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Foam for years - need a plan to correct it.

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  • Foam for years - need a plan to correct it.

    Hello beer experts. Thanks in advance for taking a look and trying to help me out. I had a keg in a fridge for many years, and it has never poured correctly; always getting a lot of foam. I'm getting a fresh keg tonight, and I would like to see if someone could formulate a plan of attack for me to troubleshoot this problem once and for all.

    My setup:
    -Refrigerator (freezer on top), tap is on the side of the frig. Temp is around 34. My poured second glass is around 36F.
    -Perlick 650SS flow control tap.
    -8' of 3/16 ID beer line. It used to be 10ft; I took 2' off it recently to see if anything would change. Which it didn't.
    -Shank is 8" long so the outside stays cool in my garage during the summer months. **I've just discovered that my shank is 1/4" ID. I've already ordered a replacement.
    -The keg coupler output is practically the same height as my shank/ tap.Nothing I can do about this as the shank is mounted as high as it can go.
    -CO2 is located outside of the fridge.
    -I've experimented with different pressures, all the way to 14. I get foam no matter what. It appears to me that
    when I'm at 10+psi; the beer comes out with so much force. I almost want to buy 20' of line and see what would happen.
    It just doesn't see right.
    -The lines were cleaned recently and are clear. I never see foam coming from the keg.

    The keg I'm picking up today will be a Captain Lawrence Pale Ale. Once I get it out of my car and into the fridge I will let it settle down until Thursday.

    Any suggestions for what my plan of attack should be? Does anything stick out as grossly wrong, besides me having a mismatch between the ID of my line and shank? ? Once the new keg is in and settled, should I tap it and turn off the CO2, then work on the pressure by slowly increasing it, with starting at a certain psi?

    Any help is greatly appreciated.

  • #2
    There is some stuff in your description that you can immediately not worry about. Location of CO2, height of coupler vs faucet and air temp in the fridge have nothing to do with this. When you get a keg, you should couple it and vent it using the pull ring. Then apply the correct pressure for the volumes of CO2 for the beer and the temp. I realize at this point you don't know what that is, but we will get there. The intent is that once dialed in you will not be adjusting temp or pressure, and that starting low and ramping up is not the way to do this. Your beer line length is used to slow the flow of properly balanced beer, it will not correct foaming unless the foaming is caused by turbulence. Longer line flows more slowly. I think your issue is the shank 'staying cool in the garage'. Foam is caused by temperature changes - think of pouring warm soda on ice. The shank can't be garage temp when you are trying to flow 36 degree beer through it. You need to get as much of the shank into the fridge space, or build some sort of chase around it so you can use a fan to force cold air around it. This is not unlike all the kegerator foam problems people without tower coolers face.

    When you get the keg, assuming that you haven't changed the temp and that the volumes of CO2 are probably 2.6 / 2.7, then you will want to apply 12.5 psi. With the CO2 off, couple the keg and vent it. After it's done venting, apply 12.5 psi. Then we can get to pouring and confirming that the shank is the problem. If at rest the beer line is fully packed with beer, no gaps, then that tells you the beer is balanced. I suspect it will be. When you pour from a nicely packed beer line and get foam, it will point to the shank as the issue.
    What I have: Haier two tap, 525 faucets, tower cooler, 10' lines

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    • #3
      DJC, thanks. I just put my keg in the fridge. Going to let it settle for a couple hours before doing anything. I bought new line today (10ft) along with the new shank.. I plan to install all, relieve pressure. I get what you are saying about the shank; that is why my old incorrect one was the longest I could find. In the summer, my tap will sweat. But even in the winter, when the garage is 45-50, I still had the problem. Thank you, will keep you posted.

      Comment


      • #4
        45-50 still isn't 36. Beer needs to be the same temp from the bottom of the keg to the faucet.
        What I have: Haier two tap, 525 faucets, tower cooler, 10' lines

        Comment


        • #5
          DJC, I went to install my new shank today. When I removed it from the package, even though specifying at the brew store I wanted a 3/16 id bore, it was a 1/4". I took it back, and the owner of the store says 1/4" is all he's ever sold, and that as long as I have a 3/16 barbed adapter, I am good.

