From the HBD Archive
From: Pete Soper <>
Subject: Too Much Foam Revisited
Date: 1990-01-02 20:27:43 GMT

In HBD #330 hplabs!rutgers!!rob (Rob McDonald) says:

> Having nothing else on hand I decided to give it a
> try. I transfered it from the carboy to a keg and put it under
> pressure to carbonate about five days ago @ 35 psi. The last
> batch was done in a similar manner. When I tapped off a glass of
> the last batch, I had to tap very slowly to avoid getting a glass
> of foam. This batch seems to be impossible to tap. All I get is
> foam. Can anybody suggest where I might have gone wrong? Any
> suggestions would be appreciated.

In HBD #331 dzzr%beta@LANL.GOV (Douglas J Roberts) replies:

>I do believe you ran the pressure up about 3.5 times too high. All you
>really want to have on a Cornelius-type keg is ~10 psi. Go much
>higher, and it'll be foam city every time.

By coincidence I recently had a batch of beer that was "foam city"
down to the last glass. I think there is more to Rob's situation if we
can assume that he wasn't really trying to dispense at 35psi. In any
case here is my sad tale with the hope that somebody can help.

My problem batch had also been carbonated with top pressure. I was
in a big hurry, so don't tell CAMRA on me, OK? I used 40psi for about
60 hours at 22 F ambient, then raised the ambient to 48 degrees over 24
hours time. The beer did not freeze, although I established that its
freezing point was just 3 degrees below the 22 degree temperature
I was using. On Christmas day we had a good lager with proper carbonation,
with one caveat.
After I determined the beer was carbonated I reset the regulator to
4psi, bled the top pressure down to the same and then let everything sit
for half a day before dispensing. Foam city. Buckets of foam. Foam like
the Three Stooges never created in their worst washing machine disaster.
The only way to deal with it was to fill a large pitcher and then pour
mostly-beer from the pitcher to glasses after the foam had subsided.
This continued with no improvement until the keg was empty nearly empty.
The last two glasses came out normally! I did experiment with pressures
down to 1psi but this just made the foam come out very slowly. The keg
involved had been used before with no problems. The liquid line was also
known to be secure and the tap (expensive metal kind) had been cleaned prior
to this episode.
Sitting next to the lager keg, at the same 48 degree temperature,
were two other kegs (both ales, both carbonated via priming sugar).
Dispensing pressure was 4psi in all cases. The ales dispensed perfectly,
slow but steady with just the right amount of foam to give each glass a
proper head. Each time the liquid line was switched back to the lager,
foam city.
This lager was made from 2 row klages lager malt, CFJ90 hops,
Wyeast #2308 and water. Aside from some irish moss and polyclar nothing
else touched the wort and no priming sugar or dry hopping was used.
Everything smelled and tasted very clean all along the way and at age 11
days the beer was crystal clear and remained clear until it was gone.
I'm new to kegging too and hope one of you can shed light on this
foaming problem. It got a lot of laughs on Christmas day but the joke
soon grew tiresome.
- ----------------------------------------------------------------------
Pete Soper +1 919 481 3730
internet: uucp: {bu-cs,decvax,gould}!encore!soper
Encore Computer Corp, 901 Kildaire Farm Rd, bldg D, Cary, NC 27511 USA

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