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Titan

It's Kegging Time 2019

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One of the best threads going but think it needs another year. Original thread contains great info on kegging for new keggers which can be found here 

 

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Going to kegs was the best thing I did!

It's a bit daunting when you start, but after 2 or 3 batches you get the method down it's SO much easier.

i keep wanting to put a stout down and age it in the bottle but just thinking about cleaning and sanitizing all those bottles gives me PTSD......

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If you have enough kegs you can spare one for ageing a beer like stout. I have one in a keg now, probably had two months (have to check records), planning on tapping it around June and consuming over a couple of months so it's gone before the weather warms up again.

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Just kegged off 2 batches of Smurtos golden ale fermented with Kviek. 

Pitched 6&7 days ago,  under gas now so I'll have a beer when I get home from work tomorrow and see how they turned out .

Citra,  mosaic and simcoe is a favourite blend of mine 

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50 minutes ago, Mark D Pirate said:

Just kegged off 2 batches of Smurtos golden ale fermented with Kviek. 

Pitched 6&7 days ago,  under gas now so I'll have a beer when I get home from work tomorrow and see how they turned out .

Citra,  mosaic and simcoe is a favourite blend of mine 

Hey mark, was this at the lower temps than your last Kviek fermentation?

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Posted (edited)

Well, I think I have the first HELP! of 2019 for this thread...

I've just upgraded my kegging system from a sodastream and mini regulator to a proper 2.6kg cylinder and Mk 3 keg king regulator.

Problem is I've just come back from 5 days away to find a much emptier tank than when I left!

If i do a pressure test (run the pressure up high, close off the regulator valve and the tank valve), it drops about 10 PSI in less than half an hour.

But I'm struggling to find the source of the leak. I've taken the 4-way manifold and gas disconnects and put them in a bucket of water, run the pressure up - and no bubbles... So it can't be that. And it's with the manifold all closed that it's dropping at the 10psi rate. So I assume it must be between the cylinder and the manifold. 

Which makes me think it must be the gas out at the regulator, but I've smothered that in foamy hand wash stuff and don't see a single bubble. I'm struggling to know what to do next. There's clearly something leaking but I've got no idea what nor any idea how to find out what it is. 

 

Any help much appreciated! The change to the 2.6kg cylinder was supposed to save me money, but it's gonna cost a lot more if it leaks at this rate!

 

Edited by Happy Chappies

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Update: Just ran another test with the regulator valve closed bu tank valve left open (as I understand that having it closed as well isn't the right thing to do when pressure testing? ) - still leaking at about the same rate. Infuriating.... 

 

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Sometimes the manifold valves leak when closed. It could be a faulty valve in the manifold causing it.

I lost quite a bit of a 6.8kg cylinder when I first got my manifold because the thread on one of the valves didn't seal properly, which is a different issue. I promptly sealed every thread on the thing with silicone and haven't had a problem since. However, that won't work in your situation if it's leaking inside the valve itself.

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You've done the right thing splitting the gas lines up to isolate where the leak is. My next step would be to check all the connection points around the cylinder. Around the gauges, relief valve etcetera. It is a pain in the ass when you have a tiny leak. Back the regulator off all the way and apply gas then close cylinder valve. High range gauge will go up and should hold. If it holds its a leak on the downstream side. If not it more likely between cylinder outlet and regulator HP side.

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11 minutes ago, Otto Von Blotto said:

Sometimes the manifold valves leak when closed. It could be a faulty valve in the manifold causing it.

I lost quite a bit of a 6.8kg cylinder when I first got my manifold because the thread on one of the valves didn't seal properly, which is a different issue. I promptly sealed every thread on the thing with silicone and haven't had a problem since. However, that won't work in your situation if it's leaking inside the valve itself.

That was my first thought, as I'd heard you talk about dodgy manifolds before. But submerging it shows no bubbles. Only one of the manifold valves isn't hooked up to disconnects as it is, and all the rest are hooked up to kegs almost all of the time. (and none of the disconnects appear to leak from the tests I've just done)

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12 minutes ago, Titan said:

You've done the right thing splitting the gas lines up to isolate where the leak is. My next step would be to check all the connection points around the cylinder. Around the gauges, relief valve etcetera. It is a pain in the ass when you have a tiny leak. Back the regulator off all the way and apply gas then close cylinder valve. High range gauge will go up and should hold. If it holds its a leak on the downstream side. If not it more likely between cylinder outlet and regulator HP side.

Thanks - I'll do that check now and at least help lock down whether it's outlet or regulator side. Also just replaced the washer between the tank and regulator, just in case...

I've completely bathed what feels like every part of the regulator in bubble solution and seen nothing - unless it's something so small that I can't notice it. But I don't think 10psi in half an hour should be hard to miss! Frustrating when the co2 must be coming out somewhere, but I simply can't find it. 

My only other concern is lines. In the old sodastream setup (which didn't appear to leak much at all, as one of those tanks would easily last 40l or so of dispensing and occasional carbonating duties) I had a white, non transparent gas line. Now I'm using a clear line, same as my beer lines. But again, no leaks on the connections so would only be leaking if it were somehow permeating through the lines - which I'm not sure if that's a real thing. It's the only thing that changed along the tank/regulator. 

