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Help a Firefighter with foamy beer

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  • Help a Firefighter with foamy beer

    I am a volunteer fire fighter and recently took over our bar committee. We have just about stopped buying kegs of beer, because the pour was always awful. We have a walk in cooler, with two tapped kegs. The beer run is about 50 feet with a glycol system. Our CO2 tank is outside the cooler with a regular on the tank and then two separate regulators inside the cooler going to each keg. Temp in the cooler is about 37 degrees and beer tastes pretty cold. I am learning as I go and finally have a regular service clean the lines once a month. One of the taps pours just fine. The other one is extremely foamy and even spits beer from the tap. After enough pours, it sometimes settles down, but after sitting for a while, the problem reoccurs. I can see that there is foam in the line inside the cooler close to the keg. Can anyone help me with a list of things I can try to trouble shoot this problem. There seems to be no reason why this would not work right for us? The two beers we have on tap are currently Labatt's Blue Light at 11 psi and Yuengling at 11 psi.

  • #2
    My first thoughts are:

    1) The pressure seems low for both of those beers - even with an actual "beer" temp of the ideal 38 degrees. I'll bet the beer temp is actually a little warmer than you think it is and thus requires more pressure. For me to get beer out of my simple system at 38 degrees, the air temp in the fridge is close to 34 degrees.

    2) If you're seeing foam in the line, then there's definitely not enough pressure because the foam is the carbonation coming out of the beer. Most people think that foam is caused by having too much CO2 pressure when, in fact, it's usually just the opposite.

    3) On the "Very foamy" tap, there could be problem somewhere in the coupler/line/faucet. Any type of burr, restriction and/or dirt could cause that.

    Personally, I'd try simply raising the CO2 pressure on both beers to 13-14 PSI and see what that does. The Very foamy beer may need something closer to 15-16 PSI.

    I'm sure some the experts on this site will post up soon.


    • #3

      I tested the temperature of the beer at the tap. The first beer on the good line came out at 37.5 degrees and further beers stayed around 37 degrees. The first beer on the foamy line came out at 39.5 degrees and further beer came out at 38 degrees. I did increase the pressure to 20 psi and the beer stopped "spitting" out of the tap. It is still a bit foamy, but much better. Can a couple of PSI make a huge difference? If so, how do you narrow down what is the exact pressure. And one more question. On the tap that goes on top of the keg, there is a ring that states "pull prior to tapping keg". How critical is pulling this ring, I think it releases the pressure on the tap?

      Thanks so much for your help.