Troubleshooting Frequently Asked Questions

Troubleshooting Frequently Asked Questions

Q: What are the causes of foamy beer?

A: You can tell that you have wild beer when the drawn beer is all foam, or when there is too much foam and not enough liquid beer is present. It can be caused by the following:

  • Beer is not at the proper temperature
  • Beer drawn improperly
  • Creeping regulator
  • Applied pressure is set too high
  • Hot spots in the line
  • Use of non-insulated beer line
  • Beer runs are too long for proper cooling
  • Tapped into a warm keg
  • Cooler malfunctioning
  • Kinks, dents, twists, or other obstructions in the line
  • Faucets in bad, dirty, or worn condition

Q: What are the causes of cloudy beer?

A: You can tell that you have cloudy beer when the beer in the glass appears hazy instead of clear. It can be caused by the following:

  • Frozen or nearly frozen beer
  • Old beer
  • Beer that has been unrefrigerated for long periods of time
  • Dirty glass
  • Dirty faucet
  • Unrefrigerated foods placed on top of cold keg
  • Contaminated air source

Q: What are the causes of flat beer?

A: You can tell that you have flat beer when the foamy head disappears quickly and the beer lacks the usual zestful brewery fresh flavor. It can be caused by the following:

  • Dirty glasses
  • Sluggish regulator
  • Applied pressure set too low
  • CO2 is turned off at night
  • Contaminated air source (associated with compressed air)
  • Moisture in the air system
  • Beer is too cold
  • Loose tap or vent connections

Q: What are the causes of a false head?

A: A false head appears as large soap-like bubbles, and dissolves very quickly. It can be caused by the following:

  • Applied pressure required does not correspond to beer temperature
  • Small beer line into a large faucet shank
  • Beer lines warmer than beer keg
  • Dry glasses
  • Improper pour

Q: What are the causes of unpalatable beer?

A: You can tell you have unpalatable beer when the drawn beer has an off-taste. Common off-flavors include:

  • Diacetyl (buttery, buttered popcorn, butterscotch, caramel, slick or milky mouthfeel)
  • Lactic Acid (sour, sour milk, acidic)
  • Acetic Acid (sour, vinegar)
These can be caused by the following:
  • Dirty or old beer lines
  • Dirty faucet
  • Contaminated or unfiltered air source
  • Unsanitary bar conditions

Q: What are the causes of oxidation?

A: Oxidation is a reaction that occurs when beer is exposed to oxygen molecules, resulting in a stale, cardboard-like taste in your beer. Unfortunately, oxidation in beer cannot be reversed. It can be caused by the following:

  • Beer is past its expiration date
  • Storage without an airtight seal
  • Exposure to warm temperatures
  • Dispensing beer with an air compressor
  • Porous beer tubing material

Q: What causes a sticky faucet and what do I do?

A: A sticky/sticking faucet is usually attributed to the beer drying up at the point of the seal of the faucet valve. Inside the faucet is a neoprene gasket that presses against the metal inside of the faucet, creating the seal to close the faucet. When you close the faucet, the residual beer caught between the seal can dry up over time.

Beer has enough residual sugars in it that when the beer dries, those sugars can glue the faucet shut at the point of the seal. If it only sticks on the first use after an extended period of non-use (12+ hours), then that is most likely what is happening.

Aside from washers and gaskets, there are only 2 pieces that move inside the faucet: the lever and the plunger. The plunger is the sealing mechanism, and the lever is the part that moves forward and back to open and close the faucet. When you move the handle forward and back, you are moving the lever inside the faucet forward and back, which opens and closes the faucet. Sometimes these levers can break but continue to work (poorly), and sticking on every open and close could indicate a broken lever.

To inspect the faucet, first un-tap the keg, then put a glass under the faucet and open the faucet to relieve any pressure. Then, unscrew the thumb nut that attaches the faucet handle to the faucet body. This will expose the lever and let you inspect its condition.

Switching to a Perlick faucet is a good way to avoid a sticky faucet. The Perlick Perl Forward Sealing Stainless Steel Faucet features a revolutionary Perl ball and floating O-ring design which eliminates the need for a valve shaft.

The faucet is sealed near the spout end of the faucet, not at the rear like most other designs. Beer gets no exposure to air so there's literally no space for mold and bacteria to grow and less faucet area exposed to prevent the mechanism from jamming up. The Perl Faucet has fewer internal parts and is constructed of stainless steel for better reliability.