It's always frustrating when we get called by a bar/restaurant manager or owner because their beer is literally getting poured down the drain due to the beer not flowing right (in most cases, foamy) and after we get to the account and do some simple troubleshooting, we discover that the regulator has been adjusted in an attempt to overcome the problem. Yes, instinctual response for most bar employees is to adjust the regulator to try to fix the issue. However, adjusting the regulator may not always be the solution. Let's explore some reasons why beer pours foamy, too fast, or too slow, and discuss ways to overcome these problems.
One of the most common reasons for foamy beer is incorrect temperature. Beer that is too warm will not only taste bad, but it will also be foamy. On the other hand, beer that is too cold may pour too slowly. It's important to maintain the proper temperature for each type of beer to prevent these issues. A good rule of thumb is to keep the beer temperature between 36 and 38 degrees Fahrenheit.
Dirty beer lines
Dirty beer lines are another common culprit of foamy or improperly poured beer. Over time, beer lines can build up with organic and inorganic materials that can clog the lines and affect the flow rate. Regular cleaning of beer lines is important to maintain the quality and flavor of the beer. A professional draught system installer can help with cleaning and maintaining beer lines to ensure that the beer is poured properly.
Another factor that affects the flow rate is line restriction. If the beer lines are too narrow, it can cause the flow rate to slow down, leading to over-carbonation and excessive foaming. If the beer lines are too wide, it can cause the beer to lose its carbonation and become flat. It's important to use the appropriate size beer lines for each type of beer to ensure that it pours smoothly and maintains its carbonation level.
As mentioned earlier, adjusting the regulator should not be the first step in solving issues with beer flow and we usually only have to make adjustments because the regulator was the easiest place for the owner, manager or bartender to try and correct the problem. It seems logical right? In most cases, WRONG! Making unnecessary adjustments to the regulator can cause unintended consequences such as changes in the temperature and carbonation level of the beer. Before adjusting the regulator, it's important to first check the temperature and the size of the beer lines. Ideally, regulator adjustments should be made by a qualified professional such as a brewery or distributor representative who knows what they are doing.
If you're experiencing problems with foam...or beer that's pouring too slow or too fast, the regulator is not the first thing that you should be adjusted. Instead, check the temperature, cleanliness of the beer lines, or line restriction first. Working with a professional draught technician can help identify and fix any issues with your system, and ensure that your customers are served high-quality beer that pours smoothly and tastes great. By understanding the reasons why beer pours foamy, too fast, or too slow, you can prevent these issues and provide the best possible experience for your customers.