Troubleshoot Common Draft Beer Problems

Problems serving a perfect beer? We’re here to help!

Condition Causes Corrections
Cloudy Beer
Beer appears hazy and not clear.
Over chilling Keep refrigerator temperature between 36º to 40ºF.
Partial opening of beer faucet Always open faucet quickly and completely.
Having anything warm on or near your keg When anything that is not cold is placed on or near a cold keg, the beer may absorb warmth too.  So, be careful what you store in your kegerator!

Flat Beer
Foamy head disappears quickly.  Beer lacks usual zestful brewery-fresh flavor.

Or

Loose Foam
Large soap-like bubbles.  Foam settles quickly.

Greasy Glasses Wash glasses thoroughly with a good detergent; do not use soap.  Allow glasses to air dry.  Rinse in cold water just before serving beer.  Use beer glasses for beer only.
Improper pour Open the faucet quickly and completely, and practice for perfect foam.  Proper foam should be a tight creamy head, and should be ½” to 1″ high.
Not enough pressure

Check CO2 tank – make sure it is on and not empty.

You should be able to fill a 10 oz glass in 4 seconds.  If beer runs slowly, increase pressure.

Make sure that there are no obstructions in the airline.

Check and, if needed, replace the airline or CO2 regulator and gauge.  Regulators will wear down, so be sure to replace after 4 – 6 years.

Foamy or “Wild” Beer
Too much foam, not enough liquid.
Warm beer Always keep your keg between 36º to 40ºF.
Excessive CO2 Lower the amount of CO2 going to the keg by adjusting the regulator.  Typically, you should keep your regulator set between 10 and 12 PSI.  If a keg is over pressurized, pull the relief valve on your keg coupler for a few seconds to release CO2.  Wait about 15 minutes, then turn your CO2 tank back on.  If your regulator is older and is not operating corectly, you may need to replace it.
Old beer lines Replace old beer lines.  If you bought or inherited an older system, it would be wise to replace the beer line.
Obstruction in faucet The faucet should be removed, disassembled and cleaned with hot water and a brush every few weeks.
Worn faucet parts Replace worn washers.  If faucet does not open wide, worn parts or entire faucet must be replaced.
Warm spots in your beer line All beer tubing should be kept inside your fridge.  Long beer line runs (more than 6 feet) can cause your CO2 pressure to be out of whack.  A larger inside diameter of beer tubing may be necessary.

Click to check out the Draft Beer Equipment section at KegWorks

4 Comments

  • Louis Meo February 4, 2010 @ 3:54pm

    Just bought a perlick 425SS faucet to eliminate faucet sticking…works fine. Having a problem with pouring alot of foam for the first beer, fine for the second. If I pour another in 5-minutes, same thing happens. CO2 is set at 10 psi, I put a cup full of water inside the kegerator…reads 38 degrees F. Should I decrease the pressure??? HELP!!!

  • Hannah February 4, 2010 @ 4:09pm

    Louis – I just spoke with Pete, our resident draft beer guru. He’d like to run through a few possibilities with you over the phone, because he’d like a little more information. For example, is your faucet on a tower or is it attached t a shank in a converted fridge door?

    Give a call toll-free 877.636.3673 or locally/internationally at 716.856.9675 and ask for Pete. He’s here Monday-Friday, 9a – 5p.

    We’ll figure this out, don’t you worry!

  • Tom December 8, 2016 @ 9:16pm

    Brand new kerator, first keg. Forst beer every day is very foamy and subsequent pours the foam is normal but disappears very quickly–beer seems flat. Temp in the fridge is 35 degrees, have tried multiple PSI between 8 and 12. Line is not pinched. Any ideas? Help!

    • Caitlin December 14, 2016 @ 3:10pm

      Hi, Tom. What brand is the kegerator? Was it cleaned before use? What beer are you dispensing? Try upping the temperature to 38 degrees, and expect the first pour to be foamy. We also recommend setting a PSI and not changing it. ~12 should be good!

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