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iKegger FAQ & Trouble Shooting

Trouble Shooting Guide - Common Problems, Manual Downloads etc.


DO NOT SCREW IN OR REMOVE GAS BULBS / SODASTREAM ETC FROM A REGULATOR WITH IT TURNED ON!
If the needle on your gauge is not returning to zero or the bolt labelled 1.8k on the back of the regulator is venting gas it is almost definitely because you didn't turn the regulator off first.
Make sure you unwind the regulator all the way anti-clockwise before adding or removing gas source.
IT NOT REPAIRABLE OR COVERED BY WARRANTY IF THIS HAPPENS!


The Ball Lock Spear Exploded View

Download A Manual For Your Product

Click a button below to download a printable PDF version of your user manual.



The Coffee Spear Exploded View


trouble shooting nitrogen keg packages - coffee, cocktails etc.

AFTER LEAVING OVERNIGHT THERE IS NO GAS LEFT

  1. The more empty space in the keg the more gas you need to pressurise it. Was the keg pressurised before you left it, or did you just put some gas into the empty space? (pull the release valve briefly, gas should rush out)
  2. Liquid absorbs the gas. Pure nitrogen especially will dissolve into the coffee, this is what gives it the cascading bubbles effect when poured. Pressure will drop as the gas dissolves into the liquid.
  3. You have a leak. Check all connections, nuts etc are tight and not leaking (put soapy water on any suspect spots or hold the pressurised keg underwater to look for bubbles)

THE TAP DRIPS AFTER POURING

  1. With stout / coffee / nitro spout the tap will always drip a little after pouring. The premium stout tap will drip the least as it's designed differently and specifically for nitro. The spout of all nitro systems has liquid in it still when the pressure pushing it it taken away (the tap is closed). The remaining liquid will slowly drip through the tiny holes in the spout. A drip tray or mat is a good idea.
  2. If the tap continues to drip for a long time after pouring and you think it's actually a leak you can take them apart to check everything is correctly assembled inside. For a parts diagram see here for the Chrome Tap on Plastic Disconnect and here for the Stainless Flow Control Tap.
 

If the drip is coming from the ring securing the tap to the shank adapter and disconnect then ensure you use the included tool to tighten the ring of the tap shank adapter onto the tap.

If there is a leak between the cone shaped part of the tap shank adapter and the liquid disconnect make sure you mesh the teeth of the tap and cone and use the tap as a lever to tighten that joint.

foam DISSIPATES very quickly

  1. Contents not chilled, make sure all liquid is chilled as much as possible. Nitrogen gas does not cool the contents of the keg, you still need to chill them in a fridge or ice. The insulated growlers will maintain the temperature for a long period but the contents still need to start chilled.
  2. Contents not shaken enough. After injecting the gas you need to give the contents a good shake to dissolve the gas into it. You can hear the sound of the liquid change as it becomes frothy if you listen.
  3. Alcohol percentage is too high. Shaking straight vodka (or water) will never produce a foamy head. In one of our videos we suggest 1/3 of each coffee, vodka and Kahlua for a martini however in further experiments and talking to bartenders we think 50% coffee, 25% each of vodka and Kahlua gives better results.
  4. Coffee blend has a high oil content. Like oil on rough seas, coffee beans with a high oil content will prevent the foam from staying around long.
  5. Not enough gas pressure. You need minimum 40psi of pressure to force coffee through the spout and have the desired effect. We would usually put 9L of coffee in a 10L keg then inject one N2O bulb and shake well. We'd then put in one more bulb and begin pouring, once the flow slowed down we'd inject another bulb to continue. If using the pure nitrogen bulbs you will need more than this, they only contain 2g of gas as opposed to the N2O bulbs which have 8g.

THE TAP DRIPS AFTER POURING

AFTER LEAVING OVERNIGHT THERE IS NO GAS LEFT

 

Flow Slows Down To A dribble or stops completely

  1. Pull pressure release valve, if no gas comes out put in a new bulb or two
  2. If gas comes out the pressure release, unscrew the spout of the tap and check that the metal plate is clean and the 5 tiny holes are not blocked
  3. If the metal plate and holes are clear take them out and try pouring with just the white plastic piece in the spout. If it is restricting flow too much you can cut a little notch in the side to allow more liquid through or contact us for a replacement if you are not comfortable doing that.

Which Gas Should I Use?

We provide 2 different gases for use when producing coffee, cocktails etc. These are pure nitrogen (N2) and nitrous oxide (N2O). Either can be used, it's up to personal preference however they behave slightly differently and it may take some experimentation to get the outcome you are looking for.

  1. Pure Nitrogen (N2) is available in a few different forms. We sell 2g disposable bulbs in packs of 10 (for use with the bulb injector packages). We also have 2.2L disposable gas bottles (with around 280g of Nitrogen) that use our M10 threaded regulators. You can also get a gas bottle filled with nitrogen by your local gas supplier and use one of our dual gauge regulators that usually have a type 30 thread on them (however you will probably need to have this changed to a type 50 thread which is what most nitrogen bottles are in Australia).
  2. Nitrous Oxide (N2O) we only sell in 8g disposable bulbs (the same size as the 2g N2 bulbs) so you can use either option in the bulb injector system.

I personally use the N2O bulbs for all my nitro drinks for the following reasons

  1. They give immediate results. You simply inject the bulb(s), shake and pour. Using pure nitrogen you will get better results after leaving for at least a few hours for the gas to dissolve into the liquid.
  2. You use less bulbs. 8g of N2O is in the same size and price bulb of N2 that only contains 2g. You need many more bulbs to dispense the same amount of liquid using pure nitrogen than using nitrous oxide.
  3. I'm generally pouring either for myself (I keep a keg of cold brew next to my desk at work) or I'm using it at parties for espresso martini so I don't care about the cascading bubbles which look nice visually (see below).

Some of the coffee roasters / cafes that we deal with do not like to use N2O however for 2 reasons.

  1. We've been told that N2O imparts a slight sweetness to the beverage (I don't notice but I'm not a coffee person).
  2. The foam that N2O creates is not so much like the cascading bubbles of a Guinness but more the dense head of an espresso martini. If you are specifically after the cascading bubbles you need to use pure nitrogen.

How Many Bulbs or What pressure gas?

These are all a matter of personal preference depending on what you want to achieve with your system and will likely require some experimentation on your part as things like coffee blend, strength, type of gas, pressure used, temperature served at, length of shaking and resting time will all alter the final product.

In general I personally use the following method:

  1. Make a batch of cold brew coffee using 80g of course ground coffee per litre of water infusing for 12 hours in the fridge before straining.
  2. Pour the chilled, carefully strained cold brew into a keg leaving 1L of free space (4L of coffee in a 5L keg for example).
  3. Screw on lid and inject one bulb of N2O before shaking well. I listen for the sound to change as the drink becomes frothy in the keg.
  4. Inject another bulb to provide plenty of pouring pressure
  5. Attach tap and pour as needed, you can detach the tap to store the system when not needed.
  6. If the flow slows down, inject further bulbs as needed (I find that 2-3 bulbs is plenty for the 5L keg, 3-4 bulbs for the 10L keg).

If you are using pure nitrogen (N2) bulbs you will need to use more bulbs than this. I personally have not had enough experience to say how many, but on the packet it says one bulb per 500ml of coffee (I think that is an over estimation though).

If you are using a bottle of N2 gas then I attach the gas disconnect to the keg and turn the pressure up to 45psi. Shake well and then leave to sit for a couple of hours with the pressure still set to 45psi. You will also pour at 45psi so just check how the brew looks after a few hours by pouring a small amount. You can always speed up absorption by shaking the keg for longer or more vigorously.


keg size and volume guide

KEG SIZE AND VOLUME GUIDE

 

Below is a table that details the dimensions and volume that each of our kegs and growlers can hold and below that the height of each of the taps. Please ensure you consider the height of both the vessel and tap.

  Diameter Height Volume
2L "The Beiber" Mini Keg (with lid) 13.5cm
20cm
2L / 6 "stubbies"
2L "The Growler" (with lid) 13cm
30cm
  2L / 6 "stubbies"
4L "BBW" Growler (with lid) 15cm 37cm 4L / 12 "stubbies"
4L "The Johnson" Mini Keg (with lid) 13.5cm 35cm
4L / 12 "stubbies"
5L "The Choad" Mini Keg (with lid) 17.5cm 28cm 5L / 15 "stubbies"
10L "Mandingo" Mini Keg (with lid) 17.5cm 50cm 10L / 30 "stubbies"
19L Cornelius "The Dominator" 21.5cm 63cm 19L / 57 "stubbies"

The below heights are from the mouth of the keg to the highest point of the tap when it is attached to the ball lock spear.

Plastic Picnic Tap and Pluto Gun 12cm
Standard Chrome Tap 22cm
Steel Tap / Flow Steel Tap on Steel Disconnect 20cm

cleaning and sanitising your equipment

initial Cleaning

Kegs and Growlers

  • Be sure to remove the silicon sachet from mini kegs and growlers before cleaning
  • Clean your keg or growler well before first use, we recommend using sodium percarbonate cleaner initially and then again if you find sediment etc stuck inside them.
  • If you rinse well with hot water after use each time you can just use sanitiser before filling (or very hot water).

All Other Items

  • If they will be in contact with your beverage soak for 2min in the no-rinse sanitiser prior to use.

Cleaning taps, liquid lines etc

The easiest way we find is to just put a couple of litres of diluted no-rinse sanitiser in the keg, growler, fermenter etc and then run it through the system as if it was your beverage. Ensure that it flows through all the lines, taps etc and is left in contact with them for 2min to sanitise the surfaces (turn the tap off with all the lines full, leave 2min then turn them back on again). See the video below.


filling your mini keg or growler

Filling from fermenter or keg

For the home-brewers you can fill the mini kegs the exact same way as you fill bottles, rack into cleaned and sanitised kegs and seal with cap or spear. If you have one of our pressurisable Fermentasaurus you can use the pressure in the chamber to push the brew through the ball lock connections to ensure zero chance of infection or contact with oxygen.

To do a keg to keg transfer put the regulator onto the beer filled keg and join the liquid out post of it to either the liquid or gas post on the iKegger (only when using the double ball lock spear) by releasing the pressure on the iKegger the brew will transfer across through the daisy chain link. You can also leave the 2 kegs connected inside you kegerator with the tap connected to the smaller keg. This way you can un-hook it and take it with you full at a moments notice.

filling at a brewery or bar

This is awesome for bringing home that delicious beer you just tasted at your local. There are hundreds of new venues providing this service opening every month so keep your eyes out and let us know of any you find! The facilities at each venue are different, some will clean and sanitise your keg for you, some have CO2 taps to flush your keg first, some have direct connections to their kegs for no-fuss filling. However for best practise:

  • Make sure your keg is clean and sanitised before you arrive.
  • Have you keg chilled or ask them to chill it for a few minutes first.
  • Flush the chilled keg with CO2 or ask them to if they are able. If they have the facilities ask them to fill through the ball lock spear using a keg to keg transfer or direct connection to a tap, if they can do this you are set. No more steps for you!
  • If they don't do that then they will most likely fill through the open mouth of the keg with a hose on the tap to prevent splashing / foaming and fill inside the "cushion" of CO2.
  • Once filled screw the lid back on and flush with CO2 again for a second or two.
  • Store at 10-12psi, you can remove the regulator once pressurised. Drink at 3-5psi unless you have a flow restrictor in which case leave it at 10-12psi and adjust the flow to suit.

filling from bottles and cans

This is a great way to leave the rubbish at home and take your beer with you in a great looking, easy to carry keg or growler that lets you have beer on tap anywhere. It also weighs nearly half of the same volume of beer in glass bottles, takes up half as much space in the esky and is virtually unbreakable.

  • Chill the keg or growler in the freezer for a few minutes first (take the lid off the growler as the insulation will keep it room temperature all day in the freezer). Having the keg cold stops the beer losing carbonation and foaming up as you fill it.
  • Inject the keg/growler with CO2 for a couple of seconds (using the injector or regulator) this pushes out any oxygen and will keep your beer fresh for much longer) Tilt the keg or growler and pour the beer with as little disturbance as possible down the inside wall.
  • Once filled screw the lid on and while holding open the bleed valve (on steel taps) or leaving the cap slightly unscrewed (on the picnic tap) inject more CO2 to clear out any remaining oxygen.
  • Pressurise to about 10 psi if storing the drink or you have a premium flow control tap.
  • Pressurise to about 3-5psi if drinking immediately using the standard or stainless steel taps without flow control. The picnic tap injector has no gauge to tell pressure so you will just need a bit of practise but a 1 second press will get about the right pressure for storage or serving.

carbonating homebrew in a keg

Can I naturally carbonate / secondary ferment in a keg?

Yes! Absolutely you can. You will need to use less sugar than if you were bottling however. The best method is to bulk prime the entire batch by adding a sugar syrup to the keg before filling with your wort on top. You can use a spunding valve to regulate at what pressure extra CO2 is released from the keg to give a more consistent carbonation level, however force carbonating is one of the best reasons to keg your brew! Do away with the whole priming, secondary fermentation, extra sediment and time spent waiting by simply carbonating your brew using gas pressure!

how is force carbonating in kegs different to bottle conditioning

One of the greatest thing about kegging over bottling is the ability to carbonate your beer as soon as you transfer your brew to keg. If you use a pressurised fermenter like the Fermentasaurus you can even have your beer carbonated by the time primary fermentation finishes!

Rather than transferring your brew to bottles with a form of sugar after primary fermentation finishes and then waiting for a few weeks for the remaining yeast to convert that to CO2 you simply transfer the whole brew to a keg and pressurise it, forcing gas into it in a similar way that a sodastream machine makes carbonated water from plain water (don't try using a sodastream machine, disaster awaits!)

how do i force carbonate my brew?

There are multiple ways to force carbonate, generally the faster you carbonate the more unreliable the result. The level and speed of achieving carbonation is based on 4 things; time, temperature, pressure and surface area. Increasing any of these increases the absorbtion of CO2 into the liquid until an equilibrium is reached.

  • Increasing the time under pressure increases the CO2 absorbed into the liquid until the pressure above the liquid is in equilibrium with the amount dissolved into it.
  • Increasing the pressure increases the speed at which CO2 is absorbed and raises the carbonation level that will be reached before hitting equilibrium.
  • Decreasing the temperature increases the amount of CO2 that can be dissolved into the liquid and increases the speed at which it is absorbed.
  • Increasing the surface area in contact between the liquid and CO2 increases the speed of absorption. This can be done by rocking, rolling or shaking the keg.

The most reliable method, and the only one that I use myself is to set the regulator to about 12-14psi and put the keg into the fridge for at least a few days. Using this method you can just leave it and it will never over-carbonate, you just start pouring yourself beers once it's carbonated enough and continue till you run out of beer.

You can determine the ideal gas pressure etc for your setup using this calculator: https://www.brewersfriend.com/keg-carbonation-calculator/

You can carbonate much faster by increasing the pressure you carbonate at and agitating the keg while you do so. For example you could set the regulator at 25psi and roll the keg on the ground for 5-15min depending on the size of the keg and then let it rest for an hour or so. There is however a good chance you will over or under-carbonate the brew and have to keep fiddling to get it right.

is there a cheaper way to force carbonate?

Yes! Basically the more gas you buy at once the cheaper it is...

Our mini regulator fits 16g threaded CO2 canisters as standard, these are ideal for taking beer with you out and about as they are small and lightweight.

  • If you plan on force carbonating a lot of beer though they can become expensive (the cheapest you'll find them is about $1.10 each if you buy in large bulk numbers).
  • To combat this we have another adaptor custom made for us. The sodastream adapter allows you to fit a 400g Sodastream bottle, these are the equivalent of 25 x 16g bulbs and are easy to swap for full ones at thousands of retailers around Australia for $19. These hold enough gas to carbonate and dispense about 50L of beer or two whole home-brew batches.

We also have available a different mini regulator that is for using 2.2L disposable CO2 and Nitrogen bottles. These are great for home-brewers who use a larger amount of gas or anyone who wants the option of doing stouts, coffee, cocktails etc on nitro!

We also have full size dual gauge regulators for larger CO2 bottles. These are the best option for a high volume home brewer. They are not a portable unit at all however a refill has the same amount of CO2 as approx 160 of the 16g bulbs and costs around $35 instead of the $180 it would cost you using bulbs.


 

 

TALK TO MARVIN - THE SLAVE ROBOT WE KEEP LOCKED IN THE BASEMENT

He can give you information on our equipment, troubleshooting tips, shipping information and help you find packages that match your needs just by answering a couple of multiple choice questions.

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