Kegerator 25' lines to Tower

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facesnorth

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Hello, I am looking at my options and was hoping for equipment and material suggestions.

I have a small coffee station/espresso countertop area. I am looking to add a tap tower and also a tiny sink. I want to send my reverse osmosis water to a spigot as well. Could I just have a small sink bowl, like 12" or so, and the tap tower behind it, in lieu of a regular sink head? And have my RO water connected to one of the tap handles? Or should I integrate a small drinking faucet somewhere, I just feel like it will be in the way. I only have between 36" and 48" total for this countertop, The coffee station is going to take up 22" or so. and the sink 12". My wife would prefer it closer to 36" total, but 48" is the max that can fit the space. So anyway. I'd like it to go to one of the tap heads if possible. I don't know yet how many heads to have as that question for me has more to do with how long does the beer last? I don't want to drink more just because of pressure to keep cycling through beer. But I like the idea of having a fresh pale ale on from my favorite brewery. I also have a keg of bourbon county that I'd like to tap. And wouldn't mind space for a lager or something as well. So maybe 3 beers plus water. I love the idea of one of those Vienna draft beer towers but they are pricey. Micromatic and Perlick seem to have really good quality towers.

I don't really have space for a regular kegerator under this countertop. It's basically just going to be a sink cabinet with a countertop over it. So there's access to run pipes and stuff underneath. I want to run it down into the basement and have the kegerator/keezer down in the basement somewhere. I envision there will be about 25' of lines to get it to where I want it to be. I'm right at square one here so would love for any suggestions. I need the beer to stay under 40F at every stage all the way to the glass. Was also thinking one of the taps could be a czech side pull if I get a keg of pilsner. Does it need to be a pilsner or can I use a side pull with any lager?
 
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facesnorth

facesnorth

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I always make my questions overly complicated and this was no exception. Let's just start with the 25' lines for now. Anybody have suggestions on method and equipment? Is glycol lines the best option?
 

Bobby_M

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This is a complex project. 25ft will likely require a custom beer gas mix of 75/25 co2 to nitrogen so you can run higher dispensing pressure. You can alternatively use larger bore tubing but that will increase the volume of beer you will need,to discard prior to the first pour of the day.
 
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facesnorth

facesnorth

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I could cut some corners and reduce the length slightly if it helped. I could get by for a year easily with just dropping it straight down, so maybe 8-10' at most of tubing. Eventually when I finish the basement I would want to shuffle things around and put them in their proper place, but the keg fridge could be relatively directly under (1 floor under) the bar location for at least the next year or so.
 
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facesnorth

facesnorth

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Also, not sure if this is a thing, but I could theoretically put the CO2 tank in the sink cabinet directly under the tap tower. Is that a thing? Or does the CO2 tank always go inside the fridge with the kegs?
 

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The location of the co2 doesn't matter one bit. The biggest challenge is getting the beverage line ID, length and serving pressure to yield about 1-2 psi at the faucet.

Rough calculations says that 24ft of total length, 1/4" ID, with 12 feet of rise will work out at 12 psi.

If you stick with uncooled lines, you'll want to insulate it very well and keep that insulation sealed to air as well. This will cause you to discard a few ounces of beer initially but it's cheaper up front.

If you want to cool the lines, I've seen people use a freezer/fridge combo so that a tank of glycol can be put in the freezer and pumped in a loop up to the tower and back (3/8" OD copper tubing). Insulation may even be more important in this case to keep condensation from being a problem.

For your RO water, you can definitely use a beer faucet for that. If you want it to be cold, you can run the RO into the gas side of a corny keg and run the liquid out to the faucet. The city pressure will keep the keg full and dispensing just fine. I have mine setup that way.
 

IslandLizard

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Also, not sure if this is a thing, but I could theoretically put the CO2 tank in the sink cabinet directly under the tap tower. Is that a thing? Or does the CO2 tank always go inside the fridge with the kegs?
As @Bobby_M said, you can put the CO2 tank, with attached regulator, anywhere you want. Pick the best and most convenient place for it. Even design your lower level space around the keezer/kegerator. Now the line(s) going to the kegs should be oxygen impermeable (e.g., Eva Barrier lines) or you'd be blowing a lot of O2 with the CO2 into your kegs.

