leaking cornie

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Hogarth
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leaking cornie

Post by Hogarth » Thu Jul 13, 2017 6:42 pm

Okay, I've just lost another cylinder of gas to a leaking cornie. (Only a Sodastream cylinder, but still.) Is this a common problem? Because I'm beginning to wonder if keeping low-carbonated ales in a cornie is a mug's game, if there's barely enough pressure to seal the lid, even with that initial blast.

Admittedly I haven't experimented with lubricating the seal, so maybe that's the way forward, but it all starts to seem such a faff.

Oh well. Off to Robert Dyas for some more gas. :cry:

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Re: leaking cornie

Post by Kev888 » Thu Jul 13, 2017 8:37 pm

Sadly, yes it is fairly common for the lid seals to leak if you don't use sufficient pressure. It is a slight lottery - some cornies will hold their seal at low pressure, but it is not what they were designed to do and most used/old ones will be unreliable below a few PSI. I had a couple dozen cornies at one point, and needed to use around 7PSI to ensure none of them leaked from the lid seal.

You can help matters with softer lid O-rings, and keg lube helps the O-ring seat initially, if a blast of high pressure doesn't do a good enough job (and of course you can also disconnect the gas between uses to minimise the repercussions, or keep the beer less cool so that it carbonates less at higher pressures). But it is at best a small improvement - fundamentally they are still what they are, which are kegs designed to seal due to internal pressure.

If the intention is for low pressure then there are better tools for the job. I was somewhat stubborn and persevered with them, there are times when they kind of work, but ultimately never free of frustration. Since moving to the 'Crusader' (i.e. sankey) 20L kegs I've not had a single leak of any kind whatsoever, at any pressure. They took a little while to adjust to, particularly the integrated gas/beer coupler with one-way valves, and I wasn't sure it had been a good decision initially - but now I would never go back.
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Re: leaking cornie

Post by jaroporter » Thu Jul 13, 2017 9:16 pm

is it definitely the lid causing the problem? and does it leak at higher pressures?
or is this different kegs each time?
another option to kev's suggestions could be nitrogen gas as you could use higher pressures? though that might be a bit over the top if you had no other uses for it.
i have no personal experience of cornies, but love my crusaders for cask conditioned ales. a friend has cornies, and he's lost two kegs of beer to a leaking liquid post even after replacing it after the first time. probably why i wondered if your suspicions had come from somewhere particular.
even with a blast of pressure at the start, that gas will slowly dissolve into the beer (until equilibrium) and reduce the pressure in the headspace. is it usually a case of once they're sealed they're sealed, or could some of them be succeptable to the seal relaxing as this happens?
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Re: leaking cornie

Post by PeeBee » Fri Jul 14, 2017 12:40 am

Lubricating the seal will help as it will help the seal conform to the minor surface irregularities. Lube doesn't block the leaks, don't try to use it that way. Soft O-rings is a minefield: the ordinary "nitrile" ring have a hardness of about 70 (medium soft) whereas silicon O-rings are often recommended because they are softer with a hardness of, err ... 70. I've looked all over for these "softer" O-rings without success, maybe because no-one makes them because they don't work that well or have no durability?

A blast of pressure is perhaps the best way because it quickly indicates if the Cornie is sealed. A pressure gauge measuring the pressure inside the Cornie is essential. One of my Cornies can take several attempts jiggling the lid (twisting it) to get it to seat right. Pressure them right up (15-20PSI) to seat the lid; they can be left like this because the beer will absorb the CO2 and the pressure drops anyway - in fact top the pressure up after a couple of hours and/or next day.

I use only about 10-20g priming sugar in 20L so it doesn't do to tolerate even the tiniest leak. And when I come to serving I'll drop the pressure back to 1-2PSI. Once seated the lids tend to stay sealed, but don't let the pressure drop below 0PDI or the lid simply pops (worse, use a beer-engine at 0PSI - they will cause air to be pulled past the lid seal or post poppet).
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Re: leaking cornie

Post by IPA » Fri Jul 14, 2017 9:42 am

Hogarth wrote:Okay, I've just lost another cylinder of gas to a leaking cornie. (Only a Sodastream cylinder, but still.) Is this a common problem? Because I'm beginning to wonder if keeping low-carbonated ales in a cornie is a mug's game, if there's barely enough pressure to seal the lid, even with that initial blast.

Admittedly I haven't experimented with lubricating the seal, so maybe that's the way forward, but it all starts to seem such a faff.

