When designing a custom draft beer system, we’re often asked what formula we use to calculate the number of kegs/lines that should be in a set cooler space to keep from overcrowding it.
Your walk-in cooler needs to be big enough to store your draft beer at the recommended temperature of 38℉ (for most beers). We have a super simple system to figure this out:
- A Half Barrel Keg is 17 inches in diameter (we use 18 inches for a bit of wiggle room).
- 10 feet equals 120 inches.
- 120 inches divided by 18 is 6.6666 kegs for 10 feet.
- If you use racks you can double stack your kegs and store 12 kegs for every ten feet of space.
These calculations are important when we’re installing a new draft beer system in your bar. It’s important to have enough space for the kegs, backup kegs, and delivery personnel and staff so they can work safely. Keg racks efficiently utilize the space in the room, but you also need to think about the lifting burden for the individual(s) getting the kegs up and down from the racks. You’ll need to implement safe lifting practices to ensure employee safety in the cooler.
The Importance of Cooler Temperature
We recommend keeping beer coolers separate from food prep to keep the cooler at a consistent temperature. If kitchen staff continually walk in and out of a cooler, the cold air will escape and cause fluctuations in temperature. Bar staff will notice the effects of this when the draft beer starts pouring foam. The taste of the beer will also be impacted.
On the other hand, if beer gets too cold then the carbonation will stay in the beer longer than necessary and cause it to taste flat. If the beer stays cold in the keg for too long, with the pressure set to 38℉, then bartenders will end up with excessive foaming when they dispense beer at the tap.
Remember that keeping your cooler temperature 36℉ to 40℉ is key to pouring the perfect pint.