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Brews & Views Bulletin Board Service * Brews and Views Archive 2008 * Archive through March 30, 2008 * A cry for help! < Previous Next >

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Ryan Messenger
Junior Member
Username: Rem

Post Number: 64
Registered: 10-2007
Posted From: 74.34.11.134
Posted on Saturday, March 01, 2008 - 08:01 pm:   Edit Post Delete Post View Post/Check IP    Ban Poster IP (Moderator/Admin only)

Help! I am having trouble figuring out how to fix my two-tap system so that it doesnít serve over-carbonated beer. Here is the story. Originally I did not balance my system and I had two over-carbonated kegs that I pressurized to 30PSI and rocked and rolled for 5 minutes. Consequently I read about balancing the system, and I have done the math. The result was that I should have 2í 9 1/2Ē of tubing, so now I have that length of tubing. To reduce the carbonation of the over carbonated kegs I pulled them out of the fridge and released the pressure every 15 minutes for two hours. I plugged them back into the CO2. I tried to serve one with 10PSI (my balanced system #) and I got a lot of foam (just like before). The other I tried to serve with 5PSI, and I still got a lot of foam. I am drinking the 5PSI beer right now, it tastes great and itís not too fizzy at all, it tastes like it should, just with way too much head. From what I have read the only explanation that I can find is that I have a tower that is not refrigerated, and about 16Ē of my beer line is out of the fridge (that includes the line inside the tower). Could this be my culprit? I drew a picture below to show what my fridge looks like. What do you guys think, did I not fully de-carbonate the beer before I hooked it back up, or is my non-refrigerated tower the source of my problems? Note, it is about 65 degrees in my basement where the refrigerator is located, and it is set to about 47 degrees internal temperature.

<center><img src="kegs.gif"></center>

(Message edited by REM on March 01, 2008)

(Message edited by REM on March 01, 2008)
 

Denny Conn
Senior Member
Username: Denny

Post Number: 6679
Registered: 01-2001
Posted From: 140.211.82.4
Posted on Saturday, March 01, 2008 - 08:09 pm:   Edit Post Delete Post View Post/Check IP    Ban Poster IP (Moderator/Admin only)

1/2 tubing seems weird. Most of us use 3/16 thick wall tubing. 1/2 inch won't provide neraly as much resistance to drop the pressure.
 

Ryan Messenger
Junior Member
Username: Rem

Post Number: 65
Registered: 10-2007
Posted From: 74.34.11.134
Posted on Saturday, March 01, 2008 - 08:12 pm:   Edit Post Delete Post View Post/Check IP    Ban Poster IP (Moderator/Admin only)

Sorry, it's not 1/2" tubing it's two feet, nine and one-half inches of 3/16" tubing.

P.S. I am still trying to figure out how to post a picture...
 

Bill Pierce
Moderator
Username: Billpierce

Post Number: 8573
Registered: 01-2002
Posted From: 24.57.225.170
Posted on Saturday, March 01, 2008 - 08:23 pm:   Edit Post Delete Post View Post/Check IP    Ban Poster IP (Moderator/Admin only)

Denny, I think he means the length of his tubing is 2 feet 9 1/2 inches.

Ryan, that may not be long enough to balance your system. I'd try about six feet of 3/16 in. diameter tubing. You may also need to relieve the excess pressure from your overcarbed kegs every few hours for a day or so.

As for the unrefrigerated space in the draft tower, it will cause foaming initially but should subside once cold beer is in the line. You can live with the fact that the first beer will be foamy, or you can take measures to insulate the line by enclosing it in a larger piece of foam pipe insulation leading to the fridge and use a small fan to blow cold air through the space in the jacket. At the least wrap that portion of the line with pipe wrap.
 

Vance Barnes
Senior Member
Username: Vancebarnes

Post Number: 3086
Registered: 03-2003
Posted From: 74.7.7.66
Posted on Monday, March 03, 2008 - 04:42 pm:   Edit Post Delete Post View Post/Check IP    Ban Poster IP (Moderator/Admin only)

Less than 3' of 3/16" tubing is not going to give nearly enough resistance to allow dispensing at 10 psi.

I use the highly scientific method of starting with about 8' and shortening the hose until I get the pour I want at the psi I want to dispense at.

