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General Category => Kegging and Bottling => Topic started by: oscarvan on February 16, 2011, 08:13:21 PM

Title: Beer line length.....
Post by: oscarvan on February 16, 2011, 08:13:21 PM
OK, some learning needs to take place here.....

I know that beer line has a small ID to provide counter pressure and control foaming. But, I was reading that it keeps the beer from foaming as it enters the line..... As long as the beer is "solid" throughout the line, is the line length correct, or does it STILL matter how long the line is.....?

I have no foam in the lines, but am still getting a bit too much at the tap. Lines vary between 4 and 9 feet..... I can try a 12, but does it make a difference if there's no foaming in the line?

Trying to get my head around the physics here....
Title: Re: Beer line length.....
Post by: narvin on February 16, 2011, 08:20:33 PM
Yes, it makes a difference when it comes out at the faucet end.  Longer lines provide more resistance, and you need enough resistance for your serving PSI to prevent foaming when you pour.
Title: Re: Beer line length.....
Post by: bluesman on February 16, 2011, 08:47:35 PM
Your best bet is 3/16"ID X 6ft long. The key is a cold faucet and regulated pressure (12-15psi). The first beer will foam a bit because the faucet is warm but each pour after that within a minute or two of each other will be perfect.
Title: Re: Beer line length.....
Post by: narvin on February 16, 2011, 09:06:48 PM
You should also carbonate at the same pressure you plan on serving.  Although you can turn down the pressure for serving, after a few days CO2 will start to come out of solution.  If you crank up the pressure and shake, you could be overcarbonating, so I'd stop doing that at least until you figure out what your problem is.
Title: Re: Beer line length.....
Post by: tom on February 16, 2011, 09:08:00 PM
Picnic faucet or regular beer faucet?
What temperature and CO2 pressure is it set at? How long has it been carbonating?

Here's the Brewers Association Draught Beer Manual that has more info than you'll ever need.
Title: Re: Beer line length.....
Post by: oscarvan on February 16, 2011, 09:33:48 PM
Regular beer faucets in keggerator door, long shanks, nice and cool.

OK, here's the MO......

I chill the keg to 42º ish, then force carbonate at 30 psi for a few minutes, then I put a gauge on the keg and let it settle, repeat as necessary 'till it balances at 10psi.

I think my lines are too short. I will get a really long line (like 12 feet) and see what that does.
Title: Re: Beer line length.....
Post by: gmac on February 16, 2011, 10:21:07 PM
Is the hose the same size for a both types of faucet?
Title: Re: Beer line length.....
Post by: oscarvan on February 16, 2011, 10:39:25 PM
Is the hose the same size for a both types of faucet?

Hamana? All beer hoses are 3/16" ID...........
Title: Re: Beer line length.....
Post by: pinnah on February 16, 2011, 11:05:27 PM
Here's the Brewers Association Draught Beer Manual that has more info than you'll ever need.

Where? 

Thanks, I am going to need it.
Title: Re: Beer line length.....
Post by: dbeechum on February 16, 2011, 11:39:13 PM
Here -

http://www.draughtquality.org/w/page/18182201/FrontPage
Title: Re: Beer line length.....
Post by: gmac on February 17, 2011, 12:25:44 AM
Is the hose the same size for a both types of faucet?

Hamana? All beer hoses are 3/16" ID...........

OK, I read this on my phone while waiting for my kids and before heading to the hardware store to get line for a picnic tap.  I got 3/16 ID vinyl line but I don't know what constitutes "Beer Line".  This is pretty thin stuff.  Probably 5/16 OD.  The line I took off seems to be a lot thicker walled.  Not sure where I'd find beer hose if there's a difference.  Just wasn't sure since all I have is picnic tap.
BTW, I have 10 feet of this on the tap right now and it pours great.
Title: Re: Beer line length.....
Post by: punatic on February 17, 2011, 12:34:13 AM
Reading the subject title, I thought you guys were talking about the concession stand at the ballgame.   :-[
Title: Re: Beer line length.....
Post by: Mark G on February 17, 2011, 12:50:50 AM
Reading the subject title, I thought you guys were talking about the concession stand at the ballgame.   :-[
Which is usually proportional to the line at the urinals.
Title: Re: Beer line length.....
Post by: bluesman on February 17, 2011, 02:10:09 AM
I think my lines are too short. I will get a really long line (like 12 feet) and see what that does.

