How to Maintain Your Bar's Draft Beer Equipment - dummies

How to Maintain Your Bar’s Draft Beer Equipment

By Ray Foley, Heather Dismore

To make sure you’re selling perfect “brewery fresh” draft beer in your bar, you also need to pay attention to proper refrigeration, cleanliness of the dispensing equipment, and proper pressures.

Because draft beer is perishable, it must not be exposed to warm temperatures. The retailer (that’s you) must preserve it by providing equipment that will maintain the temperature of the beer in the barrel between 38 and 42 degrees Fahrenheit.

When you’re storing and pouring your beer, you must also maintain these temperatures throughout your dispensing equipment so the beer that you serve to your customers will also be 38 to 42 degrees Fahrenheit. This temperature range seems to satisfy the majority of tastes and is too small a variation to affect its flavor or quality.

Consider investing in a glycol cooling system for draft beer. A glycol cooling system is made up of a glycol chiller (a refrigeration unit that chills a vat of propylene glycol, usually referred to as just “glycol”) and loops of tubing.

The cooled glycol travels in the sealed tubes alongside the keg lines to keep the beer at a consistent temperature for the entire run, from keg to tap. As the glycol warms, it returns to the glycol chiller and cools again. This setup is the industry standard, so it is recommended you dedicate funds to this particular item.

Just as it’s important to keep your beer glasses clean , you have to make sure your dispensing equipment stays free from dirt and buildup. You need to thoroughly clean the beer faucets, tubing, hose, coils, taps, and vents, including direct-draw systems, on a regular basis.

You need to keep beer that’s on tap at the proper pressure to maintain its brewery-fresh taste and natural carbonation. The pressure of the dispensing equipment must correspond to the normal carbonation of the beer at its temperature in the barrel. The size and length of the coil in the dispensing equipment determines what pressure you should use.

Beer is a perishable product, especially unpasteurized, craft brewed beer. Make sure you’re rotating your kegs and watching the expiration dates. People can get sick from an expired product. If you’re not using a keg before it goes bad, consider whether it’s the right choice for your bar.