How To Make a Keg Less Foamy: Complete Guide
Having kegs at home is an excellent way to enjoy fresh, carbonated beers without going to the local bar or drinking from a bottle. Once your keg is set up correctly, the drink should come out perfectly. However, your keg might be foamy if something has gone wrong.
To make a keg less foamy, you should make sure the temperature is correct. The temperature will depend on the type of beer, so make sure you know the specific requirements. You should also give your keg time to sit for a while to allow it to settle.
This article will discuss how to make a keg less foamy in more detail. Be sure to read on if you’re interested in learning more!
1. Manage the Temperature
As mentioned above, you must ensure your keg is at the right temperature. If it isn’t, there’s a high chance your draft beer will come out foamy. Incorrect temperature is one of the leading causes of excessive foaming in a keg, so this is likely your problem.
When the drink’s temperature in the keg is too cold, you’ll notice more foam in the glass. However, the same issue occurs when the drink in the keg is too warm.
The best temperature for most beer kegs is around 40 degrees Fahrenheit (4.4 degrees Celsius), but it might be different for drinks like ales and stouts. For example, if you have a beer keg that’s 30 degrees Fahrenheit (-1 degrees Celsius) or lower, it’s likely to be foamy due to being too warm.
To fix this problem, keep your keg chilled (but not too chilled). You might want to refrigerate it, especially before using it for the first time. A keg is more likely to be at the wrong temperature when you receive it, meaning the first drink might be foamier.
Once you keep the temperature in the recommended range for your specific drink, you shouldn’t have any foaming issues.
2. Allow the Keg To Acclimatize
Another thing you may not have considered is acclimatization. You want to give your keg time to adjust to its new environment before using it. Otherwise, the drinks might come out too foamy.
For example, the keg might have been thrown around and shaken during transportation, which can cause it to foam more than usual. You can think of it as when you shake a can of soda; if you open it right away, it will foam over. You must give it time to settle to ensure this doesn’t happen.
It’s generally best to give your keg around 24 hours to acclimatize before using it, but some people may prefer to wait even longer (up to 48 hours).
Another reason to allow your keg to acclimatize is that it needs to adjust to the temperature. As I already mentioned, too cold or warm temperatures can cause kegs to foam.
If you use one immediately without giving it time to acclimatize, the temperature is likely too warm. Therefore, the keg will be too foamy.
If you want to give your keg time to acclimatize, make sure to keep it in the spot you want to leave it permanently; if you leave it in one place to settle and then move it once you want to use it, you might shake it too much and cause another foam buildup.
You definitely want to avoid this situation at all costs!
3. Ensure the Keg Lines Are Clean
It may seem odd, but dirty keg lines can cause excessive foaming. So, you should always ensure your keg lines are clean and safe.
Keg lines can become dirty from a buildup of residue over time, but you can clean them out now and then to ensure your drinks always come out in the best condition.
To clean the keg lines, you should buy a special cleaner that you can pump through them to clean everything out. If you reuse your kegs often, you should repeat this process every few weeks because the keg lines can quickly become dirty.
Below I’ll discuss how to clean keg lines in more detail.
Cleaning Your Keg Lines
Before cleaning your keg lines, you must ensure you have all the necessary equipment. Below are the main things you’ll need:
- A pump device to pump the cleaning solution through the lines.
- Cleaning solution. You can buy cleaning kits, like this Kegco Deluxe Hand Pump Cleaning Kit, available on Amazon. This kit includes everything you need, including the cleaning solution and pump.
- A wrench.
- A brush. There is a brush included in the Kegco kit from Amazon mentioned above. It’s perfect for cleaning the faucet of the keg.
- A bucket.
Now that you know what cleaning equipment you need, let’s look at how to do it.
- Turn off the CO2 and regulator.
- Remove the faucet with your wrench. You may not need to remove the faucet if you’re using a cleaning kit that connects directly to the faucet. Read the instructions of your cleaning solution/kit before removing the faucet.
- Clean the faucet with warm water, a cleaning solution, and a small brush if you remove it. If you don’t have to remove it, you can connect your cleaning pump directly to the faucet.
- Place the end of the keg lines in your bucket.
- Start pumping the cleaning solution through the keg lines, allowing it to fall into the bucket.
- Pump clean water through the keg lines to clean out the cleaning solution. You may need to repeat this a few times to ensure no residue is left.
- Put your keg back together and turn the CO2 back on. If dirty keg lines were causing the foam, you should notice an improvement after cleaning them.
4. Ensure the Pressure Isn’t Too High or Low
You need to ensure you have the right pressure setting if you want to avoid foaming. If the pressure is too high, there’s likely to be a lot of excess foam in the keg. So, when you pour a drink, you’ll notice a lot of foam in the glass.
