Author Topic: Balancing beer line  (Read 1048 times)

blatz

• Official Poobah of No Life.
• Posts: 3450
• Paul Blatz - Jupiter, FL
Balancing beer line
« on: March 25, 2017, 01:58:34 PM »
hey all

using this equation:

L = (keg_pressure – 1 – (Height/2)) / Resistance

assuming most beers at 12psi, and 1.5 height change, i only need about 3.4 feet of 3/16" tubing (3# resistance).  but I can't actually use less than 6.5 feet.

if i use 1/4" tubing, i'd need 12' of tubing, which with a bunch of taps is kind of a lot.

what would you do?
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narcout

• Senior Brewmaster
• Posts: 1833
• Los Angeles, CA
Re: Balancing beer line
« Reply #1 on: March 25, 2017, 02:31:07 PM »
I would use 3/16 tubing.  In practice, I don't think it has anywhere near 3 psi/ft of resistance.

It's too close to home
And it's too near the bone

HoosierBrew

• Global Moderator
• I must live here
• Posts: 13030
• Indianapolis,IN
Re: Balancing beer line
« Reply #2 on: March 25, 2017, 05:13:26 PM »
I would use 3/16 tubing.  In practice, I don't think it has anywhere near 3 psi/ft of resistance.

I agree. Nowhere near 3, or sometimes even 2 psi/ft resistance IMHO. I've yet to see the equation that's interchangeable for all systems (with and without rise, cooled and uncooled towers, etc.) regardless of the 'universal physics' of it as touted by some. Paul, it's always foolproof to install a longer length than you think you need, then cut it down until you get the pour you want.
Jon H.

blatz

• Official Poobah of No Life.
• Posts: 3450
• Paul Blatz - Jupiter, FL
Re: Balancing beer line
« Reply #3 on: March 25, 2017, 05:20:45 PM »
Thanks guys.  If it's too long what would I expect?  Seems to be pouring fine at the moment.  Maybe a little fast, which is the opposite of what I would think if the line were too long - I'd think it was slow.

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The happiest people don’t necessarily have the best of everything; they just make the best of everything they have.

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HoosierBrew

• Global Moderator
• I must live here
• Posts: 13030
• Indianapolis,IN
Re: Balancing beer line
« Reply #4 on: March 25, 2017, 05:36:55 PM »
If it's too long what would I expect?

It'd pour slow and not give you much foam if it were too long. Obviously too much foam if it's too short. If it's pouring like you want, you're probably spot on.
Jon H.

Andor

• Assistant Brewer
• Posts: 135
Re: Balancing beer line
« Reply #5 on: March 26, 2017, 07:36:01 PM »
All of the line equations I tried gave me super short line lengths that really didn't work well for me. This guy has a formula that suggests much longer lines then the standard theoretical formula. http://www.mikesoltys.com/2012/09/17/determining-proper-hose-length-for-your-kegerator/
I found those results too long and ended trimming a few feet. I ended up at 7ft at 12psi.

trapae

• Brewer
• Posts: 256
Re: Balancing beer line
« Reply #6 on: April 10, 2017, 05:20:53 AM »
I went through this headache a couple years ago and the equations just dont work.  After many tries, I ended up at 10 feet at around 12psi.  Perfect pour with perfect head (for me).  You can always trim.
I am a great believer in luck, and I find the harder I work, the more I have of it.

waltsmalt

• Cellarman
• Posts: 89
Re: Balancing beer line
« Reply #7 on: April 11, 2017, 04:08:37 AM »
Just attended a class at Northern Brewer in Minneapolis on this topic.  Told we should only be using 3/16" ID line and should be pouring at 38F.  Jeff, who led the class, said that's it's key to be pouring at 38 and not just setting your temp controller to 38.  He said to measure temp at the first glass, without dumping anything.  My chest freezer is set at 36, but I'm still pouring low 40's.  Need to figure that out.  I would like to shorten my lines as I'm using too much write now which results in about 1/2 glass of less than carbonated beer in the first pour.

I've had kegs for about 10 years and still felt I learned a fair amount about balancing.  Also, renewed my desire for cleaning lines.  It's really not that hard, but I'm just lazy and end up just buying new line once a year or so.

If you are having problems with balancing and are attending Homebrew Con, I would suggest reaching out to Jeff.  Very knowledgeable as I believe he attended training at Micromatic.  Put your fears aside about AB as the store still feels the same as it did a few years ago.  I still get great service there.

narvin

• Brewmaster General
• Posts: 2268
• Baltimore
Re: Balancing beer line
« Reply #8 on: April 11, 2017, 04:32:27 AM »
It could definitely be the temperature difference between the beer and the line itself at the top of the kegerator.  Either way, better safe than sorry.  5-6 feet seems to be the sweet spot for me.
Please do not reply if your[sic] an evil alien!
Thanks