Lots of foam, beer is basically flat

What went wrong? Was this supposed to happen? Should I throw it out? What do I do now?

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Lots of foam, beer is basically flat

Post by mikec51 » Mon Aug 10, 2009 11:03 am

I have had a brown ale in the keg at 30 psi for about a week. I lowered it to 5 psi and I am getting nothing but a glass of foam. When it settles out the beer is beautifully clear but mostly flat. The pressure held fine at 30, and the supply is at 600. How do i fix this? BTW, my first kegged batch.

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Post by shaggyt » Mon Aug 10, 2009 11:27 am

I used to keg 30PSI @ 32F and I experienced the same thing....MEGA FOAM and little remaining carbonation in the beer, but it was not flat. I toned it down to 15PSI @ 32f and it's perfect.

Basically what's happening with your beer is that it's over-saturated with CO2, so when you pull off a pint, all that CO2 comes out of solution. I hated waiting for the foam to subside, I'm sure you do too.

What I've done lately seems to work well.

1. Place carboy in fridge at 32F a couple days before racking to keg.

2. 15PSI @ 32F for the initial pressure while rocking the keg for about 3 minutes; repeating this step again within 24 hours.

3. Reduce pressure to 9-11PSI while rocking keg until no more CO2 comes through the regulator.

4. Enjoy beer on Day 2.5-3...just give it enough time to settle after step 3.

As for your current batch, I didn't have much success reducing the pressure to decrease the CO2 saturation. I ended up pouring into to pitchers to let it settle and go from there.

Hope this helps.


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Post by mikec51 » Mon Aug 10, 2009 12:49 pm

Thanks for the info, I'll give it a try. Does anyone know if there is a way to reduce the amount of CO2 in the beer? If not is there anything else to possibly try? Mike

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Over carbonation

Post by Legman » Mon Aug 10, 2009 7:51 pm

If your beer is over carbonated, you'll have to take it out of the fridge and let it warm up. As it warms up, the CO2 will be release out of the solution, then just let the pressure out of the keg and start over.
30 psi for a week? At what temperature was this at? :shock:

If your getting wild, foamy beer, it can be a few things. Over carbonation or flow rate from the tap and/or beer lines are not cold enough, are my first thoughts. I've had the same problems a few times.
Your kegerator has to be balanced in order for everything to work properly. If the beer pours too fast, it will be foamy. In this case you need to increase the resistance of the beer lines. This is either done by lengthening the line or using a smaller diameter, like 3/16".
The temperature of the beer and psi determine the amount of carbonation.
In this chart, http://www.kegerators.com/carbonation-table.php , it shows you the temperature and psi needed to achieve different levels of carbonation.

There are many different way of carbonating and serving your beer. Personally, I like to make it simple as possible. I prefer not to jack with the regulator of carbonating at one psi and then having to turn it back down to serve, then back up to maintain carbonation. To me this is a pain and really is unnecessary.
In my kegerator, I have the temperature around 38F and psi of 10. This puts my carbonation level at about 2.38, which is where I like most of my beers. The length/resistance of my beer line is balanced with 10 psi to get the perfect pour. I have roughly 8.5 feet of 3/16" beer lines.
When I keg my beer, I seal it with 30psi and maybe shake it a bit, but not a lot. Then I put my keg away to age for 2-4 months depending on the style of beer. Then when I'm ready to drink, I just put the keg in the kegerator, hook up the CO2, which is set at 10psi and leave it for 3-7 days. It's then perfectly carbonated to my liking and I didn't have to keep shaking and adjusting the psi to correct for my carbonation.

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Post by Suthrncomfrt1884 » Mon Aug 10, 2009 10:59 pm

I do about the same thing. Currently, I seal the keg, set it at about 12-14psi depending on the beer, and let it sit for a week. I found that trying to carb with 30psi was hurting the flavor of my beer. I'm not sure if this was just my mind screwing with me, or it was actually changing the flavor. I think the key is like Legman said...just balance out your lines. You'll get the hang of it soon enough.

At least you didn't try to go the cheap route like me and carbonate with a portable CO2 gun and 12gram cartridges... My LHBS set me up with this and said it would work fine. They've obviously never tried it.
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Post by Grizz » Tue Aug 11, 2009 12:59 am

Suthrncomfrt1884 you are right about the taste changing. If you set you co2 pressure to the lower side of the carbonation range for you beer. Shank the keg for 3 or 4 minutes when yo first hook it up. Then let it sit for a few days. Taste it and check the carbonation.Then then move the pressure up a little more let rest over night. Taste again. This is a slow process but over time the beer will go from good to great. Too much co2 can make the beer taste acidic. Also if you over carbonate your beer be sure to release the co2 very slowly. Because once you raise the head in a beer it is gone forever. The co2 pulls out the proteins for head retention. Your beer will still have some head but not like the first time it was carbonated.
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Post by mikec51 » Sat Aug 15, 2009 1:42 pm

The fridge temp. is 39 degrees F. It's warming up right now. Hopefully I can salvage it. Thanks for the pointers guys. Next time should be a better experience.

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