Author Topic: Serving Line Length  (Read 5810 times)

Offline northhouguy

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Serving Line Length
« on: October 17, 2012, 04:27:20 PM »
Yesterday I used Beersmith's equation and line loss values to calculate serving line length for my first ever kegged beer.  The calc came out to 2-1/2 ft.  That seemed short, but...

I cut the line to length put everything together and got about 1/3 beer, 2/3 foam.  I get beer out of the tap at a VERY high velocity, probably 2-3 sec for a half pint fill.  The keg has been sitting at 35 deg F, 10 PSI for seven days.  The temp/press is right on the button from several carbonation charts.

I need to slow the beer down and that should mean a longer 3/16" line, I think.  I've read that the line length calc is bollocks and I'm thinking that's true.  One guy, (it was on the internet so it must be true...), went so far as to recommend putting on 12 feet of line and cutting off 6 inches at a time until Nirvana is attained.  That seems wasteful to me, but on the other hand, if the length turned out to be 5 feet that's 14 pours and you can't put it back in the keg...

I think somewhere around a gallon a minute would be enough flow.  So, What hose length accomplishes that?  How do I figure it, or is trial and error the best method?

By the way, this was just a carbonation check.  I'll serve the beer at 46 deg F and 15 lbs, (2.5 Vols of CO2, per Beersmith's recommendation), so I'll have to go through the line length thing again in Nov.


Offline merfizle

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Re: Serving Line Length
« Reply #1 on: October 17, 2012, 04:42:58 PM »
Always use between 5-6 feet of beer line.   I use 3/16 line.

Mark
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Kegged: Bavarian Weissbier, N. English brown, Roggenbier

Offline jomebrew

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Re: Serving Line Length
« Reply #2 on: October 17, 2012, 04:47:56 PM »
Interesting.  I did not that tool was there.  I'll have to look at it later. 

I too use about 5' of 3/16 ID tubing.  I keep my kegs at 35F with 11 PSI.

Offline tom_hampton

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Re: Serving Line Length
« Reply #3 on: October 17, 2012, 05:35:12 PM »
I calculate my line lengths based on 1 foot per 2 psi of serving pressure.  I know the normal formula for 3/16" line is 1 foot per 3psi, but I get better results with slightly longer lines. 

So, for 15psi serving pressure I use 8 foot lines.  For 20 psi, I use 10 feet.

I have a strong aversion to barbed fittings.  I exclusively use 1/4" flare fittings.  I get the 1/4" tail pieces.  I make line segments 3 feet long, and then I join them together using flare unions based on the serving pressure of the specific keg. 

The other reason for 3ft lengths is that I can easily clean a 3 ft length with a line brush...when PBW just won't quite get them nice and shiny.

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Offline northhouguy

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Re: Serving Line Length
« Reply #4 on: October 17, 2012, 06:07:30 PM »
Flare fittings, wow! What a great idea.  I was picturing a spaghetti bowl of lines thrown in a corner of an already overcrowded brewery/wood shop/storage area/garage.

Three foot lengths... Who'd a thunk it...  Thanks for the tip.

And thanks to everybody for the good advice.

Offline KEKO482

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Re: Serving Line Length
« Reply #5 on: October 17, 2012, 07:27:55 PM »
I use 10ft lines for pressures between 8 & 12psi and they pour nice. It is around 3/4 gallon a minute, from the center of my keg to to faucet is around 2ft.

Offline ghwren

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Re: Serving Line Length
« Reply #6 on: October 18, 2012, 07:18:16 AM »
A great resource for draft beer that goes into some detail is http://www.draughtquality.org/wp-content/uploads/2012/01/DQM_Full_Final.pdf.

If you are not sure how much carbonation your keg has, you can use the following steps:
1. Set the regulator pressure to 5 psi.
2. Tap a fresh keg. Make sure the keg has been
in the cooler long enough to be at the cooler
temperature.
3. Pour a small amount of beer through the faucet.
4. Observe the beer in the draught line directly
above the keg coupler (with a flashlight if necessary),
inspecting for bubbles rising up from the
beer in the keg.
5. If bubbles are present, raise the regulator pressure
1 psi.
6. Repeat steps 3 - 5 until no bubbles are present.
7. Check the keg temperature 24 hours after setting
the initial gauge pressure to assure temperature
stability, and to reset the gauge pressure as
needed due to a change in keg temperature.

This is the lowest pressure at which the gas in the beer
is not escaping. This is your ideal gauge pressure.
This should work for most lengths of beer line.

Offline Wingeezer

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Re: Serving Line Length
« Reply #7 on: October 18, 2012, 07:38:30 AM »
I started out trying to use the formulas for beer line length but for some reason they just didn't seem to work for me - way too much foam.

I wound up just going with a trial and error method starting with very long lines and gradually cutting them back.

I have Perlick taps and using 3/16" ID line, I think I would up with 10-11 feet of line and get a pour that I am happy with.   I also use a computer fan to blow cold air up into the tower to keep the lines cool up there.

Typically I set my  CO2 press around 10 psi.


Brian