Saturday, December 20, 2008

For the Beer Brothers & Sisters "Out There"

Kegerator Tips

I was at a friend’s house and he mention that his keg was putting out a bit too much foam. We both agreed that part of the reason was that it was a new keg. However, I am a big believer in lower PSI so with the micro-brewed (15-gallons), a PSI of 8-10 is good. However, if you have the proper set up you can go to the recommended 14, which does allow optimal taste in a pour. Yes, taste does change with pressure... most pubs you go to have about a 14 or higher setting.

There are ways for the amateur to start fixing the problem of foam, and here are some of the best tips for making your kegerator the best in the neighborhood. One of the most common causes of foam is the tower. As you or your guests go about drinking there brew the beer in the tower is warming up to room temperature. When someone goes to pour from the tap the beer in the tower is warm and that is typically the foamy part. That is one of the easiest ways to combat foam, but it takes a little cha-ching.


~ TIP

One of the most helpful sites I have found (especially their forums section where dummies like myself can ask questions from the pros) is MicroMatic.com. I would suggest after going through this blog to stop over there and root around. They have everything under the sun for purchase.


These cold taps cooled tower dispensers can be found at any of the sites I am going to recommend, they range in price and get pretty expensive. You know your finances better than I so shop with caution. Another item to add to your kegerator if you have the money to spend is this little device:

Photobucket

(Click on photog to read about it)


This device is good for kegerators as well as the “back yard diddy.” Here is a demonstration:


The device is not terribly expensive ($62), and for the person with the kegerator you would want to mount it inside the refrigerated section of the kegerator as to keep the beer in it cold.


~ TIP

Another helpful site for ideas on what to buy and helpful hists is the site KegWorks.com. Check them out. Again, their people are really helpful, over the phone or email if you have any questions.


Again, some of these Q&A can get very technical, for homor sake I will post a response over at MicroMatic that made me laugh... keep in mind though that these folks take beer seriously!


Question:

Our boat club installed a new 4-faucet Mini-Mushroom tap from Micromatic recently. We have a little too much foam on all taps, and the only difference I can see is that the beer lines are a smaller diameter (1/4" vs. 3/8") than the old tap. Temp is good, it's direct draw, same CO2 setup. Any ideas?


Response:

What's the distance from the keg to the tap? What's the "vertical lift" in the system (distance from center of keg to tap)? What beer are you dispensing?


Questioner:

The distance is about 36", the beer is bud, bud light, Blue Point Toasted Lager and Blue Point Pale Ale. No trouble with old tap (it was an eyesore) same issue on all beers


Response:

Sorry to hit you with math here Nick but this is the way I work it out...

I was told that the proper formula to use is this...

L=(P-(H x 0.5) -1) / R

L=Length (Are you saying 36 inches from keg to tap?)

P= CO2 Pressure (for the type of beer you're pouring I think it's around 14lbs if your temp is 38F)
H=Height (from the center of Keg to the faucet let's pretend its the three feet you're talking about since that's the only way I can see it - the taps being above the keg)
R=Resistance of the line

If the length is 3 feet like you say...

3=(14-(3 x 0.5) - 1) /R

3=9.5/R

3r=9.5 (This is the total resistance of the line)

We need to run line that has a total resistance of 9.5lbs. 3/16ID beer line has a resistance of 3lbs per foot... so if we run 3.17 feet of 3/16 you'll have the perfect resistance.

If (and this might be the case), you're really talking about 36 feet we'll have to change the numbers a little and use different diameter line. Let me know.


Obviously this is more business oriented, but one can see why not paying attention to your math teacher actually hurts you later in life. Of course the easiest way one is going to keep foam issues down is to CLEAN YOUR LINES! It may be troublesome, but this is the price one pays for perfection. Here is a short Q&A from BeverageFactory.com that explains the issues:

Q: Why do dispensing lines have to be cleaned?

Beer lines have to be cleaned because a scale called calcium oxalate, commonly referred to as "beer-store" forms on the fittings, lines and taps. "Beerstore", if not completely removed in a cleaning process will leave an unsanitary surface that can harbor microorganisms. Line cleaning with the proper equipment and chemical, eliminates the build-up of "beerstore" protecting the integrity of the product.

Microorganisms or bacterial will grow very quickly if a sanitary environment is not maintained, causing off-flavors or shorten the shelf life of the beer. Regular cleaning assures that bacteria does not have the opportunity to reach levels which affect the quality/taste of the beer.

Q: How often should I clean my lines?

Line cleaning should be done on a regular scheduled basis. (approximately every 6 weeks) A standard cleaning kit will perform approximately with scheduled line cleanings. We recommend that you clean your lines every time you switch out a keg.

Q: How do I clean the Beer Line and Faucet?

Once a week the beer line and faucet should be cleaned with fresh water. You will need the CK100 Cleaning Kit to do the following steps.


Clean, clean, clean! This is the best possible recipe for a healthy poor. One last item, one of the reacurring problems during my time at a place that sold kegs was the proper hookups for the proper beer (e.g., domestic, European, and the like). So some of the guys and I put together a helpful list of proper couplers to pair with the right beer. Whether you are having a “dirt-party” or have a nice kegerator tucked away in a corner of your home, this list is most helpful. Just click on the thumbnail to enlarge to a helpful size:

Photobucket

Photobucket

I hope this helps all you beer lovers out there -- Cheers, Papa Giorgio.

No comments: