The Pros and Cons of Foam on Beer (FOBs)

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The FOB detects an empty keg and stops beer flow, which eliminates the foam created by an empty keg. It also eliminates the need to refill lines with beer and purge air from the system. With an FOB installed on a beer line, when a keg hits empty and the bartender taps the new keg, the tap will immediately pour beer. 

The system won’t create any foam waste or cause system downtime. In addition, bars won’t have to pay the extra labor costs incurred when an employee has to spend time cleaning up the mess in a cooler with a blown empty keg.

Systems that don’t have an FOB will cause the tap to start spitting and spraying foam when the keg is emptied.

FOBs are used to keep beer lines full after a keg is blown. Instead of filling an entire run — sometimes over 200’ full of foam — the FOB stops the foam before it gets into the main trunk line. The end result is serious money savings for the bar or restaurant.

FOBs are also usually a misunderstood piece of equipment in a bar. Oftentimes, new employees and managers are asked to change the keg without undergoing proper training in resetting an FOB. 

It’s important for staff to be trained on how FOBs work. 

Another common issue with FOBs is maintenance. Since the FOB is full of beer, it will become dirty in the same way other equipment will. Knobs can become sticky and hard to reset. In a worst case scenario, an extremely dirty bleed valve (vent) will stick in the open position and cause an entire keg to bleed through it.

The best way to clean an FOB is during an entire system clean, with a recirculating pump. Use a caustic solution every two weeks and conduct acid cleanings every four weeks for beer dispensing systems.

To clean the system with FOBs in place, twist the knobs into an upright position and turn them clockwise. Press the vent or purge button on the side a few times while flush cleaning to ensure the vent doesn’t get stuck in this position.

Leave the FOB in the upright position until the entire system has been flushed and the pH reading is between 7 and 8 before adding beer into the system.

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