Tom Riley Talks Draught Quality

July 19, 2018
Origlio Draught Service Manager Tom Riley visits hundreds of accounts each year, troubleshooting faulty draught systems, so he knows the ins and outs of delivering an excellent product to customers.
 
“Temperature is key,” says Riley. “When a beer is having foam issues, some people mess with the pressure gauge to try to fix it. But 9 times out of 10, your problem is temperature.” Riley says the most common reason for warm beer, which should be 34 to 38 degrees, is excessive opening and closing of the cooler door. Do you store food items in your beer cooler? Is it left open, while morning or evening prep is going on? If so, chances are the actual cooler temperature is closer to 50 degrees. At this temperature, the beer, and more importantly the beer lines, begin to warm, making it almost impossible to serve a proper pint.
 
Another issue Riley sees at many accounts is an insufficient stock of kegs. When beer is delivered, even from a refrigerated truck, it may have warmed up beyond the proper serving temperature. Riley suggests that beer sit for at least 24 hours in your cooler, prior to tapping, so the liquid chills to the correct temperature. Consider purchasing extra kegs to avoid having to tap the day of delivery. It will improve the quality of the beer and ultimately the amount of foam-free beer poured from the keg.
 
If a beer cooler is running properly, chilling the beer to the proper temperature is an easy way to prevent foamy beer. But Riley often encounters technical problems from “draught systems that aren’t properly balanced or maintained.” A balanced system (in terms of pressure, temperature and cleanliness) delivers beer (not foam) at the rate of two ounces per second. If your system is not doing this, then it might be time to call a draught system expert, like Riley.
 
The other key is proper line cleaning. “In states like Pennsylvania, there’s actually a law that states that beer lines must be cleaned once a week.” A recirculating pump is best to do the job and it should run for at least 20 minutes.
 
“Another important thing to do, that a lot people forget (or just ignore) is taking the facets apart for cleaning,” says Riley. “Sometimes there’s a lot of hard yeast built up that creates off flavors. It’s a problem I see just about every day.”
 
One final piece of advice from Riley, to ensure the best draught experience for your customers, is to make sure the beer is poured properly from the tap. Hold the glass at a 45-degree angle so the beer will pour down the side of the glass. Grip the tap handle at the base, never at the top and open the faucet quickly. As the glass fills, gradually bring it upright and pour down the middle to form a proper head on the beer. Then, close the faucet quickly to avoid overflow. A couple of absolute don’ts from Riley’s experience: never touch the glass with the faucet, never touch the beer or foam with the faucet and never open the faucet part way.
 
When draught beer is properly poured, customers are satisfied, retailers maximize efficiency & profits and create loyalty amongst customers. So, take the extra time to make sure you’re getting the most out of your draught system!
 
For more detailed information on improving and maintaining your draught system, check out draughtquality.org.
 
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