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It wouldn't be coming through the lines themselves but I'd be upgrading all of them to Valpar Flexmaster II lines. I've had them on my system for 3 and a half years and they've been bloody excellent.

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9 hours ago, The Captain1525230099 said:

Hey mark, was this at the lower temps than your last Kviek fermentation?

Same temp ( 35°C)  but lower pitching rates to get more esters. 

One was pitched @ 500k and other @ 350K .

My standard pitching rate is 750K for ales other than Hefe  .

So it's 2/3 and 1/2 pitch sized  respectively 

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1 hour ago, Mark D Pirate said:

Same temp ( 35°C)  but lower pitching rates to get more esters. 

One was pitched @ 500k and other @ 350K .

My standard pitching rate is 750K for ales other than Hefe  .

So it's 2/3 and 1/2 pitch sized  respectively 

That’s right, sorry Mark, couldn’t remember what you were doing. Very interesting what your doing there.

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3 hours ago, Otto Von Blotto said:

It wouldn't be coming through the lines themselves but I'd be upgrading all of them to Valpar Flexmaster II lines. I've had them on my system for 3 and a half years and they've been bloody excellent.

I'll put that on my to do list once I track this down 🙂

A little experimentation this afternoon seems to have it on the supply side at least. Keeps dropping when I turn off the cylinder. Have tightened and tightened the big nut as far as I dare shift it - didn't think it had to be tightened that much! What's weird is that despite that and heaps of bubble solution over the entire thing, I'm still not spotting it. Has me baffled... 

Also - would a leak on the supply side also result in a drop of the gauge on the 'beer side' when you leave the tank on but turn the reg off? 

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Both gauges are on the supply side when the gas is used as it normally would be. The low pressure one simply displays how much pressure is going into the kegs while the high pressure one shows the pressure inside the cylinder itself. You could make the low pressure one rise higher than it's set to by increasing the pressure being sent to the keg then decreasing it again without turning off the gas to that keg, but that's not normal operation. It won't drop if the pressure in the keg is less than it's set to though, the pressure will simply build up inside the keg to the set pressure and stay there.

If there is a leak then they should both drop to zero when the cylinder is turned off. I just got a new cylinder a couple of weeks ago and tightened the nut a little further than usual for some reason. Turned the cylinder completely off for 2 or 3 days and neither gauge moved so I guess the system is fine.

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One thing you might have to do is put some thread tape on the cylinder connection.

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1 hour ago, Titan said:

One thing you might have to do is put some thread tape on the cylinder connection.

I thought thread tape was a bit no-no? The connection isn't the sort that benefits from it and I've heard that if thread tape fragments get in the regulator it's problematic? 

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I kegged my Vienna Lager today. I usually connect the gas and purge the oxygen and then take a sample for research purposes but today I purged and set to 300kpa and then took a sample forgetting that I set to 300kpa. 

Bad bad idea!!! 

I’ll clean the ceiling later😂

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On 1/6/2019 at 9:31 AM, Happy Chappies said:

I thought thread tape was a bit no-no? The connection isn't the sort that benefits from it and I've heard that if thread tape fragments get in the regulator it's problematic? 

Correct,  there's a nylon washer in the reg for this purpose. 

Thread tape is not a good idea 

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Leak update: After some crazy tightening of the regulator nut I think I've stopped the supply side leak. It's certainly a heck of a lot slower so I assume that was the problem... It never appeared to show any bubbles during spray tests but it must have been a/the problem. 

However, the delivery side still is dropping pressure when it's left (like at about 10psi per hour). I refuse to believe it's the manifold as nothing has strictly changed from the previous set up (I'd happily pull it apart and rebuild with new thread tape, but it's tightened up so much I can't undo it!) - Next step I assume will be to take the barbed outlet out of the regulator and refresh with new thread tape, reinsert and retighten and hope for the best. 

And put in the order for some Valpar Flexmaster lines just in case! 

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Well, we're making improvements at getting the leaks sorted - but not entirely.

The whole system is out of the kegerator and on my bench. Manifold and disconnects sitting underwater with no bubbles that I can spot no matter how long or often I stand there - so I think that rules that part out.

I've replaced the gas line with something a bit more sturdy.

And I've tightened up the regulator nut to an absolutely insane degree.

And it's certainly slowed the losses - but I"m still losing about 5psi when leaving it overnight. Are these 'reasonable' losses or should I still be taking the regulator back at this stage? I can't figure out anything it might be...

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20 minutes ago, Happy Chappies said:

Are these 'reasonable' losses

no, deffo need it fixed.

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You might need to change the nylon washer on the regulator connection. not sure if the one you bought was new but the washer may be damaged allowing some gas to pass.

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On 1/5/2019 at 4:07 PM, Happy Chappies said:

I've smothered that in foamy hand wash stuff and don't see a single bubble.

 

Try spraying your connections and lines with a mixture of dishwashing detergent and water. I've got a mate who is a gas plumber and he reckons this is the best solution to use for finding gas and air leaks.

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