Getting the Most Out of Your Glycol Chiller

A glycol chiller is a big investment, so before you buy, make sure you understand how to find the chiller that will best meet your needs.

To start, a glycol chiller/power pack is a piece of equipment used in long-draw systems to maintain the temperature of draft beer as it moves from the walk-in cooler to the beer tower. This is accomplished using glycol – the power pack cools a reservoir of glycol that is then pushed through a trunk line alongside your beer, keeping it at the optimal temperature.

For those who aren’t familiar with them, trunk lines are a combination of beer lines and glycol lines wrapped in foil and insulation. They come in several different product capacities, ranging from 4-12. Each beer product will have its own line, and the glycol will have a supply and return line so it can move to the tower, then back to the chiller to be cooled again.

Calculating the Glycol Beer Line Chiller Length You Need

The first thing you need to decide before getting a chiller is the overall length of trunk line you need the chiller to handle. Then, compare it to the length rating provided to each chiller (usually listed in feet) by the manufacturer. This length indicates the number of feet of trunk line the chiller can maintain serving temperature for. So a chiller that has a rating of 50 feet can maintain optimal temperature for a bar and beer tower that is within 50 feet of trunk line from the walk-in cooler where the kegs are stored.

While this sounds simple enough, you also have to take into consideration how many products you plan to move.

For most manufacturers of trunk line, once you get above an 8-product option, instead of just having one supply and one return line, there’s going to be two of each. This means that you have twice as many lines to cool, effectively halving the ability of the machine for the distance it needs to cover. So, if a chiller is rated for 125’, that is only applicable if it has a single supply and return line. Once you get a trunk line that has two supplys and two returns, you’re only getting about 60’ out of it.

The amount of pumps your chiller has will play a role as well. If you have more than one pump, you will need to add the combined distance these pumps will cover to find the appropriate rating. So, if you have 2 bars, one 40 ft. away and one 50, you will need 90 ft.

Choosing the Correct Amount of Pumps for your Glycol Power Pack

For many bars, a single pump glycol chiller will be more than adequate to meet their needs. However, there are a few situations where more than one pump is warranted.

One reason is for security as well as ease of use. For example, if you are going to run two 10-product trunk lines to a very large tower, getting a two-pump chiller will allow you to run one pump for each trunk line going into that tower. So if a pump goes out, you will only lose half your products.

Another reason you might choose to have more than one pump is if you have towers that are in two different locations in your bar and will require separate trunk lines. You will need one pump for each location.

Additional Glycol Chiller Variables

Some of the other options you may want to think about are placement and temperature. If you want to place your glycol power pack on the top of your walk-in cooler, make sure that your walk-in will be able to handle the combined weight of the chiller and the stored glycol. This might also make it harder to service.

When it comes to temperature, if your facility frequently experiences temperature spikes, you might want to consider getting a chiller with a bigger tank. A larger body of glycol will be able to hold its temperature more effectively.

Get a more in-depth look at our glycol chillers in the below video!


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