Draft beer refers to any type of beer that comes packaged in a large container (like a keg), as opposed to canned or bottled beer. Draft beer is very popular today and is something that most bars and restaurants serve. A Long Draw Draft Beer System refers to the way you keep your beer cold and get it from the source (keg or brew tank) to your customer. Keeping your draft beer cold, and getting it to the end consumer as quickly as is possible is essential for fresh taste and repeat business.
Cooling Options for Long Draw Draft Beer Systems
A cold, consistent temperature is the most important factor in dispensing draft beer. Non-pasteurized Ale & Lager type beers must be kept between 36-38 degrees Fahrenheit all the way to the point of dispensing, and other draft beer must be kept less than 42 degrees from tap to faucet. If the beer is not kept cold the quality will suffer greatly. In the past, most bars and restaurants served draft beer from kegs which were stored directly underneath the bar in a refrigerated cabinet. Typically only 2 or 3 brands of beer were sold, so all the kegs could fit easily under the bar. In a simple dispensing system like this, beer travels from the keg through a beer hose tube that connects directly to a faucet. Cold air from the refrigerator is circulated alongside the beer line (both hoses joined together inside an insluated pipe) to keep the beer at the proper temperature. However, these days most bars and restaurants are expected to have a wide variety of beers on tap. With the gorwing popularity of craft brews, it is not uncommon for a bar to serve 12, 20 or more types of beer. In this case, there is not room to store all of these kegs behind the bar, and a remote beer cooling system must be used.
Glycol Cooling Systems for Remote Beer Chilling
The most common remote draft beer dispensing system is called a glycol system. A glycol chiller allows you to store beer kegs in a remote location, like a walk-in cooler in the back, and run the beer lines from this remote location to the bar while keeping the product at a consistent temperature. Glycol systems have become very popular because of their ability to maintain the walk-in cooler's temperature for very long distances, up to 500 feet. But the most common glycol beer systems have a run of 100' or less.
Glycol systems have five major parts. First you'll need a cooler large enough to store all of your kegs. Then you need insulated glycol trunk line which the beer runs through after it leaves the storage cooler. These trunks lines bundle together beer lines (product lines) and cooling lines (glycol lines), to allow refrigerated propylene glycol to circulate around the beer lines during its travels, maintaining the temperature. A power pack or glycol chiller unit refrigerates the trunk line along the way. Last but not least, the draft tower from which your beer is dispensed must contain glycol cooling blocks such as these.
Your beer tower must be glycol compatible in order to work with your glycol cooling system. These glycol recirculating cooling blocks are intended to be used for non-glycol ready beer towers. When ordering a beer tower from Rapids Wholesale, simply check the "Cooling Type" on the particular tower you want to buy. If the Cooling Type = Air Cooled, that means the tower is not glycol compatible. However, by ordering these cooling blocks along with your tower, we will customize any air cooled tower for you so that it is glycol-ready when it arrives. This cooling block system can be installed on any T or Pass Thru Air Cooled Beer Tower. This item includes an aluminum block for each beer shank which comes in double contact with 3/8" tubing. This re-circulating tubing has a 3/8" hose barb fitting (to connect with Rapid Chiller glycol trunk line).
How Many Glycol Chiller Blocks do I Need?
If you already have a beer tower which is not glycol ready, you can buy these cooling blocks and install them yourself. These cold blocks have cutouts for the cooling lines and any standard tower shank can screw directly into the cold block, locking the faucets in place and preventing rotation. IMPORTANT - Order (1) cooling block unit for each faucet on your beer tower. If you order an air-cooled beer tower along with these cooling blocks, we will assume you want the cooling blocks pre-installed, and your tower will be delivered with factory installed aluminum cold blocks and 3/8" stainless steel tubing welded to the back of the shanks behind the cooling block.