Oh well. Off to Robert Dyas for some more gas. :cry:
The best bit of advice that I have heard about cornies was given to me by my French supplier. It is this. When you first receive your cornies they will be, or should be, pressurised. With a felt tip number the lid and the body. Secondly mark the direction in which lid is fitted to the cornie. That way it will always reseal. If it is not pressurised when purchase don't accept it as it will probably always leak.
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Re: leaking cornie

Post by sbond10 » Fri Jul 14, 2017 10:07 am

IPA wrote:
Hogarth wrote:Okay, I've just lost another cylinder of gas to a leaking cornie. (Only a Sodastream cylinder, but still.) Is this a common problem? Because I'm beginning to wonder if keeping low-carbonated ales in a cornie is a mug's game, if there's barely enough pressure to seal the lid, even with that initial blast.

Admittedly I haven't experimented with lubricating the seal, so maybe that's the way forward, but it all starts to seem such a faff.

Oh well. Off to Robert Dyas for some more gas. :cry:
The best bit of advice that I have heard about cornies was given to me by my French supplier. It is this. When you first receive your cornies they will be, or should be, pressurised. With a felt tip number the lid and the body. Secondly mark the direction in which lid is fitted to the cornie. That way it will always reseal. If it is not pressurised when purchase don't accept it as it will probably always leak.

This sounds like a great bit of advice

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Re: leaking cornie

Post by Fil » Fri Jul 14, 2017 11:05 pm

all good tips above ;) my 2p's worth is to suggest when sealing dont clamp the lid down but instead use the clamp to suspend the keg off the ground as you pressure up to seal, adding the kegs mass to the force of the pressure to create the seal before the lid is clamped helps ensure the lid seal is in a good seat.
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Re: leaking cornie

Post by PeeBee » Sat Jul 15, 2017 1:28 am

As we're on a roll of suggestions ...

Don't use washing-up liquid and water to test for leaks around a Cornie lid. If there is a leak and the lid is re-seated, the design of the lid means washing-up liquid ends up in the beer. Kills any head the beer might have produced, but don't like the idea anyway.

Use Starsan solution - it has a foaming agent so is very good at confirming a lid is sealed (or not).
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Re: leaking cornie

Post by beer baron » Sat Jul 15, 2017 9:20 am

Hi
use KY jelly on the seals its safe to use and cheaper than most brewers lubes. You can always send the missus for it

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Re: leaking cornie

Post by PeeBee » Sat Jul 15, 2017 12:00 pm

I had to Google KJ Jelly ... :shock:
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Re: leaking cornie

Post by Hogarth » Mon Jul 17, 2017 3:38 pm

Thanks for these, chaps. As it happens I do have some KY jelly, so I'll grease up my seals and see if that helps. In the longer term I might investigate these sankey kegs -- or maybe 4.5 gallon casks. Cheers!

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Re: leaking cornie

Post by IPA » Mon Jul 17, 2017 6:35 pm

PeeBee wrote:I had to Google KJ Jelly ... :shock:
Wonder what google came up with? Should be KY =D>
"You're not drunk if you can lie on the floor without holding on." Dean Martin

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Re: leaking cornie

Post by PeeBee » Mon Jul 17, 2017 6:58 pm

IPA wrote:
PeeBee wrote:I had to Google KJ Jelly ... :shock:
Wonder what google came up with? Should be KY =D>
Wish I had searched "KJ", I might not have swallowed my dentures. But "KJ" was a typo, you know exactly what I discovered looking up "KY Jelly".
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Re: leaking cornie

Post by james1988 » Sat Jul 22, 2017 1:17 pm

Afternoon,
I've skim read the thread while waiting for missus to try on clothes (yes we're clothes shopping). The way I seel mine is to put the lid in situ and only half close the clasp, begin pressuring the keg and after thirty or forty seconds close it fully.

My reasoning is that the pressure will force the lid into place and will cause the seel into all the little cracks and crevices. By shutting it the whole way before pressuring you don't give the lid an opportunity to seat itself.

James

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Re: leaking cornie

Post by Kev888 » Sat Jul 22, 2017 2:48 pm

It is relatively easy to get a seal initially, even with fairly resistant kegs - blasts of pressure, lucricant, you can pack the plastic 'feet' on the lid clasp as well as only half closing it. But subsequently maintaining that seal at very low pressure, reliably over time, is a different matter. There are again things one can do to help, but ultimately you are into the realms of luck; some cornies will work well, but some just will not without fairly exotic/extreme measures.

This doesn't trouble most corny users; even at keggerator temperatures the pressures selected can be reasonable without causing excessive fizz, and of course some users have better kegs than others. But for those of us specifically wanting to use very low pressures they are fundamentally a poor design choice, and that doesn't usually improve with age and the bashes many suffer over their life. If you already have them, then certainly see how well they can be made to work, with luck they can come good without much aggro and if so then no worries.

Some of mind did, but with others I was essentially just pouring good time and money after bad. Ultimately I had to replace the lid lever/clasp with a more engineered clamp-like solution, which worked well but was awkward and less than ideal in a few ways. In retrospect, I should have cut my losses much earlier and moved to true/proper beer kegs, which are much better designed for the purpose.
Kev

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