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Thread: Beer Line blocked. not frozen or build up :confused:

  1. #1
    Join Date
    Nov 2019
    Location
    Melbourne
    Posts
    2

    Beer Line blocked. not frozen or build up :confused:

    Hi guys,


    Just after some advise on what people think could be the issue here, i've tried the tricks i know and this one has me beat.

    its a 12 tap system. Kegs in coolroom with fobs, glycol python runs under the floor to flooded font in bar.
    Was only installed 1.5 years ago, so beer lines are fairly new etc.

    All 12 taps worked perfect, until recently 1 tap has become blocked, only a very slow leak trickles out when tap is opened.

    First thing that came to mind was a frozen beer line, so have turned the glycol unit off for 48 hours, on multiple occasions including hot days, and that hasnt solved the issue. So have ruled out a frozen beer line.

    Next thing that came to mind was build up causing a blockage. The beer lines are cleaned regulary with 2 part chemical cleaner (system has a line cleaning pump, and flush out lines etc).
    In addition to the regular line cleaning, since this tap has been blocked i have given it extended soaking time line cleans with the 2 part cleaner. also let it soaked twice in sodium percarbonate (oxygen scrubber) just to change things up, and also given it two acid line cleans (phosphoric acid). This has not fixed the issue either.

    In the cool room, you can see the fob is filling up perfectly, and the beer lines also (which you can see in the cool room after the fob until it joins the python and then disappears under the building).
    At the tap end, i have dismantled the tap and font connections etc thinking there may have been build up, or an o-ring dislodged and blocking etc. But there is no issues at all. I swapped the tap and connections onto a different beer line on the font, and it works perfect on any other beer line, so have ruled out the tap and connections. With the tap and connections off, when i connect a keg up to the line, it still is only a slow trickle coming out of the open font, normally without a tap etc on it should gush out and spray at high pressure of course. I also got a pipe cleaner and pushed in into the font as far as it would go, and twisted / scrubbed, incase build up had been pushed through the lines and clogged up at tap point, but the pipe cleaner came out clean and there was nothing there to dislodge.

    So i am at a loss now to figure out what is going on.

    Only other thing i could think of, is if somehow a leak is happening in that line, which is inside the python, under the floorboards.
    But that doesnt make sense either as then the keg would then just drain. If i leave a keg on, and close the tap, check in a week, the keg is at the same level, so have ruled out a leak in the line.

    Does anyone have advise on what this could be and how to address?

    Any help / opinions is much appreciated

    Cheers

  2. #2
    Join Date
    Nov 2002
    Location
    Polson, Montana, USA
    Posts
    1,281
    Quote Originally Posted by JamesShaw84 View Post
    Hi guys,


    Just after some advise on what people think could be the issue here, i've tried the tricks i know and this one has me beat.

    its a 12 tap system. Kegs in coolroom with fobs, glycol python runs under the floor to flooded font in bar.
    Was only installed 1.5 years ago, so beer lines are fairly new etc.

    All 12 taps worked perfect, until recently 1 tap has become blocked, only a very slow leak trickles out when tap is opened.

    First thing that came to mind was a frozen beer line, so have turned the glycol unit off for 48 hours, on multiple occasions including hot days, and that hasnt solved the issue. So have ruled out a frozen beer line.

    Next thing that came to mind was build up causing a blockage. The beer lines are cleaned regulary with 2 part chemical cleaner (system has a line cleaning pump, and flush out lines etc).
    In addition to the regular line cleaning, since this tap has been blocked i have given it extended soaking time line cleans with the 2 part cleaner. also let it soaked twice in sodium percarbonate (oxygen scrubber) just to change things up, and also given it two acid line cleans (phosphoric acid). This has not fixed the issue either.

