Draft Beer Systems FAQs
What is the Ideal Temperature For Draft Beer?
Temperature is a key factor in storing and dispensing draft beer. Beer can freeze at 28ºF, and temperatures above 39ºF can cause the CO2 molecule to expand, making your beer foamy, so it is important to select and maintain proper operating temperatures inside the refrigerator cabinet. The optimum temperature for serving most cold beer is between 34-38ºF. Unpasteurized beer should be chilled on the colder side to keep the live bacteria and yeasts that ferment the beer dormant. Once the temperature of non-pasteurized beer rises above 45ºF, the dormant bacteria and yeasts become active again, causing the beer to go through another fermentation. Pasteurized beers are not as vulnerable to temperature change as non-pasteurized.
How Long Will a Keg of Beer Stay Fresh Once it is Tapped?
Draft beer, especially non-pasteurized, should be kept cold, preferably at about 38ºF and is generally best consumed within 30 days. Temperatures above 45ºF may cause the beer to turn sour and become cloudy. If your beer kegerator is well-maintained, pasteurized beer can usually keep for up to four months, or even six months if you disconnect the beer and gas lines. Unpasteurized beer has a much shorter lifespan and should usually be consumed within two months.
How Should I Maintain my Kegerator?
Your best bet is to purchase an approved beer line cleaning kit with your beer dispenser. Bacteria, yeast, and mold can build up in the lines, causing your beer to become foamy and off-tasting. To maintain the freshness of your draft, beer lines should be cleaned and flushed after every keg or every few weeks. Be sure to use chemicals specifically approved for beer line cleaning.
If storing your beer system for an extended period of time, clean the lines thoroughly and place an opened box of baking soda inside the refrigerator portion to absorb odors. Before putting it back to use, remove the baking soda and clean the lines again.
Where Do I Refill my CO2 Tanks?
Generally, CO2 tanks are not shipped full, so it's important to know where you can fill your tank. First, visit your local beer distributor. They can probably point you in the right location for your area. Also, check with fire extinguisher service centers and welding supply stores. Many places will not fill your tank, but swap it out for another tank as long as yours is approved.
How Much Beer Will My CO2 Tank Dispense?
Generally a 5 lb. CO2 tank will dispense the following:
5 to 7 ½ kegs of beer
10 to 14 ¼ kegs of beer
15 to 22 five gallon kegs of beer
How Do I Store Extra CO2 Tanks?
Because CO2 is a gas, it should be stored with care. Refrigeration is not necessary, but moderate temperature is important. Keep the tank in an upright position away from any heat source.
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