View Full Version : Beer Line Size and Nipple Shanks

04-08-2013, 11:53 AM
I'm planning out my draft system for a small taproom. Beer will be served from a beer tower from a cold room with brite tanks located behind the bar. The beer tower will be just on the other side of the wall of the cold room, so the runs will not be long. Probably 15-20' at the most (from the farthest tanks). I've read that I shouldn't use the standard 3/16" or 1/4" ID tubing because there will be too much resistance and beer will flow too slowly. So I thought I would use 3/8" tubing to dispense the beer. I was planning on setting the tank pressure at 10-12 PSI and keeping the temp. of the cold room around 40 degrees F. This is what I've done with kegerator systems before and it works well with the normal size tubing.

The problem is, I can't find replacement shanks for the T-style tower with 3/8" nipples on them. Do they exist? Am I missing something here? Will 3/16" or 1/4" ID tubing work, or should I go with the 3/8" tubing?

04-08-2013, 12:32 PM
Usually beer line is 3/8" or 5/16" for most of the run, and then the last few feet are the very small "restrictor" line (3/16 or 1/4). This allows you to get the beer balanced properly for serving. Check out the BA's draft quality handbook. It will answer most if not all of your questions. There are some pretty easy websites for how to properly balance a draft setup. I think if you run 3/8" tubing for the whole run with no restrictor line you're going to have foaming problems.

04-09-2013, 11:53 AM
What Hutch wrote.

Download the American Brewer's Assoc. Draft Beer Guide (or something very like that). It's a gold mine. After balancing our system, adding choker lines and setting the gas pressure right (hey, altitude matters!) to a higher pressure than anyone thought was right, we get almost perfect pours with no "breaking" in the lines--even the first pour of the week is usually fine.

04-09-2013, 12:47 PM
You are going to need more restriction, not less. How are you cooling the lines between cooler and tower??? Just the gravity of the beer with no pressure on it would be coming out pretty fast with just 3/8" ID tubing. Your going to need greater resistance than normal even. When the tanks are full, its like serving beer from above the tap level. I had this very problem at the 1st brewpub I worked at, the jacketed brites towered ten feet high just behind the bar & tap tower. I couldnt get 3-5 psi on the beer and it was gushing out the taps way too fast!! The result: serving flat,
no head beer!! The brewery installer's didn't build enough restriction to properly balance the system. I never had time too fix the issue in the short time i was there! Besides, it would have been a fun one!! The long trunkline had copper glycol loop and was well wrapped and had 5 tee lines as it passed each tank and one more line joined the trunkline. It was a nightmare!!! Just make sure you get enough resistance!! And don't make the mistake this brewery did!! If you have any questions?? Let me know!!! Cheers!!!

p.s- By the way, this brewery still hasn't fixed this issue!! 16 years later!!!

04-09-2013, 05:13 PM
Looks like I have some homework to do. I'll download the draft manual and see what I come up with. Thanks for the advice!

04-10-2013, 05:33 AM
Neil there is a local resource for draft equipment close by, they also install so i'm sure they could help you out. Message me on FB and i'll pass it along...

04-10-2013, 06:11 AM
Micromatic's website is also a great resource.