Don't waste your money.

Here's a great resource.

https://files.pbworks.com/download/m2XlqbvkjU/draftquality/18182336/DBQM_Full.pdf
Title: Re: Beer line length.....
Post by: Thirsty_Monk on February 17, 2011, 03:26:35 AM
Drag on 3/16 tubing is 3 psi / ft (that is what I heard).
If you have 5 ft tubing it should be 5 X 3 = 15 or 5 ft of tubing should handle 15 psi in your keg.
Title: Re: Beer line length.....
Post by: gsandel on February 17, 2011, 03:37:40 AM
While the draft quality manual states the resistance is 3lbs/foot for 3/16" beer line, other sources state it is between 2 and 3 lbs/foot, and whatever line I have is more like 1.75lbs/ft.
Title: Re: Beer line length.....
Post by: tom on February 17, 2011, 05:42:46 AM
Oops, yeah the manual is found at  http://www.draughtquality.org/w/page/18182201/FrontPage   thanks Drew.  (When will you be up against big blue?)

The hose "resistance" may vary depending on the beer speed. But usually you can figure 2-3 psi per foot. Start long and cut down from there. Regular beer faucets will pour the first pint a little foamy unitl it cools off. Bigger shanks will keep the faucet cooler to cut that foaming. Picnic faucets seem to be a little different animal
Title: Re: Beer line length.....
Post by: a10t2 on February 17, 2011, 05:56:14 AM
Keep in mind that the resistance won't be linear either. It may average out to 2 psi/ft at 12 psi, but only 1 psi/ft at 20 psi. (From my own experience, I think that those numbers are pretty close.)
Title: Re: Beer line length.....
Post by: oscarvan on February 17, 2011, 04:05:30 PM
Yes I read that publication and that's what I originally based my lengths on. So, somehow things are not adding up. I am using the 3/16" thick walled beer line. Will still throw a few $$ at a 12 foot line just to see what happens.
Title: Re: Beer line length.....
Post by: tschmidlin on February 17, 2011, 06:31:22 PM
That should help oscar.  There are other factors besides line length - height of the faucet, restriction of the faucet affect the setup too.  I'm not sure why it's rated at 2.2 psi per foot when everyone seems to get lower than that. :-\
Title: Re: Beer line length.....
Post by: oscarvan on February 17, 2011, 06:41:13 PM
Faucets are at EXACTLY the same height as the top of the cornies.....

One thing I have been doing this morning to get the pressures right is to put a gauge on the cornies and see what was actually in there... Seems my regulator gauge may be reading a little low. I've been bleeding them down and re-reading.
Title: Re: Beer line length.....
Post by: dshepard on February 18, 2011, 10:18:42 AM
I had to keep experimenting with my line length. For my system, 34ºF (I like my lagers cold) and 13-14psi, I finally ended up using 15 feet of 3/16 beverage line and I now have a nicely balanced system. I would start with a length that you think is too long, and if it is too long, trim it down. Kind of hard to go in the opposite direction.

I would also echo a previous poster's comment of carbonating at your serving pressure. Of course it takes longer (1 week?) but things just seem to work better and balance easier. YMMV

One other thing, each beer is different. I have 4 beers on tap right now and all set at the same pressure since I only have one regulator. I have two ales that hardly have any head, a porter that has the prettiest head you could ask for, and a CAP which pours foamy for the first pour and a just a touch too much foam but acceptable for the subsequent pours. I guess my point is you may get it dialed in for one beer and then have a "problem" with the next beer.
Title: Re: Beer line length.....
Post by: oscarvan on February 18, 2011, 03:05:49 PM
That's why I have a dual regulator.

