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Old 01-26-2010, 01:05 AM   #1
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Default A new beer line cooling thread!

First off, I'd like to say what a great resource this forum has been. I'm pretty new at this, and there hasn't been a question along the way that I couldn't find the answer to in these pages. This is probably why I’m just now coming out of lurking mode...

I'll give a little background on what I'm trying to pull off before I defer to the group for advice..
I'm building my bar around a Kenmore 8.8 cu ft keezer. The bar is 8' long with my 4 tap tower sitting on the end. The keezer is about 2 feet from the tower, and 12" below. The challenge is, I have to be able to slide the cooler out from under the bar to open the lid. Since the bar is 8' long, I think it will be impractical to hinge the top of the bar for access.
With that said, here are some measurements...
I'll need 18" of beer line from the bar top to the faucets, 24" from the hole in the bar to the keezer, 48" of whip inside of the keezer, and a 36" whip of line for slack to slide the keezer out. I've decided that I'm going to build an 11' trunk line with 4 beer lines and 2 coolant lines, as has been discussed here before. The 6 lines fit very nicely inside a piece of 1" foam rubber pipe insulation, and is reasonably flexible.
I have seen a few threads on using reservoirs of glycol, (And the frightening volumes of coolant necessary for even a short run), but I have another idea...

I'm thinking about using a low GPM circulation pump from an aquarium or some such, in a closed loop system with an auto transmission cooler inside of the keezer. Basically, it would go tranny cooler > pump > trunk line > tower > make a U-turn > back through the trunk line > back to the tranny cooler.
My thinking is the heat exchanging capacity of a transmission cooler has to be FAR more efficient than a large pool of coolant in a bucket in a fridge due to the surface area exposed to the cold. Especially if I add a 4" fan or 2.

Questions...
I'm building the trunk line with 3/16" beer line, and 5/16 ID coolant line. Is that big enoughfor an 11' run? Or should I go with 1/4"?
Does anybody want to venture a guess if a tranny cooler in the keezer will get the coolant cold enough to make this worth the effort?

Part of me is thinking "Wow this would be cool!", and another part is thinking "Someone would have done this already if it worked"

Hmmm…








Sorry for the long post..

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Old 01-27-2010, 02:45 AM   #2
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I tried this. Built trunk line just like that, had a reservoir of glycol/water mix in the keezer going into an auto transmission cooler on the bottom of the keezer then up into the tower.

It didn't work.

I couldn't get coolant line with a think enough wall that would keep the beer lines cold and make a kink-free bend inside the tower for the return.

I made a lot of messes and wasted a lot of money on this project.

I really think you will be better served by a PVC pipe coming out of the keezer, insulated of course, carrying the beer line and a blower line and going the air-cooled route.

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Old 01-27-2010, 06:17 AM   #3
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Or put a copper pipe sleeve over each beer line in the tower. Then let the copper extend in the kegerator to passively transfer the cold from the beer compartment up into the tower.

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Old 01-27-2010, 11:21 AM   #4
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I Wish I could! The challenge is keeping it flexible. The keezer has to be able to slide out from under the bar. So no rigid option will not work.
Maybe a big shop vac hose or something?

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What does the primary pressure gauge on the tank tell us? That's right, the temperature. Put it on a scale if you want to know how much is in it...
Put some duct tape over the gauge - Or better yet - Replace the high pressure gauge with a plug - High pressure gauges are useless!
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Old 01-27-2010, 11:48 AM   #5
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Why not only hinge the part of the bar above the keezer?

I plan to air-cool my lines when I make a run upstairs from the basement (project is still on the list after a year...) but I don't have to move the fridge around so I an use PFC. I think shop vac hose may work. Look into using the Bev-seal tubing, it has a much smaller diameter and a PET plastic liner, so you'd be able to have more airspace in whatever larger tubing you end up using.

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Old 01-27-2010, 01:27 PM   #6
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Thanks conpewter,
I thought about that, but I think it will look bad to have a seam in the bar top. Besides... How would you slide a pint down the bar to your mates with a seam there?
I like the Bev-seal idea. I think the lines would be better suited to thermal transfer than vinyl, but I don't have any science to back that up. There has to be a reason they don't make trunk lines out of vinyl tubing, right? I just can't bring myself to pay $9.00 a foot for proper trunk lines, so I thought I'd give the DIY option a try. The other thing I like about the poly lines is the bend radius. They say minimum bend radius on the 1/4" line is less than 2", so it must still be pretty flexible.

EKennett,
Yea, the turnarounds are tricky. I bent 3/8" copper tubing 180 degrees for the turnarounds for that very reason. In my case it even trickier because I technically have 2 towers to deal with. I'm using the intake and exhaust ports for the faucets, and the cylinders are separate from each other. So my plan was to split the 4 line trunk into (2) two line trunks at the hole in the bar top. The coolant line would go up one cylinder, make a u-turn, back down and up the other cylinder, make another u-turn, and take the return line back to the keezer.

Aside from needing to be able to move the keezer, there's one final, really big issue with using forced cold air to the towers. Since it's half of an air cooled engine, the cylinders are basically massive heat sinks! (or cold sinks in this case) I'm worried that running 8' of tubing, just to dump the air in an aluminum heat exchanger would result in warmer than usual return air, and beer. OTOH there's a LOT of thermal mass there. if I can get it cold it should stay that way!

I think I'm going to have to do some experimenting. Cold air up a tube is certainly easier to pull off than liquid cooling. But making it flexible will be challenging.

Decisions decisions...

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Originally Posted by Ecnerwal View Post
What does the primary pressure gauge on the tank tell us? That's right, the temperature. Put it on a scale if you want to know how much is in it...
Put some duct tape over the gauge - Or better yet - Replace the high pressure gauge with a plug - High pressure gauges are useless!
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Old 01-27-2010, 01:59 PM   #7
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I was going to post my own topic but since it relates to this I'll throw it on here...

My line is going to need to be about 15' including whips in the keezer to the tower on the bar so I think I'm going to need to go glycol over air blown.

I want to get a trunk line like this one - http://www.micromatic.com/part-pid-CDI232.html but from what I've read on here the length I am going would likely use a 1/4" ID line NOT 3/8" ID that this line has - If there is a big difference I can always get the 5/16" ID one (4 product just not use 2 - ie room for expansion later) - any recommendations on the difference btw 1/4 vs 5/16 vs 3/8 over 15'????

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Old 01-27-2010, 02:25 PM   #8
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Moderator,
I think it's time this thread got moved to DIY.. This is definitely not an out of the box project, and has little to do with bottling or kegging.. More like delivery and drinking

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Quote:
Originally Posted by Ecnerwal View Post
What does the primary pressure gauge on the tank tell us? That's right, the temperature. Put it on a scale if you want to know how much is in it...
Put some duct tape over the gauge - Or better yet - Replace the high pressure gauge with a plug - High pressure gauges are useless!
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Old 01-27-2010, 02:29 PM   #9
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I'd just go with the 1/4x4+2 trunk line. It's $1 more per foot, and you can add more beer later! For free!

What are you going to use for a chiller?

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Quote:
Originally Posted by Ecnerwal View Post
What does the primary pressure gauge on the tank tell us? That's right, the temperature. Put it on a scale if you want to know how much is in it...
Put some duct tape over the gauge - Or better yet - Replace the high pressure gauge with a plug - High pressure gauges are useless!
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Old 01-27-2010, 02:45 PM   #10
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sweet - does anyplace have 1/4 x 4+2 trunk line premade? cost is less of an issue (want to do it right) but on micromatic I only saw 5/16 x 4+2?

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