Kegging beer line question - Home Brew Forums

 Home Brew Forums > Kegging beer line question

05-17-2007, 02:28 PM   #1
Khirsah17
Recipes

Jul 2006
Columbus, OH
Posts: 164
Liked 1 Times on 1 Posts

Hello,

I am trying to get into kegging, and am slowly realizing how much initial planning there is to get started. Right now my biggest question is in regards to forced carbonation and beer lines. All the information I am using is from:

http://hbd.org/clubs/franklin/public...s/balance.html

Case #1.
Fridge temp = 38F
Faucet height from keg = 2 ft
Volume of CO2 desired = 2.5

From chart - CO2 pressure = 11.2 psi

Using a 3/16 ID line with 2.7 avg resistance:
Beer line length needs to be about 3.4 ft to have serving pressure of 1 psi.

Ok, so thats totally doable... HOWEVER, let's assume theoretically, i only have a 1 keg fridge (i know, crazy). And now i want to serve a low CO2 volume british beer.

Case #2.
Fridge temp = 38F
Faucet height from keg = 2 ft
Volume of CO2 desired = 1.8

From chart - CO2 pressure = 3.9 psi

Using a 3/16 ID line with 2.7 avg resistance:
Beer line length needs to be about 0.7 ft to have serving pressure of 1 psi.

That wont do, so changing to a 1/4 ID line with 0.7 avg resistance:
Beer line length needs to be about 2.7 ft to have serving pressure of 1 psi.
That's more like it.

So basically, my questions are these:

1. It seems like once you pick a specific beer line length, you are pretty much stuck to a specific volume of beer. So are you master keggers always switching around line lengths and diameters to adjust for different volumes of CO2? In my example, i'd have to have two different beer lines, and just change them out for different styles of beer. I suppose i can change the fridge temp, but that doesnt seem to make *all* that much of a difference. Kegging seems like it can be a big pain in the butt if you want to serve different style of beer.

2. What difference is it going to make whether i use 3/16 ID or 1/4 ID line besides line length?

Thanks!!

05-17-2007, 05:52 PM   #2
gnef
Recipes

Sep 2005
Posts: 1,047
Liked 55 Times on 41 Posts

the stated restriction is a generalization, and it actually changes, depending on the pressure.

you should also know that even though it seems that through these calculations, you can get to a point that no beer will flow, beer will flow, even if you have 30+ ft, albeit very slowly.

in my mind, 3 ft of beerline is way too short. i use 5 ft, and will soon be increasing that to 10 or so, that way my higher carbed beers don't just pour foam. my 'regular' beers will just pour more slowly.

there is a huge difference between 3/16'' and 1/4''. only use 3/16 for most close applications. the only time you want to use 1/4'' is for long runs where you need less restriction.

remember, it is easy to cut off tubing if there is too much. it is infinitely more difficult to add tubing back.

05-17-2007, 06:07 PM   #3
Bobby_M
Vendor and Brewer

Recipes

Aug 2006
Whitehouse Station, NJ
Posts: 23,381
Liked 1793 Times on 1140 Posts

Yeah, I made the mistake of going with 5.5 feet on each of my faucets but I didn't factor in the lower faucet height on my chest freezer. If you're using a tower, you're adding a bit of resistance. I'm going to replumb with 8 feet and cut back from there if necessary.
__________________
Welcome to BrewHardware.com. I love you.
New Stirplates are IN!
Chugger Pumps, Pump Kits, Camlocks, Sightglasses, Clear USA made Silicone Tubing, RIMS, Electric Install Parts, etc.

05-17-2007, 10:35 PM   #4
cpbergie
Recipes

Jan 2007
San Diego
Posts: 212

05-18-2007, 09:58 AM   #5
drayman86
Recipes

May 2007
Lansing, Michigan
Posts: 306
Liked 9 Times on 5 Posts

The Jan/FEb 2006 Issue of Brew Your Own (Vol. 12, No.1) had a great article on calculating resistances for beer dispensing systems. I'm one of those sickos whos enjoy math and "story problems" from aglebra classs, so I filled about three or four pages with these type of calculations.

For my system and temps and pressures, it calculates out to about 5 ft. of 1/4" hose from the keg to the tap. I'll increase it to 7 ft. per one of the above posts and shorten if necessary. My shanks can't accept 3/16" hose; wish I would've thought of this before I purchased the taps and shanks, however I can compensate with a just a bit more hose.

It's also amazing that the difference in resistance per foot of hose changes a LOT with just an added 1/16" ID, according to the information in the article.

05-18-2007, 09:59 AM   #6
drayman86
Recipes

May 2007
Lansing, Michigan
Posts: 306
Liked 9 Times on 5 Posts

The Jan/FEb 2006 Issue of Brew Your Own (Vol. 12, No.1) had a great article on calculating resistances for beer dispensing systems. I'm one of those sickos who enjoys math and "story problems" from aglebra classs, so I filled about three or four pages with these type of calculations.

For my system and temps and pressures, it calculates out to about 5 ft. of 1/4" hose from the keg to the tap. I'll increase it to 7 ft. per one of the above posts and shorten if necessary. My shanks can't accept 3/16" hose; wish I would've thought of this before I purchased the taps and shanks, however I can compensate with a just a bit more hose.

It's also amazing that the difference in resistance per foot of hose changes a LOT with just an added 1/16" ID, according to the information in the article.

05-18-2007, 10:00 AM   #7
drayman86
Recipes

May 2007
Lansing, Michigan
Posts: 306
Liked 9 Times on 5 Posts

(Please excuse multiple posts. Can't get rid of the extra. Moderator; please assist. Thanks.)

05-18-2007, 12:46 PM   #8
Bobby_M
Vendor and Brewer

Recipes

Aug 2006
Whitehouse Station, NJ
Posts: 23,381
Liked 1793 Times on 1140 Posts

Do NOT get the 1/4" line. I'm telling you, you're going to get foam. Maybe you'll be OK if you leave your kegs at 8psi and you're running the line straight up to where your faucet is, 5 feet higher than the keg. Your shanks will indeed take 3/16" hoses, just warm them up in a cup of boiling water.

Also, if you think you'll be running a few different pressures like say an English Ale and a Hefe, make yourself up two lines, one of 6' 3/16" and one of 8' 3/16".

I'm serious, I bet if you took a poll, 95% of keggers here use at least 5 feet of 3/16" line per faucet.
__________________
Welcome to BrewHardware.com. I love you.
New Stirplates are IN!
Chugger Pumps, Pump Kits, Camlocks, Sightglasses, Clear USA made Silicone Tubing, RIMS, Electric Install Parts, etc.

05-18-2007, 01:01 PM   #9
homebrewer_99

Recipes

Feb 2005
Atkinson (near the Quad Cities), IL
Posts: 17,796
Liked 136 Times on 102 Posts

My faucet came with 5' x 3/16" lines...
__________________
HB Bill

05-18-2007, 01:34 PM   #10
Khirsah17
Recipes

Jul 2006
Columbus, OH
Posts: 164
Liked 1 Times on 1 Posts

Hmmm, most people here are pretty much in favor of the 3/16 ID line, which I'm totally cool with. Glad I asked before I ordered Overall, I was going to build a manifold with more ports than I had kegs, and the extra ports would have had the odd size tubing for the rare occasions that I brewed a lower carbonated beer. That way, I'd have more flexibility in the future without to much actual change.

However, I'm curious to know as to why the equations don't accurately reflect real life situations. Seems like not too many people take the equations seriously, but instead just use more hose and cut back based on the physical results. A guess and check method vs. a prior to ordering, "predictable" method.