Ask Mr. Wizard

Balancing A Draft System


Chris Wagner — Cincinnati, Ohio asks,

I have read that numerous homebrewers use around 6 ft. (1.8 m) or less of tubing to pour their beer. Every time I have tried this length, I get a crazy amount of foam. I stumbled upon this website ( and it has most beers in the 11–12 ft. (3.4–3.7 m) of tubing range. Since I have started using these lengths, I have had a balanced system. Why can some brewers have a balanced system with half the length of tubing that I can? Thanks for the help, Mr. Wizard! For reference, I use 3⁄16-in. (5-mm) vinyl tubing and picnic taps.

For starters, thanks for the great link. Mike Soltys, PhD. is the brains behind the hose length calculator you referenced and he has taken a fluid dynamics approach to beer line calculations
Response by Ashton Lewis.