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Home Brew Forums > Home Brewing Beer > Bottling/Kegging > New keezer system; advice/opinions sought
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Old 02-21-2012, 06:48 PM   #1
paulages
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Default New keezer system; advice/opinions sought

Hey guys,

This is my first post, so feel free to flame me or yell at me to use the search function if the answer to my question is out there somewhere...

I'm handing off my old $25 goodwill-scored kegerator to my brother, and installing a whole new system. I got a GE 7.0 cf at Best Buy (thanks to the help of the "sizing up your chest freezer" thread!) for $99. It was a return. Great deal! Anyway, I bought 4 new shanks and faucets and am installing them on the wall beside my kitchen. The keezer is immediately beneath them in the basement. The rise is about 10', and the lines will be about 12' from the keezer to the shanks. There will be an additional 3' per line inside the keezer.

I decided to go witha liquid-cooled system, and will at first attempt keezer temp water (saline? iodophor solution? Does it matter?), but I need help sourcing a pump. I've followed links to beer pumps, and I've looked at sump and pond pumps, but I want to find the most cheapest, most efficient option before I buy. With a submersible, head height is an issue. Has anyone ever tried a pressurized system, like is used with radiant heating? I was thinking one could use a small water tank (or anything that a person could plumb fittings to), pressurize the system to 60# or so with tap water, and use an inline circulator (something like this, or a cheaper taco circulator: http://www.houseneeds.com/shop/laing...strongmain.asp).

My trunk line is 3/8" hose, with the last 3' being 3/16", and two poly lines all bundled together, and eventually wrapped in pipe wrap and insulation. I'm planning to use more 3/8" beer line (because it flexes without kinking) for the coolant in my faucet box. The beer line will connect to the cool incoming poly, wrap the shanks in my faucet box, and then connect to the returning poly line.

So far, all I have is the lines bundled and run through the floor, and an old electrical panel box installed for my faucet junction box. Any advice will be appreciated here... I'd rather get this right the first time than have to do it twice! Also, with this distance will I have to run a nitro/CO2 mix to push the beer and not over carbonate?

Thanks!

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Old 02-22-2012, 04:22 AM   #2
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I added some pictures of the work I did today. I haven't bundled/insulated the lines in the basement yet, because I have to figure out whether or not I can drill through the side of the chest freezer or not (anyone have experience with this model?). I'd rather not make a collar, as the thing was cheap enough to begin with, and with this whole project... the last thing I'm worries about is resale value of the chest freezer.

I visited my plumbing supply warehouse today and looked at the specs of several circulators used for radiant heating systems and found several that have the head requirements. I need to compare this list with the cheap ones I've found on Ebay. Anyway, I'm still looking for advice in this department... I'm thinking of using a 2.2G expansion tank plumbed up to accept tap water, and an inline circulator like I'm describing, just so it'll be a closed-loop system. Someone talk me out of it? Into it?

I have an IPA almost ready, and a black cherry/apple cider right behind it... I hope to have this ready by then!

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Old 02-22-2012, 01:55 PM   #3
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I would love to be able to help you, but I don't have any experience in this so I'm giving you a bump. I will say, with the length of your lines and the rise, I think you will have trouble with the appropriate pressure. Take a look at using 1/4" beer line instead of 3/16". I did't see where you stated what size line you were using for the beer, but most people use ~12psi with ~10' lines with maybe 1'-2' of rise and they get pretty slow pours. You are running longer lines and have significant rise. I think a larger line will help you with that. Try doing a little test on that before running all new lines. Because you can sit and calcuate everything, and it not work out the same as it does on paper. Good Luck!

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Old 02-22-2012, 06:34 PM   #4
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Thanks, VB.

I'm still working out that part of the system, but my lines were based on the recommendation of my supplier, who installs commercially here in Portland, OR. They suggested that without a pump, I should get a 70/30 mix of nitro/CO2 to push the beer, so I can crank the pressure up without over-carbonating the beer. According to them, I'll lose about 2 PSI per foot of run, which means I'll have to have the pressure pretty high to get a good pour. The last 3' are 3/16" to help with the foaming. I'd hate to have to rebuild my trunk line, but i do want to get it right... so thanks for the advice! I'll look into it further.

