Long draw beer systems allow you to deliver cold beer while keeping the kegs at a distant location like a walk-in cooler.
This system uses glycol refrigeration to keep beer cool until it reaches the tap. When considering a long draw beer system, follow these tips to make sure you are making the right decision.
Overhead or Underground?
You must first decide whether to run the beer lines overhead or underground. This will help you decide if you should push or pump the beer. It also affects the size of your chiller. Either situation works, but you need to consider gravity. Lifts and falls can create gas pockets in the lines. This can create foam.
Sometimes the decision will come down to the available space. If you plan to run your lines below the floor, you will need a beverage chase large enough to fit all the beverage lines and the cooling lines wrapped as a bundle.
If you run the lines underground, the beverage chase needs to be sealed and waterproofed. If the chase is compromised and takes on water, your glycol chiller will not be able to handle the load. If this happens, you will have foaming beer. All turns must be kept to a minimum if going underground or overhead.
Location, Location, Location
You must consider how far from the taps the keg storage (walk-in fridge etc.) will be located. This will help determine the size and cost of your system. The distance from your tap to your keg will determine the length of the lines. This will also help determine your loss. The longer the beer lines the more beer you lose. Since the benefit of long draw system is the allowance to distance from the taps to the keg, you can have the freedom of placing the kegs, and therefore your cooler wherever you’d like.
Types of Beer
Once you decide where to run the lines, it’s time to take into consideration the kinds of beer you are planning to serve. The kind of beer you are selling will determine what types of gas you will need to use to operate your system. Stout beers require a 25/75 blend of CO2 and nitrogen. Lagers and Ales require CO2. If pushing, a blend of 60/40 or 70/30 should be used.
To Pump or To Push?
Deciding whether to pump or push your beer through the lines is also affected by the type of beer gas you use. If using the “pushing” method, you will need to blend CO2 and nitrogen to a ratio to meet your needs. They use CO2 and nitrogen in order to increase the pressure to “push” the beer out of the vessel to the faucet.
If you decide on pumping the beer, you will need to keep a natural keg or rack pressure on the vessel of 12-15 PSI. Then the system will use CO2 like electricity to operate the pumps. It keeps the beer packed in line, minimizing gas pockets and giving consistent pours.
No matter how you decide to set up your long draw system, it is important to keep your equipment well maintained. Poor temperature control can cause foam and wasted beer. Always keep your walk-in cooler in good operation and perform maintenance on your glycol refrigeration system on a regular basis. You should also have your beer lines professionally cleaned every few weeks. These measures will help sustain the life of your beer system and maximize your profits.
If you are based in California, Tognazzini Beverage Service can install any kind of beverage system. We also provide maintenance and repair services on all machines, even if you didn’t buy them from us. Contact Tognazzini Beverage Service today at 800-549-1144 or use our super convenient Contact form.