    In the cool room, you can see the fob is filling up perfectly, and the beer lines also (which you can see in the cool room after the fob until it joins the python and then disappears under the building).
    At the tap end, i have dismantled the tap and font connections etc thinking there may have been build up, or an o-ring dislodged and blocking etc. But there is no issues at all. I swapped the tap and connections onto a different beer line on the font, and it works perfect on any other beer line, so have ruled out the tap and connections. With the tap and connections off, when i connect a keg up to the line, it still is only a slow trickle coming out of the open font, normally without a tap etc on it should gush out and spray at high pressure of course. I also got a pipe cleaner and pushed in into the font as far as it would go, and twisted / scrubbed, incase build up had been pushed through the lines and clogged up at tap point, but the pipe cleaner came out clean and there was nothing there to dislodge.

    So i am at a loss now to figure out what is going on.

    Only other thing i could think of, is if somehow a leak is happening in that line, which is inside the python, under the floorboards.
    But that doesnt make sense either as then the keg would then just drain. If i leave a keg on, and close the tap, check in a week, the keg is at the same level, so have ruled out a leak in the line.

    Does anyone have advise on what this could be and how to address?

    Any help / opinions is much appreciated

    Cheers
    Howdy,
    Well, starting with some of the simplest: is that keg getting gas to build pressure to pour? Check the regulator, check the keg/keg coupler seal. After that, swap line parts with another line, try another keg of the same beer.
    Luck to you!
    Prost!
    Dave
    Glacier Brewing Company
    406-883-2595
    glacierbrewing@bresnan.net

    "who said what now?"

  3. #3
    Join Date
    Nov 2019
    Location
    Melbourne
    Posts
    2
    Hey Dave.

    Thank you for posting.

    Yep have tried all that but Unfortunatly still no luck.
    It remains a mystery

  4. #4
    Join Date
    Oct 2013
    Location
    Stuart, FL
    Posts
    497
    Quote Originally Posted by JamesShaw84 View Post
    All 12 taps worked perfect, until recently 1 tap has become blocked, only a very slow leak trickles out when tap is opened.

    So i am at a loss now to figure out what is going on.

    Does anyone have advise on what this could be and how to address?
    I have run itothis situation before with the same symptoms. Mine was a kink in the one Bev line. It would sometimes flow okay, but still restricted, other times it was a trickle. Did the same diagnosis and came to the same conclusion. Not the keg, not the tap faucet, not the gas, and regular cleaning, so no build up of calcium.

    We had a Tap tower, so I eventually disassembled and found the 90* tang inside the tower had twisted (probably from a genius bartender overtightening the faucet tower instead of reporting the original problem). It was angled against the frame pinching the line and causing restriction. Cut off 1/4”, readjusted and tightened the 90* tang, back in business.

    Hopefully you ran your python through a pvc “cable chase” so that you can remove and replace at a later date. You may have a kink somewhere in the line. I am guessing, but it’s likely you have a pinched line. It is probabaly where the lines split individually since you are only experiencing issues on one tap. It is still possible it could also be a piece of rubber oring or organic material stuck in the line too. I would disconnect keg coupler and tap, maybe even FOB, and back blow compressed air to see if I could blow out anything in reverse.

    One of these will solve your issue, 99% certain. Update us though, as I am curious.

  5. #5
    Join Date
    Jun 2012
    Location
    BEMIDJI, MN
    Posts
    141
    I suspect that UnFermentable's post may also contain your answer.

    Per the previous response, however, I've seen the gas check valves (thomas valves) stick closed before and totally prevent gas flow to the keg. Actually, when we did our new install when we expanded I made sure to go through every coupler and squeeze/pinch the rubber valve open to ensure that it wasn't molded shut from manufacturing. With fobs + a longer draw system, even a partial keg that has a good amount of pressure buffer in the headspace may not have enough oomph to pour good right out of the gate, given the amount of restrictions it has to pass through.

    From the sounds of it though, I'm guessing it is mechanical pinching of the line somewhere.

  6. #6
    Join Date
    Aug 2010
    Location
    Enterprise, Oregon
    Posts
    1,988
    Have you tried back-flushing that line?
    Timm Turrentine

    Brewerywright,
    Terminal Gravity Brewing,
    Enterprise. Oregon.

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