Why won't my beers carbonate?

The ins and outs of putting your beer into kegs.

Why won't my beers carbonate?

Postby enigmatic » Thursday Apr 24, 2008 6:20 pm

Hi,

I've kegged a second batch of beer and have tried once again to carbonate the beer in the keg. My problem is that despite trying all the methods I can find on the forums, I cannot get my beer to carbonate.

The first attempt at kegging was a honey wheat beer. This stayed in the keg for a few months and I tried forced carbonating it and also just leaving it 2-3 days to carbonate. All I ended up with was a flat beer with loads of head.

My second beer has been in the keg for nearly a week now and I'm seeing the same thing again. I've purged the cyclinder several times and tried to force carbonate a few times. I've increased the pressure and it's sat at a this for a couple of days. I've just come from work hoping for a carbonated beer but it is just flat as with loads of head.

What am I doing wrong as a friend at work says carbonating should be childs play :oops:

Please help.

Chris
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Re: Why won't my beers carbonate?

Postby KEG » Thursday Apr 24, 2008 7:59 pm

all head and flat beer is usually overcarbonation.
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Re: Why won't my beers carbonate?

Postby enigmatic » Thursday Apr 24, 2008 8:38 pm

What I understood from what I'd read was that the foamy beer was due to a difference in pressure in the beer and the cylinder.

I don't understand that but I'm here to learn.

So I do I rectify that and get to a properly carbonated beer?
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Re: Why won't my beers carbonate?

Postby Kevnlis » Thursday Apr 24, 2008 8:55 pm

If the beer was pressurised the same as the liquid CO2 in the cylinder we would not be reading your work, you would be in serious trouble!

I run a system where by I have figured out a pressure which balances on my system, in other words it pours with decent carbonation and not too much head. I connect the flat beer in the keg to the gas line and leave it for a couple weeks, by then it is ready to go!

2-3 days is not long enough, and your beer is overcabonated anyway. Burp the pressure from the keg and leave it to rest for at least 24 hours at room temp (burping every couple hours) then try again.
Prost and happy brewing!

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Re: Why won't my beers carbonate?

Postby enigmatic » Thursday Apr 24, 2008 9:15 pm

OK, will do. I got the 2-3 days from this post here:

viewtopic.php?f=17&t=2003
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Re: Why won't my beers carbonate?

Postby rwh » Thursday Apr 24, 2008 11:26 pm

You've definitely overcarbed for your system. What's happening is that at your current pressure, the beer is flowing through the lines too quickly, which agitates the beer causing the gas to come out of solution in the lines rather than in the glass. There are two things you can do to compensate. 1. Turn down the pressure so that the beer flows slower (and wait for the carbonation level in your beer to drop, which is more complex than I'm making it seem). 2. Get a longer piece of beer line so that there is more resistance in the line and the beer flows slower. Most people run 3m of line; I run 4m.

Anyway, all this crap is explained in these two articles over at AHB (free reg reqd):

A Beginner's Guide to Kegging
Balancing A Draught System
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Re: Why won't my beers carbonate?

Postby drsmurto » Monday Apr 28, 2008 4:59 pm

Hehe. I use 1m of line! But then i only serve pommy beers and have always been accused of serving undercarbed beers. I loved the ales in the UK on handpump which were nearly flat and much warmer than we drink beers here. Hence my keg fridge is set to 6C and i carb low. And despite all that, the head still climbs out of the glass (without the aid of wheat or carapils! 8) )

Back OT, your beer is definitely overcarbed. I did this recently and it took me 2 days to get it back down to normal level. I released the pressure every hour or so. Helps having 2 other beers on tap so i was in no rush!

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Re: Why won't my beers carbonate?

Postby Rob C » Monday Apr 28, 2008 6:35 pm

While you guys are on the subject of kegs/foamy beer. Ill should a problem im having.

When im not using my system the beer in the line seems to run back down the line / turn into foam. It usualy takes about 1/2 a glass for the beer to run clear. It usualy stays clear in the line for 5 - 10 minutes then when i want another beer it pours 1/2 a glass of head again? Ive tried different serving pressures but cant seem to fix it.

Cheers
Rob
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Re: Why won't my beers carbonate?

Postby enigmatic » Monday Apr 28, 2008 6:40 pm

Hi,

I degassed my keg over the weekend and have tried again with a lower pressure. I still have a foamy beer but it is somewhat better than before - I now get half a glass of beer and half of foam.

I've taken the keg off the gas again and will purge again.

Unfortunately, I'm out of other homebrew so unless I can get this balanced soon I'll have to resort to buying some beer to drink whilst I sort this out :shock:

Chris
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Re: Why won't my beers carbonate?

Postby rwh » Tuesday Apr 29, 2008 9:59 am

Rob C wrote:When im not using my system the beer in the line seems to run back down the line / turn into foam. It usualy takes about 1/2 a glass for the beer to run clear. It usualy stays clear in the line for 5 - 10 minutes then when i want another beer it pours 1/2 a glass of head again? Ive tried different serving pressures but cant seem to fix it.

