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Thread: kegorator help

  1. #16
    Join Date
    May 2011
    Posts
    533
    Bleeding refers to letting the pressure out of the keg. I don't know why you would want to shake the keg, that will just stir up the contents and make everything foam more. My recommendation is to let the beer rest for a while (if you shook it really hard, this could mean about 3 hours) while leaving it under a 12 psi load. Then, once it's sat for a while, turn off your CO2 tank, release the pressure inside of the keg, and return a 6 psi load to the keg. If this serves the beer without lots of foam, you can try cranking it up to 8 psi to increase the flow rate (more beer faster) but leaving it lower while serving is a sure fire way to keep the foam minimized.

    Don't forget: if you're not drinking it, let it sit at 12 psi. This will maintain the regular carbonation level of the beer.

    Since you mentioned it's been out of commission a while, don't forget to clean your beer line! That always helps. Also, pulling the beer tap quickly when you start to pour reduces turbulence at the tap and reduces foam (there are a bunch of tricks online for how to pour a proper pint, there's tons I don't know concerning it). Let me know if you're still having problems and we'll tackle it as best as we can! Cheers!
    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)

  2. #17
    Join Date
    Oct 2008
    Posts
    317
    12 PSI is A LOT of pressure. And since Lite has no alcohol, body, color, or taste, it will freeze even easier.

    Shake the keg?!?!

    Shaking a keg is just like shaking a can of soda!! And serving a beer from a shaken keg is like opening that shaken can of soda!!

    Frozen beer usually goes flat when it thaws, so I would do what Malty said to do. Leave it at about 12 PSI for ten days to two weeks, (but NEVER shake it!!) then bleed the head space again, and serve the beer at probably no more than 8 or 9 PSI. This will re-carbonate the beer nice and slowly, and should be about the right level of carbonation. Malty also brought up good points about cleaning the line, and definitely opening the faucet quickly, all the way when you serve a beer.

    Unfortunately, super light beers like Miller Lite don't take kindly to freezing, so there's no telling what it will taste like once you get everything going again, but I wouldn't be surprised if it tastes terrible. Freezing is just an evil force that hates beer!!

    Draft beer just foams sometimes with seemingly no reason to it. You should really Google and search this forum for "balancing" your draft system. There are actually some rough calculations you can do to get all the factors right to help reduce your foam. Balancing the draft system will factor in the length of the draft lines, inner diameter of the draft lines, the keg pressure, the beer temperature, and the beer carbonation level. It can be quite a demanding process, but after a lot of work, you can get a pretty foam-free setup going. There are lots of folks out there who are experts on the matter, and much more experienced with it than I am, so I'd definitely recommend finding them to get this information.

    One thing I would recommend you do after getting your keg carbonated correctly is on a night that you'll be serving a lot of beer, start out serving the beer at a very low pressure, and go up from there. Basically, put your serving regulator down to just a couple of PSI, and bleed the keg. Serving beer at a super low pressure works just fine, except the beer will only come out as a tiny trickle, but, it's less likely to foam up. So, using small increments, such as one or two PSI, increase the regulator pressure a bit each time you pour another beer, or every other beer, until it either gets to a nice full flow of beer, or starts to foam up on you again. (Then you've gone too far, so just crank the regulator down to nothing, bleed the keg, and put the regulator back to the pressure it last worked well at.)

    You may be able to get a good, full, normal looking flow of beer going without foam, or you may not. At least you will be able to serve the beer without foam at lower pressures. The idea here is to keep the beer moving in order to take out the variable of having warm beer sitting in the tower, because in most kegerator setups, and even fancy homemade chest freezer setups like mine, the first beer or two you pour, after not pouring a beer for a while, will be foamy, and then after that, the foam generally dies down. This is because you've got at least a foot of line inside the draft tower, but outside the refrigerator, so the beer that has been sitting in this part of the line will warm up if it sits for a while, since this part of the line is not refrigerated very well, and this small bit of beer will come out foamy. (This is part of why you see bartenders just dumping whole mugs of beer down the drain. The other part is that many of them just don't know how to pour a draft beer.)