For longer (and wider) lines a beer gas mixture may or may not be needed. My Bev-Seal Ultra lines (coiled up in my upright keezer are 19' long to provide the needed resistance for good pours, so with your 25' may not need beer gas.
 

Gozie Boy

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I've got a 24-ft remote system from keezer to tower. Unless you want to flush your lines after every session, and also have a higher delivered temperature (possibly foamy), you will need to use a trunk line with glycol-chilled recirculation lines. I use 1/4" dia. product lines, which give me a good balance for this length. (Note, I do not have an elevation difference to deal with - that would just complicate things a bit more). I used one of the trunklines (4x2) sold by Micromatic. I eventually applied an even larger wrap of closed cell foam insulation tubing around this trunkline, which works great and gives me a delivered temp. virtually the same as at my kegs, and this has also done away with the "first pint foaming" issue that so many people experience (including me). I love that!
 
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facesnorth

facesnorth

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Thanks for all the replies. A couple clarifications. There should be exactly 8' of rise. And I don't need the water to be cool, just regular the regular temp in the basement. That's good to know I can run that separately up to the tower and hook it up to one of the taps.

So my kegerator should be able to store 2-4 corny kegs in total. I doubt that I will ever have more than 3 kegs hooked up at once, usually probably only 1 or 2. Plus I like the idea of coiling up the extra lines inside of it because then I can get the extra length that I will eventually be needing, but for now I can just put the kegerator directly underneath where the bar is make it easier.

I don't want any bigger of a freezer/fridge than I need. The most important thing to me is probably a reliable and trustworthy temperature control. Can anyone recommend a unit to buy that's been proven to be easily convertible?

Same with a glycol chiller that would suit this application, any suggestions on a unit?

Thanks
 
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facesnorth

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Just one more thing, doing a lot of reading, and I'm definitely interested in using the EvaBarrier lines with duotight fittings. I see the lines come in 4mm, 5mm and 6mm ID. So with 25' of length, and actually more realistically about 10' of rise (center of keg to tap), which ID should I be using? From what I gather, I will be buying 6 lines, 2 are for a glycol loop, and 4 would be for beer (I figure even if I don't use all these, it's easier to run them initially than add them later?

Also was looking at the glycol pumps. Do I need a chiller or just the pump? The chillers are like thousands of dollars but the pumps are only a hundred or two. I see some diff info about leaving the pump running 24/7, but this isn't recommended by the manufacturer. Can I use something like a kasa smart plug to schedule cycling the pump on and off? I just want to make sure that I keep the beer in the lines under 40F at all times.

Unfortunately chest freezers still seem to be 2-3x the normal price right now cuz of the pandemic.
 

Bobby_M

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You'll definitely want to use the 6mm ID EVA, about 25 feet. If you think you can make the entire run in about 12 feet, you can get away with the 5mm but I doubt 12 feet of run length will get you there. I would recommend using copper for the cooling loop if possible. EVA barrier is not going to move heat very well and you'd actually be asking a lot for heat to make it through two layers of plastic.

A glycol "system" is a full blown refrigeration unit (compressor/coils) with a reservoir for a mixture of glycol and water. That solution is pumped to where the cooling action needs to be. You are correct that a system like that is near $1000. That's why I suggested that if you use a Fridge/Freezer combo you can leverage the single refrigeration system for the whole thing. The freezer gets a big tank of glycol/water mixture and you pump that through the cooling loop. The pump does not need to run 24/7. You can run it on a cycle timer for 5 minutes every 30 minutes or something like that, however you implement it. Don't be tempted to stall the cooling for very long periods. It may seem intuitive to only cool the lines just before you plan to pour but any beer in the lines, allowed to warm up, will lose carbonation. I mean, you can experiment with that to see how often you need to run the cooling loop.
 
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