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Draft Pouring Problems

The PortaBeer is pouring too much foam

A perfect pour is a function of three criteria: temperature; pressure; and maintenance. Keg agitation – the idea that beer will foam when a keg has been moved and needs to “rest” – is a myth.

Temperature

The most common issue with foamy beer is a result of the keg being higher-than-optimal temperature (more than 40 degrees Fahrenheit). As beer temperature rises, CO2 escapes, which creates foam.

For each hour that a keg is stored at room temperature, it warms by about 2.5 degrees. In the reverse, it takes about one hour to reduce the keg temperature by one degree when put in a refrigerator or ice. Even if the keg “feels cold”, it might not actually be at pouring temperature.

Make sure that the beer is cold enough to pour properly. This means that it has been properly stored and that adequate ice has been put inside the PortaBeer system, particularly around the bottom portion of the keg from where beer is poured.

Finally, the temperature of your glassware can also impact foaming. If a glass is particularly warm, the interaction with the beer will create a rapid release of CO2 from the beer.

Pressure

Pressure-related foaming issues usually result from one of two problems:

CO2 Pressure Setting

The PortaBeer system has been designed to pour most beers at between 12psi and 16psi. If pressure is set too low, beer will not adequately fill the entire beer line, creating a “burp” when the faucet is first opened. If the pressure is set too high, two issues are created: in the short-term, the beer will be forced from the line too quickly, disrupting the balance; and in the long-term, too much CO2 will dissolve in the beer.

Some beers can be more challenging than others to pour. From our experience, American lagers, IPAs, and beers with lower viscosity pour well in the 12-14psi range, while heavier beers such as wheat beers pour more optimally at 15-16psi.

Incorrect Pouring Technique

Part of the “pressure equation” involves the way the faucet is opened. No draft system will pour correctly with incorrect technique. Visit here for our draft pouring tips.

Beer pours slowly when the faucet is opened

Check the following:

  • The CO2 tank has been fully-attached to the regulator and that the regulator has been set to between 12 psi and 16psi
  • Confirm that the keg coupler has been both locked in place and engaged
  • Ensure that the air or beer links are not being kinked by placing them in the front of the system at the opening of the inner ridge
  • Inspect the beer line to ensure that it is clean and free from any debris
  • Inspect all other beer components (keg coupler, shank, faucet) to ensure that they are clean and free from any debris

Beer is not pouring when faucet is opened

Confirm the following:

  • The CO2 tank is not empty
  • The CO2 tank has been fully-attached to the regulator and that the regulator has been set to between 12 psi and 16psi
  • Confirm that the keg coupler has been both locked in place and engaged
  • Ensure that the air or beer links are not being kinked by placing them in the front of the system at the opening of the inner ridge
  • Inspect the beer line to ensure that it is clean and free from any debris
  • Inspect all other beer components (keg coupler, shank, faucet) to ensure that they are clean and free from any debris

Beer is ``burping`` when the faucet is opened

Check to see:.

  • The CO2 tank has been fully-attached to the regulator and that the regulator has been set to between 12 psi and 16psi
  • Confirm that the keg coupler has been both locked in place and engaged
  • Ensure that the air or beer links are not being kinked by placing them in the front of the system at the opening of the inner ridge
  • Confirm that the beer line and air line have not been reversed on the keg coupler, The air line should be attached to the interface coming out 45 degrees from side of the keg coupler, while the beer linke should be installed on the interface directly opposite the keg.

Beer is leaking

From the coupler or shank

  • Ensure that a neoprene washer has been installed between the interface (the vertical portion of the keg coupler or the rear side of the shank) and the wing nuts on the beer line

From the faucet

  • Confirm that the coupling nut has been fully installed onto the faucet (the coupling nut should be about 1/16″ beyond the edge of the faucet thread)
  • Confirm that the gasket on the inside rear of the faucet (immediately below the retention ridges) is in place and operational
  • Make sure that a neoprene washer has not been installed within the faucet assembly (inside the coupling nut between the shank and faucet)

From the keg

  • Confirm that the keg coupler has been locked in place and is fully engaged
  • Inspect the keg coupler to ensure that there is no debris in the interface between the coupler and the keg

From the beer line

  • Inspect the beer line to make sure that no breaks, tears, cracks, or cuts are causing leaking problems

CO2 System Issues

CO2 is leaking from the input fitting of the regulator

CO2 leaks are most commonly caused by the following:

  • Damaged o-ring – Confirm that the o-ring at the top of the CO2 tank is not stretched or damaged. If so, replace the o-ring (available here).
  • Missing o-ring – The o-ring might be completely missing. Replace the o-ring (available here).
  • Damaged CO2 tank – The top of the CO2 tank can be damaged by mistreatment. Make sure that the fitting to the regulator is not bent or chipped. If so, the tank cannot be used must be replaced (available here). To prevent this damage, we suggest that tanks are stored with the yellow cap that comes the tank or our thread protector (available here).

CO2 regulator cannot be adjusted

There can be many reasons for CO2 regulator adjustment issues, mostly related to maintenance problems. However, some customers have received a version of regulator that has a plastic-on-metal interface that strips after repeated use, with the key symptom being that the knob turns continuously without changing pressure. This is considered a design flaw. Please contact us at customerservice@portabeer.com (or use our contact form) if you are experiencing this issue and we can send a bonnet replacement kit that will permanently resolve this issue.