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Thread: Carbonation Formation and head retention.

  1. #1
    Join Date
    May 2018
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    Newstead, QLD, Australia
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    Carbonation Formation and head retention.

    Hi guys/girls,

    I'm wondering if anyone can help me with a problem I am having with bubble formation and head retention. We have just opened a 10bbl Brewpub in Brisbane Australia and have through 12 batches in the first 10 weeks. Unfortunately most of the brews have not held their head or formed much colloidal stability as I would like.

    I have passivated all tanks, I use caustic and sanatizer when cleaning all at correct temperatures. I'm moving beer when transferring from FV to Brite at 16 PSI whilst bleed at 15 PSI in the Brite with no movement on either there should be no turbidity. I'm doing the same when kegging and I'm not getting any spitting once full, just a nice consistent flow of foam. When carbonating I'm transferring in the afternoon at 2 degrees celsius, holding a 15 PSI head pressure over night whilst dropping the tank down to 0 degrees celsius. I then start carbonation through a carb stone at 16 PSI until I reach 3 volumes of CO2 which I measure through a Zahm Nagel CO2 Volume Meter. Beer is kept cold at all times from tank to fridge within 30 mins if a keg being full.

    I use a Premier SS twin keg washer which I have had tested via titration for my caustic and sanitizer levels. My kegs were new before I filled them and as such I have been doing a double caustic cycle. The test showed that all levels of chemical where of the correct rate.

    The problem we are having is that our beer is completely carbonated in taste and appearance but our bubble formation is quite large instead of small, too the point that the head comes up and you can hear the beer fizzing like a soft drink or soda pop then disapating extremely quickly. Some beers hold the head retention but not to the level we would desire. Some beers the head is gone with 10 seconds.

    My PH is between 4.2-4.5 for all beers except sours when carbonation comes around. We use Simpsons and Weyermann for all of our malt and we have wheat, flaked wheat & oats in most beers as well. Our kit is all Premier SS and we have George Fischer Glycol.

    I believe one of the following could be the major attribute to this occurring in our beer but I'm open to any other help someone can give me:
    a. Our tanks passivation was not strong enough the initial time round and manufacturing grease is still lingering i the brite tanks.
    b. Our beer line still have manufacturing grease inside them (we have cleaned them several times but not with a high level caustic just beerline cleaner).
    c. Our glassware (which is unnucleated) is being cleaned with a liquid that is effecting the bubble break out.
    d. During one of my brewing processes I am aerating the wort too heavily.

    Cheers for your help in advance.

  2. #2
    Join Date
    Jun 2012
    Location
    Daytona Beach
    Posts
    33
    Quote Originally Posted by mitchrangebrew View Post
    Hi guys/girls,

    I'm wondering if anyone can help me with a problem I am having with bubble formation and head retention. We have just opened a 10bbl Brewpub in Brisbane Australia and have through 12 batches in the first 10 weeks. Unfortunately most of the brews have not held their head or formed much colloidal stability as I would like.

    I have passivated all tanks, I use caustic and sanatizer when cleaning all at correct temperatures. I'm moving beer when transferring from FV to Brite at 16 PSI whilst bleed at 15 PSI in the Brite with no movement on either there should be no turbidity. I'm doing the same when kegging and I'm not getting any spitting once full, just a nice consistent flow of foam. When carbonating I'm transferring in the afternoon at 2 degrees celsius, holding a 15 PSI head pressure over night whilst dropping the tank down to 0 degrees celsius. I then start carbonation through a carb stone at 16 PSI until I reach 3 volumes of CO2 which I measure through a Zahm Nagel CO2 Volume Meter. Beer is kept cold at all times from tank to fridge within 30 mins if a keg being full.

    I use a Premier SS twin keg washer which I have had tested via titration for my caustic and sanitizer levels. My kegs were new before I filled them and as such I have been doing a double caustic cycle. The test showed that all levels of chemical where of the correct rate.

    The problem we are having is that our beer is completely carbonated in taste and appearance but our bubble formation is quite large instead of small, too the point that the head comes up and you can hear the beer fizzing like a soft drink or soda pop then disapating extremely quickly. Some beers hold the head retention but not to the level we would desire. Some beers the head is gone with 10 seconds.

    My PH is between 4.2-4.5 for all beers except sours when carbonation comes around. We use Simpsons and Weyermann for all of our malt and we have wheat, flaked wheat & oats in most beers as well. Our kit is all Premier SS and we have George Fischer Glycol.

    I believe one of the following could be the major attribute to this occurring in our beer but I'm open to any other help someone can give me:
    a. Our tanks passivation was not strong enough the initial time round and manufacturing grease is still lingering i the brite tanks.
    b. Our beer line still have manufacturing grease inside them (we have cleaned them several times but not with a high level caustic just beerline cleaner).
    c. Our glassware (which is unnucleated) is being cleaned with a liquid that is effecting the bubble break out.
    d. During one of my brewing processes I am aerating the wort too heavily.

