Gas line length

Post Reply
Blancaster
Brewmaster
Posts: 273
Joined: Thu Mar 21, 2013 9:56 pm

Gas line length

Post by Blancaster » Mon Jan 12, 2015 10:19 am

Does the length of the gas line to a 4 way distributor have any effect on the psi? I have psi set at 10 and was redoing my keezer setup and the gas line to the distributor is pretty long right now. Seems my kegs aren't staying carbed up like they should. I don't have any leaks. The kegs have gas in them.
I did kick psi up some and that helped a little. Can anyone offer any insight?




Sent from my iPhone using Tapatalk
Brandon Lancaster • OVHA Board Member

User avatar
SkyBrew
Brewmaster
Posts: 1638
Joined: Mon May 31, 2010 11:47 pm

Re: Gas line length

Post by SkyBrew » Mon Jan 12, 2015 10:37 am

I don't believe so. Could it be there is a very slow leak on a keg or at one of the lines you are missing? there is a lot more possibility for a leak when you have a whole system hooked up together like that.
Sky B.

Blancaster
Brewmaster
Posts: 273
Joined: Thu Mar 21, 2013 9:56 pm

Re: Gas line length

Post by Blancaster » Mon Jan 12, 2015 11:07 am

I'm not losing any gas from my tank that I can tell? When I did have a leak it was obvious within a few days
Brandon Lancaster • OVHA Board Member

User avatar
KennyPurcell
Brewmaster
Posts: 447
Joined: Sat Oct 01, 2011 1:06 pm

Re: Gas line length

Post by KennyPurcell » Mon Jan 12, 2015 11:16 am

Line balancing usually causes a foam problem (followed by less carbed beer left behind), but this may help


http://beersmith.com/blog/2011/07/14/ke ... raft-beer/
Kenny Purcell • Former OVHA President (2016)

Up Next:
Fermenting/Aging: Citra/Amarillo DIPA
On Tap: Cider, Dry Stout, 2016 OVHA Barrel Aged RIS & OMDG
Bottled: Squatch Crotch American Imperial Stout 2014, 2014 OVHA FES, Ass Crack of Don Bourbon Stout (Don't drink and name your beers), Giraffe Head Coffee Stout, & 2013 OVHA Barrel Aged Old Ale, St. Cyril's Strong Ale

User avatar
john mills
Brewmaster
Posts: 1378
Joined: Mon Jun 25, 2007 2:40 pm
Location: Near the Zoo

Re: Gas line length

Post by john mills » Mon Jan 12, 2015 1:35 pm

There is pressure drop on gas as the same as beer. Using 1/4" gas line generally removes the drop in pressure since 1/4" drops pressure 1pound/3feet unlike 3/16 is about a pound per foot. If you got a really long run maybe consider 3/8".
You gonna buy one, or be one?
.....I'm gonna be one!

Blancaster
Brewmaster
Posts: 273
Joined: Thu Mar 21, 2013 9:56 pm

Re: Gas line length

Post by Blancaster » Mon Jan 12, 2015 3:32 pm

My gas line is 5/16 and liquid is 3/16
Brandon Lancaster • OVHA Board Member

User avatar
SkyBrew
Brewmaster
Posts: 1638
Joined: Mon May 31, 2010 11:47 pm

Re: Gas line length

Post by SkyBrew » Mon Jan 12, 2015 4:21 pm

I'm about to start on the gas lines on my keggerator. I just haven't decided if I want to use the 20lb co2 tank or the 5lb co2 tank
Sky B.

User avatar
Don
Brewmaster
Posts: 1768
Joined: Wed Mar 07, 2007 7:18 pm
Location: Dark Side of the Moon

Re: Gas line length

Post by Don » Tue Jan 13, 2015 8:18 am

The size of the line TO the distributor has no effect on the serving line and size (or the carbonation of the keg) providing it is big enough for the total volume of gas needed. Your distributor tube (most of them) are drilled out to 1/4" so using a line bigger than that won't give you any more volume. Always use a 1/4" or 5/16" line to the distributor.

Your talking volume to the kegs when you have several hooked up a one time, if you try to overcome not enough volume with pressure then you will have a serving issues. (and that's another post!)

I've have run a 9 way distributor with 9 kegs on a 20' supply line, of 1/4" id tubing, daily for years and will add 4 or 5 more to it for a week or two using tees and not have an issue. Regulator set between 9# and 13# (kegs are already carbonated)

If you are trying to get all of the kegs carbonated at the same time it may be an issue, I usually add one keg to the system at a time and it has always worked for me.

Remember the temp/carb ratio when setting up the regulator.

If looking for leaks:
I have found that the shutoffs on the distributor tubes are bad about leaking. You need to soap the entire system down and look for leaks.
Post and pop-offs on the kegs need to be check regularly.

