Saturday, April 4, 2009

The Little Beer Fiasco

I mention in the subtitle of this blog that one reason for creating it is to learn from my homebrewing mistakes. And I have. But I keep making more. In just the last post I described how I lost almost a full keg of bock due to a faulty connection. Well, I just lost over a gallon of an alt due to almost the same problem.

Russ Chibes at Chibebräu suggested that I keep a cobra tap on my keg as I'm force carbonating it to avoid the same problem again, thinking it was a faulty poppet. So I did, and here is what happened:

Yes, that is beer foaming out underneath the fitting. I still don't know what the problem is. This may or may not be the keg I had the problem with before. (It's a 50-50 chance, since my 3rd keg has been lagering Your Mother's Mustache Classic American Pilsner).

It could be a bad fitting, a bad O-ring on the post, or maybe I just didn't have it on right. Although I'm almost certain it was well connected, especially after what happened last time. I wonder if the pressure was too high? I had it at about 25 psi, because I was trying to force carbonate the beer fairly quickly. I do think there is a problem with the poppet, because after I took the fitting off, beer was still slowly seeping out around the poppet. But the poppet is depressed with the fitting on, so this shouldn't have caused the leak.

Originally, I thought I lost under a gallon of beer, which isn't too bad, especially since this beer didn't turn out that great. (More about that in a later post.) But once I started vacuuming the kegerator out with the shop-vac, I realized it was closer to two gallons, maybe more:

I have reduced the pressure and put another fitting on to make sure what is left doesn't leak out. I'm going to replace the poppet and O-ring when I have a chance. Hey readers, what do you think caused the problem?

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