As far as force carbonating.... The process is changing. I got one of these:

(http://www.ibrew.com.sg/Images/DraftSystem/PressureGauge.gif)

Last keg I cooled, then force carbonated for 5 minutes, let sit for 15 and measured the pressure. Repeated until I got to service pressure, then plugged into the system without shocking it. Much better.

One mistake I made is that I took a keg to a party, and ran it with a little CO2 cartridge. When I cam home I just plugged it in, and apparently it was more carbonated than I thought. I should have measured, and vented as necessary to bring it to service pressure.
Title: Re: Beer line length.....
Post by: oscarvan on March 01, 2011, 01:56:27 AM
OK newsflash....

Put 12 foot lines on two of the taps today. It's a whole new ball game. Have to work to get head now. Hold the glass low and let 'er splash. But, I have bracketed the envelope. May have to cut a foot off, although I am pretty happy for the moment.

I need a variable resistance tap......engineers...any ideas?
Title: Re: Beer line length.....
Post by: gsandel on March 01, 2011, 02:02:10 AM
or a secondary regulator (like you need an excuse for that).....cut a foot (or 6 inches) at a time to get it perfect!
Title: Re: Beer line length.....
Post by: phillamb168 on March 01, 2011, 07:28:28 AM
OK newsflash....

Put 12 foot lines on two of the taps today. It's a whole new ball game. Have to work to get head now. Hold the glass low and let 'er splash. But, I have bracketed the envelope. May have to cut a foot off, although I am pretty happy for the moment.

I need a variable resistance tap......engineers...any ideas?

This looks waterproof:

(http://rocky.digikey.com/weblib/Epcos/Web%20Photos/VARISTOR%2020MM%20SERIES.jpg)

Although I'm not sure how you'd hook it up to a draught system.
Title: Re: Beer line length.....
Post by: punatic on March 01, 2011, 08:09:46 AM
OK newsflash....

Put 12 foot lines on two of the taps today. It's a whole new ball game. Have to work to get head now. Hold the glass low and let 'er splash. But, I have bracketed the envelope. May have to cut a foot off, although I am pretty happy for the moment.

I need a variable resistance tap......engineers...any ideas?

This looks waterproof:

(http://rocky.digikey.com/weblib/Epcos/Web%20Photos/VARISTOR%2020MM%20SERIES.jpg)

Although I'm not sure how you'd hook it up to a draught system.

Guess that depends on how many Ohms your system is rated for
Title: Re: Beer line length.....
Post by: phillamb168 on March 01, 2011, 08:32:29 AM
OK newsflash....

Put 12 foot lines on two of the taps today. It's a whole new ball game. Have to work to get head now. Hold the glass low and let 'er splash. But, I have bracketed the envelope. May have to cut a foot off, although I am pretty happy for the moment.

I need a variable resistance tap......engineers...any ideas?

This looks waterproof:

(http://rocky.digikey.com/weblib/Epcos/Web%20Photos/VARISTOR%2020MM%20SERIES.jpg)

Although I'm not sure how you'd hook it up to a draught system.

Guess that depends on how many Ohms your system is rated for

Now THAT would be an interesting thought experiment.
Title: Re: Beer line length.....
Post by: tygo on March 01, 2011, 11:54:20 AM
That's why I have a dual regulator.
As far as force carbonating.... The process is changing. I got one of these:
(http://www.ibrew.com.sg/Images/DraftSystem/PressureGauge.gif)

Did you make that pressure gauge or buy it?  I found a page the Mike Dixon put together to make one here:  http://hbd.org/carboy/kegpresstester.htm.  Doesn't sound difficult but I was wondering if somewhere was selling them already assembled.
Title: Re: Beer line length.....
Post by: oscarvan on March 01, 2011, 01:09:31 PM
Got them here:

http://www.williamsbrewing.com/KEG-PRESSURE-TESTER-P715C237.aspx
Title: Re: Beer line length.....
Post by: tygo on March 01, 2011, 03:51:48 PM
Nice.  Thanks.  I'll have to pick one of those up when they have them back in stock.