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review my draft plan please?

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  • review my draft plan please?

    Hi folks, I've never built a draft system before and have only worked with kegerators, direct draw systems nd jockey boxes in the past, but I'm tasked with building a (kind of short?) long draw system from scratch. I've read through the Brewers Association guide and read a lot online, but I'm working with cider and maybe wine so I'm less concerned about foam than I would be for beer and there's still a lot that I'm not sure I need.

    I've got a walk in cooler in the basement and an 8 tap tower that'll go on the first floor. Here is a picture of what I imagine doing, forgive me for my lack or artistic talent. I didn't want to clutter it with gas lines and more kegs, but I know they belong there too. Just to show that some lines will only need to be 7ft and others will need to be 25ft, and the rises are between 5ft and 11ft.
    Click image for larger version

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    I'm considering just buying 200ft of 3/8ID, 5/8OD draft line that I'll wrap and insulate myself from where the lines leave the walk in (the black line in the picture, obviously thick enough to hold 8 lines). I can put in a few feet of choker line (3/16ID) to the tap tower too. I went to check out another's bars draft system that is much larger and goes a longer distance, and they insisted that because the short length the cider will travel from the walk in to the taps, that I don't need a glycol line on my trunk line.

    I'm also considering forgoing FOBs considering cider doesn't generally have the same foaming issues that beer does. I'm figuring if I don't need it, this plan would require fewer breaks and connections between the keg and the faucet, which would hopefully be fewer points of error.

    If anyone has had a similar situation and wants to weigh in, I'd really appreciate it. I was surprised to hear I wouldn't need some equipment- it's great to hear but I feel like i need a second opinion.

  • #2
    Your main concern is that all lines are exactly the same resistance. And that resistance should be roughly equal to the pressure applied to the keg. The resistance will take the form of pushing up to the tower, resistance of your line length, and resistance of the tower choker. You may add choker length to get the flow you like. You may not need to cool the line, but with (for example) 15 feet of 3/8ID line uncooled, you will already have 11 ounces of liquid that will not be cooled and potentially pour foamy. At least until the line cools with use. Up to you whether you can live with that. I would keep all kegs same height, and the lines the same length. Keep things simple. There are many tutorials for line calculations. Use those to help with getting roughly set up and adjust from there. Best of luck!
    Phillip Kelm--Palau Brewing Company Manager--


    • Darienhiggins
      Darienhiggins commented
      Editing a comment
      You've given me a lot to consider, thank you!

      It's a decently small walk in, so I'd like to use what limited vertical space I have by having shelves. I can make the lines the same length though for sure. With that in mind I'm thinking that I can set up each line with it's own regulator, and I'll keep the replacement keg for each line at the same height and right next to the previous to keep the flow as similar as possible.

      I'm hoping that the lines while still in the walk-in cooler will keep cool, and all of the lines will only travel about 6-7ft to the faucet. Still feels risky to me but I think it'll work. Thanks again.

  • #3
    I'd add a fan and air return duct, and blow cold air up the PVC pipe around the trunk line and back to the cooler. That's pretty cheap and easy to do.
    Linus Hall
    Yazoo Brewing
    Nashville, TN


    • Darienhiggins
      Darienhiggins commented
      Editing a comment
      That's an interesting idea, thanks!

  • #4
    I have a system very similar to yours, it has worked great for the past 7 years. I will give you a few ideas that worked for us, let me know if you want to see any photos or have a lot of specific questions

    Keg shelves are great, they were great for us, absolutely love them and all the space it gives us. I have 22 taps lines running from my cooler (we started with 8 like you, but have added more), every one has it's own regulator which gives great control over pouring when we have any finicky kegs. We have 3 PVC pipes running upstairs, straight shoot no bends, maybe 5-6 feet from ceiling of cooler to the tap, each pipe has a fan blowing cooler air up, keeps the beer plenty cold. Don't insulate the trunk line, you want the cold air flowing all over those hoses. But do insulate the pipe as much as possible to keep that cold air doing it's job well.

    Use the draught manual, you said you've read it, the calculations in there will get you really close to what you need, and having the individual regulators will help you dial in your pours.

    Good luck.


    • Darienhiggins
      Darienhiggins commented
      Editing a comment
      Thanks for your detailed response, I'm glad that this system can work and I'll definitely look into insulating the PVC pipe rather than the lines themselves and adding a cooling fan.