Several parts go into the production of draft beer. These include the gas for dispensing beer, the beer itself, and various cooling options. The gas serves two purposes: it keeps the beer at the proper carbonation level and preserves the flavor. The gas also helps keep the beer from getting too warm or too cold.
A commercial draft beer system has multiple components. They include a draft tower and air ducts. These components keep beer cool and serve customers a quality product. The draft tower and air ducts connect to the walk-in cooler and refrigeration unit. The forced air blower sends cold air through the ducts to the beer lines and draft tower.
The beer line connects the keg to the tap. The lines are made of food-grade vinyl and attach to the regulator port using a screw clamp. The length of the beer line varies based on the gauge pressure. Direct-draw beer systems are the most common in commercial establishments but are also available for home bar applications, including refrigerator conversions. Air-cooled systems make use of insulated air ducts to maintain beer temperatures. They are effective for small to medium-sized systems but are not recommended for large-scale commercial establishments.
There are a few different types of keg couplers, and understanding them is vital to the success of your draft beer business. Most keg couplers function similarly, but each type has some differences. Understanding which coupler is suitable for you helps you understand how they fit your keg valve.
A keg coupler is an airtight connector that connects a keg to a faucet or device that delivers beer to your customers. A keg coupler is airtight and has two nipples that seal the barrel. The coupler comes in various shapes and sizes, but the most common type is the US Sankey “D” System. Once the coupler is connected, the beer is delivered to the faucet via a beer line. The beer line is usually orange in color and is used to distribute beer from the keg to the faucet.
Gas mixers are necessary to prepare beer for long draws. This type of system uses pre-blended gas to create frothy pours. While straight CO2 will work for most commercial draft beer applications, lengthy appeals require blended gas or glycol mixes. The least expensive gas mixers are designed with a 25 percent CO2 and 75 percent nitrogen ratio. However, this is only effective with nitrogenized kegs and will flatten the rest of your beers.
Gas mixers can produce three blends of gases. These gas mixtures are applied to the beer at different temperatures and pressures. A gas mixer has two inputs, one on the bottom and the other on each side.
Glycol trunk line
The Glycol trunk line is a central piece of a commercial draft beer system that transports beer from a walk-in cooler to the draft beer tower. Glycol is used to cool the draft beer before it is pumped into a fixture or a customer’s glass. The beer lines are wrapped in insulation and numbered to make identification easy. The glycol coolant is circulated throughout the system using a power pack.
Glycol systems have trunk lines that contain beer cooled with antifreeze and can deliver cold beer a distance of up to 500 feet. However, most glycol beer systems are only 100 feet long. The glycol system comprises a power pack and beer lines. The power pack chills the food-grade antifreeze and transports it through an insulated trunk line and beer lines. The power pack is sized based on the run length between the keg and faucet.
A commercial draft beer system is made up of several components. This includes a beer cooler with vinyl or red line that connects to a beer keg coupler. A glycol chiller and an air pump are also necessary. These parts force the beer into a cooling chamber and keep it cold. Despite the name, glycol never comes into contact with the beer itself. There are also coolers and picnic pumps that serve beer straight from the keg. These can be very useful when serving beer at outdoor events.
Ideally, all parts of a draft beer system should be in perfect working order to produce the best quality beer. Regular maintenance and repairs are necessary to maintain a properly operating system. You can also use beer tap accessories to boost the performance of your system.