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  • Foaming beer after line cleaning

    Our local pizza place, with a long draw glycol set up, claims their beer pours foam for almost 24 hours after the lines have been cleaned. The local cleaner has a solid reputation for doing good work. I was under the assumption that you'd see some foaming at the tap after cleaning until the lines had cooled back down but 24 hours seems like there is something else going on. Assuming they're not over exaggerating the situation, can anybody suggest other factors I should be following up?

  • #2
    Pizza&beer, a couple of things come to mind. My first inclination is an exaggeration in the length of time of the problem. But, 2 other things are possible. Is the line cleaner fully packing the line with beer after he cleans? A standard 100' line run, may need up to 6 or 7 pitchers of foam pulled through each line to fully pack the lines with beer. If he is not doing this, imagine how many pints the bartender must throw away to equal 6 pitchers.

    The other thing I would check is the power pack (glycol chiller). Is it in good operating condition? The lines will be warmed up during the cleaning process. How long is the power pack taking to come down to correct operating temperatiures (28 - 32 degrees)?

    Good luck.

    Dennis

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    • #3
      I was a little leery of the 24 hours myself but gave the benefit of the doubt. I know the cleaner is flushing the lines with cold water after chemicals then pushing water with beer. I'm assuming he has clear beer by the end but that's what I get for assuming. Do you personally keep the power pack running while cleaning or shut it down? I've never shut it down but also never had this problem. I'll follow up with the glycol temp but really appreciate your input. Thanks again Dennis.

      Cheers,

      Eric

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      • #4
        Originally posted by pizza&beer View Post
        I was a little leery of the 24 hours myself but gave the benefit of the doubt. I know the cleaner is flushing the lines with cold water after chemicals then pushing water with beer. I'm assuming he has clear beer by the end but that's what I get for assuming. Do you personally keep the power pack running while cleaning or shut it down? I've never shut it down but also never had this problem. I'll follow up with the glycol temp but really appreciate your input. Thanks again Dennis.

        Cheers,

        Eric

        When you say cold water... how cold? Just tap cold, or does he put ice in the canister to make it REALLY cold when flushing? You could try that instead of just as cold as you can get with tap

        I only have 1 account out of 130 I turn the power pack off when cleaning the lines because while cleaning the faucets , its been known to freeze up (old power pack no temp adjustments that I see on it)

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        • #5
          Just tap water. Half the year our tap water runs low 50*s but you make a real good point. Especially if the glycol unit isn't holding up. Thanks again for the input. You've given me enough ammo to look like a hero.

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          • #6
            Also check the unit size. If it is undersized for the lenght of the run this could be causing an issue. Had the same proble at an account here.
            Colin Harrison
            Dbi Beverage Chico

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            • #7
              Here's what I know at this point:

              Problem - full day recovery time after line cleaning. Talked to multiple staff and they swear they aren't overestimating how long it takes for the system to settle in and pour properly. I'm going in with the cleaner next Tuesday for the bi-weekly cleaning to see how bad cleaning is taxing the power pack.

              - Foaming keg after tapping of new keg. The place has FOB's that seem to work properly but once a keg kicks and a new keg, 24 hours in the fridge, is tapped and FOB reset the faucet foams for a couple of pitchers. Witnessed this one first hand.

              System - the draft tower hangs down 5' from a 10' ceiling. The trunk line is 1/4" and runs 55' , through the ceiling, from FOB to faucets. The power pack is appropriate for runs up to 75' and they have a blending box. Regulators are set to 30-35psi. The restaurant is pouring all New Belgium products at close to 2.5 vol/CO2. The town is at an altitude of 4500'.

              Trying to look past the fact that I wouldn't have laid out the system this way and focus on the problem at hand but can't help wonder if they're related? If system is balanced for over carbonated beer, ie restricted for 30-35psi, will new beer foam until it becomes over carbonated? My head is like a pachinko ball bouncing all over the place with this one. Thanks again for all the expert insight.

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              • #8
                Pizza&beer,

                Foaming keg after tapping keg. If your FOBs are working properly and reset properly you wouldn't have to pour off a couple of pitchers. I've found most employees do not operate FOBs correctly. Proper sequence is: 1) tap new keg; 2) press pressure release valve on the FOB to allow beer to fill jumper line and FOB; 3) after FOB and jumper are filled with beer, press or flip the bypass valve which will release the float and allow beer to flow to the faucet.

                If steps 2 and 3 are reversed, you have allowed 6' of gas to enter into the beer line which will cause foaming for a couple of pitchers.

                The pressure for the system as you described is 30 psi. How many products are they serving? What gas blend?

                Sounds to me like the power pack is too weak or too small to return to normal operating temperature very quickly. What make and model?

                You may need to rinse with ice water to assist the power pack to return quickly.

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                • #9
                  They are have 10 different beers on tap and they are using the MMPP4301-EP glycol unit. It's a micromatic gas blender so I'm assuming a 70/30 blend. I'll have to double check for sure.

                  In this case, I switched out the keg myself and did it just the way you described. I didn't get the big burpy sputtering type of foam that I associate with keg changes or improper FOB use but instead the clear beer to foam transition like when the regulator needs to be turned up. The zen of foam.

                  I'm wondering if I've got to separate problems that both fall under the heading of improper instillation. The 30-35psi regulators seems like a red flag.

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                  • #10
                    Sounds like you've got several installation problems going on.

                    1st the power pack is too small for the trunk line and length of run. 10 product trunk has 2 glycol loops which equates to around an 83' trunk. Needs a 125' unit like the MM4301 from MicroMatic.

                    2d is the pressure/gas blend issue. 70/30 blend at 30 psig will over carbonate the beers, 70/30 blend should be around 19 - 20 psig. Beers probably pour pretty well when 1st tapped then start to foam after a couple of days. Foaming will increase as the tapped time extends and the beer level decreases. 50/50 blend would be better.

                    This is assuming the keg cooler is on the same floor level as the taps.

                    What temp is the beer cooler? Temp the liquid temperature from the keg, not the air temp.

                    dennis

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                    • #11
                      Also find out how long the choker lines are. With the tower hanging from the celing there might not be enough restriction to compensate for gravity.
                      Colin Harrison
                      Dbi Beverage Chico

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                      • #12
                        I agree that the initial instillation is the cause of their problems. The good news is there are only 8 draft lines so no double loop for glycol, but I think the your diagnosis is still correct. I'm working with the line cleaner tomorrow and we will see how badly cleaning whacks out the power pack. Will test the glycol as well. Coming up with affordable solutions is the next hurdle. Thanks again for the sanity checks. I appreciate all the expert advice.

                        Cheers,

                        Eric

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                        • #13
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                          • #14

                            Also find out how long the choker lines are. With the tower hanging from the celing there might not be enough restriction to compensate for gravity.

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