While high pressure can cause too much foam, low pressure can also cause foam. To avoid this, reduce or increase the pressure as required. You can do this using the pressure handle on the regulator.
When using a keg at home, you want the pressure to be anywhere from 10-12 PSI. If the pressure exceeds (or goes below) this range, the keg is more likely to be foamy.
5. Use the Right Beer Line Length
Another essential thing to consider is the beer line length because it will impact the pour and foam levels. A long beer line will yield a lower pressure pour, and a short beer line will deliver a higher pressure.
So if your keg is too foamy, it could be that your beer line is the wrong length (most likely too short).
Most typical kegs at home require a beer line length of around 8 inches (20 centimeters), so you should measure yours to see how long it is. This might be your problem if you’ve tried all the other solutions in this article, but none have worked.
If you want, you can experiment with beer line lengths to see which gives you the most favorable amount of foam. It’s good to start with a longer length and work your way down if too much foam is an issue.
6. Make Sure To Pour the Drink Correctly
The foam issue might not be with your keg. Instead, you might be pouring the drink incorrectly, which can cause a foam overflow. Thankfully, all you need to do is change your pouring technique to fix this problem.
The best way to pour beer and other drinks with foam is to tilt your glass while filling it. Then, once the glass is half full, you can straighten it and continue pouring the rest. Pouring your drink this way ensures adequate foam at the top (but not too much).
If you keep your glass straight when pouring the drink in, the foam will rise, causing your beverage to be too foamy. If you’re not careful, it might spill from the glass, making a mess! So, always remember to tilt your glass when pouring the first half of your drink.
Check out the following YouTube video for a demonstration of how to properly pour your beer from a keg:
7. Make Sure You Haven’t Over-Carbonated Your Keg
Another thing that can cause excess foam in a keg is over-carbonation. Warm temperatures are the most common culprit. Over-carbonation not only causes a lot of foam but also negatively affects the taste and texture of the beer.
If you believe over-carbonation could be why your keg is too foamy, you’ll need to fix the issue promptly.
Here is a brief guide on how to fix an over-carbonated keg:
- Turn off the CO2.
- Remove the beer tube and CO2 tube from the keg coupler.
- Place the CO2 tube into where the beer tube typically goes.
- Turn the CO2 back on to pump into the beer tube.
- Release the pressure from the keg using the pressure valve and repeat it two to three times.
- Turn the CO2 back off.
- Remove the CO2 line from the beer section and place it back in its intended position.
- Place the beer tube back in its intended position.
- Turn the CO2 back on and pour a drink.
In addition to the steps above, you should ensure the pressure (PSI) is at an appropriate setting (between 10 and 12).
Why Is My Party Keg Too Foamy?
Most party kegs are different from regular kegs because instead of using CO2, they use oxygen pumps.
If you have a party keg with an oxygen pump, you must ensure you don’t over-pump. If you pump it too much, a lot of foam will come out of the tap, and the beer won’t taste as good.
To fix this, stop pumping and continue pouring until the foam decreases. Alternatively, you could use the pressure valve (if your party keg has one–not all of them do).
If it’s your first time using the party keg, you shouldn’t need to pump it immediately, so avoid doing so. Once you notice the drinks coming out a little flat, you can press the pump a few times to bring back some foam, making sure not to overdo it.
And like regular kegs, you should ensure your party keg is chilled enough before serving drinks because there will be too much foam if it’s warm. Keep your party keg refrigerated or in a container filled with ice for the best results.
Does Foam Indicate the Keg is Gone Bad?
Foam doesn’t indicate the keg is gone bad. Usually, too much foam is caused by temperatures that are too warm (or possibly too cold), so fixing the temperature might fix the issue.
However, you might be mistaking foam for something else, like mold or cloudiness, and this could indicate the keg is gone bad.
When beer in a keg comes out moldy, it can be mistaken for foam. A significant difference between the appearance of mold and foam is that mold is generally green or yellow, whereas foam is white. So, if you’re unsure whether it’s foam or mold, take a closer look at the color.
Another good indicator is the smell. If your beer smells fine, it’s likely regular foam that needs to be fixed by fixing the pressure or temperature. However, if there is a foul odor, the beer in your keg is likely gone bad.
Any beer that smells foul should be thrown away, so avoid drinking beer that appears moldy and has a foul odor.
There are different reasons why a keg might be foamy, but the main ones are:
- Incorrect temperatures. One of the most common causes of foamy beer is a warm temperature, but being too cold can also cause foam (although less common)
- It hasn’t had enough time to settle.
- The keg lines aren’t clean.
- The pressure is too low or high.
- The beer line is too short.
How you fix the issue will depend on what’s causing it. Hopefully, you’ve found a solution to your problem by reading the tips in this article.