It sure is getting warm out there! Yup, summer is here, and like clockwork, the beer systems are starting to foam. It never fails. As long as I’ve been around, year after year the phone starts to ring more frequently in late May and early June.
Beer wholesalers receive their share of calls from retail bars, pubs, nightclubs and restaurants around this time of year, too. “Come and fix my beer,” they beg, “it’s foaming like crazy!”
Of course, the technician almost always arrives only to find out that all the beers are foaming. It is not the beer’s fault. The beer system is mad as hell!
Normally, this type of problem is caused by a lack of maintenance on remote glycol systems. That usually means any system with long beer lines (trunkline) routed throughout the building, from the keg cooler to the faucets. Typical length is about 125’. A refrigeration unit with a glycol power pack maintains the beer temperature throughout the trunkline. As with most refrigeration, it requires some tender loving care every now and then (a.k.a. regular maintenance!). If your glycol system isn’t happy, your pour cost will skyrocket!
If you encounter a similar problem this summer, it’s possible your power pack was on the edge. The glycol / water bath mixture was beginning to deteriorate and started to freeze. The condenser started to get clogged with dust and grease. Your employees decided to use it as a garment rack. Sure, it got by, and it performed to the best of its ability. But then, as summer approached, it began to get warm up there on top of the keg cooler. Maybe even downright HOT. That glycol power pack decides to call it quits, and the resulting foam has made it nearly impossible for you to generate any profits from your keg beer. Needless to say, that’s not good.
Beer has gas. If its temperature warms to a certain point, it will tell you. Normally, light beers will be first to foam. Those wholesalers who distribute Coors Light will pull their hair out of their head. But it’s not the beer’s fault. Since it’s a light beer (and thus more likely to release gas) and has a higher carbonation level than most other light beers, it would be the first beer to show that your glycol power pack is no longer operating at peak performance.
So do yourself a favor. Have the glycol / water mix checked (and changed, if needed). This requires changing at least every 18 months, or it will wear out and freeze. Clean the condenser, too, so it can breathe.
Also, check the thermostat setting. Normally the bath should be maintained between 29 and 32˚ F. Ensure that the pump is circulating the bath.
Even better, relocate it from the top of the keg cooler (it’s very hot up there) to a rack or table where it can be easily accessed for troubleshooting and maintenance. Out of sight, out of mind. (Which, in this case, isn’t always a good thing.)
To keep your pour cost low and resale high, find your glycol power pack and baby it. Contact DraftPro Systems for assistance. They are trained to identify these potential issues. If you do, come July & August you’ll be thanking me….