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Home » Keeping Draught Beer Cold: A Guide to Glycol Cooling Systems

Keeping Draught Beer Cold: A Guide to Glycol Cooling Systems

Draught keg dispense equipment includes the parts and systems required to serve draught beer. Pubs, taverns, and restaurants may provide fresh, high-quality draught beer with proper carbonation, temperature, and pressure with properly fitted draught systems.

Kegs are the core of any draught keg dispense system. Stainless steel draught beer kegs hold 5–15.5 gallons. Beer is carbonated by CO2 pressure in the keg. Keg sizes popular in the US include 1⁄2 barrel (15.5 gallons) and 1⁄4 barrel or pony keg (7.75 gallons). Serve kegs vertically or horizontally. Horizontal kegs fit more beers in coolers.

At the top of a keg is a coupler for tapping and serving beer. Couplers have air and beverage line valves that penetrate the keg. The air line forces beer out the keg with pressurised CO2. The beverage line serves beer from a bar tap. Custom couplers are made for each keg size. Pin lock couplers fit full size 1⁄2 and 1⁄4 barrels, whereas ball lock couplers are suitable for smaller kegs.

Draught systems need cooling. Keep kegs cool to prevent foaming, maintain carbonation, and serve a cold pint. Keg coolers keep kegs 36-42°F. Most systems are air- or glycol-cooled. For efficient cooling, glycol uses antifreeze and water in coils. A drip pan in the keg storage area collects humidity and spills. To sustain pressure, CO2 tanks are nearby.

Draught beer needs gas pressure beyond cooling and tapping to serve. Too much pressure overcarbonates beer, while too little generates frothy, flat beer. Beer gas blenders mix CO2 and nitrogen for stouts and nitro. Regulators manage keg pressure. Perfect serving pressure depends on beer style, draw line length, and temperature.

Beer distribution lines from kegs to taps affect serving temperature. These lines should be brief. Uncooled lines and long draw lines reheat beer above serving temperature. Stainless steel and vinyl beverage tubing are common line materials that resist wear, temperature, and germs.

A tap and shank are attached at the dispense point to pour and present beer. Taps are lever-controlled and nozzle-equipped. Standard rear-sealing, NxT dispense, and Euro or forward-sealing draught taps are common. A shank connects the tap to the bar. The shank’s nut-and-tail components make tap cleaning easy.

Under the tap, drip trays catch spills. Empty drip trays often to preserve sanitation. A waste receptacle receives extra beer from drip trays via drain pipes. To prevent drip tray overflow, an automated drain pan sensor warns workers. Drip tray drainage and sanitation reduce slips and mould growth.

Overall, draught keg dispensing equipment includes:

Beer storage kegs

Tap keg couplers

Refrigerated keg coolers

Pressurisation using CO2 and nitrogen

Gas pressure regulators

Transporting beer using lines

Taps and shank for dispensing

Drip trays for spills and overflow

Bars and restaurants can increase draft sales and profits by properly integrating these components. An excellent draught system presents beer as the brewer intended by maintaining temperature, carbonation, and pressure. Clean and maintain quality draught equipment for years of better beer serving. As many pubs sell over 60% of their beer on draft, this equipment is crucial to their financial line.