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Trouble Shooting Foamy Draft Beer



Draft beer is a sensitive product which requires certain parameters to be just right in order to dispense properly: Temperature, Pressure, Appropriate Propellant and a Good Beer Dispensing System Design.

1. Does the serving temperature correspond to the brewers norms ?

North America: 38F(3.3C) & 42 F(5.5C)

Pour a glass and insert a thermometer immediately in the freshly poured beer. If the temperature in the glass is outside these norms, it is quite possible that your refrigeration system is defective or needs adjustment. Too high a temperature will increase the risk of excessive foaming. If the beer is too cold, the beer is not foamy enough and bartenders usually serve more in each glass. In either case, you should be concerned that the pour cost will probably be too high.

2. Is the flow rate between 2.5 and 3.5 l/min (Approx 2 oz/sec)?

If the flow rate is too slow, it is probably due to a lack of pressure in the system. The C02 gas can separate from the beer while in the line causing the beer to foam at the tap. The color of the beer will change a few seconds after the tap is opened, passing from a clear and golden color to white.

3. Check the propellant ! Is the beer flat or over carbonated ?

Any beer system with a distance between the kegs and the faucet greater than 10 feet (3 meters) should be pressurized using a mixture of air or nitrogen (70 %) and CO2 (30 %). Straight CO2 can be used for direct draw systems and very short runs (less than 10 feet or 3 M). Clean straight air can be used if the sales volume per day is very high. Otherwise, it will either contaminate the beer (think of where the air is pumped from) or it will make the beer flat. The wrong choice of propellant will either make the beer foam, make it flat or change the taste. In either case you will be wasting product thus increasing your pour cost . Get a qualified technician to look at the problem !

Non-refrigerated kegs (Europe)

Temperature is one of the elements that will affect draft beer along with pressure, the type of gas, the line design and the product itself. When kegs are stored in a non-refrigerated room (pasteurized beer only), an increase in the store room temperature will have an effect on the way the product pours at the faucet. The higher the storage temperature is, the more gas pressure will be required to dispense the beer properly.

We have found a web site with a very exhaustive trouble shooting page at http://kegman.net/pages/Foamy-Beer.html


Alcohol Controls provides loss-prevention products designed exclusively for the bar industry. 

A wide variety of profit-enhancing items can be found in the PRODUCT SHOWCASE of their website, AlcoholControls.com.  Product support and industry-related questions can be directed to 800-285-BEER (2337) or emailing Profit@AlcoholControls.com

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