    Cheers for your help in advance.
    3 volumes is a higher carbonation level. What target are you shooting for?


    Sent from my iPhone using Tapatalk

  3. #3
    Join Date
    Nov 2010
    Location
    Carmel, IN
    Posts
    32
    If the beer is freshly carbonated, your observations are typical. CO2 has to be hydrated for it to achieve that fine carbonation that you desire. Look up Hydration of carbon dioxide and you'll see that its a time and temperature dependent process. All the fancy carbonation stones or methods, won't make a difference in that hydration.

    In other words, give you beers some more time.
    WaterEng
    Engineering Consultant

  4. #4
    Join Date
    Oct 2014
    Location
    Kent, WA
    Posts
    307
    Quote Originally Posted by mitchrangebrew View Post
    [...]

    a. Our tanks passivation was not strong enough the initial time round and manufacturing grease is still lingering i the brite tanks.

    [...]
    I just wanted to point out that passivation does not remove grease from the surface of stainless, and it requires a very clean surface to work. If you have grease on the surface, then you didn't actually passivate. The point of passivation is to remove free iron from the surface layer of the stainless, leaving the chromium oxides and nickel behind to form a passive layer, which improves the corrosion resistance of the stainless.

    Regards,
    Mike

  5. #5
    Join Date
    Oct 2002
    Location
    Chesterfield, UK
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    1,786
    You don't say what the temperature of the beer in the glass at dispense is. As has already been said, 3 volumes is higher than most people serve beers at - obviously there are always exceptions. However, this amount of CO2 will only stay completely dissolved at 3 deg C. The design of the beer dispense system, in terms of pressure reduction process to atmospheric pressure (in the glass) and temperature will probably be the main influencers on dispense. Check the BA advice on beer dispense - the draught beer quality manual - http://www.draughtquality.org/wp-con...ads/DBQM17.pdf.

    I assume when you are talking colloidal stability, you are referring to foam / head formation and retention, not haze. Colloidal stability refers to beer clarity and particularly with reference to the ability to stay clear over the desired shelf life of the beer. Foam formation / retention will also get covered to a large extent by the BA document.

    Re other comments

    a. Our tanks passivation was not strong enough the initial time round and manufacturing grease is still lingering i the brite tanks. Passivation and degreasing are two completely separate, unrelated processes. If not degreased, then you cannot passivate. If not degreased, you will run into head retention problems. If not passivated properly, you may run into stainless corrosion problems.

    b. Our beer line still have manufacturing grease inside them (we have cleaned them several times but not with a high level caustic just beerline cleaner). Highly doubtful as the materials of manufacture don't generally involve grease. They can normally be fitted, cleaned once to remove general residual muck & bullets and then serve beer through them. If there is grease in there, the chances are you have introduced it plumbing it all together. I doubt very much if this is the problem - though residual chemical can affect the head retention.

    c. Our glassware (which is unnucleated) is being cleaned with a liquid that is effecting the bubble break out. Effective rinsing should resolve that if this is the cause.

    d. During one of my brewing processes I am aerating the wort too heavily. Irrelevant - does not affect carbonation.
    dick

  6. #6
    Join Date
    May 2018
    Location
    Newstead, QLD, Australia
    Posts
    7
    Quote Originally Posted by BeachBrew View Post
    3 volumes is a higher carbonation level. What target are you shooting for?


    Sent from my iPhone using Tapatalk
    I'm shooting for 2.7-3. I don't have a flow control only a regulator which I run at 15 PSI for carbonating. Do you believe this to be my problem?

  7. #7
    Join Date
    May 2018
    Location
    Newstead, QLD, Australia
    Posts
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    Quote Originally Posted by WaterEng View Post
    If the beer is freshly carbonated, your observations are typical. CO2 has to be hydrated for it to achieve that fine carbonation that you desire. Look up Hydration of carbon dioxide and you'll see that its a time and temperature dependent process. All the fancy carbonation stones or methods, won't make a difference in that hydration.

    In other words, give you beers some more time.
    Thanks guys. I'll look into it.

  8. #8
    Join Date
    May 2018
    Location
    Newstead, QLD, Australia
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    7
    Quote Originally Posted by rdcpro View Post
    I just wanted to point out that passivation does not remove grease from the surface of stainless, and it requires a very clean surface to work. If you have grease on the surface, then you didn't actually passivate. The point of passivation is to remove free iron from the surface layer of the stainless, leaving the chromium oxides and nickel behind to form a passive layer, which improves the corrosion resistance of the stainless.

    Regards,
    Mike
    Thanks Mike. I'll make note of it.

  9. #9
    Join Date
    May 2018
    Location
    Newstead, QLD, Australia
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    Quote Originally Posted by dick murton View Post
    You don't say what the temperature of the beer in the glass at dispense is. As has already been said, 3 volumes is higher than most people serve beers at - obviously there are always exceptions. However, this amount of CO2 will only stay completely dissolved at 3 deg C. The design of the beer dispense system, in terms of pressure reduction process to atmospheric pressure (in the glass) and temperature will probably be the main influencers on dispense. Check the BA advice on beer dispense - the draught beer quality manual - http://www.draughtquality.org/wp-con...ads/DBQM17.pdf.