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Old 02-22-2012, 06:54 PM   #5
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Sure thing. I'm sure the supplier knows how to do it, but I was thinking about sustainability. I would imagine it would be more of a pain and cost to have to get 70/30 mix everytime from here on out, as opposed to just getting CO2, but if that's the best way, then go with it!

You're right. I'm at work and don't have time to really think about the math, but if your 2 psi is correct and you're rising 10' to 11', then you need 20psi to 22psi just to overcome the elevation change. Looks like gas mix is probably your only option.

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Old 02-22-2012, 07:17 PM   #6
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Originally Posted by ValleyBrew View Post
Sure thing. I'm sure the supplier knows how to do it, but I was thinking about sustainability. I would imagine it would be more of a pain and cost to have to get 70/30 mix everytime from here on out, as opposed to just getting CO2, but if that's the best way, then go with it!

You're right. I'm at work and don't have time to really think about the math, but if your 2 psi is correct and you're rising 10' to 11', then you need 20psi to 22psi just to overcome the elevation change. Looks like gas mix is probably your only option.

The only part that's a real PITA is having to have 2 bottles: One for carbonating, and another (the mix) for serving. Luckily I already have two, but that's just one more thing to have run out and need to pay for.
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Old 02-23-2012, 06:00 PM   #7
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Ok, after a bit of reasearch (talking it through with my aerospace engineer dad), I get it now. The return side won't begin to create a vacuum (siphon) until it weighs more than the send side, so the head requirement of the pump won't be affected by the system being looped. Off to look at pumps some more...

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Old 02-23-2012, 06:54 PM   #8
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Dunno if you've seen it already or not but this thread might help. http://www.homebrewtalk.com/f35/long...-tower-271578/

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Old 02-23-2012, 10:27 PM   #9
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You might consider trying it without a highly pressurized gas blend first. The standard resistance calculations for lines are in my experience fairly generous. You could also try using barrier tubing instead of vinyl lines since it has much less resistance. Also, since you're not running a bar where how many seconds it takes to pour a beer isn't crucial, a slower pour might not hurt anything. I intentionally made my lines longer than needed for some extra resistance. This way I have no worries about foaming, even if I decide to carb a hefe or belgian up to 4 vol. Yes it pours a little slow, but if I have time to drink a beer, I have an extra few seconds to wait for it to pour.

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The only part that's a real PITA is having to have 2 bottles: One for carbonating, and another (the mix) for serving. Luckily I already have two, but that's just one more thing to have run out and need to pay for.
If you're buying a premix rather than using a mixer you don't need two bottles. If you're carbing via set and forget method, just connect the beer at your calculated serving pressure, and wait until it's carbed just like you would with pure CO2. It might not be quite as fast, but you can even burst carb with your blend if you want to.

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Ok, after a bit of reasearch (talking it through with my aerospace engineer dad), I get it now. The return side won't begin to create a vacuum (siphon) until it weighs more than the send side, so the head requirement of the pump won't be affected by the system being looped. Off to look at pumps some more...
Yep, if you fill the hose with coolant before turning the pump on, you only need enough head pressure to overcome the line resistance. If not, you need enough head pressure to push coolant to the highest point in the line.
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Old 02-24-2012, 07:07 AM   #10
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Dunno if you've seen it already or not but this thread might help. http://www.homebrewtalk.com/f35/long...-tower-271578/

I hadn't seen that thread... thanks! It looks exactly like what i've done, but I don't think my pump is adequate. I bought a cheapy from Harbor Freight (you get what you pay for, I guess) that claims it can push 11.2' head. Mine is about 10', so I thought it would be fine. After sucking on the return end for a while I did get it to circulate, but It's pretty much just a trickle. I'll try it tomorrow anyway when my thermo controls get here, but I suspect I'll need a stronger pump.
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