Frothy lager at the village fete

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I run a village fete beer tent once a year, using a village owned gas and cooling system. Last year I had the cooler serviced, which in practice meant having it replaced by the supplying company, so that is one year old now. It worked great last year – the beer was cold; pipes insulated etc. I thoroughly clean pipes, cooler, taps and couplings before and after. I run two taps: one serves 4 x 11 gal lager and the other serves 2 x 11 gal bitter over a 5 hour period.

My problem is this: keg bitter serves beautifully, but keg lager fobs uncontrollably. I am running from a single gas bottle (CO2) – is that my problem? I always return the gas bottle to the supplier and start afresh each year. I have struggled terribly for the last two years: got the cooling right last year which sorted the bitter, but still no joy with the lager. I have swapped around all connectors, lines and taps….it doesn’t seem to be a malfunctioning component – it is always the lager that foams, not the bitter.

What am I doing wrong? Thanks…
Rob

8 COMMENTS

  1. You will always have problems dispensing lager on outside bars using Co2 gas. We stopped using Co2 on outside bars years ago, it’s because the containers aren’t cooled in a cellar like they are in a pub.

    Without going into too much detail your best bet would be to contact your supplier and change the gas system from Co2 to 30/70 mixed gas. Then you will be able to creamflow your bitters as well so they will taste better.

    Make sure you are able to adjust the dispense speed on the taps. Then then by adjusting the tap speed you will have very little wastage.

  2. Maverick
    Thank you very much for your comment. I’ll take the plunge and do exactly as you suggest. You have eased my mind!
    Rob

  3. Just one small point, are you allowing the cooler to ice up properly before you use it. Not sure but I think you have to let them run up for an hour or two before they can be used.

  4. 4 wrote: Just one small point, are you allowing the cooler to ice up properly before you use it. Not sure but I think you have to let them run up for an hour or two before they can be used.

    Thanks for that piece of advice….if only I knew then what I know now! I was ‘volunteered’ into running the beer tent a few years ago, and took over from a really laid back guy who never seemed to have any problems. I am embarrassed to confess that the first time I did it, I ran the cooler with no water in it at all!

    Since then, I’ve got the cooler side really sorted, thinking that was where my problems lay. New, serviced cooler, plenty of running time beforehand – the bitter and lager were positively icy last year, and it was very disappointing to still have fobbing lager when the bitter was behaving itself.

    Well, my goose is cooked now. The fete is tomorrow. I have my mixed gas. I’ll be setting up in my garage for a little trial run today. Nice weekend, but that just means I have even warmer kegs!

    Thanks for taking the time to help.

    robred

  5. Hi
    This is getting serious now…the village fete is tomorrow, and I have so much conflicting advice. This is what has happened today: I realised far too late that my 30/70 gas didn’t fit my regulator. This led me to a local landlord who gave me a mixed gas regulator, telling me that the pressure is fixed at 12psi, and that it will do my bitter very well. He warned me off using it for my Carlsberg, telling me that it definitely needed CO2 and much higher pressure (he suggests 18 / up to 22 if it fobs).

    So now I have the option of trying to run both from the new regulator at the fixed pressure and take my chances. I can also get CO2 delivered tomorrow morning and run two systems, running the lager from CO2 at higher pressure.

    What do you think? Go with the mixed gas idea, or revert to CO2 at odds with the advice offered by Maverick? The stress is getting to me!
    Rob

  6. 186 wrote: Hi
    This is getting serious now…the village fete is tomorrow, and I have so much conflicting advice. This is what has happened today: I realised far too late that my 30/70 gas didn’t fit my regulator. This led me to a local landlord who gave me a mixed gas regulator, telling me that the pressure is fixed at 12psi, and that it will do my bitter very well. He warned me off using it for my Carlsberg, telling me that it definitely needed CO2 and much higher pressure (he suggests 18 / up to 22 if it fobs).

    So now I have the option of trying to run both from the new regulator at the fixed pressure and take my chances. I can also get CO2 delivered tomorrow morning and run two systems, running the lager from CO2 at higher pressure.

    What do you think? Go with the mixed gas idea, or revert to CO2 at odds with the advice offered by Maverick? The stress is getting to me!
    Rob

    Oh dear…………….That is why I did say to contact your supplier. He would have supplied a mixed gas reg and also a secondary reg and if set it right, both the Lager and bitter will work at the same pressure as long as you can adjust the dispense speed on the taps. I can’t really advise you to change gas pressures because gas equipment is dangerous and that should only be adjusted by Technical services.

    If you now have a mixed gas valve set to 12psi then that is not set for using a 30/70 mix which would give you more problems. As it now so late I would go with Co2 for this year and get is sorted properly with mixed gas for next year. Sorry that isn’t much help I know.

  7. maverick is correct on this 30/70 every time for outside bars set around ** psi but again tech service will sort that for you.also flow controls on both taps try and go for the ones you can move by hand instead of the alan key type again tech service will know what you mean.
    good luck 😉
    p.s if the lager still plays up ask tech service to put it through the cooler twice (sometimes helps if moveing product fast)

  8. MAY NOT BE OF MUCH USE, BUT TRY PUTTING [AT THIS LATE DATE].THE KEGS IN A BATH OF ICED WATER AND AN OLD PILLOW CASE OF ICE ON TOP OF THE KEG’S .still, BETTER THAN NOTHING.
    PUMPCLEANER

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