I made a fan circulation system for my insulated tower. A computer fan, a project box from Radio Shack and some plastic flex conduit. It blows chilled air from the bottom of the fridge up to the top of the tower.
 

Ryan Messenger
Junior Member
Username: Rem

Post Number: 66
Registered: 10-2007
Posted From: 74.34.11.134
Posted on Wednesday, March 05, 2008 - 04:51 am:   Edit Post Delete Post View Post/Check IP    Ban Poster IP (Moderator/Admin only)

Iíve been sampling a lot of beer lately!

I am still working on getting the right amount of head. I did pretty much what Vance suggested to build a fan, but ended up tweaking it because I wasnít getting much air pumping out of my Radio Hack project box. I really need to get strong airflow because I have the tower mounted in front of the fridge (itís not a strait line from the fridge to the tower). This is going to sound ghetto, but now I have the top of a large pop bottle mounted on the back of the project box and sealed up to create a funnel into my hose. I hope that works better; it pushes a lot more air through than I was getting before, thatís for sure.

A more important noteÖ why is it that according to the rocket science calculation I need less than three feet of beverage line, but just about everyone tells me that this cannot be enough? Is the formula for balancing the system not as accurate as I presumed it to be?

Lastly, does the temperature of the beer in the keg influence the end result? I lowered the temp in my fridge to as cold as it could go and I got just the right amount of head (but I donít like real cold beer, I usually keep it about as warm as it will go while still on). I donít know if it was because of the temp of the beer in the kegs or if it was because the air being pumped into the tower was colder, hence doing a better job of cooling the beer in the lines.
 

Paul Erbe
Senior Member
Username: Perbe

Post Number: 1028
Registered: 05-2001
Posted From: 64.233.251.195
Posted on Wednesday, March 05, 2008 - 03:34 pm:   Edit Post Delete Post View Post/Check IP    Ban Poster IP (Moderator/Admin only)

Your math is wrong.

Why dont you share the formula you used to come up with 2 feet 9.5 inches
 

Paul Erbe
Senior Member
Username: Perbe

Post Number: 1029
Registered: 05-2001
Posted From: 64.233.251.195
Posted on Wednesday, March 05, 2008 - 03:35 pm:   Edit Post Delete Post View Post/Check IP    Ban Poster IP (Moderator/Admin only)

Yes temperature influences the amount of CO2 that can be absorbed by the beer.
 

Hophead
Senior Member
Username: Hophead

Post Number: 2731
Registered: 03-2002
Posted From: 167.4.1.41
Posted on Wednesday, March 05, 2008 - 06:26 pm:   Edit Post Delete Post View Post/Check IP    Ban Poster IP (Moderator/Admin only)

"I am still working on getting the right amount of head."

Story of my life...

Colder beer can absorb more CO2 than warm beer.

Given the 2.2# of resistance per foot for 3/16" tubing, your earlier estimate seems close for 5 psi. You'd need more like 5' (or 6') as suggested for 10psi.
 

Patrick C.
Advanced Member
Username: Patrickc

Post Number: 784
Registered: 01-2001
Posted From: 63.250.179.198
Posted on Wednesday, March 05, 2008 - 06:43 pm:   Edit Post Delete Post View Post/Check IP    Ban Poster IP (Moderator/Admin only)

In my experience, longer tubing doesn't hurt. It's easier and less frustrating to add an extra foot or two to the 'calculated' number than to keep trying to find the perfect length.

My guess is that your beer is still overcarbed, and the tube is too short. The warm line will cause some bubbles, but that should only affect the first ounce or two.
 

Steve Jones
Intermediate Member
Username: Stevej

Post Number: 458
Registered: 08-2001
Posted From: 164.89.253.13
Posted on Wednesday, March 05, 2008 - 06:48 pm:   Edit Post Delete Post View Post/Check IP    Ban Poster IP (Moderator/Admin only)

Draft System Line balancing
 

Paul Erbe
Senior Member
Username: Perbe

Post Number: 1033
Registered: 05-2001
Posted From: 64.233.251.195
Posted on Wednesday, March 05, 2008 - 07:22 pm:   Edit Post Delete Post View Post/Check IP    Ban Poster IP (Moderator/Admin only)

"and the tube is too short"

That might be part of the problem HH.
 

