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Old 03-06-2010, 08:46 PM   #1
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Default Success with water cooled beer lines?

Hi Guys
I realise this topic is a little done but wanted to try and figure out what makes a fridge temp water/glycol cooling system work or fail, since I have read some mixed results on this forum and others. Am therefore very keen to hear from people who have used 'beer temp' cooling liquid to successfully cool their lines, specifically details around run length, line material, level of insulation, and reservoir size. Comments around systems that didnt work would also be appreciated, since there seems to be a few people who have been disatisfied with using fridge temp coolant to cool their lines. Am kicking myself a little cause I recently went out and bought a fridge specifically to put under the house and pipe the beer 6-7' up to the tower, assumed Id be able to use fridge temp coolant to do the job. After reading the mixed results Im kinda left wishing Id bought a frdige freezer to have dedicated glycol chamber, but keen to give the fridge temp cooling system a crack if I can be convinced it'll work. Thanks in advance!

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Old 03-08-2010, 05:15 AM   #2
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c'mon guys I know some of you have tried similar setups, post up your experiences!

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Old 03-08-2010, 12:44 PM   #3
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Well, so far I've just pumped room temp water through mine.
I'll update my thread in about 3 weeks when I have the rest of the faucets and shanks ready, and I'm back from a work trip.

Sorry

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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 03-08-2010, 01:45 PM   #4
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I'm curious about this as well. I have plans to run the cooling system from the same keezer that the beer is pumping from. I can't afford a secondary system just for cooling the coolant right now.

Another question: When using a pond pump, which would you prefer, submersible or non? I'm concerned about using a submersible and having it run warm and heat up the water I'm pumping. Seems a little counterproductive...

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Old 03-08-2010, 02:21 PM   #5
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Quote:
Originally Posted by drat View Post
I'm curious about this as well. I have plans to run the cooling system from the same keezer that the beer is pumping from. I can't afford a secondary system just for cooling the coolant right now.

Another question: When using a pond pump, which would you prefer, submersible or non? I'm concerned about using a submersible and having it run warm and heat up the water I'm pumping. Seems a little counterproductive...
Assuming both styles of pumps draw the same power, they will produce the same heat inside your chest freezer. Either way, it's gonna happen.

Scott
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Old 03-08-2010, 03:20 PM   #6
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Right, unless you're going to run the inline pump outside of the refrig unit, it's all going in there anyway.

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Old 03-08-2010, 05:09 PM   #7
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I agree, however I chose a non-submerged pump. I figured the heat transfer from the pump to the cooler air would have less direct impact to the coolant than having the pump in direct contact with the coolant. While the heat load on the keezer is the same, that heat load isn't placed on the coolant chiller, but rather directly on the keezer compressor. I ran my MaxiJet 1200 in ambient air yesterday for about 20 minutes and it didn't feel like it warmed up at all. The other benefit of this configuration, is I can gravity feed the pump from the reservoir, which hopefully helps with the effort the pump has to make to move coolant.
Of course this is all speculation until I get the system plumbed and beer and coolant running through the trunk. That'll be about 3 weeks.
I don't expect the trunk to maintain the same exact temperature as the keezer, because no system is 100% efficient. However, I'm hoping that it gets close enough to control the foam on the first pull from the tap. If I can keep my trunk line within 3 or 4 degrees of the keezer temp, I'll be happy.

I won't have time to finish the trunk until the 27th or so, so the real life proof will have to wait.

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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 03-08-2010, 05:26 PM   #8
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Agreed. The upside to the submersible is that you don't have a potential bulkhead leak that you would with the inline. If you have a chest freezer, it would contain a coolant leak though. The only failure of the system that I can figure is that the trunk line isn't insulated enough.

What did you use for the coolant line, copper or plastic?

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Old 03-08-2010, 05:35 PM   #9
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i use a glycol water mix in a 5g corny keg inside of my keezer. so it's not in a "freezer", the glycol/water is the same temp as my beer is in the keezer. i have a submersible pond pump in the bottom of the corny keg full of the glycol/water. 1/2" rubber tubing in there, it pumpe the glycol out of the corny keg, up to right behind my shanks on my wall, then a 90 degree copper elbow, another line of 1/2" rubber hose, to another 90 degree elbow, back down, and then dumps back into my corny keg full of glycol/water inside the keezer.


then my five beer/beverage lines are around those two 1/2" coolilng lines. all that is black taped together, then it is duct taped all around that. then i have the thick black pipe insulation that you buy for insulating pipes underneath your house wrapped around all of that. then another layer of black tape around all of that, and then finally another couple layers of electrical tape around all of that.


i've had it going for around 6months now.

the pump is always on. i never have foam, and the beer is cold.

the run is around 6 ft or so from the outside of the keezer to the taps.

hope that helps.

see my bar build in my sig. for some pics and more info.

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Old 03-08-2010, 06:18 PM   #10
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Thanks for the comments so far guys, chainsaw your setup doesnt sound far off what Im planning, although I was planning to use 3/8" copper lines for the coolant since I have a roll lying around. Do your taps stay cold given these arent directly cooled? A 5 gal reservoir may be more than I can manage though, I have 3 cornies in an upright maxi size bar fridge and without building a custom enclosure not sure I'll be able to squeeze that kinda volume into the fridge. Could probably take a couple inches out of the height of a corny, tig it back together and get that on the compressor step at the back but will have to measure... The reason Im leaning to water cooled over aircooled is because I dont quite have a straight run from fridge to tower. If I put my tower in another place on the bench I could get a dead straight run, however at this stage this is plan B unless someone can provide some pessimism about using fridge temp lines. Either way keep your experiences coming...

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