OT: pump for homemade glycol/beer chilling
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  1. #1
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    Default OT: pump for homemade glycol/beer chilling

    I am looking for a little guidance for a project I have going. I am wanting to build a glycol chilling system for draft beer system I have.
    Currently, I have a an old 50's fridge that was restored and holds keg beer. It is in my garage and is not going to move due to it's weight, etc. What I want to do is run another tap line directly below (in the basement) which is roughly 8ft of beer line that will need refrigeration.
    I want to take something like a small coolant pump and use IT for the glycol pump. Basically, I plan to coil copper tubing around stainless food grade tubing (for the beer) and then plumb the glycol through the copper tubing, ultimately returning the 8ft uphill into the refrigerator (where everything will be housed).
    Anyone have any suggestions? Pumps and sources for the pumps, ideas, etc.? Keep in mind the beer and glycol will never co-mingle so contamination is not a concern.
    I plan to try and locate a smaller machine coolant pump if you all think it sounds feasible.
    What say you all?
    Thanks in advance and PLEASE let this ride until I get some help
    Grant

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    Youre gonna have a few things to contend with... but to first answer your question on the pump...

    Check out a Procon pump... its what they use in a lot of glycol and carbonated water systems. Sometimes you can find a 1/4 or 1/3hp motor with a pump on it on fleabay if you search for "Carbonator". Usually ends up being some other junk you wont need, but the motor and pump are usually with the setup, and you can adjust the pressure down. All the glycol systems we have had in restaurants/bars had Procon pumps on them. Usually 50 psi max pumps turned down to 10-15psi, but I have seen 250 psi pumps in them and they were turned down to 15-20 psi and seemed to work fine. Fadal uses the same pump in their ball screw/spindle chiller setup (50 psi max). I used Soda Fountain Machines, Soda Dispensers, Home Soda Fountain Systems when I needed a replacement for the Fadal's chiller pump and changed out the spring to get the pressure down.

    So youre right on track there with that part of it.

    As far as running it, there are companies that will build you a kit for this sort of thing, using plastic lines for the glycol and the beer. The bigger issue is going to be getting the tap tuned. If I were you, Id at least look into some of the companies that do that, (like micromatic.com) and maybe contact them and see what it might cost to get a short bit of trunk line, some beer line, and have them set up the "tuning line" for your tap end.

    Basically, what youre dealing with is beer (that has its own natural pressurization), that gets pressurized from the CO2 going into the keg to force it through the tubing at an acceptable rate, that all of a sudden, at the tap, has all the pressure released. If you run full size line from the keg to the tap, odds are it will foam like a mad dog. The tuning entails using smaller line just before the tap to control the foaming. Im not 100% sure on the science beside it, but I know what its like not having the tuning tubes, and the difference made when you put the right ones in. Places like Micromatic will be able to calculate what you need pretty well, and then you can fine tune it if needed at install. When we did a 8 tap system, each tuning line was different because of the different distances the kegs were from the tap, the pressure the kegs were run at, and the type of beer/gas that was used on each line.

    It wouldnt surprise me if you might have the same amount of money in a single beer trunk line, fittings, tuning tube, and info from a place that does it, as you would with a bunch of coiled up copper tubing and stainless tubing. (which I would suspect will impart a less than desirable taste to the beer that sits in the line - where as the plastic really doesnt).

    Might at lease be worth a call to check... been a few years since the last system I installed, and I wasnt involved in the money side of it, so I cant say for sure, it could be a nightmare with minimum lengths and various fittings and such... or could be relatively painless and quite affordable. Plus they can tell you what you might need for tuning the tap.

    Im no expert by any means, but done it a time or three. Though those were all longer runs (30' plus). Hope I got you some good info instead of just making it seem a lot more complicated.

    Cheers
    Wade

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    Quote Originally Posted by Wade C View Post
    ...............Im no expert by any means, but done it a time or three. Though those were all longer runs (30' plus). Hope I got you some good info instead of just making it seem a lot more complicated.

    Cheers
    Wade
    Wade,

    This is incredibly helpful! I will contact the company you sited and hopefully figure out what I can/can't do before I go on a wild goose chase that costs me way more than I need to spend!