Hophead
Senior Member
Username: Hophead

Post Number: 2732
Registered: 03-2002
Posted From: 167.4.1.41
Posted on Wednesday, March 05, 2008 - 09:25 pm:   Edit Post Delete Post View Post/Check IP    Ban Poster IP (Moderator/Admin only)

He's clearly speaking to the Messenger...
 

Ryan Messenger
Junior Member
Username: Rem

Post Number: 67
Registered: 10-2007
Posted From: 74.34.11.134
Posted on Wednesday, March 05, 2008 - 10:24 pm:   Edit Post Delete Post View Post/Check IP    Ban Poster IP (Moderator/Admin only)

I used the formula from this web site http://hbd.org/clubs/franklin/public_html/docs/balance.html
(same formula as someone else posted.)
Here is what I did...

L = P -(H x .5) -1
... _____________
... R

H (heigh from center of keg to faucet) = 2.5'
R (resistance) = 2.7
L (length of tubing needed) = unknown

Thus...

10 - (2.5 x .5) -1
__________________
2.7

Thus...

10 - 1.25 - 1
_____________
2.7

Thus...

7.75
____
2.7

L = 2.87 (I originally rounded this down to 2.8 for some reason)

.87 of 1' = 10.44" or 10" rounded

L = 2'10" (1/2" longer than my original measurement due to the correction of my rounding error)

What did I do wrong?

}
 

Hophead
Senior Member
Username: Hophead

Post Number: 2733
Registered: 03-2002
Posted From: 167.4.1.41
Posted on Wednesday, March 05, 2008 - 10:28 pm:   Edit Post Delete Post View Post/Check IP    Ban Poster IP (Moderator/Admin only)

Shake your keg and out-gas a couple of times. Then set to 5 psi, and I bet you'll be fine (the next day)...
 

Bill Pierce
Moderator
Username: Billpierce

Post Number: 8585
Registered: 01-2002
Posted From: 24.57.225.170
Posted on Thursday, March 06, 2008 - 04:29 am:   Edit Post Delete Post View Post/Check IP    Ban Poster IP (Moderator/Admin only)

Not all tubing is created equal. Are you using thick wall beverage tubing or regular vinyl tubing to dispense the beer?
 

Paul Erbe
Senior Member
Username: Perbe

Post Number: 1036
Registered: 05-2001
Posted From: 64.233.251.195
Posted on Thursday, March 06, 2008 - 04:08 pm:   Edit Post Delete Post View Post/Check IP    Ban Poster IP (Moderator/Admin only)

I tend to agree with HH, it is just overcarbed right now.
 

Dan Listermann
Senior Member
Username: Listermann

Post Number: 5386
Registered: 03-2004
Posted From: 216.23.55.202
Posted on Thursday, March 06, 2008 - 04:29 pm:   Edit Post Delete Post View Post/Check IP    Ban Poster IP (Moderator/Admin only)

You can make an adjustable back pressure device with a couple of pieces of wood about 5" long and two "C" clamps. You just sandwich the hose between the pieces of wood longways and hold them together with the clamps. Squeeze the hose until there is no flow. Slowly back off until you get the foam control where you like it.

The idea is that the back pressure is applied over a long length with smooth edges (inside of the hose). This gives very controlled back pressure.
 

Vance Barnes
Senior Member
Username: Vancebarnes

Post Number: 3091
Registered: 03-2003
Posted From: 74.7.7.66
Posted on Thursday, March 06, 2008 - 09:27 pm:   Edit Post Delete Post View Post/Check IP    Ban Poster IP (Moderator/Admin only)

I use Micromatic thick walled 3/16 hose and I don't think it has 2.7 lbs of resistance per foot. Not sure what their spec says but my trial by foam method indicates it must be less.
 

Ryan Messenger
Junior Member
Username: Rem

Post Number: 68
Registered: 10-2007
Posted From: 74.34.7.108
Posted on Friday, March 07, 2008 - 01:24 am:   Edit Post Delete Post View Post/Check IP    Ban Poster IP (Moderator/Admin only)

It is thick walled beverage line, not the stuff at Home Depot. Thanks for all the imput guys!