keg not carbonating

Keg Not Carbonating – 4 Common Causes & Easy Fixes

Installing a kegerator for your beer is thrilling. And you can’t wait to enjoy your tasty carbonated beer straight from the tap. But to your disappointment, your beer is flat.

So what could be the cause behind your keg not carbonating

There could be multiple reasons for keg not carbonating. To fix this issue you need to first give it enough time in the kegerator. After that make sure that there’s enough pressure in the kegerator. If you have worn-out rings then try replacing them. Lastly, set the keg at the correct temperature. 

Well, that’s the basic idea. But if you want to identify exactly what happened. You need a lot more info. And that’s why we prepared the perfect article for you. 

So let’s get right into the article!

Beer and the Kegerator

For homebrewers, kegging is a really fun way to store your beer. You’re getting carbonated beer straight from the tap. How better can it get?

Some people use the freezer or a fridge as a kegerator replacement. Then you take your kegerator and pour your beer into it. And you apply pressure, ideally 25-30 psi. This pressure can vary for different kinds of beer.

Now you may wonder, how to naturally carbonate beer in a keg? 

You can naturally carbonate beer in a keg by applying pressure and pushing it around. Then do a wobbling motion, and that ensures that the CO2 in the air will enter your beer.

carbonate beer in a keg
Source: upthirst.com

And when it goes wrong what is the problem? You are left with non-carbonated flat beer. Which does not taste good at all. And it totally defeats the purpose of the kegerator.

So why is it that your beer won’t carbonate in a keg

Well, there are quite an array of factors that can contribute to your beer not carbonating in a keg. You need to maintain the correct pressure and timing from the very start. Also, there can be a problem with the kegerator. Or your beer could be at the wrong temperature when you’re serving.

Force carbonating a beer in a keg is not desirable by many as you can see-

So let’s take a look at what could be the causes behind this problem and explore the solutions to solve it.

Common Causes Behind Your Keg Not Carbonating 

As homebrewers, there are lots of challenges that you have to face. Mostly because brewing is a process where a lot of small things can go wrong. And they can totally change the outcome.

Let’s look at some common reasons that will answer why is my beer not carbonating.

Not Giving It Enough Time To Carbonate:

Carbonating isn’t a fast process. Ideally the proper pressure, you need at least a week to carbonate your beer properly. And depending on what your beer is, it can take longer.

So if you don’t give it enough time in the kegerator, the beer would come out flat. 

Solution:

If you notice that your beer is still flat after being in the kegerator, just give it some more time. Depending on your beer and the weather, it can take more than a week to get the best results in a kegerator.

Not Enough Pressure: 

A common cause for flat beers could be that your keg has no pressure. Ensuring the right amount of pressure is a must. And carbonating pressure also varies from serving pressure.

Solution:

Carbonating pressure is nearly 25 psi depending on what beer it is. And while serving you should maintain 15-18 psi pressure. Some beer might need less and some might need a bit more.

Now let’s look into the correct pressure for different products using different glasses.

Gas TypeProductPSI Range
CO2Almost every beer style and ciders8-12
CO2Sparkling Water8-12
CO2Kombucha & Sparkling Tea8-12
CO2Sparkling Wine8-12
Mixed Gas/Beer GasGuinness (Along with Nitro Stout Faucet)32-37
NitrogenRegular & Cold Brew Coffee8-12
NitrogenCold Brew (With Nitro Stout Faucet)38-42
NitrogenNon-sparkling Tea8-12
NitrogenNon-sparkling wine (White and Red Wine)8-12

Use this as a guide to fixing the pressure inside the kegerator. 

Problem With The Kegerator: 

The most common cause out there is a problem with the kegerator itself. Because as you know, you must maintain a specific pressure to carbonate your beer.

Problem With The Kegerator
Source: hazyandhoppy.com

But there might be a problem with the regulator in the kegerator. The o rings in the kegerator ensure a tight seal. But if there is damage then it’ll leak out the CO2. 

Solution:

Now, how can you check if your keg has any leaks? Firstly you need to make a concoction with 90 percent water and 10 percent soap.

And then spray this mixture on your kegerator. Mostly where the connections are and the o rings. If there is any leak you’ll see big bubbles forming.

Now, if you find your kegerator leaking then you need to replace the o-ring. Now not all o-rings found on the market are long-lasting. So, it’s important for you to choose the right one. 

Well, fortunately for you I’ve tried a lot of o-rings when mine got worn out. From my experience, I found the OCGIG 225 Pcs O-Ring from Amazon to work really well. Also, it’s super cheap. 

