A jumper line is used in walk-in beer coolers and kegerators. These lines connect a keg coupler to a draft dispensing system. There are different ways to set them up depending on the type of draught beer system being used. We will talk about using them the right way in this post today.
What is a Jumper Line?
A jumper line is a length of beer tubing that connects the keg coupler to the beer system. Jumper lines are used to ensure that the beer is dispensed at the correct pressure. Jumper lines can be 3/16” I.D. (inner diameter) 1/4" I.D. and 3/8" I.D, which is the most common. They can be made from a vinyl material (most common) or XFM (xtraflexmaster) which I personally recommend. XFM tubing will last a lot longer than vinyl which needs to be replaced every 12-18 Months. Personally, I will always recommend XFM tubing over vinyl as a jumper. It's better for the product being contained and will last 10+ years with proper cleanings.
What Size Should Beer Lines Be?
This depends on the type of system you are using. Let's start with a kegerator. If we are pouring ales and lagers off a kegerator I would recommend 4' of 3/16 I.D. Tubing as your jumper line. This will give you a restriction value of 12 lbs. Set the primary regulator to 12 PSI using pure C02 and you should be off and running. Assuming that the kegerator is at a temperature of 38 degrees Fahrenheit.
For a beer walk-in cooler 3/8" I.D is typically used. On most of the beer systems, I set up. I like to use an 8' Foot jumper. This gives the customer a little added length in the walk-in if the customer needs to move kegs around, or need to tap a keg a little ways away.
If the customer is pouring beer off a cooler wall, like a direct draw system. I would recommend 3-4' of 3/16" jumper line and the rest with 3/8 I.D. if the kegs are far away. Again, I would also recommend using xtraflexmaster tubing also known as XFM for your jumper line. Keep in mind the line length and restriction value will be determined by the type of gas you use too. If it's C02, most jumper lines will have a restriction value of 12-14 PSI. If a blended gas is used, say 70/30 Co2 to Nitrogen. The jumper line restriction should equal 20-22 PSI.
Can I Use a jumper Line for Co2?
I wouldn't. I would use a designated air line for the coupler. Also known as red line. If you are dispensing Nitrogenated beers and require 30-40 PSI on the keg I'd recommend a High-Pressure airline. Regular airline will actually balloon and eventually pop.
Jumper lines are an important part of any draught beer system. They allow you to dispense beer at the correct pressure. Jumper lines can be made from a vinyl material or XFM.
What size should your jumper line be depends on the type of system you are using. For a kegerator. 4' of 3/16" ID tubing as your jumper line will give you a restriction value of 12 lbs. Set the primary regulator to 12 PSI using pure C02 and you should be off and running. Assuming that the kegerator is at a temperature of 38 degrees F, this setup will work for most ales and lagers.
If you are pouring beer off a cooler wall like a direct draw system, I would recommend 3-4' of 3/16" jumper line and the rest with 3/8" ID if the kegs are farther away. Thanks for reading this and if you have any further questions you can always reach out here.