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Proper balancing and finding the perfect pour

So I just finished off the first kegged batch of brew. It was a hit. However, what I thought would be a balanced system was not. I carbed and dispensed at 11 PSI and 38 degs. With a 2 foot rise to the taps and 5 feet of beer line my math said that should have been balanced. 0.5 per foot of rise and 2 per foot of line. With that 5 feet of beer line, as I’m sure many of you figured, I poured over 50% foam. When I dropped down to 7-8 PSI for serving I got some nice pours. What gives? Are the formulas out there just broken or am I missing something? I think I’m right to say that I don’t want to drop the pressure to that 7-8 PSI because then I’ll have undercarbed beer.

I recently ordered 30 feet of beer line to lengthen my runs if need be. What is recommended for line length for the average beer? I’ve heard guys just say a blanket 10’ is the way to go, but I don’t want to have painfully slow pours. I’m just looking for tips to get that perfect pour. Thanks.

I really think the formulas are more of a guideline than being exact. Every keg system and setup is different and will always act differently. Just to double check, are you purging all the gas before setting your serving PSI? Always do this, I think thats the single most overlooked step when attempting the perfect pour.

I prefer my beer in the 40-44 degree mark so I keep the regulator at 11 psi for a 2.3 volumes of CO2. The beer lines need to be longer than the math says. Mine are 10’ long and here is the perfect pour in my mind. P-J has some very useful information regarding the proper fill rate for a perfect pint.

Pouring the Perfect Pint

Nate- Every time I want to serve I have been dumping the pressure then raising back to about 7 PSI (waste of CO2 in my mind). Then when folks leave I bring it back up to 11 PSI to keep the carbonation. It may just be my mind playing tricks on me, but by the end of the night at 7 PSI I feel like I notice the beer being slightly flat.

Greg- I’ve wanted to keep mine a little warmer as well but figured that would only make my problem worse. I’m going to go with a 10’ run to both taps and I can always cut it off a little shorter if its too slow.

That leads me to another question… I’ve read in this forum some mention of highly carbed beers and needing a particular balance for that. I’m fairly new to brewing (only 10 batches) and was wondering what was considered a highly carbed style and what the setup was for something like that? Does it require changing out beer lines to something longer to serve those? If so how can you make an easy swap without having to cut the hose at the barbs? Thanks again for your thoughts.

IMO, needing to dump the CO2 before serving means you have over carbonated the beer. And even if you dump the CO2, The beer is still over carbonated and will continue to be so until it out gasses. Something than can take dozens of pours to straighten out.

One thing that is hard to figure on the pressure drop formula is how much resistance the line actually has. Each brand/item will have a different level of resistance.

What size line are you serving through?

Five feet of 3/16" ID is never enough. Don’t forget to consult a pressure vs temperature chart to get the proper volumes of CO2

[quote=“Nighthawk”]IMO, needing to dump the CO2 before serving means you have over carbonated the beer. And even if you dump the CO2, The beer is still over carbonated and will continue to be so until it out gasses. Something than can take dozens of pours to straighten out.

One thing that is hard to figure on the pressure drop formula is how much resistance the line actually has. Each brand/item will have a different level of resistance.

What size line are you serving through?[/quote]

When I dumped to 7 PSI to serve, the first pours are absolutely perfect. So I feel like the carbonation is spot on. But then as the pours continue it starts to lose its carbonation. I’m certainly thinking that my 5 feet of 3/16 ID isn’t enough…

I have been checking the charts and it seemed like 11 PSI at 38 degrees would give me a nice 2.5 vol CO2 for my standard beer… I did the set it and forget it method to carbonate. Cold crashed, then kegged, then set 11 PSI, dumped the O2, and let it sit for a couple weeks…

2.5 volumes is higher that what I would deem standard. I prefer 2.3

Longer is better. In addition to temperature, carbonation and line length, other things come in to play like the type of faucet and how cold the faucet is. Often my first pour will be more foamy than I like, but that chills the faucet for the next one.

[quote=“Creepy”][quote=“Nighthawk”]IMO, needing to dump the CO2 before serving means you have over carbonated the beer. And even if you dump the CO2, The beer is still over carbonated and will continue to be so until it out gasses. Something than can take dozens of pours to straighten out.

One thing that is hard to figure on the pressure drop formula is how much resistance the line actually has. Each brand/item will have a different level of resistance.

What size line are you serving through?[/quote]

When I dumped to 7 PSI to serve, the first pours are absolutely perfect. So I feel like the carbonation is spot on. But then as the pours continue it starts to lose its carbonation. I’m certainly thinking that my 5 feet of 3/16 ID isn’t enough…
[/quote]

Dumping the CO2 in the head space and lowering the PSI’s frim 11 to 7, there is still 2.48v of CO2 in solution. ( 38* and 11PSI = 2.48v). Eventually the CO2 will come out of solution to equalize the head space pressure. And then the beer will become under carbonated. Simple principles of physics.

You either need to:
keep the pressure at 7, and have 2.1v at 38*.
Lengthen your beverage line so that 38* and 11PSI’s flows properly.
Or lower the temp to equal the Volumes to the pressure. 30* @ 7PSI = 2.48 volumes.

http://www.kegerators.com/carbonation-table.php

I have been checking the charts and it seemed like 11 PSI at 38 degrees would give me a nice 2.5 vol CO2 for my standard beer… I did the set it and forget it method to carbonate. Cold crashed, then kegged, then set 11 PSI, dumped the O2, and let it sit for a couple weeks…[/quote]

If you “set it and for get it”, then serve at the same pressure there is not need to “dump” the pressure before serving. The beer will only absorb a set amount of CO2 at a specific PSI/Temp. It will reach its saturation point.

I’m definitely throwing on a 10’ run of 3/16 ID today to both taps. I have perlick 525ss faucets. I figure that longer line will fix the immediate issue so I can keep the pressure at 11 PSI to serve as well. But what is recommended when kegging something that is notably higher in carbonation (or lower for that matter)? Would folks recommend just carbonate every beer around the same 2.3-2.4 CO2 volumes or change out the beer line to something longer or shorter depending on carbonation level?

Lower than 2.3 is still fine to use 10’. I use ten for all. Root beer would require 15-25’ but you would never run root beer thru a beer line.

I’d love to try root beer someday. The kids would love it… But what can I look at getting so I can make a smooth and quick change between line lengths? Are there some sort of quick disconnects. Right now my line goes to a barb on the back of the shank.

I assume 3/16 ID is still good to serve root beer, but you just don’t want to use a line that has been used with beer. Is that right?

The root beer smell never leaves Hoses and O-rings.
My hoses go straight to a barb too. I never change them. Even for a Belgian triple. Everything is 10’

[quote=“MullerBrau”]The root beer smell never leaves Hoses and O-rings.
My hoses go straight to a barb too. I never change them. Even for a Belgian triple. Everything is 10’[/quote]

Fair enough… so if I want to do root beer someday, I definitely need to have a keg dedicated to it at the very least. Can I run root beer thru my perlick or should I have another tap just for that as well?

I ran root beer thru my Ventmatics for a few kegs and followed with beer. The root beer smell was not detectable to me.

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