Longest Beer Line Length

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Oct 19, 2007
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After searching, I found many posts on determining the minimum beer line length, but I am trying to figure out the longest the line can be. I am thinking of running my lines from my chest freezer in the room behind the bar, but the lines would go up the wall (guessing 7 feet), across the ceiling (guessing 10 feet), and back down the wall to go through to the faucet (guessing 6 feet). Is this feasible? Also, will I have temperature problems with that length?

I really don't want to make the bar or the counter behind it wide enough to store the chest freezer. I am trying to come up with a remote storage solution that will allow me to have 6-8 kegs in the room behind the bar.

You need to talk to the guy with usernam kal. He's messed with this for some time now. The biggest problem you're going to have is all the beer that sits in the lines is going to foul if a few days go between pours. Once that is flushed out, it'll be fine. I know that bars with long lines will run through a cold plate located close to the tower because most BMC drinkers want beer icicles dropping into the glass.

Once you start getting into 15+ feet of 3/16" line, the average pale ale is going to pour really slowly. However, even at this lenght, 1/4" line is too big. I think you have to get up something like a 30' run to balance it.
I think you'll need to go with 1/4 inch ID line. As Bobby mentioned, you'll also want to come up with a way to cool and insulate the lines so the beer doesn't get all warm and nasty between pours. A cheap glycol pumping solution would be a good place to start. You could keep a keg of glycol in the kegger and use a pump to constantly recirculate it and keep the lines cool.
You'll definitely have problems with the temperature of the brew. The beer will warm up pretty quickly. You'll probably have to do some glycol cooling or use a cold plate near the faucets. One neat way would be to submerge a cold plate in a bucket of water inside a smaller cube fridge. Crank up the fridge and let'r rip.

I'm not sure why the beer would sour from being in the lines....as long as its not getting light or going through wild temperature changes it should be ok. The line length, serving pressure, and carbonation is the part i'm not sure about. Maybe leave the kegs warm and turn up the pressure. The beer should carb up less at high temps, it'll push through the line, and the serving temp will crash as it goes through the Plate. My party plate system worked like a charm, but I didn't have 30' of line to push through. The beer was pre-carbed to the correct level cold, yanked from the fridge and stored for ~3 months warm, hooked up warm, and run through ~10ft of line into a a cold plate submerged in ice water.
Actually the beer isn't going to sour but it will take on some of that yummy PVC flavor as it warms and sits.

The idea about leaving the beer warm will at least solve the problem of long lines. Figure you'd need like 35PSI minimum to hold 2 volumes of carb at near room temp. That would easily push through 25 feet of 3/16" line. Then you'd have to get a cold plate inside a mini fridge like sloop said. Get the plate down in some antifreeze and override the stock thermostat to run down to like 25F.

The biggest problem with this plan is lack of cold conditioning. You'll pick up some chill haze as it cools. If you don't care, great. I actually like crystal clear beers and it makes me feel good about kegging.
low 30's would probably work well with a plate... if you need to go colder I would use salt water. The 7 pass plate in ice water made the beer DAMN cold even with people continually pouring. Its 30lbs of aluminum inside a tub of ice water. There is a huge amount of thermal capacity there.. A leak with antifreeze sounds like a bad idea... at least you'll taste the salt. ;) Go down in steps... you can freeze the beer in the plate!

Oh... remember from science class... the temperature of water with ice in it is 32° no matter how much ice is in the water. The temperature can only go lower if you add something to the liquid like salt. The temp will not go up until after all of the ice is gone (or you heat rapidly).
Yeah, you're right about freezing the beer. I'm talking out of my a$$. You'd benefit from running glycol under 32F if you're using it as a cooling loop along with all the lines, but for spot cooling, 33F should be fine.
The fancy expensive way: take a look at jacketed glycol beer line. you could go with the 5/16" and move the beer as far as you want, and you could attach the individual kegs to the main line with enough 3/16" line to dump enough pressure to bring the lines to equilibrium. expensive, like i said, but probably the "right" way to do it.
I think you have to go pretty far before 1/4" line starts providing too much restriction. When I remodel my kitchen, I'm seriously considering a 3 faucet tower on the countertop which will be fed from a basement cooler. My plan is to run 3 1/4" stainless tubes through a jacket of 3/4" copper pipe (insulated). Water will be pumped through this jacket and fed from a resevior in the cooler and pumped with a cheap pond pump. Any additional pressure drop I need will be made up with coiled 3/16" beerline inside the cooler.
I am using 10 feet of 1/4 inch line and its coming out like a fire hose. I think I could double it before I can expect to keep my kegs at 10 psi.
Bobby_M said:
You need to talk to the guy with usernam kal. He's messed with this for some time now. The biggest problem you're going to have is all the beer that sits in the lines is going to foul if a few days go between pours.
See my experiences here: https://www.homebrewtalk.com/showthread.php?t=37060

I was going to do approx 15' lines but then changed it all up as that would have been hard to do. You'll need to cool the beer otherwise you'll get massive foaming as it'll have warmed up. With 25-30 feet of length you'd be losing half a pint of beer otherwise for each first pour.

There's no max length really. Bars will go 100's of feet at times but they use glycol loops to chill the beer, pumps to push the beer if it gets too far, and 1/4" or 5/16" poly line with barrier tubing like this: http://www.micromatic.com/draft-keg-beer-edu/keg-beer-trunk-line-cid-1789.html

This is essentially what I ended up doing too, but I only have 4-5 feet outside my freezer.

The other catch is that bars can crank up their PSI as they're only using the Co2 to dispense (not carbonate) and they go through kegs fast enough so that the beer doesn't get over carb'ed by being forced with higher pressures.

Good luck!

Why not just move the bar or the keezer closer and go through the wall?

I know a large counter in the bar area (behind you) would be a waste of room space, but maybe it's the quickest/cheapest approach. It would be a magnet for glasses and other things, but a hassle to move when you need to change lines/brews, etc.

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