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August 24, 2020

Beer FOB (Foam On Beer) The Ultimate Users Guide

 What is a FOB ?

 FOB (Foam On Beer )  stop the flow of beer once a keg empties. Beer FOB’s reduces beer loss associated with changing a keg and re-tapping it.

Link: For a Beer Fob

Picture of a FOB

Beer FOB used to keep beer lines full after a keg blows.

While available in different designs, plastic, and stainless steel most operate the same way. They also feature a float in a sealed chamber that drops when beer from the keg stops.

FOB’s are set up in beer walk-in coolers next to where beer kegs rest. They are usually connected directly to beer pumps, or attached to beer product lines if blended gas pushes beer through the beer system.

The FOB allows beer lines downstream to stay packed full of beer. This makes for less product loss and generates savings for the account.

 FOB’s are set up on remote beer systems, where beer travels a distance from the beer cooler, usually hundreds of feet. By stoping the flow of beer to the main truck line. The only beer that's wasted is a jumper line which is about 5-6’ inside the cooler.

 Beer FOB Instructions

Beer Waste Reduced

When a FOB is working on a long draw beer line and a beer keg empties, the beer flow stops immediately. The main beer line running to the beer tower still remains full of beer, and isn't filled with foam and air.

Thus, keeping the main beer line full of beer eliminating the need to refill the lines and purge the entire system.  By skipping the step, it will significantly reduce beer waste for the property.

Beer Flow Operates the FOB

When beer is flowing through the FOB. The chamber is full of beer, with the float raised up. It will stay like this as long as there’s beer coming in from the keg. As soon as a keg runs out of beer the float will lower because there’s no beer raising the float. The float will then seal off the passageway between the trunkline and keg.

To change kegs untap the spent keg and tap a new keg with the beer coupler. Twist the top of the FOB counterclockwise until the top is completely raised.

Press the side purge button until the chamber is full of clear beer. Turn the top knob clockwise until it locks into position and stops. The keg is ready for dispensing beer from the beer tower.

FOB Troubleshooting

Sometimes FOB’s will close up when there’s still beer in the keg. If this happens push the side vent on the FOB, until the chamber is full of beer.

Twist the knob counterclockwise until it stops . This should raise the float. Finally, Lockdown the knob by twisting it clockwise until it stops.

If the FOB continues to close off while there’s still beer in the keg. There could be a C02 breakout occurring inside the chamber, or a faulty keg coupler seal that's compromised.

For whatever reason, you can’t get the FOB to work properly. You can bypass the unit by twisting the knob all the way up by turning it counterclockwise and leaving it in the raised position. You will still be able to pour beer but will need to reach out to your draft technician to service.

FOB Maintenance

Over time FOB’s will need to be checked on. The knobs top will have to be replaced sometimes. They have a tendency of falling off after some use. Cleaning the FOB’s is an absolute must with the beer system. This will determine how much maintenance is needed for the FOB. If the system isn’t cleaned regularly  FOB’s can gum up with yeast, bacteria and the floats can actually get stuck inside the FOB chamber.

I’ve had to replace FOB’s on customer accounts because they weren’t cleaning their beer systems regularly.

Beer FOB Cleaning

It’s best to clean the entire system with a re-circulating pump and the right beer cleaning solutions. Caustic solution every 2 weeks and Acid cleanings every 4 weeks for clean beer dispensing systems.

I talk more about re-circulating cleaning here, and why it’s the best way to clean beer systems.

To clean the beer systems with FOBs in place. Twist the knobs into the upright position turning them counterclockwise until it stops. Operate the vent or purge button on the side a few times while flush cleaning to ensure the vent will not stick in this position.

Leave the FOB in the up position until the cleaning solutions have been flushed from the system. Check the pH reading, it needs to be between levels 7-8 before the beer is added to the system.

Retap the keg to get beer into the lines. Open the faucets at the opposite end until all the water is gone and beer is flowing out of the beer system.

Turn the knobs clockwise until they are in the down position. Purge the FOB’s to make sure the float is up and the chamber is full of beer. The system is ready to dispense draft beer.

FOB Options

There are a few different options available on the market regarding FOB’s. I have used the nice Perlick and Micro Matic FOB's, with stainless steel and glass chambers. But over my years in the industry I’ve relied on FOB’s made by Pacific Beer Equipment, shown below.

 Link: For a Beer Fob

Picture of a FOB

Beer FOB used to keep beer lines full after a keg blows.

They aren’t as expensive as the other two options, but are very reliable and what I use in my commercial installs across the country.

The tops sometimes fall off from time to time, but they can be replaced. However, these will always be my go to when it comes to FOB’s.

If you have any further questions feel free to reach out to me, and check out more of our articles about Draft Beer Dispensing.

Cheers!

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About the author

I've been a draft beer technician for 9 years  building, designing, and installing large commercial beer systems. Through the years I've worked on breweries, tap houses, casinos and stadiums around the country.

I enjoy sharing my passion for draft beer dispensing by talking about it, recommending dispensing equipment I've used in commercial installs, or private settings. 

Cheers!

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