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Draft Beer – Cooling Systems

Notes

Barrel storage temperature should be 36-38 Deg. F. 90% of all draft beer foaming issues are temperature related.

Cooling Draft Beer System Types

The following are the most common ways to cool a beer system.

Direct Draw Draft Beer System

In this type of system the barrels are stored behind the bar in a cooler that has a beer tower mounted on top of the box or the barrels are stored in a walk-in cooler and the beer faucets are mounted to the cooler wall.

Air Shaft Draft Beer System

This type of system will have a beer tower mounted up to, but not more than 25’ from the barrel storage area. This system would use a blower to force cold air from the barrel storage area to the point of dispense through an air shaft containing the beer lines.

Remote Cooled Draft Beer System

This system will use a secondary self contained refrigeration unit to circulate a coolant through an insulated beer line bundle creating contact refrigeration between the coolant lines and the product lines. The secondary refrigeration unit is only designed to maintain the product temperature from the time it leaves the barrel storage area until it arrives at the point of dispense. The two most common ways of achieving this remote cooling is as follows.

  1. Glycol Cooling: (Recommended) glycol ( food safe, bi-degradable anti-freeze ): This self contained refrigeration unit cools a bath of glycol to a temperature of between 28 – 31 Deg. F. . Then a circulator pump on the unit will move the cold fluid through the beer lines to create contact refrigeration with the product lines in the beer line bundle. The refrigeration will cycle on and off per a thermostat sensing the bath temperature, while the circulation pump runs 24/7 to create the most consistent bundle temperature possible.
  2. Dry Refrigeration: This system is similar to the glycol system in the fact that it moves a coolant through an insulated beer line bundle to create contact refrigeration with the product lines. This system differs by using a refrigeration condensing unit to move a refrigerant gas through copper coolant lines in the beer line bundle. In this type of system the beer line bundle becomes the evaporator (part that gets cold) and the unit cycles on and off by means of a pressure control.

    Although this system can be less costly than glycol to install, because of the way these units cycle they tend to have frequent service issues and will lead to premature failure of the beer line bundle due to freeze/ thaw cycles.