Our draft beer system is up and running!
Kegs are stored in an 8′ x 15′ walk-in cooler that’s located back in the brewery. The beer travels through about 90 feet of chilled & insulated “trunk line” to reach the taproom.
In the cooler, each keg is connected to an independent CO2 regulator which allows us to maintain the appropriate carbonation level for each beer.
Each beer also has a booster pump [the black boxes] which adds some ‘push’ to keep the beer flowing through 90 feet of tubing since you can’t just turn up the CO2 pressure on the keg without over-carbonating the beer.
Just before the beer enters the Trunk Line it passes through a foam detector [the clear jars] that immediate stops the flow when the keg goes empty. That prevents wasting a line full of beer when a keg “kicks.”
Here you can see all 12 beer lines [with identifying stripes] coming together to form the “Trunk Line” as it exits the cooler. The red, white, black, and blue tubes are full of chilled glycol (a food-grade antifreeze) which circulates through the Trunk Line, all the way taps and back. That glycol refrigerates the entire Trunk Line *and* the faucets so every beer pours smooth and cold.
The shiny stainless steel half-loops show where glycol enters the Trunk Line.
On top of the walk-in cooler is a “Power Pack” (a dedicated glycol chiller for the draft system) that both cools and constantly circulates gylcol through the Trunk Line.
Here’s a behind… well… below-the-scenes look at the taps. We have 12 taps that are made up of four 3-tap modules. In this photo you’re looking below the counter under two of them. You can also see where the trunk line ends… 90 feet from the walk-in cooler.
Each of these tubing bundles contains three beer lines and two glycol (chilling) lines. Beer is on a one-way trip to the taps but the glycol needs additional lines. It flows up to chill the metal taps but then it turns around and heads back to the chiller in a closed loop.
After leak-testing the system, the beer & glycol lines were wrapped with foam tape and PVC tape… just like the rest of the trunk line. The lines are maintained at serving temperature so without a lot of insulation they would condense moisture from the air and make a mess.
The white tubes are drains from the drip trays.
My favorite thing about using a beer pump system? It allows us to put Nitro beer on any tap!