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    Find yourself a big stick - to beat off all the volunteer test pilots from PM

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    I dont do cold beer, its room temperature that way my friends dont want any.

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    X2 on the Procon pump. Art Bosse who used to work at Boston Digital used same set-up for his wine making. Those pumps are used in the Barnard spindle coolers on older BD's as well as welding machines. They run about 30 PSI and have a fine mesh filter that you may need to remove.

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    Thanks all! I have put in a tech request/email to micromatic about my proposed plan. I really think it will work. I just want to make sure I get all the needed components to do it right the first time.

    If I am able to get good results with the basement spout, I will run an additional line to the back deck

    If anyone else has input, please post up!

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    Procon Pumps are excellent. If you get one, be aware that they require a special motor, one with a short, slotted drive shaft. Here's a link to the technical specifications and different types of pumps and some of the motors.

    I use a Procon on two different TIG welding coolers and they are extremely reliable. No financial connection to the company.

    http://www.proconpumpscanada.com/tech-desc.html

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    I actually think I have one of these procon units for my Startrite coldsaw's coolant reservoir I should just go up to the shop and look inside the cabinet. I built the coolant tank a couple years back and recall this slotted motor/pump design.

    I have my eye on a few units that look very promising. After I get some confirmation on my "design" from Micromatic, I will start purchasing the goods and have me some more cold beers from various locations inside and outside the house!

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    I have a bunch of food grade SS tubing and fittings. It is really nice top shelf stuff orginally slated for instalation in a pharmaceutical facility. It has been sitting for a couple of years since the pack rat in me couldn't part with it.

    If you need some pm me and I think we could work somthing out.

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    Quote Originally Posted by doug8cat View Post
    I have a bunch of food grade SS tubing and fittings. It is really nice top shelf stuff orginally slated for instalation in a pharmaceutical facility. It has been sitting for a couple of years since the pack rat in me couldn't part with it.

    If you need some pm me and I think we could work somthing out.
    Thanks Doug! I will keep you in mind. I have the system figured out in my head but just want to make sure it will work before I jump in with "both feet".

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    From the 'simpler is better' bin.

    Would you consider using just a small diameter well insulated line? If the line just goes 'down' a short distance, thermo-cycle should keep it cool. Plus, a small diameter line would not hold very much beer, even if slightly warmer in the line, temperature would be moderated by the greater volume of cold beer entering the glass/mug/pitcher.

    Even if not fully effective, I saw a post above for someone who likes their beer room temperature, I'm sure they'd be happy to dispose of the first glass.

    Thanks,
    Jim.

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    Here a link to a description on balancing your beer lines. Really pretty easy, but it may require more than one regulator when running different length lines from multiple kegs on one CO2 source. Used these values for my two keg, one CO2 source for my system and it worked out good.

    You can gang additional regulators to a single bottle. All it takes is a brass nipple to connect them. Install it in the first, and next regulator where the bottle pressure gauge is and only run one bottle pressure gauge in the last regulator. I've seen up to 4 regulators connected this way, but more should work ok I'd think.

    Bob

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    Quote Originally Posted by Bob49 View Post
    Here a link to a description on balancing your beer lines. Really pretty easy, but it may require more than one regulator when running different length lines from multiple kegs on one CO2 source. Used these values for my two keg, one CO2 source for my system and it worked out good.

    You can gang additional regulators to a single bottle. All it takes is a brass nipple to connect them. Install it in the first, and next regulator where the bottle pressure gauge is and only run one bottle pressure gauge in the last regulator. I've seen up to 4 regulators connected this way, but more should work ok I'd think.

    Bob
    Bob,

    You right on about the gang regulator set up. I have seen this before. I am thinking though, that I may not need this for the line running to the basement as it is going be assisted with gravity. Also, only going to be one pulling one draught at a time from any given tap head so the pressure "should" be nearly the same across all output taps (in theory?).

    I can adjust the pressure after I figure out the cooling system. Once I peg that, I will be set AFAIC. I want to build a small coolant reservoir that will fit in the freezer compartment of my old 1950's Coldspot fridge. The circulating glycol will keep the beer ice cold (maybe TOO cold). I just want everything contained within the fridge itself.


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