# How do I reduce the amount of head when dispensing from a keg?

I just got a couple of used kegs from a former brew club member, he had to move away and sell all his brewing supplies :-(

The good news was that I picked up two kegs, a CO2 tank and all the required supplies for cheap.

However I've got an issue, when I pour there is too much head. I've got a double IPA in there at the moment, and every glass I pour is 90% head.

I've turned the CO2 tank all the way down.

One thing I should mention is that my freezer at this point in time isn't tall enough for keg's so I've got this keg sitting in my basement, which, while chilly, isn't cold. So the beer is relatively warm, however it is so good that I love drinking it at this temperature.

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What PSI is the tank set to? At a "high" temp you'd need a higher PSI to get any carbonation. Foam can be causes by many issues, not just too high a pressure setting. –  brewchez Sep 27 '11 at 3:00
The title is somewhat misleading. The real question should probably be something along the lines of "How do I reduce the amount of head when dispensing from a keg?". –  Tim Oct 5 '11 at 20:16

The problem may not be too much pressure in the keg as much as serving lines that are too short. You want the net pressure at the tap to be pretty close to zero. To do that you need to figure in the resistance of the beer lines. Generally it's 22-3 psi/ft. So, if the beer is set at 12 psi. you need 4-6 feet of line to drop the pressure at the tap. Once you're certain that the beer itself is not overcarbed (as the other answers explain) be sure that your system is balanced in respect to serving pressure.

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Base on this:byo.com/stories/techniques/article/indices/39-kegging/… I think Denny's estimation of beer line resistance is a bit high. It also depends on the internal diameter of the line. –  Tobias Patton Oct 8 '11 at 18:33

To lower the pressure you just need to keep bleeding it. I'd set the pressure to the proper pressure for the carb level you are looking for. Then bleed the keg pressure twice a day for a couple days. THen try the beer again and see if its at the right level.

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Even if you turn the CO2 down, there may still be pressure in the headspace of the keg. Flip the regulator off on the CO2 and pull on the pressure release valve on top of the keg. A lot of hissing will ensue as the CO2 races out. You might as well let it depressurize completely as CO2 is cheap. On a side note, don't breathe directly from this stream of exiting CO2, I don't know why you would, but just don't. Anyway, after you depressurize, set your regulator to about 4psi and turn it back on.

After doing this, the beer can still be overcarbonated for a while. However, I've found that once I'm on the correct serving pressure, after a couple days the beer releases some of the extra CO2 and goes back to good carbonation levels. I have never tried forcibly getting CO2 out of suspension (i.e. shaking the keg and letting off the CO2) but I suppose that is an option if you are desperate. I would note that exiting CO2 will carry off aromatics with it, which might not be good for retaining hop flavor on an IPA.

I'd say your best bet after depressurizing is to wait a couple days and let the beer naturally settle a bit. Also a couple pouring notes, if you just got the kegs. Some people when they get too much head try to pour slowly and only push down the valve halfway or so. I find this actually dramatically increases foaming as the beer gets forced through too small of an opening and gets lots of eddy currents and disturbances. If you actually push down all the way you get less foam since the stream can flow uninterrupted. I also find that if I start pouring into a sink and then move to a glass once the stream has started I get less foam. The first initial blast is usually more foamy, but once it's started it's much less so.

Anyway good luck, and enjoy the keg. Remember what you carbonated the beer at this time and remember to use less pressure on your next batch! They can be a little finicky when you are getting used to them, but now that I've had them for a couple years I would never dream of going back.

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