Refrigerator Full of Homebrew.....Ahhhhhh.

Well this is what it's all about. Oh, OK, drinking is what it's all about. Which is why balancing your system is so important.

Balancing allows you to get a nice pour without too much foam while keeping the keg under the correct pressure. It is important to maintain the correct pressure to keep the carbonation at levels defined by the style of beer.

To accomplish this you need to add enough beverage hose between the keg and the faucet. For an IPA at 44 degrees F you will need 12 psi of CO2. A good clean 16 oz pour should take about 10 seconds. I use about twenty feet of 3/16 inch ID beverage tubing. That's it above the black kegs. Notice how much room this takes up. Above the blue keg is a small coil of 1/4 inch OD (0.17 ID) by 20 feet food grade tubing purchased from Home Depot for less than two dollars. It works excellent and is much more compact.

If you use a short piece of tubing you will have to bleed off your keg pressure down to around 2 psi. When the keg is nearly full of beer this doesn't amount to a lot of waste gas, but as it nears the bottom your just throwing your money out the window. You also have to remember to recharge the keg after a tasting session or you'll return to flat beer next time. The lid seal is also effected by keg pressure. I always run the pressure up to 40 psi just after kegging a brew to seat the lid for a leak free seal. The area of the lid is about 100 square inches, so at 12 psi that amounts to 1200 pounds pushing it closed.

What is the down side? You have to make cleaner beer. When you keep venting the CO2 it also scrubs out off-aromas. Unfortunately the same thing happens to the hop aroma!

I've heard of others who have tried this technique and experienced large amounts of foam. I believe this was caused by warm tubing. Make sure the tubing is cold before you pour.