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A few years ago I set off to turn my kitchen dry bar into a wet bar by routing beer from my kegerator to the taps 10 or so feet above. I was advised against it by some employees at my local home brew store who said that I'll just end up with a lot of foamy warm beer. As a result I built a bar on casters over a kegerator, which was admittedly pretty awesome, but still less integrated than I'd like and really bulky. I just moved and I'd really like to build that actual bar I had been planning years ago. Based on a 10 foot rise, and assuming that rise is 100% exposed I estimate a 4.3 psi pressure drop assuming there is no transfer pump being used. Also, it appears about 1.8 ounces of beer would be exposed to warmer climates outside the kegerator. possibly more due to horizontal runs but it will also be run in interstitial space where there is no heat.

Here are my questions:

How do real bars do it? Do they actually use refrigerated lines and transfer pumps?

What if the runs are small? (assuming the runs are < 20')

Does anyone see this being a problem if I use insulated beer line and just keep my serving PSI at ~15-16? I generally serve in the low 40's (good beer doesn't need to be 32 degrees), so I need 15-16 psi to keep ~2.5 volumes over time anyway.

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Commercially if the run is long they use pumps or push with beer gas (nitro blend) Lines are always cooled. Usually with glycol lines run along with the beer lines then insulated.

Sounds like you have a pretty good grasp on what you need for a 10ft rise. It's not out of reach for pushing with cO2 if you tune the run with the right line. Flow control faucets are an other way to cheat a proper flow when line length and diameters are not ideal.

Keeping it cool. I would run your beer lines in large insulated 6-8in pvc pipe from the cooler. Then use a 1.5-2in hose up to the faucets. Use a fan to push cold, air from the cooler up to the faucets. Cold air returns to the cooler passing the beer lines keeping them cold. This is basically how commercial kegarators chill the tower.

  • In regard to the cooling, I’ve heard of other people doing something like that with the pvc pipe. However if I can only drill through the door how do I deal with rigid tubing? – mreff555 Dec 4 '18 at 11:24
  • I make a section of the pvc at the door removable. Cut in two length ways, using a piano hinge and some Velcro straps for a clasp. – Evil Zymurgist Dec 5 '18 at 14:17
  • You could also use a pump to circulate water or glycol from a reservoir stored in the fridge along with the beer through trunk lines attached to the beer lines in a python. Normally you would use a glycol solution colder than the beer temp, but if you're going to try using air anyway, then this could be a more effective, and certainly more space-efficient solution. If your fridge has a freezer section then you could use that for the glycol. In terms of getting the lines out of the fridge, you can, if you're careful, often find a spot on the side walls. – Frazbro Dec 12 '18 at 23:13

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