As a draught service provider, you play a critical role in keeping draught beer lines clean to help an establishment maintain brewery-fresh flavor. The number one factor affecting draught beer quality is poor hygiene. Whether you provide line cleaning service for a brewer, wholesaler or retailer, you must be vigilant in making sure lines are cleaned properly and regularly. Poor hygiene and improper cleaning and/or rinsing will result in loss of sales and reflects poorly on the entire industry.
- The Facts About Draught Line Cleaning: This document outlines the basics and includes a line cleaning schedule. For more in-depth information, see pages 51-59 of the Draught Beer Quality Manual.
- Draught Beer Line Cleaning Log: Use this log to help your staff document their work.
- “Draft Beer Quality Assurance – Line Cleaning”: In this presentation, Tom Geordt, director of training and new business development for Micro Matic, Inc. shares step by step instructions for successfully cleaning a draught beer line.
- Draft Cleaning 101 at The Olympic Tavern: Your competition takes their line cleaning seriously and are letting their customers know about their efforts. In this video, the line cleaning process at The Olympic Tavern in Rockford, Ill. is explained.
- Extreme Case of Improper Line Cleaning: Here’s visual evidence that poorly maintained lines will deliver infected beer that tastes very different from what the brewer intended, and from what the consumer expects.
Encourage your retailers to keep draught beer cold to ensure peak freshness and for easy and profitable pouring. The number one factor affecting how draught beer pours is temperature. Even a few degrees increase above the ideal maximum of 38°F can create pouring problems, especially excessive foaming.
- Draught Beer Retailer Cheat Sheet: Keep beer at, or slightly below 38°F throughout distribution, warehousing, delivery and retail.
- Warm Storage Causes Difficult Pouring: Ensure retailers have sufficient cold storage for inventory. When improperly stored at ambient temperature, kegs of draught beer will warm quickly and become difficult to pour in just a few hours. Kegs that have been warmed can take a day or longer to achieve proper serving temperature.
Dispensing Draught Beer
The right gas at the right pressure is critical for pouring great draught beer. You should know or be able to help your retailer determine the correct operating pressure for their draught beer system.
- The Facts About Draught Beer Carbonation: The rise, run and resistance of the draught beer system you install will determine the operating pressure and the perfect blend for that system. Using a default blend of 70% CO2 / 30% N2 is usually a better choice than 60%/40%.
- The Facts About Air Compressors: Air damages draught beer flavor, causing it to spoil rapidly and resulting in lost sales. Pushing beer with air is like stepping over $5 to pick up a penny. Only install CO2 or CO2/N2 blended gases for dispensing draught beer.
- The Facts About 25/75 Gas: High nitrogen blended gas, usually 25% CO2 / 75% N2 (G-Mix), is intended for nitro beers only, like stouts. Regular beers will quickly go flat when dispensed with G-Mix. Don’t use G-Mix to dispense regularly carbonated beer brands.
- Fountain Carbon Dioxide Quality Guidelines: This manual by the International Society of Beverage Techonolgists provides in-depth specifications on CO2 supply chain, possible sources of contamination, best practices for CO2 handling and safety recommendations.
- Solubility of Carbon Dioxide in Beer: A handy chart for relating dispensing pressure and temperature to arrive at the perfect carbonation level.
- Calculators for Draught Beer Dispense: Four downloadable calculators for determining the exact blend for any draught beer system, and a mobile app from McDantim, Inc.
Glassware and how it’s handled makes a huge difference in beer sales.
- Draught Beer Basics: Four Keys to Excellent Beer Service: Cold beer, dispensed through clean lines, into beer-clean glassware, properly poured by knowledgeable staff is essential to success.
- The Right Beer Glass: A CraftBeer.com resource dedicated to helping you find the right glass to serve draught beer.
- “Frosted Glassware Is Not Cool: Temperature Tips for Craft Beer Retailers”: This CraftBeer.com article discusses the importance of temperature to the draught beer system and how frosty glasses kill beer flavor and cause foaming.
Features of a Great Draught Beer Bar
Your expertise and advice can make a big difference at retail. Whether you’re installing a new system or updating an existing retail location, your input can improve draught beer quality.
- “Stainless steel vs. brass faucets: A study”: Encourage your retailers to invest in high quality components such as barrier tubing (never use poly or vinyl in long-draw bundles), and stainless steel parts instead of brass.
- Glassware Management: Encourage retailers to invest in separate glass washing sinks, and avoid washing beer glassware in the same dishwasher as food dishes.
- Food Grade Gas Supplies: Many retailers aren’t aware that CO2 and N2 are available in high purity grades. Provide the ISBT guidelines for beverage grade carbon dioxide to retailers and their gas suppliers to ensure beer is dispensed correctly.
Draught Beer System Maintenance
Proper maintenance of draught beer systems is essential to maximize consumer enjoyment and retailer profits. Proper line cleaning every two weeks is important, but, so is periodic maintenance of other draught system components such as cold air blowers, glycol chillers, jumpers and gaskets. Be sure to follow manufacturers recommended maintenance intervals and procedures. Put safety first, wear proper eye protection and keep your tools well organized.
- Tools of the Trade: Valuable tips and lists of suggested tools and equipment for draught beer service professionals.
- Glycol Chiller Maintenance: This chart will help you develop a maintenance schedule and avoid outages.
- Glycol Concentrations: Glycol will absorb water and become diluted over time. This chart will help you quickly determine working glycol concentrations and keep your power packs working at peak efficiency.