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Old 02-17-2010, 03:14 AM   #11
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Originally Posted by david_42 View Post
On the other hand, 10 feet of 3/16" and you'll be able to pour anything without foaming. That's how I set up my kegger. Slower pours on the low pressure ales, but what's an extra 10 seconds?

CO2 lines, doesn't matter. Long enough to reach, short enough to be out of the way.

And don't forget the check valve(s) to protect the regulator from backflow.
Quoted for truth.
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Old 08-27-2010, 12:32 PM   #12
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10' of beer line is way to long for a typical direct draw system. If you use the formula's you will find it should be between 4.5 and 5" for the typical beer. The exception to this would be if you were using a highly carbonated beer. It would have to be 20 to 20PSI to use 10' unless you have a large difference in height? We get a lot of customers who read these postings and think they need much more beer line than they do. If I put 10' of beer line on a direct draw system in a bar they would kick me out of the place. 5 feet is more than enough of 3/16 line in the typical direct draw system serving at 38 degrees. In the vast majority of cases when a customer calls for help with a system that has foam we find the foam is due to temperature of the beer (about 80% of the time) or carbonation level (the beer was over carbonated by accident) and then they attempted to just serve push beer out at a lower level. I have had customers that were serving certain styles at 20+ PSI that definitely needed longer lines, but this is very rare. I believe that in most cases people using 10' of beer line are using way more beer line than they need. My opinion...for what it is worth.

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Old 08-27-2010, 12:50 PM   #13
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I'm sorry but this is just false.

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Old 08-27-2010, 01:04 PM   #14
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I have 5 foot 3/16" lines and without some kind of restriction (e.g. the epoxy mixer sticks in the dip tube technique), I cannot pour @ 10-12 PSI, 40 F without getting a large amount of foam -- unless that tap has poured several beers in several minutes and is very cold.

I think this is a large part of the problem for homebrewers and the main difference between us and a commercial setup. A bar either has a glycol system cooling the taps, or they are pouring so often that they stay cold. We homebrewers, on the other hand, often pour through a warm tap, which can give you an inch or two of foam before the rest of the head builds.

Thus lengthening our lines or adding restriction, and slowing down the flow even more, allows for less foaming through a warm tap.

That's my $.02 on it based on a few years of homebrew kegging experience.

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Old 08-27-2010, 01:05 PM   #15
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IMO, the length of beer line you need is dependent on the pressure that provides equilibrium in the keg and the height difference from the keg to the tap. The process is very straightforward. Set the PSI to the appropriate pressure that maintains the level of carbonation you want for the beer at its serving temperature (i.e. the regulator is never set to "serving" pressure and has nothing to do with serving). Then cut a length of beer line that adequately "consumes" the pressure at the regulator. 0.5 PSI is lost per foot that the center of the keg is below the tap. 0.5 PSI is gained per foot that the center of the keg is above the tap. And about 2 PSI per foot is lost with 3/16" inside diameter vinyl beer line. Whatever PSI you have at the regulator, just have enough beer line to get it to 0 at the tap. That balances your system.

On my system, the center of the keg is 2 feet below the tap. Most of my beers are set at 8 PSI (they are at 38F and I want 2.2 volumes of CO2). So I have to "consume" 8 PSI. since my tap is 2 feet above the keg, gravity takes care of 1 PSI (2 * 0.5 PSI = 1 PSI), and I have 3.5 feet of beer line to handle the rest (3.5 * 2 PSI = 7 PSI). That gets me a flow rate of about 2 oz/sec or 1 gal/sec.

Oh and this assumes you properly cool the beer lines as well. If the beer in the line is warmer, then you'll still have foam. So a way to fix that might be to lengthen the lines more to slow the rate of the pour.

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Old 08-27-2010, 01:19 PM   #16
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The calculations are based on what pressure you think you want to use. Often times people are picking line lengths before they've ever pulled a single pint of their own draft.
Therefore, they really have no idea what temp they want to pour at.

It also assumes you'll be carbing to the same volumes of CO2 for eternity and that's not what we do in practice.

When someone says 10' is "too long" it suggests that there is a major detriment/con to it. The ONLY con to 10' lines is that you might never have to deal with a half glass of foam, ever. Cost? Maybe a $1.50 lost. Slow pour maybe? If you can't wait an extra 3 seconds for a pint you might want to reconsider having beer on tap.

Longer lines make up for perhaps wanting to pour warmer later (requires higher pressure). It allows for higher carbonation levels if necessary. It stops you from having to rebuy new line after finding out that you screwed up the pressure drop calculations.

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Old 08-27-2010, 01:42 PM   #17
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I agree with Bobby....I had my 5' lines from KegConnection, (I love you guys, but damn those lines are too short). I know my beer was correctly carbed, I know my temp was right, (38F, verified by a NIST traceable hygrometer), and my taps are level with the tops of my kegs, 11 PSI pushing, lines all inside the fridge, so cold. 5' of line is WAY too fast. 10' of line works great. Around 6-8 seconds/pint, (big guess, I'm at work right now, can't actually test), and about 3/4" of foam at the top. Perfect.

Also, I don't believe commercial keg setups know all either....damn near every bar I see pours foam down the outside of the glass to get a good full pint in the glass...

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Old 08-27-2010, 03:50 PM   #18
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Quote:
Originally Posted by greenbirds View Post

I think this is a large part of the problem for homebrewers and the main difference between us and a commercial setup. A bar either has a glycol system cooling the taps, or they are pouring so often that they stay cold. We homebrewers, on the other hand, often pour through a warm tap, which can give you an inch or two of foam before the rest of the head builds.

Thus lengthening our lines or adding restriction, and slowing down the flow even more, allows for less foaming through a warm tap.

That's my $.02 on it based on a few years of homebrew kegging experience.
This is a really good theory. I think comparing beer line length from commercial to home setups is apples v oranges.
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Old 08-27-2010, 04:12 PM   #19
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Bobby_M View Post
The calculations are based on what pressure you think you want to use. Often times people are picking line lengths before they've ever pulled a single pint of their own draft.
Therefore, they really have no idea what temp they want to pour at.

It also assumes you'll be carbing to the same volumes of CO2 for eternity and that's not what we do in practice.

When someone says 10' is "too long" it suggests that there is a major detriment/con to it. The ONLY con to 10' lines is that you might never have to deal with a half glass of foam, ever. Cost? Maybe a $1.50 lost. Slow pour maybe? If you can't wait an extra 3 seconds for a pint you might want to reconsider having beer on tap.

Longer lines make up for perhaps wanting to pour warmer later (requires higher pressure). It allows for higher carbonation levels if necessary. It stops you from having to rebuy new line after finding out that you screwed up the pressure drop calculations.
I'm all for 10' lines as the standard for a dynamic system (i.e. different carbonation levels, temperatures and so on). The worst thing that could happen then is a slow pour. I can wait 15 seconds if I have to. I'm just saying that, in theory, line length and not regulator pressure should control the flow rate of the pour. And that most folks' foam issues either have to do with line length (too short) or warmer beer in the lines. They can both be fixed by using longer lines. But more importantly, the warmer beer *should* be fixed by cooling the tower properly.
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Old 08-27-2010, 04:44 PM   #20
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I disagree. Im in agreement with KegConnections. And Micromatic's Beer Serving Institute would agree, as I know several people who have taken the course.

3/16" beer line provides 3lbs of resistence per foot. 'Most' people carbonate their beer at 12psi. To have a balanced system, that means 4-5' of beer line. Why buy more if you dont have to??? But overkill is popular in this hobby.

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