Tuesday, February 8, 2011

Finally.....learning balance.

I have been tinkering with my keggerator system for the better part of a month to get it to perform the way I want it to.  I originally started my system by setting the temperature at 40 degrees and then proceeded to play with various pressure settings on the regulator (and thus adjusting the carbonation).  I just couldn't get it right, no matter the pressure high or low, my first 2 or three pints would be all foam.  I am using 8 foot of 3/16 beer line and was (at 1-2 foot elevation gain and 5,500 feet above sea level), and figured that I should have a balanced system somewhere around 15 psi.  I then started the same experiments with 45 degrees, but with the same result.  It wasn't until I tried 36 degrees that I got a decent pour at 12-16 psi, right about where it calculates out to.  I am still getting a little foam as the beer in the faucet is a little warmer, but it cools quicker with colder beer, but it is about 3 or 4 ounces before the beer runs clear instead of 30 ounces.  Temperature isn't discussed as a reason for foaming unless your keg has not been in the fridge long enough.  My figure is that 40 degrees is just too warm.  It shouldn't be, but it is.  Maybe at 36 degrees the compressor runs enough to keep the line and the shank cool.  I don't know.  What I do know is that I was frustrated with wasting beer and was wondering why kegging was enjoyed by so many homebrewers.  I also know that now that I have little waste, I can use my smaller glasses (the size I like to drink in a sitting) and that I drink less.  I think I have balanced my system.  I may try the system at 38 degrees, and I may try pumping up my wheat beer to 3 volumes for grins, but now I have an understanding of the sweet spot and that I can reconfigure and return it to something that works if I want to experiment.

I am pretty happy sipping beer out of my GABF tasting glasses this evening.

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