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Draft system issues

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  • Draft system issues


    I work at a 10 year old brewpub. We serve the lion's share of our beer straight from the Brite Tanks, over the bar. Sometimes, I'll put beer in 1/2 bbls and serve from those.

    We have all the brite tanks on the 2nd floor (the building used to be a train station, so you work with what you have) and there are bars on the 1st and 2nd floors. The draft lines start at each brite tank and split off to flow to both bars.

    For some odd reason, we have always pushed beer with straight CO2, dispite the need to push at around 19 PSI in order to get the beer to the taps. Of course, this means that after a normal (2.6-2.7 volumes of CO2) batch has been on tap for a couple weeks, it gets over-carbonated and starts foaming at the taps.

    Needless to say, this is stupid.

    I'm looking at a couple ways to improve things. One is to push beer with 60/40 gas to slow the changes in carbonation as it serves. The other is to use beer pumps to move our beer through the lines.

    Another thing I'd like to do is have as much leeway as possible as far as carbonation levels in the beer. I'd like to be able to serve a 2 volume porter or a 3 volume triple with equal ease and little waste.

    So... how would you go about this? I'm thinking that the beer pumps offer everything I want and don't cost too much. The savings in beer waste would quickly pay for them.

    Also, a lot of people talk about "beer savior"s. What are they?

  • #2
    Depending on the length of run, beer pumps are probably your best choice. Is this a glycol system ( I hope). The local brewpub that I clean has a co2/nitrogen blender as well as pumps. They pump from thr basement to 2 towers 1 story up. This set up allows them to utilize the cold room to house the glycol resevoir for the fermenters (colder than ideal serving temp) while preserving the integrity of the beer (co2 volumes) and having a decent pour. I would be interested in more details of your project.
    Jim Brown, Owner
    Happy Tappy Draft Beer Services
    3440 Win Kae Place
    Bay City, MI 48706


    • #3
      The beer saviors are probably FOBs Foam ON Beer protectors. They shut flow off when the keg or brite tank empties keeping beer in the line eliminating foam and waste. As far as your previous post, beer pumps have some issues when cleaning if you use a recirculating pump. They need an additional valve installed.
      Jim Brown, Owner
      Happy Tappy Draft Beer Services
      3440 Win Kae Place
      Bay City, MI 48706


      • #4
        Nitrogen has worked well for me...

        I had a similar problem at a previous brewery. I could not convince the owner to switch to Nitrox system. I started pushing the grundys & bright tanks with straight Nitrogen for a day or two when the hit the 1/3-1/2 point. It was not very scientific, I just kind of got a feel for it..and it worked.

        I use a 60/40 where I brew now, almost exactly the setup you spoke of, and have no over carbonation issues. I say use the 60/40 and lower that molecular weight.

        Jeff Byrne


        • #5
          The best bet would be to get a mcdantim mixer, and use mixed gas. The beer pumps, in my experience, are more trouble than they are worth.

          There is no need for the FOB detectors when serving from a brite tank, IMO. They are intended to shut off the line full of beer when a keg blows. But if you are having variable carbonation levels, you will find that they "false" shut off when a gas pocket forms in the valve, meaning someone will frequently have to go reset them.
          Linus Hall
          Yazoo Brewing
          Nashville, TN


          • #6
            mcdantim mixer

            I set up my system, from 4 serving tanks with a 40 foot draw and a 10 foot lift. Its very simple, using a mcdantim gas mixer at 60/40(just hook up one tank of co2 and one with N2)and your good to go. I also used a micromatic glycol chiller that runs from the walk-in all the way to the faucet. This system seems to work great at 22 PSI and never had a over carb problem due to the system, only have an over carb problem when the brewer over force carbs a batch (that would be me).... If you need any specifics or help on your system please dont hesitate in emailing me..




            • #7
              McDantim + Lower Vol CO2

              It would seem you have a fairly high Volume of CO2 in your finished beer.
              If you are dropping down to your towers the 19 lbs of pressure seems a bit excessive also.

              Mc Dantim is your solution. 60/40 blend. The other beuaty of a McDantim is that you can Nitrogenate your Stout and other British styles if you so desire. This can be done by having the McDantim feeding into your carbonation supply to your tanks or your pinpoint. It takes longer to dissolve into solution than CO2, but makes a nice finished product. Again, you can push with 60/40.

              - Todd
              Last edited by Todd; 11-15-2006, 02:46 AM. Reason: spelling
              Todd Malloy
              Director of Brewing
              Glenwood Canyon Brewing Co.
              Glenwood Springs, Colorado


              • #8
                Your best bet is 60/40 gas Fob traps are great provided the bar monkeys know how to work them. If you get false shut off due to gas pocket it means you have a leak in the system.

                I have worked in several pubs over the last 15 years and run lines from direct pour through to 80 meters from the cellar all with out having to use pumps all without issue.

                What temp are your beers hitting the beer glass at?


                • #9
                  If you need that much pressure to move from a second floor tank, maybe you have too much restriction at the taps. You could open up the trunk on one of the towers and see whats there. If you have a bunch of 3/16's maybe you could simply remove some of the restriction and drop your serving pressure down to an acceptable level. I serve from the second floor as well and my problems have always been under restriction. Its worth checking out as you may find a simple and very cheap solution. What temps are you serving at? If you are real cold (32F) you could raise your tank temps up to 36 or 38F and lose some carb that way.
                  Big Willey
                  "You are what you is." FZ


                  • #10

                    BALANCING Basic Understanding

                    Manual Calculations are a pain, so here is an outstanding program to use for balancing draft systems (Plus other things)

                    All you need is the $99 retail version, best $99 I spent when I designed my system, I highly recommend it if you are installing a draft system, and want to get it right the first time

                    Or if you post the details of your setup I can use my copy to calculate the optimum configuration

                    Type and Size/length of shanks on faucets
                    Lift and fall of each run
                    Desired co2 vol/vol
                    Temperature beer stored at
                    Existing trunk line size and type of tubing
                    Desired serving rate
                    Plus any of the other parameters you see in the screen shots in the above link

                    Unless you run more the 70 or so ft mixed gas would not be needed, even then larger trunk line could overcome this, but most like smaller trunk line to save wasted beer on cleaning day

                    There should be no problem branching two lines from one source; you just got to get the tubing sizes to their optimum sizes

                    As far as switching over different beers with different carbonation levels, I think you could find a happy medium, but expect different flow rates depending on beer type, ideally this is not something you would want to do, but if you only did that on one or two lines you could live with that