Bubbles rising from pressure keg tap

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RichieD
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Bubbles rising from pressure keg tap

Post by RichieD » Sat Sep 28, 2019 6:47 pm

Hi,
I'm newbie brewing Microbrewery Kit (American IPA). My brew is now drinking (although a bit cloudy and bitter) and dispensing from the kit's plastic pressure keg. The initial natural pressure from the priming sugar has gone and now the beer just 'gurgles' out with air bubbles apparently going in through the tap and bubbling up to the surface inside the keg. This surely isn't right, is it? Isn't this ruining the beer having air bubbling through it? There is no apparent leak in the keg. Any (urgent?) help much appreciated! ta.

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Re: Bubbles rising from pressure keg tap

Post by RichieD » Sat Sep 28, 2019 7:39 pm

Hi again,
In desperation I just unscrewed the cap off the keg - the washer inside has not seated itself properly in the top of the cap and this has obviously made a bad seal. I remember when I first screwed it on that I couldn't get the washer to stay in place (particularly having vaselined it first as recommended). The O ring washer is just a bit too small to stay in the seating in the top of the cap. It seems to be a pretty poor design flaw as the washer is now distorted and no hope now of getting it back in place. I have tried to replace the cap as best I can and injected C02 which I could hear leaking out and going cold up the side of the silver cartridge. Pressure is back up for now, and hopefully beer will not spoil after 24 hours of having air introduced. Guess I'll just have to drink up the remaining 30 pints asap! :wink: I am annoyed at the Microbrewery Kit though.

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Kev888
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Re: Bubbles rising from pressure keg tap

Post by Kev888 » Mon Sep 30, 2019 4:15 pm

It sounds like you've narrowed it down. The leak needs solving (or the barrel/seal exchanging if it is defective); it should at least hold pressure from priming and (if wished) allow extra CO2 to be injected later. The pressure will expand into the space left by beer being drawn off, if there is non then air will be drawn in through the tap instead just as you've experienced.

Air getting drawn in will cause the beer to oxidise much more quickly. You can improve matters 'slightly' by loosening the top cap when pouring so that the air at least doesn't bubble through the beer in the process. But if all the pressure from priming was lost then the air will begin getting drawn in almost from the first pint poured so you would need to consume the beer quite quickly, perhaps within a few days or so depending on the beer. Alternatively as a contingency you could try injecting CO2 as or just before pouring, but as it leaks out each time then to do so routinely would get very costly on small cylinders.
Kev

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Re: Bubbles rising from pressure keg tap

Post by RichieD » Mon Oct 07, 2019 9:28 am

Thanks Kev888.
I later discovered it was the pressure valve washer on the outside of the cap had pin sized hole in it which I could feel the CO2 escaping from when I charged it. Home Brew Shop sent me a replacement. Is there a method for fitting? Very difficult but I managed it but unfortunately put a small rip in the bottom but it still seemed a good seal. Unfortunately still losing pressure and every time I want a pint I use a CO2 cartridge. More investigation needed - as you say this is too expensive!

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Re: Bubbles rising from pressure keg tap

Post by Kev888 » Mon Oct 07, 2019 10:07 am

I'm a bit confused as to exactly which valve it is - there are both inlets and pressure release types and several styles of both are available - so a picture may help.

If you're leak hunting again, then soapy water sprayed over potential areas might help discover the location - by bubbling. It won't find 'very' slow leaks but is quite useful for many.
Kev

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Re: Bubbles rising from pressure keg tap

Post by RichieD » Mon Oct 07, 2019 5:18 pm

Hi Kev,
Thanks for your quick reply.
First time I've tried to post - think this will link the photo as admin has not allowed me to post directly, I don't think.
https://ibb.co/wJn3X7h
You can just about see the slight rip in the lower edge of the washer, but I'm sure that isn't the cause of the problem. I identified the pin hole leak using washing up solution but there appears to be a leak elsewhere as well.

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Re: Bubbles rising from pressure keg tap

Post by Top Cat » Mon Oct 07, 2019 9:38 pm

Richie, I would purchase another valve immediately, get your leak sorted, then play about with your old valve to get it right. They can be a pain in the backside when they aren’t right.
I’ve had the opposite problem to you where the valve hasn’t released excess pressure and has split a barrel!
It is also recommended that you change the seals annually, but I think that’s a little extreme.

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Re: Bubbles rising from pressure keg tap

Post by RichieD » Tue Oct 08, 2019 8:38 am

Thanks TC.

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Re: Bubbles rising from pressure keg tap

Post by Horden Hillbilly » Tue Oct 08, 2019 7:59 pm

RichieD wrote:
Mon Oct 07, 2019 9:28 am
Is there a method for fitting? Very difficult but I managed it but unfortunately put a small rip in the bottom but it still seemed a good seal.
Soften them in warm water, much easier to slide them over the screw threads.

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Re: Bubbles rising from pressure keg tap

Post by RichieD » Thu Oct 10, 2019 6:52 pm

Thanks HH, I did do that in fact, but it was still nigh impossible. I managed it by gripping the washer with 2 outsize paperclips and stretching and pulling it over the threads. I thought I would rip it completely, but only a little luckily. Barrel still leaking v bad and can't work out where. I use one CO2 cylinder per 1.5 pints! But I'm close to the bottom of the barrel and when empty I'll immerse the whole thing in a bath of water and find the leak. My first ever brew (well, since 1982), and the result has been surprisingly good despite teething problems. Have some Brewferm Xmas beer in bottles revving up for Crimbo!

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Re: Bubbles rising from pressure keg tap

Post by Top Cat » Thu Oct 10, 2019 7:58 pm

RichieD wrote:
Thu Oct 10, 2019 6:52 pm
Thanks HH, I did do that in fact, but it was still nigh impossible. I managed it by gripping the washer with 2 outsize paperclips and stretching and pulling it over the threads. I thought I would rip it completely, but only a little luckily. Barrel still leaking v bad and can't work out where. I use one CO2 cylinder per 1.5 pints! But I'm close to the bottom of the barrel and when empty I'll immerse the whole thing in a bath of water and find the leak. My first ever brew (well, since 1982), and the result has been surprisingly good despite teething problems. Have some Brewferm Xmas beer in bottles revving up for Crimbo!
I think you’re barking up the right tree to find the leak, the obvious places are the valve,
It’s seal to the keg top, the keg top seal, the tap and it’s seal, though this would leak beer not air!
As I mentioned in an earlier post, I had a a barrel that had a hairline split in the seam higher than the beer level that had me scratching my head for a while. To be fair the barrel wasn’t top of the range, and I wouldn’t expect that to happen with a king keg.

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Re: Bubbles rising from pressure keg tap

Post by RichieD » Fri Oct 11, 2019 6:40 pm

Sure thing, TC. It's a Microbrewery kit pressure keg, not a king keg, though I wouldn't know the difference to be honest. Thanks for your help.

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Re: Bubbles rising from pressure keg tap

Post by RichieD » Sun Oct 13, 2019 6:56 pm

Strangely, now I'm right down close to the bottom of the keg, about an inch higher than the tap, it has held its pressure overnight now for 24 hours... Doesn't make sense to me, but I'll do the immersion leak testing when empty.

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