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Old 08-19-2012, 12:18 AM   #1
manoaction
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Default Tell me why I'm an idiot. (glycol chiller edition)

So most of my projects begin with redneck version of "I dunno why you need that fancy thing when there is a duct tape to be had..." sort of thinking.

I've recently got hold of a double tap tower and I want to mount it in my kitchen running from the beer fridge in the garage.

Below is my train of thought, if you could point out holes in my thinking, I'd appreciate it.

The distance is right around 30 feet, but let's say 35 to be safe.

If we use the Length = (KegPressure - (Height*.5) - DeliveryPressure)/LineResistance formula...

We could increase the line to about 45 feet, use 5/16" line, and set keg pressure to 10 psi.

If we kept the fridge at 40 degrees, that be around 2.3 volumes. Not perfect, but it's a starting point.

To keep it cool, I'd like to put an aquarium pump in five gallons of the non-poisonous antifreeze sitting in the fridge. Then have a length of line sending and returning the cold prop-glycol wrapped together with my beer lines. That braid would then be wrapped in insulation.

Is this never going to work? Do I have to spend large amounts of cash on a glycol chiller?

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Old 08-19-2012, 12:41 AM   #2
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From what I've read in other posts, that'd work just fine. I have no experience with it, but I can swear I've seen this exact scenario, maybe with 1/4 line though, and this huge insulated trunk line running across this guys house.

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Old 08-19-2012, 02:06 AM   #3
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As long as it's a straight run you should be OK. If there's an increase in elevation the pump may not have the balls to push the glycol that far.

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Old 08-19-2012, 04:37 AM   #4
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What's the skinny with glycol? Am I correct in thinking that the red nonpoisonous anti freeze is what I'm looking for? I don't have to buy that $20 a gallon food grade stuff right?

If I use the 1/4" line, which was my original design, I need 27 psi to push the beer to the tap. That would be way too carbed so I'm wagering on this 5/16" business.

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Old 08-19-2012, 06:02 AM   #5
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why not just buy the food grade stuff anyways... couple extra bucks in the setup is allot cheaper then medical bills.

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Old 08-19-2012, 01:03 PM   #6
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Yes - you need the food grade stuff - Propylene Glycol. You don't want to be handling Ethylene Glycol - very toxic stuff.

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Old 08-19-2012, 04:32 PM   #7
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Look into the bev seal ultra 1/4" line, its thinner but much more rigid than regular beer line and has much less restriction than regular beer line. You could probably do 40' with that line and still serve at 12 psi. I would just get that " pet safe" atifreeze from the autoparts store. If you can afford it run the glycol thru copper pipe with the beer lines wrapped around it. I'm sure it would keep it much cooler than if the glycol was in a plastic tube.

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Old 08-19-2012, 05:53 PM   #8
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I don't think the fridge would be able to keep the coolant cool enough, particularly with that long of a run. I tried something similar with only 20' and it just didn't work out. If you decide to try it, I don't think you need antifreeze if you are aiming for 40 degrees.

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Old 08-19-2012, 07:54 PM   #9
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Quote:
Yes - you need the food grade stuff - Propylene Glycol. You don't want to be handling Ethylene Glycol - very toxic stuff.
I was definitely going to use propylene, but there are multiple grades. I think they actually put the food grade stuff in your drinks. It's $20 bucks a gallon vs $6 for the other stuff.

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Look into the bev seal ultra 1/4" line, its thinner but much more rigid than regular beer line and has much less restriction than regular beer line. You could probably do 40' with that line and still serve at 12 psi.
Awesome, thanks for that. I'd like to use 1/4", but I'm not sure about all the resistance ratings that people throw out there. I don't have the dough right now for copper lines or I'm sure that would be pretty awesome for chilling.

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I don't think the fridge would be able to keep the coolant cool enough, particularly with that long of a run. I tried something similar with only 20' and it just didn't work out. If you decide to try it, I don't think you need antifreeze if you are aiming for 40 degrees.
I was going to use propylene-glycol for its heat exchange properties, not because I thought it would freeze.
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Old 08-19-2012, 08:03 PM   #10
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Ok - did not know that. Still, I would use food-grade stuff. You're not changing it that often and it's a safety factor on the rare instance someone freaky happens.

I would think 1/4" is 1/4". I'm not sure why any one would be better than another. Thinner seems to be more prone to add resistance than reduce it. Not sure I see the math here.

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