Take a 1/4" drill bit and see if it will fit inside the inlet valve to the distributor.
Don Heisler

-------------------------
Brewers make wort, yeast make beer, God is good.

User avatar
Don
Brewmaster
Posts: 1768
Joined: Wed Mar 07, 2007 7:18 pm
Location: Dark Side of the Moon

Re: Gas line length

Post by Don » Tue Jan 13, 2015 8:22 am

SkyBrew wrote:I'm about to start on the gas lines on my keggerator. I just haven't decided if I want to use the 20lb co2 tank or the 5lb co2 tank
I've used 20# for years and can go as long as 8-10 months before refilling.
I keep another 20# for purging kegs and carboys and as a backup.

(Let me add that I got both 20#'s given to me over the years, if I way buying I would get 1 big 10# or 20# for the Kegerator and 1 smaller to take on the road)
Don Heisler

-------------------------
Brewers make wort, yeast make beer, God is good.

User avatar
SkyBrew
Brewmaster
Posts: 1638
Joined: Mon May 31, 2010 11:47 pm

Re: Gas line length

Post by SkyBrew » Tue Jan 13, 2015 8:42 am

Thanks for the input Don!
Sky B.

User avatar
msjulian
Brewmaster
Posts: 1656
Joined: Sat Jul 05, 2008 5:01 pm
Location: Newburgh, IN

Re: Gas line length

Post by msjulian » Tue Jan 13, 2015 10:39 am

If you had a leak big enough to make a carbed beer go flat (or not as carbed as you thought it was) you would empty your tank pretty quickly. The size if the line would make a difference if there was constant flow. In a (mostly) closed system the only thing bigger or smaller line would do is increase or decrease the amount of time it takes to equalize the system pressure. The 1/4" valves on the distribution block (while smaller then 5/16) will not effect the carb levels either. Again, we are not really discussing flow. The length of the restriction is so short that it won't effect the system.

Here is what I would look at:
1 - Possible leak. Although with everything you are explaining I find it hard to believe you have a leak. If the beer was carbed correctly the leak would have to be pretty big (lid off the keg) or have emptied the system and sat for some time for all the co2 to come out of solution. If your regulator shows 10psi and the keg is sitting @ 40 deg for more then 3-4 days, by all accounts you should have aprox 2.30 volumes of co2 in the beer (more if stored colder).

2 - Is the beer really "flat". Just because there is no head on a beer when you pour it doesn't necessarily mean it's flat. There are several things that will cause a beer to not foam. Drink the beer and see if it has the co2 bite.

3 - The regulator low pressure side gauge is not reading correctly. You may think you have 10 psi but maybe not. If cranking up a few psi helped, you might want to keep going and see if things get better. Without the use of a Zahm (or other high priced piece of equipment) you are relying on a $10.00 gauge and a thermometer to tell you how much co2 is in solution. As homebrewers we also have to trust our eyes and taste buds to tell us if things are right.

Here is what I would test:
1 - As Don suggested, check for leaks. Get a spray bottle with enough dish soap mixed with water so that it will bubble (much like making soap bubbles when you were a kid). Crank the co2 up ( I usually go up to 20 - 25) and spray (really soak it) all the connections, regulator, valves, joints, lids, keg posts and pop off valves. If you have a leak, you should see bubbles. If you see bubbles, fix. Once done testing, drop your pressure back to normal and pop the extra pressure off the kegs.

2 - Make sure it's not an issue with the beer. I would do the old "crank n shake" and see if the beer will carb up. Take all the kegs off the gas and crank the pressure up to 25psi or so and rock the keg in question for 2 min. Set the pressure back to normal and equalize the keg to serving pressure. The risk here is that you over carb the beer. Getting the co2 back out is a little more time consuming but can be done. If it carbs up and stays, you may not have been letting it sit long enough or your low pressure gauge may be inaccurate. If it carbs up but drops off (i.e. no head retention) then you might have an issue with oil, soap residue or recipe formulation that is kill the head retention. If I remember your IPA I had the the other day, it seemed to have been carbed but just no foam (or at least it seemed to have enough carbonation that I thought it should have had at least some head). But I have slept since then...

Good Luck and keep us posted!
Michael Julian

User avatar
Tom Wrinkles
Brewmaster
Posts: 146
Joined: Mon May 24, 2010 8:47 am
Location: Henderson

Re: Gas line length

Post by Tom Wrinkles » Sun Oct 03, 2021 5:04 pm

Good topic. I am currently setting up my new keezer and found this very helpful.
Tom Wrinkles

Beer makes you feel the way you ought to feel without beer.

Bottled/Kegged: Alt, Munich Dunkel, SMaSH, Marzen, Kolsch
Fermenting : Imperial Stout
Next up: Lager, Brown Ale

Post Reply