So, last night I 'floated' my keg of Pilsner. Not a problem--I happen to have another one that's been aging for a while.
I decided, though, to tap (briefly) the Irish Red Ale I did back in April (at Night On The Town). I intend to serve it (officially) at the Baronial Birthday, at the end of the month, and I wanted to check on it--make sure it's worthy, as it were. The beer has been kegged for quite some time, and the keg has been sitting under the stairs in my basement, nice and cool, since shortly after it was kegged (about 2 months, if memory serves).
A comedy of errors ensued.
First, I broke one of my cardinal rules: Always connect the beer-out line first, bleed some pressure, and pour a pint (clear the lines, let off excess CO2, etc). Then, when all seems OK, hook up the gas-in line.
A stream of swear-words later, and after disconnecting the gas-in line (and doing what I could to clear the backed-up beer from it), I set about clearing up some of the sprayed beer from the floor and side of the fridge under the stairs. Remembering the above rule, I connected the beer-out line, and went to pour myself a glass.
It would seem that beer under great pressure can jet out of the tap, redirect itself off the bottom of the glass, and fling itself across the hand pulling the tap, across the tap tower, and against the facing wall... A few more swear-words later, and a bit of mopping up with a bar-towel, and I eased up the pressure relief valve to bleed some of the CO2.
A final, careful pull on the tap, and: foam comes pouring out, rather milkshake-like in density and flow. Well, at least a huge mess wasn't made. After allowing the foam to settle and dissipate a bit into beer (only about a quarter of a glass), I took a sip... It's not bad, allowing that most of the bitterness is from carbonic acid, caused by excess CO2. So, I'm slowly bleeding pressure off, a little at a time, and hopefully by the end of the week I'll be able to draw a regular pint of the ale and check its actual quality. Even if it's not good (which I think would require a thorough cleaning of the keg, and probably a replacement of the gaskets), at the least I've still got several other brews that are kegged and can be brought as backup.