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Old 08-02-2007, 04:18 AM   #1
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Default Beer Line Length and Pressure Calculator

Just finished this one. It uses a few formulas found on the Internet to calculate the head loss for different types of beer line and shanks (or cobra tap). You enter the items at the top: beer style, temperature range you want to see, beer line inside diameter, shank bore, height from center of keg to tap, and distance from keg output to shank. The table will then show the range of CO2 volumes that are appropriate for the style selected across the top and temperature down the side. For each temperature/CO2 volume combination, a beer line length and properly balanced psi setting to carbonate the beer and push it through the given length beer line are displayed.

Let me know how it works for you and if you have any ideas for improvements.

Beer Line Length and Pressure Calculator
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Old 08-02-2007, 05:17 AM   #2
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Sorry, don't have excel otherwise I would love to give you feedback. Sounds like a great project though.
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Old 08-02-2007, 01:05 PM   #3
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Whoa! That's one great spreadsheet!

I appreciate the time and effort you put into the formula's. I WILL be putting this to good use.

A MILLION Thanks!
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Old 08-02-2007, 02:58 PM   #4
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Hey, that's a great tool. Nicely done!
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Old 08-12-2007, 04:53 PM   #5
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This is a very nice tool, but I'm slightly confused on a couple of the settings. What exactly is Height from Keg Center to Tap? Is it from the pickup tube at the bottom center of the keg to the outlet of the keg, or something different? And what exactly is Distance from Beer Out Connector to Shank? The way it's worded it almost sounds like the length of beer line, but that's one of the outputs of the spreadsheet. Can someone maybe post a picture that can illustrate the distances? That would help a TON.
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Old 08-14-2007, 02:43 AM   #6
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Height from keg center to tap is the height differential that the beer has to overcome on average to get from the keg to the tap (#1 in diagram). When the keg is full, it is from roughly the top of the keg to the tap. When it is just about empty, it is from the bottom of the keg to the tap. Using the center of the keg just averages the two scenarios of full keg and empty keg. Using this estimate is obviously off by the most when the keg is either full or almost empty, but beer only loses roughly 0.5 psi of pressure per foot it is moved against gravity. Since a keg is roughly 2 feet tall, measuring from the center makes you a half pound too much pressure when full and half pound too low when almost empty - not a big issue.

Distance from keg output to tap (#2) is there strictly as a constraint. Without it, the calculator could, given the right set of inputs, tell you to use 6 inches of line when the distance from your keg outlet to your tap is 12 inches. This can definitely be an issue with Brittish and Scottish beers that require low pressure but all you have is restrictive 3/16" line or if you have to have your beer line travel some horizontal distance.

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Old 08-14-2007, 03:12 AM   #7
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Perfect, that explains it. Thanks!
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Old 02-03-2008, 03:44 AM   #8
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Bearcat Brewmeister
Just finished this one. It uses a few formulas found on the Internet to calculate the head loss for different types of beer line and shanks (or cobra tap). You enter the items at the top: beer style, temperature range you want to see, beer line inside diameter, shank bore, height from center of keg to tap, and distance from keg output to shank. The table will then show the range of CO2 volumes that are appropriate for the style selected across the top and temperature down the side. For each temperature/CO2 volume combination, a beer line length and properly balanced psi setting to carbonate the beer and push it through the given length beer line are displayed.

Let me know how it works for you and if you have any ideas for improvements.

Beer Line Length and Pressure Calculator
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Old 04-09-2008, 02:24 AM   #9
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I am using your calculator for my set-up. Has everything I need in one spot.
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Old 04-09-2008, 03:39 AM   #10
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Thanks for saying so. It hasn't failed me yet. A lot of folks use a set line length, then adjust pressure until it flows right. That is back asswards. You should set your pressure to the correct serving pressure for the beer style at the particular temperature you are at, then size your line (length AND diameter) to scrub off all of the excess pressure such that your beer flows correctly.

The other important thing is to make sure that the line feeds upward in all spots. The shanks tend to be warmer that the interior of the fridge, so the beer in contact with them when it is just sitting tends to warm and CO2 breaks out of solution. If the line feeds down to the shank, even a bit, the bubbles run back towards the keg. This causes a rush of beer, then foam, then beer, which ends up with a foamy glass.
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