Homebrew kegging and draft beer tapping equipment including aluminum CO2 tanks, CO2 regulators, quick disconnects, Cornelius kegs, beer taps, pony taps, beer hardware, hoses and fittings.

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Draft Beer Questions and Answers

You'd be surprised at how little the general public understands about their beer and especially about draft beer. So, I've compiled answers to most questions we've answered over the years and posted them to this page. The number one question we've answered over the years is "how do you control beer foam?" The question comes up often enough that apparantly it's a huge issue!

There is a foamy beer problem experienced by most owners of low cost home kegerators.
With most of these kegerators, the first glass of beer is always foamy.
This is because cold air is heavier than warm air and the cold air stays inside the kegerator.
And because your beer tower is mounted on top of your kegerator, it stays at room temperature.
This means the top of the beer line, beer faucet & beer shank that are inside your tower all stay warm until you pour.
The warm beer line, beer faucet & beer shank causes the first ½ glass of beer to warm up & get foamy.
The second ½ glass and subsequent glasses are OK as long as you keep pouring because now everything is cold.
But you will get another glass of foamy beer after 15 minutes or less have passed without dispensing a beer.
We solve this problem with our Beer Tower Cooler.
Beer Tower Coolers are also available wholesale through FOXX Equipment if you own your own homebrew shop.

How much beer is in a keg?

A standard keg is a ½ barrel and it contains 15.5 gallons (165 – 12 ounce cans) of beer.

A pony keg is a ¼ barrel and it contains 7.75 gallons (82 – 12 ounce cans) of beer.

What are the dimensions of a draft beer keg?

A standard keg is 23 ¼” tall and 17” wide & it weighs about 160 pounds when full.

A pony keg is 14 ¾” tall and 17” wide and it weights about 82 pounds when full.

What type of tap do I use for my keg?

All mainstream breweries have settled on Sankey D type couplers and that is the type coupler I offer in my kits and with my pony pumps. There are three European standards out there as well as a few less common American taps. If you plan on purchasing beer from a local microbrewery then I suggest you check with them before purchasing equipment from me or any other vendor. Some microbrewers are using Hoff-Stevens taps.

What pressure should I set my regulator to?

The ideal pressure for a home install is 9 – 10 PSI, assuming your beer is at 32 degrees F. But this is the ideal pressure needed to maintain carbonation, not to serve. The ideal serving pressure depends on what pressure your kegerator balances out at.

 

To set your system up right, you need to start low (3 PSI) and then adjust your regulator up until you get foam. Once you get foam then you back off the pressure a little. Most home kegerator systems will deliver foam free beer at 4 - 5 PSI.

 

The downside to balancing a kegerator this way is that your beer will slowly loose its carbonation. You can solve this problem by bumping the CO2 pressure up every once in a while to freshen up the beer.

 

The real issue is that beer is fragile and delivering too fast will always cause foaming and using the "ideal pressure" of  9 - 10 PSI will always cause a foaming problem with a home kegerator unless you add restriction to the beer line to slow down flow to the tap.

 

An alternative is to put about 12' of 3/16" beer line between the keg and the tap. Some “experts” will tell you to add 3 PSI per foot of 3/16” beer line. This does not work in the real world and is why I suggested 12' of line. The long 3/16" line will let you keep the keg at about 10 PSI while slowing the beer down enough to eliminate foaming at the tap.

How long will my beer stay fresh?

As long as you keep it well refrigerated and all of your equipment is clean, a keg will last a month with no problems. I’ve kept a keg for as long as three months but it was right at 32 degrees. I suggest you purchase smaller pony kegs if you don’t consume a lot of beer and you are concerned about freshness.

What causes beer foam?

Too warm

Too high a delivery pressure

Over carbonation

An obstruction in the line

Click here for a good article about controlling foamy beer.

How can I minimize foam?

Make sure that your CO2 pressure is set right.

Hold your glass at an angle so that the beer pours down the inside, side of the glass – straighten up the glass as it fills.

Open up the valve fast and open it up all the way. Partially opening the valve is a recipe for foam because your beer will spray from a partially opened valve.

Don’t over pressurize the keg if you are using a pony pump.

The number one cause for foam is too much pressure!

 

Click here for a good article about controlling foamy beer.

How often should I clean my system?

Some people clean their system with every keg. I clean mine after every third keg and it all seems to work OK. I also use a trick that I learned a long time ago. I keep a spray bottle full of cheap Gin around. I will spray the gin up into the beer faucet after I’m done dispensing for the night. The Gin flushes out any residual beer and the high alcohol content acts as a food safe sanitizer.

 

Another note on cleaning – several customers have requested small cleaning brushes so that they can brush out the inside of their beer lines. This is actually a very bad practice because the metal parts of the brush can leave small scratches on the inside walls of the beer line. These scratches provide the perfect opportunity for bacteria to grab onto and grow. It’s much better to flush sanitizer through your lines and then  to follow through with hot, clear water.

 

Tom

This site is owned and operated by Tom Hargrave Sales
12021 South Memorial Parkway, Suite N-4
Huntsville, AL  35803
sales@kegkits.com