          What is correct. Does the bore of the shank need to be the same as beer line, 3/16". Thank you.

          Comment


          • #6
            The bore does not have to match the line, it is not uncommon for the bore of shanks to be 1/4”.
            What I have: Haier two tap, 525 faucets, tower cooler, 10' lines

            Comment


            • #7
              So I tapped it the other week. Brand new 10ft line, released the pressure, installed a new faucet shank 3/16 x 3.5", bored out a 2" hole around the shank so it's cold all the way to the outside fridge wall, bled the keg, put on 10 lbs. Been pouring for a week now, same problem. Beer temp is 36. I'm afraid to crank it to twelve pounds, as I feel it will pour even stronger.

              Any ideas what I should try next? The line is clear; I don't see any CO2 separation. I feel like I need to add more line, to create more resistance.

              Comment


              • #8
                Are you opening the faucet all the way? Have you looked at the internals of the faucet for burrs or rough edges? Where are you storing the 10’ of line? As much of it as possible should be near the bottom of the keg. The beer is looking for around 12 at 36 degrees.
                What I have: Haier two tap, 525 faucets, tower cooler, 10' lines

                Comment


                • #9
                  If you’ve got that pressure, length of line, and temperature in the fridge is at least 40 degrees the only other problem is the coupler. Check to make sure the o rings are present and not cut or torn that go around the bottom of the coupler body and the bottom
                  of the probe that moves up and down. Also check to make sure the Thomas valve is present inside the gas port of the coupler. You also may want to get the longest shank you can get so the most metal surface is in contact with the cold air in the fridge. I can only imagine a 3” shank barely fitting through the width of the door (but even with a short shank that would only cause foaming of the first pour once the cold beer is running through it it shouldn’t foam excessively like you’re describing).

                  Comment


                  • #10
                    Guys, thanks for the replies. Sorry for the late replies; I've been busy as heck with work. As I posted earlier, -The keg coupler output is practically the same height as my shank/ tap.Nothing I can do about this as the shank is mounted as high as it can go. So my 10ft loop of beer line is laying on top of the keg, two inches or so below the shank. Think I should move the loop down as far as it'll go? Yes, the faucet is being open all the way, every time.

                    I'm going to check out the coupler when I get chance. I will have to uncouple it to move my beer line anyway.

                    I googled what a Thomas Valve is; I will check that out at the same time. For some reason, that part does not look familiar to me.

                    Comment


                    • #11
                      https://www.kegworks.com/catalogsearch/result/?q=thomas Upon further review, when you say Thomas Valve, are you talking about those two parts, the retainer and vent?

                      Comment


                      • #12
                        Again the height of the coupler in relation to the faucet has absolutely nothing to do with this. The beer line coil should be as near the bottom of the keg as it can be. The point there is to keep as much of the beer in the line as you can at the same temperature as the beer coming from the keg. The beer in the keg is drawn from the bottom. If your beer line is completely packed with beer, no gaps of CO2, then this issue is not coming from the coupler, if it was it would be foaming and have gaps in the line. I would take apart the faucet and double check that there aren’t any burrs or sharp edges in the flow. Post a pic or two of your beer line after it has sat for a while, and the faucet disassembled. A Thomas valve is more commonly called a gas check valve or duckbill check valve. It goes on the gas inlet side of the coupler. It’s job is to prevent back flow towards the regulator, if there was an issue with it you would have a gas leak and beer in the gas line.
                        Last edited by djc; 06-05-2020, 03:42 AM.
                        What I have: Haier two tap, 525 faucets, tower cooler, 10' lines

                        Comment


                        • #13
                          What the setup looks like. Hasn't been drawn in two days.

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                          • #14
                            Looks good, it’s packed. Is the blue thing up top just a thumb screw on the hose clamp holding the beer line on to the tailpiece?

                            move the line down low in the box, and inspect the tail piece and faucet for
                            burrs or sharp edges on the inner diameter.
                            What I have: Haier two tap, 525 faucets, tower cooler, 10' lines

                            Comment


                            • #15
                              Will do. It's a normal hose clamp with a thumb screw they sold at the beer supply store. Will update you on what transpires.

                              Thanks for the help

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