Did you know that at least 80% of all beer dispense issues are caused by temperature fluctuations or cooling problems? If you’re having a problem at home or with a commercial bar setup, there are several basic practices that will help narrow down the cause of your troubles and prevent future issues.
Acclimate! Regardless of whether you’re dispensing from a single 1/4-barrel keg at a house party or dozens of full-size kegs at a busy brew pub, you always need to allow fresh beer kegs to acclimate to the proper temperature.
Think about it: when a keg is in transit – even if it’s carried in a refrigerated truck – it warms up at least a few degrees. Before you tap the keg, you need to allow it to cool back down to an acceptable dispense temperature (typically 38˚ F, or possibly mid 40’s for those products that are more flavorful when consumed at warmer temperatures).
This acclimation process can sometimes take up to 24 hours… so always order your kegs at least a day in advance of when you’ll need them!
Dedicate a walk-in cooler for kegs. If your kegs are stored in a walk-in cooler or a refrigerated kegerator unit, you’ll need to ensure the appropriate temperature 24/7 from the keg to the faucet. Often, the refrigerator door is opened numerous times in a given day (maybe a cook enters the walk-in cooler to fetch some lettuce, or you open up your kegerator to grab some leftover meatloaf, etc). Warm air rushes into your cooler or refrigerator each time the door is opened.
Ideally, to maintain temperature, a refrigeration unit should be used only for keg storage limiting the number of times the door is opened. DraftPro Systems has a thermometer model designed specifically for use inside a walk-in cooler and kegerator. Calibrate prior to installing.
Liquid temperature of the beer. Check the temperature of your beer! If the beer keg is at an appropriate temperature but you’re still having foaming problems at the faucet, be sure to also verify the temperature of the beer being dispensed. You may be gaining temperature as the beer travels through the lines to the faucet.
To measure the temperature of beer being dispensed, you must first acclimate a beer glass by pouring a pint of beer and letting it sit in the glass for a few seconds. Then, dump (or drink!) this glass of beer. Again, pour beer this same glass, and measure the temperature with a properly-calibrated liquid thermometer. If the temperature of the beer is the same as the temperature at the keg, then you can be sure the beer’s temperature is being properly maintained in the line from the keg to the faucet.