    When this happens, it's really tempting to go fiddling around with knobs, and release valves, but you must be strong, and simply accept that the first beer just has to be foamy!! Unfortunately, in a home setting, beer generally just isn't consumed quickly enough to avoid having this first beer or two be foamy, because not enough beer is consumed to avoid having any sit in this foot of the line for a while. In bars that use small kegerator setups like ours, they at least serve a large enough volume of the beer so that whatever sits in that foot of line doesn't have time to get warm enough to come out foamy.

    So, once you've gotten everything pouring well, don't freak out when it pours terribly the next time you draw a beer from it. If you're pouring beers from there at a decent rate, you'll probably get to the point that they will consistently come out without much foam, but if you're a sipper, and some time goes by between drawing beers, then they'll probably all be kind of foamy. (Not trying to give you "beer" pressure here!! Sweet double pun!!)

    Anyhow, it's just a long road that can be frustrating, and doesn't always get resolved. Even when you have it setup and working right, you'll have foam once in a while. The basic cylinder, regulator, keg, and faucet setup works well, but is quite susceptible to foam, so there's always going to be some learning and adjustment needed. There's a reason that restaurant draft beer systems cost $100,000, and ours cost $200!!

    Good luck!!
    Last edited by Botoole560; 11-17-2014 at 08:01 PM.

  3. #18
    Join Date
    Oct 2014
    Posts
    7
    Hi. I'm still messing with this thing. Still getting foam. I've got 10' of hose and you can see the beer in it isn't foamy, but it come out of the tap mostly foam. Any other suggestions? Appreciate it!!

  4. #19
    Join Date
    May 2011
    Posts
    533
    I'm not trying to insult your technique, but just as a double check: Are you holding the beer glass at an angle when you pour so that the beer goes down the side, and is your glass warm or cold? Your glass doesn't have to be frosted, but a colder glass will yield less foam.

    If all else fails, try taking your pour spout apart and cleaning it. Did you already lower your serving pressure? Also, this is homebrew (and thus a corny keg) and not commercial, right? You can also double check your mounting points and make sure everything is seated correctly.

    Also, it's possible that your beer is over-carbonated.
    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)

  5. #20
    Join Date
    Oct 2014
    Posts
    7
    Yes, I angle the glass when it's poured. I've tried warm and cold glasses.

    Yes, I've lowered the pressure.

    I found out over the weekend that the beer in the hose isn't foamy, but once it's poured, the beer coming out of the keg IS foamy.

    How would a person know if their beer is over-carbonated? It tastes fine.

    Thanks for your help!!

  6. #21
    Join Date
    May 2011
    Posts
    533
    It's a bit tricky to tell if it's overcarbonated. The methods I can think of would be:

    1) Does it taste overcarbonated? You mention that it tastes fine, but would you describe the carbonation level as being closer to beer, or to soda? (PS - I'm glad it tastes good! Even with kegerator problems, a good beer makes up for a lot of frustration!)

    2) Think back on the pressures you've kept the kegerator at. When it's sitting (not being served) and the fridge is on/the beer is cold, what pressure is it at? The 12 psi I recall is normal from what I understand, so perhaps this isn't a problem either. Worth thinking about though, I've been known to rush carbonate a beer (20 psi and shaking the keg) because I'm impatient.

    Other than that, I'm drawing a blank. You've done all of the right things. I suppose you could try using a picnic tap and seeing if that foams horribly too. That might indicate whether or not the problem is originating with your current spigot.

    I'm willing to bet the more seasoned veterans of the keg have more tips, but this is the limit of my knowledge. Best of luck!
    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)

  7. #22
    Join Date
    Oct 2008
    Posts
    317
    I would definitely try cleaning the whole setup like Malty said. You mentioned earlier you had the pressure at 30 PSI, and were shaking the keg, so I'd bet it's over carbonated. When you lower the pressure, are you bleeding the pressure out of the keg too?? Seeing beer in the line, and having foam come out is pretty common. The beer doesn't turn into foam until it's blasted out of the faucet.

    At least if you have to slug down the rest of that keg being foamy, you can just start over again on your next keg, and now you've got more experience and knowledge under your belt to help you get the next one off to a good start and keep it flowing right.

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