beer Slurpees that get more and more slushy as freezing progresses. The flow of this will begin to slow down to just a tiny trickle, and then it can eventually stop flowing altogether. In theory, the frozen beer would flow back into the keg, compressing any gas in the keg before splitting the lines, or the regulator, but if you suspect your beer has frozen, it might be a good idea to double check all of these things as well, so that when everything does thaw out, you don't come home to 15.5 gallons of beer in the carpet one evening!!

    Like Malty said, an external temperature regulator can often do a better job than what the refrigerator was equipped with. This is the one I use, and probably the most commonly used one for home draft beer:

    http://www.amazon.com/Johnson-Contro...tor+thermostat

    Again, you just set your fridge to its lowest (coldest) setting, plug the power cord into this box, which plugs into the wall, dial in the temperature you want, and you'll have a small probe that goes inside the fridge to monitor the temperature. Some people recommend keeping the probe inside a container of water, inside the fridge, if you have room for it, that way the probe will be measuring the temperature of an environment more similar to being immersed in beer. You'll probably hear the term "Johnson Controls Box" used around here a lot, and this is what we are referring to. I use mine with a cheap 7.2 cubic foot GE chest freezer, and find that the temperature stays pretty much exactly where I put it, with no problems at all. This is probably the smartest purchase I've made with regards to brewing/serving draft beer.

    Keep us updated, and good luck!!
    Last edited by Botoole560; 10-15-2014 at 11:13 PM.

  7. #7
    Join Date
    Oct 2008
    Posts
    317
    Is it just you, me, Red Wing Mike, and Vlande these days, Malty?? Oh, I did see something from Corky not too long ago, so that's cool. It's really sweet that nobody wanted to visit the forum anymore without my hi-jinks for the last two years, or so, but I'm back!! Let the commencement of posting begin!!

    Vlande, get yourself an avatar, and don't be shy...It looks I'm not the new guy anymore...You're the new me!!

  8. #8
    Join Date
    May 2011
    Posts
    533
    It does seem to have slowed down. I too saw Corky chime in. I'd love to see more activity on here, and I hope someone brews something soon so I can live vicariously through them until I get my setup in order.
    Two ciders please, I'm thirsty!

    On deck: Soon Cider
    Fermenting: None
    bottled: Old and dusty something rathers
    Secondary: None
    Kegged: Carbonated Water (enjoying home made soda syrups)

  9. #9
    Join Date
    Oct 2008
    Posts
    317
    Oh, and, of course, Banjo!! So committed!!


  10. #10
    Join Date
    May 2011
    Posts
    533
    He sure does keep up the news! I doubt there would be much traffic without him. I wonder what he brews.
    Two ciders please, I'm thirsty!

    On deck: Soon Cider
    Fermenting: None
    bottled: Old and dusty something rathers
    Secondary: None
    Kegged: Carbonated Water (enjoying home made soda syrups)

  11. #11
    Join Date
    Oct 2014
    Posts
    7
    Hello. Still having problems with my kegorator. I froze It's thawed but now I am only getting foam. Any suggestions? Appreciate it!!!

  12. #12
    Join Date
    May 2011
    Posts
    533
    Did you end up adding a temperature controller? What pressure were you running at and how long was your beer line?
    Two ciders please, I'm thirsty!

    On deck: Soon Cider
    Fermenting: None
    bottled: Old and dusty something rathers
    Secondary: None
    Kegged: Carbonated Water (enjoying home made soda syrups)

  13. #13
    Join Date
    Oct 2014
    Posts
    7
    No temp controller. I turned it all the way up to thaw it slowly. If the thermometer I have in there now is accurate, it's about 38-40 degrees.

    Pressure was around 12. Beer line is 10'.

  14. #14
    Join Date
    May 2011
    Posts
    533
    The temperature and line length sound fine. The pressure seams really high though. Try cutting it down to 6 to 8 psi when serving (bleed first). It will serve more slowly but this should cut down on foam. Unless you're planning on serving the whole keg at once, I'd lower the pressure for serving for the evening, and then crank it back up when you're done (to keep the carbonation where you want it).

    What diameter of line are you using? 3/16 or 1/4?

    What kind of beer do you have on tap? Just curious
    Two ciders please, I'm thirsty!

    On deck: Soon Cider
    Fermenting: None
    bottled: Old and dusty something rathers
    Secondary: None
    Kegged: Carbonated Water (enjoying home made soda syrups)

  15. #15
    Join Date
    Oct 2014
    Posts
    7
    What do you mean by "bleed first". (sorry, I'm new to this whole kegorator thing).

    I have the bigger line.

    Miller Lite.

    Appreciate your help!! This has been out of commission for a while and it's TOTALLY frustrating.

    I read to turn the CO2 off, pull the pin on the keg for 2-3 seconds, shake the keg and turn the CO2 back on. I've tried that several times, but no luck.

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