Sounds like your beer line/tap are warming up. If that's the case then it causes the gas to come out of the beer in the line as the solubility of gas in water (or beer) is lower the warmer it gets (we all know warm beer is generally flat beer). The only real solution to this other than just living with it (which is what I do) is to cool the lines somehow. Flooded fonts are what pubs use, but they're a bit exy.

enigmatic wrote:I degassed my keg over the weekend and have tried again with a lower pressure. I still have a foamy beer but it is somewhat better than before - I now get half a glass of beer and half of foam.

I've taken the keg off the gas again and will purge again.

Unfortunately, I'm out of other homebrew so unless I can get this balanced soon I'll have to resort to buying some beer to drink whilst I sort this out :shock:

:shock: Keep it up! You're going in the right direction now. :)
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Re: Why won't my beers carbonate?

Postby Rob C » Tuesday Apr 29, 2008 6:25 pm

rwh wrote:Sounds like your beer line/tap are warming up. If that's the case then it causes the gas to come out of the beer in the line as the solubility of gas in water (or beer) is lower the warmer it gets (we all know warm beer is generally flat beer). The only real solution to this other than just living with it (which is what I do) is to cool the lines somehow. Flooded fonts are what pubs use, but they're a bit exy.



Thanks rwh should be easily fixed.

Cheers
Rob
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Re: Why won't my beers carbonate?

Postby enigmatic » Tuesday Apr 29, 2008 9:37 pm

enigmatic wrote:I've taken the keg off the gas again and will purge again.


How long do I need to leave this out the fridge and off the gas for. It's been out all day; I purged it when I went to work and checked again when I came home but nothing comes out the cylinder.

It has been quite cool here today (4C to start with) and its not getting that warm in the day (15C). Will this degas at these temps?

Thanks,

Chris
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Re: Why won't my beers carbonate?

Postby rwh » Tuesday Apr 29, 2008 10:08 pm

Er, I'd leave it in the fridge to degas... you're not really aiming to get all the CO2 out, you just want to get it down to a pourable level. One way to do that is to disconnect the gas and just burp the keg every so often, or if it's bearable, just pour beers, the increased head space will allow the gas to come out.
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Re: Why won't my beers carbonate?

Postby enigmatic » Wednesday Apr 30, 2008 6:54 pm

OK, some more progress. I've got it hooked up again and have a beer that is carbonated. Still get a bit of head on the beer but this is much improved.

I'm at the homebrew store on Friday and will pick up a longer beer line. I'd say I currently have a 2m of line so will buy 4m and if I need to, I could cut this down to 3m.

Thanks for the help here; it really good to finally nail the kegging (well almost).
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Re: Why won't my beers carbonate?

Postby Rob C » Saturday Jun 28, 2008 3:41 pm

Rob C wrote:
rwh wrote:Sounds like your beer line/tap are warming up. If that's the case then it causes the gas to come out of the beer in the line as the solubility of gas in water (or beer) is lower the warmer it gets (we all know warm beer is generally flat beer). The only real solution to this other than just living with it (which is what I do) is to cool the lines somehow. Flooded fonts are what pubs use, but they're a bit exy.



Thanks rwh should be easily fixed.

Cheers
Rob



I had this problem fixed for a while by keeping my beer lines cool. The beer lines are cold inside the keg fridge but it seems to be happening again? Could it be the difference in pressure of the beer / kegs ect ?

Cheers
Rob
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Re: Why won't my beers carbonate?

Postby Rob C » Saturday Jun 28, 2008 6:58 pm

Oh here is a photo of where the gas is building up in the line. Right near the disconnect.

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Re: Why won't my beers carbonate?

Postby KEG » Sunday Jun 29, 2008 11:52 am

if possible, align the hose so that the bubbles will all flow upwards to the tap, rather than to the disconnect. then you'll just get a quick shot of gas out at the *start* of the pour.
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Re: Why won't my beers carbonate?

Postby Rob C » Sunday Jun 29, 2008 12:02 pm

Thanks keg ill give that a go. Is there any reason why the gas is getting into the line tho? It was fine before i made the beer a tad more gassier.

Cheers
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Re: Why won't my beers carbonate?

Postby rwh » Sunday Jun 29, 2008 6:38 pm

Generally this is caused by the beer being carbonated to a higher level than your pouring pressure. What that means is that the beer isn't under a high enough pressure to keep the gas dissolved. So it slowly comes out of solution, causing the bubbles in the line that you're seeing. So, is your pouring pressure lower than your carbonation pressure? Have you checked out the Balancing a Draught System [login reqd] article on AHB yet?
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Re: Why won't my beers carbonate?

Postby Rob C » Monday Jun 30, 2008 12:34 pm

Thanks rwh I will play with my pouring pressure and see what happens. Will also have a read of that article when i get some time.

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