    I assume when you are talking colloidal stability, you are referring to foam / head formation and retention, not haze. Colloidal stability refers to beer clarity and particularly with reference to the ability to stay clear over the desired shelf life of the beer. Foam formation / retention will also get covered to a large extent by the BA document.

    Re other comments

    a. Our tanks passivation was not strong enough the initial time round and manufacturing grease is still lingering i the brite tanks. Passivation and degreasing are two completely separate, unrelated processes. If not degreased, then you cannot passivate. If not degreased, you will run into head retention problems. If not passivated properly, you may run into stainless corrosion problems.

    b. Our beer line still have manufacturing grease inside them (we have cleaned them several times but not with a high level caustic just beerline cleaner). Highly doubtful as the materials of manufacture don't generally involve grease. They can normally be fitted, cleaned once to remove general residual muck & bullets and then serve beer through them. If there is grease in there, the chances are you have introduced it plumbing it all together. I doubt very much if this is the problem - though residual chemical can affect the head retention.

    c. Our glassware (which is unnucleated) is being cleaned with a liquid that is effecting the bubble break out. Effective rinsing should resolve that if this is the cause.

    d. During one of my brewing processes I am aerating the wort too heavily. Irrelevant - does not affect carbonation.
    Hi Dick,

    Thanks for all your help. I just have a question regarding the dispense to clarify what you are saying. We have a direct pull system out of a Cold Room that is very large but sustains an even temperature between 3-4 degrees celsius. It is large enough and powerful enough that we do not see fluctuations in that temperature. What you are saying is that at 3 volumes the beer would need to be at 3 degrees or below to keep that carbonation in solution instead of it dispersing the way that it does? Is this correct? And if so would the easiest fix be to drop my carbonation to a more normal 2.4-2.5 volumes with the type of system we are running?

    Thank you again I will have a read through the BA link you sent.

    Cheers, Mitch.

  10. #10
    Join Date
    Jun 2012
    Location
    Daytona Beach
    Posts
    33

    Carbonation Discussion

    Quote Originally Posted by mitchrangebrew View Post
    I'm shooting for 2.7-3. I don't have a flow control only a regulator which I run at 15 PSI for carbonating. Do you believe this to be my problem?
    Don't know if you read this thread. Take a look. Might help figure out your carbonation process:
    https://discussions.probrewer.com/sh...l-to-2-volumes

    Also, here's a good book on foam. This can help you with recipe and brewing processes:
    https://my.mbaa.com/ItemDetail?iProductCode=19002

  11. #11
    Join Date
    Oct 2002
    Location
    Chesterfield, UK
    Posts
    1,786
    The equilibrium pressure of 6 g / litre (3 v/v) CO2 in beer / water at 1 bar pressure is approx. 3 deg C - so anything above that temperature is going to result in gas breakout.

    Pick up a CO2 solubility / temperature / pressure chart from the internet (Though I assume you have already done so), meheen put one on their web site.

    2.4 - 2.5 volumes (4.8 to 5 g / litre) - gives an equilibrium temperature of closer to 9 deg C. Don't forget your dispense system also plays a big role in whether you get gas breakout in the glass or not - again, there are various papers about line dispense design, and discussions somewhere here on PB.

    But in a nutshell, yes, reduce the CO2 content to 2.5 vol and you are far less likely to get excessive gas breakout.
    dick

  12. #12
    Join Date
    May 2018
    Location
    Newstead, QLD, Australia
    Posts
    7
    Quote Originally Posted by dick murton View Post
    The equilibrium pressure of 6 g / litre (3 v/v) CO2 in beer / water at 1 bar pressure is approx. 3 deg C - so anything above that temperature is going to result in gas breakout.

    Pick up a CO2 solubility / temperature / pressure chart from the internet (Though I assume you have already done so), meheen put one on their web site.

    2.4 - 2.5 volumes (4.8 to 5 g / litre) - gives an equilibrium temperature of closer to 9 deg C. Don't forget your dispense system also plays a big role in whether you get gas breakout in the glass or not - again, there are various papers about line dispense design, and discussions somewhere here on PB.

    But in a nutshell, yes, reduce the CO2 content to 2.5 vol and you are far less likely to get excessive gas breakout.
    Thanks for all of your help Dick. I greatly appreciate it!

    Mitch.

  13. #13
    Join Date
    May 2018
    Location
    Newstead, QLD, Australia
    Posts
    7
    Quote Originally Posted by BeachBrew View Post
    Don't know if you read this thread. Take a look. Might help figure out your carbonation process:
    https://discussions.probrewer.com/sh...l-to-2-volumes

    Also, here's a good book on foam. This can help you with recipe and brewing processes:
    https://my.mbaa.com/ItemDetail?iProductCode=19002
    Thanks for the help. I will look into both.

    Mitch.

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