Overcompensating for Bad Regulators
We’ve covered why gas pressure is vitally important for pouring beer, so let’s talk about the applied pressure from the secondary regulator. The biggest lynchpin in the system can be the secondary regulator. When you set the pressure, you assume that you can just set it, forget it, and not give it another thought. During our testing of regulators last summer, we found that wasn’t the case. In common industry-standard regulators, we found the pressure inside of the keg would drop up to 4psi before the regulator would open and allow gas to flow.
Let’s utilize our EasyBlend app to show how this pressure drop can affect the CO2 content of the beer. For example, we have a keg of generic beer, 2.5 CO2 v/v, 5% ABV, 38F at sea level. To keep that beer in equilibrium, you need to apply 11psi of 100% CO2. So, if you set your common secondary regulator to 11psi but it drops 4psi before gas flows, you only have 7psi applied after pouring some beers. The CO2 content of the beer adjusts to keep the beer in equilibrium, so it also drops to 2.1 CO2 v/v. This drop will cause CO2 to break out in the line and it may have a foamy pour. Foamy beer doesn’t mean that it is pouring too quickly, but that’s often what is assumed. The bartender may go back and see the gauge at 7psi and set it back to 11psi. Gas starts flowing, the beers pour better, and the regulator eventually recovers. But now the set pressure is 15psi which means you have an additional 4psi of gas pressure on the beer in the keg, which will over carbonate the beer to 2.9 CO2 v/v!
Now I bet you're wondering how you can help to resolve this issue. The solution? Most options can be expensive but getting a higher quality regulator could help with your bottom line (and maybe stop your servers from adjusting them). Our new Secondary TruRegs™ have between a 1psi-1.5psi pressure drop, and a short recovery time. This means that your pressure will be within 1.5psi of the set pressure at all times.
I can’t stop hyping our EasyBlend app: it’s free, helpful, and does the math for you (if you are numerically challenged like me). But also, check out our testing summary of secondary regulators, which includes the test data of our new Secondary TruRegs™.