Now, here’s how you can install a new o-ring of your kegerator. 

Before you can do anything, start by depressurizing the keg. Be sure to depressurize the keg properly. After that take out the beer post and dip tube. And then install a new o-ring. 

That’s it. The O-ring should be fine now. 

Not Setting The Keg At The Correct Temperature: 

This is another factor that can be mistaken by new homebrewers. It’s common science that if your beer is warmer, then the capacity it takes in CO2 increases.

Keg At The Correct Temperature
Source: seriouseats.com

You need to keep your keg at a suitable temperature. If you see there is no foam or visible carbonation, you can feel the stingy taste of CO2. That means your beer has carbonation but it’s too cold.

Solution:

So ideally, keep the temperature of your keg between 8 to 13 depending on what beer you have.

These are the common answers to why is my beer flat keg. But these types of mistakes are common in homebrewing. Because that’s where you learn.

Now we also need to know how to revive flat beer. Because we can’t let the good beer go to waste. So let’s head down and check out some solutions that you can try.

Getting The Keg Working, Fixing Flat Beers & Cautions 

Ending up with flat beer is really disappointing. These tips will help you get the best outcome from your brewing, making it rewarding.

Keep Your Kegerator In Check:

Most of the time the cause behind the flat beer is a problem in the keg. If there is any leak then it will be flat no matter how many days you wait.

So use the soapy water technique that was described earlier. Do this frequently to check for any leaks in the kegerator. If there are any leaks or worn-out rings then replace them.

And if you have a long pipe that leads to the tap. It can be the cause of the flat beer and also beer not pulling through. So use a shorter and wider pipe and see if the problem solves.

If you find your keg to be damaged beyond repair then I recommend getting a new one. It will actually save your money in the long run. 

Now, don’t just get any kegerator that would break down easily. As someone who has been homebrewing for the last 15 years, I have a few favourites when it comes to kegerators. 

Investing in one of these will save you from future troubles. 

Control The Beer Temperature: 

As we discussed earlier, a warm bear will not have the right carbonated feel. As well as cold beer too. So you must keep it at the correct temperature.

Warm beer will have loads of foam with little to no carbonation in it. And cold beer will give you the stinginess of the CO2 but it’ll not give the right feel.

To do that you can install the Coldtower Kegerator Tower Cooler. This will circulate water throughout the outside of the kegerator. And that can keep your beer from being warm or too cold.

Maintaining The Correct Serving Pressure:

Serving your beer through the tap at an incorrect serving pressure will also make your beer flat.

While carbonating you must keep the keg at nearly 25 psi pressure all the time. But when serving you need to lower it down to 15-18 psi. 

This pressure can vary and it’s best to know beforehand the desired pressure of your beer.

Fixing Over Carbonated Keg:

Just like under carbonation will make your beer flat. In the same way, over-carbonating your beer will also make it flat. So it’s all about a balance.

So, how to fix over-carbonated keg?

First of all, to fix an over-carbonated keg you need to disconnect the CO2 pipe. Then you need to purge the head space. Leaving your gas unhooked will let the extra gas go to the head space. It may take a few hours. Try pouring at serving temperature again, and repeat until it’s perfectly carbonated.

And that will fix your over-carbonated keg and provide you with the taste you aimed for.

That’s it! The causes have been cleared and solutions found. Now there should be no barriers between you and a gorgeous pint of beer.

Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs)

Is Foam Desired In Beer?

Certainly yes, foam is desired in beer. The right amount of head foam is obviously wanted. Many brewers use specific grains to improve head retention in beer. Because it captures the aroma of the beer and makes it more enjoyable.

Does Roasted Grain Give The Same Effect As Malted Grains?

No, roasted grains don’t give the same effect as malted grains. Malted grains are pre-gelatinized and a lot of their enzymes are already at play. Converting starch into sugar. But roasted grains mostly affect the flavour and the colour. It gives the beer a darker color and makes it taste smoky in flavour.

Is A Longer Mashing Better For Beer?

Longer mashing is good for the beer. Because during the mashing of the grain starches get time to turn into sugar. This also means increased enzyme activity and overall better taste. There are other factors like pH-dependent here too.

Wrapping Up

Hopefully, keg not carbonating will not be your headache anymore. Homebrewing is complicated work. And you deserve to enjoy a nice tasty beer at the end.

Always try to maintain an accurate serving pressure and temperature to have the perfect glass of beer. 

So until next time, keep brewing!

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