Most of the problems that develop with skunky beer out of your kegerator at home can be solved by doing only a few things. If you follow a troubleshooting checklist, you should never have any problems. Of course, it doesn’t solve all of your problems. Just the ones that can be handled easy before real maintenance measures have to be taken.
Give it Time
When you move a keg from a liquor store to your home or it gets dropped off a truck, the keg is going to be a little shaken. Let it sit for a minute. It doesn’t have to sit long. But, the keg needs to acclimate before you should try tapping it.
Double Check Thermometer<
It doesn’t make sense if you can’t trust your temperature reading. So, you should double check your thermometer. One way to do that is to compare different readings from around your home. Your refrigerator in your kitchen can be a great way to check if your thermometer is reading correctly. Simply sticking a medical thermometer in the icebox will give you something to compare your keg thermometer.
Test the temperature of the beer once you pour it in a glass. But, get a second reading from another pour of beer in the same glass. That way you know the temperature of beer is an accurate reading and it’s coming out at the right temperature.
You can get accurate equipment from Zahm & Nagel. But, you really don’t have to go that far. Try to keep your regulator between twelve and fourteen psi. Try setting it to fourteen first and then if there is too much carbonation, drop it down to twelve.
Fine tuning your pressure won’t work if there is a leak in the line. First, visually inspect every part of the pressure system. Look at couplers, seals and clamps. Make sure everything is seated or adjusted right. Then, visually check the line. Look for obvious punctures. If you don’t find anything wrong with the lines from a visual check, it’s time to test the pressure.
Keeping the keg coupler on and all other regulator valves open, turn off the cylinder valve. If the gauge does not move, you’re good. If it drops though, you have a leak. If you have a leak, you’ll have to isolate it.
Turn cylinder on again and back off the pressure adjustment. Then, turn the cylinder off again. If the pressure drops, you’ll probably find your link in the connection to the cylinder itself or some other high pressure side of the regulator.
If that’s not the problem, turn cylinder on again. Keeping the regulator shut-off valve off, adjust the regulator to where it should be. Now, turn cylinder off again. If the pressure drops, your problem is in the mid-range like the diaphragm or the bonnet.
You should have figured out the pattern by now. Keep checking the pressure with different settings and you’ll soon find your leak. That’s the last check you can make to ensure you always have a good beer.