We want to ensure that you are getting the best taste and quality of product in every pint. Even the best of draft system will encounter issues from time to time, and this can affect the quality of the beer you serve. Whether it be human error, the need for routine maintenance, or simply the need to adjust a temperature or pressure setting, many of these issues can be easily rectified once you pinpoint the cause. Whether the beer is pouring too fast and foamy or if it’s flat to taste, your draft system can be adjusted to ensure you are serving correctly. So in order to help, we put together a few tips on how to optimize your draft system.
BENEFITS OF LINE CLEANING
The most important maintenance you can perform on your draft system is cleaning the lines. No matter if your draft system is a direct draw, air cooled system or glycol system it is important to know the benefits of clean beer lines and glassware.
- Provide superior beer taste and the experience that the brewer intended
- Show the right visual representation as beer is poured with just the right head and effervescence
- Enhance the satisfaction of consumers
- Increase sales and profits due to better tasting beer and more efficient pours
Remember beer is a food product and cleaning beer lines reduces yeast and bacteria, known as beerstone, from growing in the lines. Beerstone produces “off taste” and moldy smelling beer which in turn is likely to reduce sales. Beer lines should be cleaned regularly every 14 days to ensure optimal taste and quality.
SETTING THE CORRECT TEMPERATURE & PRESSURE
Check the temperature to ensure it is between 36-40 degrees Fahrenheit. Because you are working to eliminate issues and maintain a perfectly balanced system, it is recommended that you shoot for a target temperature of 38 degrees and not a range. If the temperature rises above this, the beer may become foamier as the warmer temperature liberates carbon dioxide too quickly. Not only does this cause excessive foam, but also leads to stale beer. If the temperature rises above 55°F, then it’s likely that bacteria will start to grow which will spoil the beer pretty quickly. If you keep the temperature too cold, the beer will retain its carbonation. If this happens, you won’t be able to experience the true flavor and aroma of each pour. If the temperature falls below 28°F, then your beer will likely freeze. Obviously, you want to avoid storing it at this temperature.
Using CO2 to dispense your beer will keep it fresh for a long time. This is because the keg remains pressurized, but avoids oxidation. Beer can remain fresh for months, but the overall time really depends on the beer itself. If your beer is pasteurized, then it will likely last for at least three months, maybe even six if stored correctly. Non-pasteurized beer may last about two months.
Most ales and lagers produced in the US should be dispensed at 10 – 12 PSI. Stout and other nitrogen-reliant keg beers are usually dispensed at 25 – 30 PSI. For the specific dispensing pressure for a particular keg, check with your distributor. Also, be sure to check for pinched or kinked lines.