If are using or plan to use a store bought kegerator, you will run into one of their most common problems: foamy beer due to no tower cooling for the beer line inside the tower.
This problem causes foamy beer at each “first” pour while pours immediately after are usually ok. On the first pour, the beer in the line within the draft tower is warm enough to allow CO2 to escape solution and occupy most of your beer glass. With that first beer having cooled the beer line enough, the second pour (if done right away) will be successful. Subsequent pours more than a few minutes apart will be foamy also.
It may not seem like much of a problem - pour a glass of foam, which cools the line; dump the foam and pour a successful beer immediately thereafter. If however, you take a look at the problem from a waste and cost perspective, you see potentially considerable lose of beer and money.
Even if you set that first pour aside it will take considerable time to settle so that you can drink it. By then its warmed even more and may not taste very good. You also cannot successfully pour a good beer on top of the foam. Foam begets more foam. So your first pour is always ruined.
Keep in mind that foam is 25% beer so a pint of foam is 4 oz of beer. If you are wasting 4 oz of beer with every pour from a 1/6 barrel that’s about 40 pours x 4 oz equals 160 oz of beer – 10 pints wasted!. If this is a $70 1/6 barrel of a high end microbrew, you’re out a lot of money.
Do yourself a favor; cool that kegerator tower so that you'll have perfect pours every time.
Here's what you can do:
1. Commercial kegerators are cold air cooled and because of this some of the cold air blowing into the box can be routed up into the draft tower by using a flexible hose. This hose is pushed up into the tower and has a hooked end that attaches to the beer line or faucet shank way up in the tower near where the shank assembly exits.
Your store bought kegerator is not likely to be air cooled and instead uses a cold plate to cool the inside of the box. However, you can take advantage of the that cold plate by pulling the cold air it creates up into the draft tower using a small fan and hose apparatus.
You can create your own blower and hose apparatus to mimic the commercial system. With a few readily available pieces of equipment, tools you probably have and some easy work, you'll have your draft tower cold enough to make every pour perfect.
To summarize the project: you will build a small fan and enclosure using a computer CPU cooling fan enclosed in a small plastic box with a hole cut to allow cold air to be sucked in and pushed out through a hose inserted through another hole in the plastic box. The hose will carry the cold air from the bottom of your kegerator up into the tower. To power the CPU fan you will need to run the fan's wire out of the kegerator and attach that to an AC/DC adapter of the appropriate voltage and amperage. For more information on how to do this please read the section of How to Build a Kegerator Cooling Fan.Return to Kegerator Know How from Tower Cooling