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  • Draft line cooling?

    I'm hoping someone has tried or can shed some light on this. I'm going to install a small 5x7 walk-in cooler about 10-12 feet away from where my faucets will be (I can't do a direct pour) and the faucets will be mounted in an insulated box on a false wall. What I'm wanting to try is either install a 10 product trunk line from the walk-in to the insulated box and have a tub of water with a pump in the walk-in that circulates the cold water through the trunk line just like a glycol chiller would do. I realize the water won't stay the same temperature as the cooler but if the volume of water is great enough it should stay relatively cold.

    Option 2, install a 3-4" PVC pipe in lieu of the trunk line, run the beer lines through the PVC, insulate the outside of the PVC, and have a fan blowing cold air from the walk-in into the PVC to the insulated box. I would think either method has a decent chance of working and since it's only 10-12' a glycol chiller might not be necessary.

    Any thought?
    Cheers

  • #2
    At first I was hopeful thinking about your plan, but then I started to feel the familiar anxiety of a band-aid solution and the problem it *almost* resolves.

    What I would be most concerned with is your limitation with the cold water temps. Your cold room will probably be a degree or few above freezing? So your cooling loop resevoir will also be a degree or two above freezing at best. By the time the water passes through your warm pump and up your trunk, you'll likely see the temp jump a few degrees. The best your cooling loop could do in this case is keep the beer just under 40, which is better than nothing - but you'll still be pouring a lot of foam down the drain.

    However, with that said, give it a shot and see what happens. It's only a few feet, right? If it were me, I would insulate the loop output all the way to your tap and introduce the coldest water tap-side to flow back towards the cold room. I don't have a scientific basis for doing this, its just a hunch.

    Or, if your glycol header is nearby, drop a line into the cold room and cool that resevoir down a few degrees below freezing. I think that'd help a lot.

    I'm interested to hear what you find. Keep us updated.

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    • #3
      Whomever you are buying your draft supplies from should be able to help you with this. You don't have to do this blind. I tried it that way and had to redo my system. Talk to Foxx, or Ajex, or Micromatic, or whomever you're buying your stuff from. Their sales people are trained and have the correct information.

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      • #4
        Originally posted by fatback View Post
        Whomever you are buying your draft supplies from should be able to help you with this. You don't have to do this blind. I tried it that way and had to redo my system. Talk to Foxx, or Ajex, or Micromatic, or whomever you're buying your stuff from. Their sales people are trained and have the correct information.
        This is probably a better suggestion.

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        • #5
          Don't try to re-invent the wheel. Use a glycol line cooler or purpose-made air cooled system.

          You will live to regret a cobbled-together DIY system, and the cost will be greater having to do it twice.
          Timm Turrentine

          Brewerywright,
          Terminal Gravity Brewing,
          Enterprise. Oregon.

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          • #6
            +1 on buying the line chiller. Been down this road with a few owners and had to actually calculate the foam loss for them to begin to understand the value. Twice they were on 10-12' draws. And buy a new chiller and not a crappy refurbed unit. Your beer, bartender, and brewers will all thank you.

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            • #7
              Originally posted by TGTimm View Post
              Don't try to re-invent the wheel. Use a glycol line cooler or purpose-made air cooled system.

              You will live to regret a cobbled-together DIY system, and the cost will be greater having to do it twice.
              Thumbs up!
              Do it right the first time.

              Prost!
              Dave
              Glacier Brewing Company
              406-883-2595
              info@glacierbrewing.com

              "who said what now?"

              Comment


              • #8
                I have to agree with Timm, while a glycol chiller would be great it can get a bit pricey, I had good luck with a cold air system. Contact Micromatic they have helped me in the past
                Mike Eme
                Brewmaster

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                • #9
                  It won't be as good as a glycol-cooled trunk line, but what you are describing is an air shaft system. I would go with about 6" pvc pipe, with a return air duct as well, and a powered blower to push cooler air through the loop.
                  Linus Hall
                  Yazoo Brewing
                  Nashville, TN
                  [url]www.yazoobrew.com[/url]

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                  • #10
                    Thanks for the advice. Unless I find a glycol chiller for a good price I'm going to try one of the other methods and see what happens. If it doesn't work I'll only be out a few dollars. If it does work I'll save a lot.

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                    • #11
                      How did this end up working out?

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