Commercial Glycol Chiller: Complete Step-By-Step Guide

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Glycol chiller is an optimal choice for any long draw beer system. These chillers are responsible for maintaining the desired temperature during fermentation, which directly affects the quality of beer.

Read in our article on how to choose a cooling system of a suitable size, how to use it and how to distinguish it from other analogues.

What Is Glycol and How Is It Used?

Glycol is colorless and odorless liquid with a sweet taste. It is an ingredient of the antifreeze for car engines as well as mechanical cooling systems. 

A special feature of this product is the ability to absorb and release large amounts of heat without changing its temperature. That is why it is used in a variety of cooling systems. 

How and for what is glycol used: 

  • It removes heat from beer, which prevents the risk of wort caramelization (unfermented liquid from which beer is made).
  • Provides rapid wort cooling below its boiling point;
  • Slows down the yeast activity. This gives more time for accurate pitching and also minimizes the risk of possible unpleasant flavors that may be caused by overpitching.
  • It cools finished beer in the room without using ice baths, and also maintains the cool temperature of the drink in the open air.

Why Do You Need a Glycol Chiller?

During brewing, you cannot rely only on the cool temperature in the basement of the house, as it can be unstable.

We recommend purchasing a separate device – glycol chiller, thanks to which the fermentation process will be under constant control.

Glycol chiller is a special equipment for cooling beer lines, which is necessary for cooling liquids to a temperature that ensures «correct» fermentation of beer. It is also used where it’s necessary to quickly reduce the temperature of the product, depending on the needs of your production.

As a rule, such equipment is relevant for long draw beer systems (from 7.5 m and more). The main objective of this system is to ensure a constant temperature (36-38 F or 2-3°C) when transporting beer from the refrigeration chamber to the beer tower.

Let’s explain how the system works:

  • There is a power supply unit inside the chiller. It is responsible for pushing glycol through a run of insulated beer lines.
  • The main line usually contains up to four lines: the outgoing line goes from the power supply to the tower; the return line is responsible for refrigerant cooling; the refrigerant line maintains the temperature at the point where the beer is stored and at the point where it is dispensed.

Glycol Chiller Sizing

The size of the chiller directly affects the quality of the finished product, as well as the overall efficiency of the entire production.

To choose the appropriate size for your tasks, first answer the following questions:

  1. How often do you make beer?
  2. Are you doing it on a regular basis?
  3. What interval do you keep between brewings?

Also, the choice of this equipment is influenced by the following factors:

  • Barrel size (in other words, how many barrels can make your production);
  • Cooling time (how much time it takes for the chiller to reach the specified temperature. This indicator is measured in hours);
  • Temperature difference (this factor shows the difference between the initial temperature of the product before it is cooled and the final temperature after the drink is cooled).

Let’s figure out how to calculate the optimal size of the chiller for your brewery.

  1. Find out what volume your tank has in gallons (barrel*31 = barrel volume in gallons).
  2. Convert the resulting value to pounds (barrel volume in gallons*8.42886 = volume in pounds).
  3. Calculate the total heat load (temperature difference*volume in pounds = total heat load).
  4. Compute the BTU/H value (it consists of the total heat load/cooling time of the beverage, in hours).
  5. Compensate for heat loss in pumps and pipes by adding a 15% safety factor to your calculations.

If you are not sure how to choose the right Glycol Chiller, use the services of the Canadian company Beverage Craft. They would be happy to advise on what size of equipment will be the most effective for your beer production.

Glycol Chiller vs Other Cooling Systems

Glycol Chiller is not the only cooling system that you can use in your brewery. The other option is an air-cooled beer tower.

It’s a very simple system that uses cold air to feed keg beer into the faucet.

If you choose this cooling system, you should place the refrigeration unit directly under the counter, next to the kegs. 

Who would like an air-cooled beer tower:

  • A small bar or other place that sells a limited selection of beers (usually 3-5 types);
  • Those who do not have the ability to mount a full-fledged cooling chamber;
  • Companies that don’t need to install a long draw beer system.

Another advantage of this system is its relatively low price.

However, in practice, it is not suitable for all beer establishments.

In this case, a glycol cooler is used or, as it is also called, long draw draft beer system.

Who would like this option:

  • Bars and pubs with a large selection of beers;
  • Establishments with a considerable distance between the barrel and the dispenser;
  • Restaurants with their own refrigerator.

To make it easier for you to figure out: small bars, the main emphasis of which is not only on beer, would be satisfied with air cooled beer tower. It is cheap and easy to maintain.

Large bars and places with their own refrigerator, installed at a distance of over 25 feet from the bar counter, should buy Glycol Chiller. It will ensure the right temperature of the drink, so that your visitors will be able to enjoy all the shades of taste of your beer.

Beverage Craft will gladly offer you a suitable refrigerant: the company offers both a glycol chiller for home brewing and a commercial glycol chiller. You will be satisfied with your choice!

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