When Foamy Beer Strikes: How to Fix It

Lately, it seems that we’ve had a ton of people stopping by our office because their wild draft systems insists on pouring overly foamy beer and they don’t know how to fix it. Lucky for them, we know a thing or two about correcting that problem. The first step you need to take is to identify the problem. There are a few reasons your kegerator might be pouring with a ton of foam:
  • Your beer may be warm
  • You could be using too much CO2
  • Your beer lines might be too old
  • You could be a terrible beer pourer
  • The faucet may be dirty or obstructed
  • The parts inside of your faucet may need to be replaced
  • Your beer line could have warm spots
Now, let me elaborate on these issues and fill you in on how to correct them.
  • Warm beer: Your keg should always be kept between 38°F and 40°F – that doesn’t mean that you put it into your cooler or refrigeration unit and it’s automatically the perfect temperature right then and there. Give it time to chill – literally.
  • Too much CO2: Adjust your regulator to lower the amount of CO2. In a normal fridge setup you want your regulator set between 10 and 12 PSI. If the keg is over pressurized, simply pull the relief valve on your coupler for about 3 seconds, then wait 15 minutes and turn your CO2 tank back on.
  • Old beer lines: They get gunky and they can be gross. The stuff that forms inside of them can cause foam. Replace beer lines if they’re old (meaning they’re any color but clear, or visibly show deposits).
  • You suck at pouring: A bad pour can mean a lot of foam. If you pour correctly and your system is running well, the head on your beer should be between ½" and 1" high. Make sure you open the faucet quickly and completely. Read this pouring guide to learn how to pour properly.
  • The faucet needs cleaning or fixing: Every few weeks you should remove and disassemble your faucet, then clean it with hot water and a brush. The washers inside wear easily; so make sure to replace them when they need it.
  • Warm spots: If all of your tubing isn’t kept inside of your fridge, you’re in big trouble. The lines need to stay consistently cold so the beer doesn’t rebel and get foamy before you pour it.
Hope this quick recap helps! If you’re having other issues, check out our Draft Beer Troubleshooting Guide for help or feel free to comment and we’ll see what we can do! [techtags: FOAMY BEER, BEER FOAM, DRAFT BEER TROUBLESHOOTING, DRAFT BEER TIPS]

4 Comments

  • Jim Lyon January 19, 2011 @ 7:13am

    Hi Guys
    I just read your When foamy beer strikes,in that you said to keep your pressure between 10 and 12 psi.if I have my pressure up that high I will get pretty much a full(22oz)glass of foam.I have to be down to 5 or less then I will get a full glass of beer with very little foam but it takes a while to fill a glass,you go to Applebees,Chilis,or 99 and they pour fast and small amounts of foam.Why can’t I?Beer is around 34 degrees,my lines are in the fridge,I take the faucet,lines and tap apart and clean them after every tank or two.
    Thanks Jim

  • Hannah January 19, 2011 @ 9:16am

    Jim Lyon – I spoke with our draft beer guru, Pete. He suggested that you call our Customer Service department, when you’re in front of your draft system. He would like to run you through some diagnostic procedures in order to determine the problem and correctly solve it.

    You can reach our CS department at 716.856.9675 or toll-free 877.636.3673, Monday – Friday 9am – 6pm.

  • Corey Cloud June 11, 2011 @ 8:37am

    Hi, Y’all,
    I just purchased a Danby kegerator with a 2 tap tower. I let the beer sit overnight( almost 24 hours) at 38 degrees and all I get is foam. One side with a 1/4 keg pours really slow and all foam. The other side with a 1/6 keg pours quickly and is all foam as well. I have the pressure set at 10 psi but I have tried it as low as 8 and as high as 14. Any suggestions?
    Thanks…Corey

  • Hannah June 13, 2011 @ 1:38pm

    Corey Cloud – Thanks for stopping by to ask about the foam issues you’re having. Our resident draft beer expert would like to chat with you on the phone to diagnose the problem and help you on your way to perfect beer.

    Please give Pete a call sometime during business hours: Monday – Friday, 9 a – 5p
    877.636.3673 (toll-free)

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