Barrell-Dregs, Brulines … How it works or Doesn’t??? (131)

By | October 10, 2010


The Pot Boy e-mail post bag is dominated by justifiable horror stories about Brulines. So yours truly did some digging in the interests of objectivity and consulted an engineer who is an expert in flow monitoring systems working for the RAF.

As we all know, Brulines is the policeman in the cellar to monitor buying out. It’s that simple. Forget all the nonsense about it being a useful Management tool. RUBBISH !! Until very recently when Brulines instigated their new I-Draught system, all monitoring was not in “real time”, that is if someone in your staff is say, under ringing a particular till, it’s no damn good finding there is a discrepancy two weeks later. You want the information as it happens for goodness sake. The vast majority of the Brulines kit is dirt cheap and the results are anything but in “real time”.

The Brulines system is intended to monitor via a flow meter the volume of liquid dispensed. This is then compared with the delivery records assuming you are supply tied, and if there is more being sold (as per the flow meter) Bingo! You must be buying out of the supply tie. The basic, and dirt cheap, piece of kit is the Titan 800 series Flow Meter. You can check it out via Google. The Titan 800 is a simple revolving butterfly wheel. When it rotates IN EITHER DIRECTION it sends an electrical pulse. The meter cannot determine the direction of the flow. It cannot differentiate between water and beer, or for that matter, gas/air, water and beer. The megga problem is with cask ale when inaccuracies of up to 30%, yes that’s THIRTY PERCENT have been noted.

The problem with Real Ale arises when beer degasses in the line. This produces a combination of beer and gaseous CO2 which is known as a “Two Phase Flow”. Accurate measurement of the Two Phase Flow is not possible using a simple flow meter of the type installed in at least 90% of all cellars. The meter consistently over measures the volume flow because, for example on a hand pull there is usually some reverse movement in the pipe which also sends out the same electronic pulse as the beer volume has moving forwards. If you flush through your pipes between barrel changes, guess what, this water also registers as a liquid (beer) dispense. Brulines are addressing this obvious flaw in the new I-Draught system but very few have been installed in comparison with those simple and cheap Titan 800 meters.

The kit should be recalibrated at least every six months by a qualified engineer. If your “man” is not so qualified, and ask him to show proof, then it is quite easy to make a bodge of the job. For example, yeast build up can interfere with the accuracy of the reading. The Titan 800 has not been “Type Approved” by Weight and Measures for what is known as “Use in trade”. That means fining for alleged buying out of the tie. The meter is OK if it is only being used as a management tool, but NOT as a be all and end all system for levying fines. Ask your local Weights and Measures inspector to do some basic tests and for a small fee, prove the inaccuracies of this most basic kit.

Finally, so PB was informed, the Brulines claim of “world leading technology” should not be confused with their Edensure petrol forecourt wet stock management laser equipment. Now that really is spot on, but costs thousands of pounds for each meter and will NEVER be installed in your average pub. No chance. In fact Brulines might just be seeing the long term writing on the wall if the beer tie gets modified or initiatives like Marstons catches on. (they are taking out their Brulines equipment in the fullness of time).It appears that Brulines bought LBI Installations in June 2010.They are one of the few other specialist firms involved in petrol forecourt engineering. B….. all to do with pubs though !!

PBs engineering pal has a lot more to share which will best be left for another time in the near future.

What a distrustful world we live in .Which I suppose was neatly summed up one time by Rob May, National Rent Controller of Enterprise Inns who (unbeknown to him) was sitting next to one of PBs closest chums at a BII Regional meeting and allegedly said “Tenants are all the same you know, all of them are on the make, on the take and robbing us blind”. Sort of puts the evolution of Brulines into perspective does it not !!

Or as Dixon of Dock Green said “Evenin’ All !”

Pot Boy.

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The views expressed are not necessarily the editors and accepts no responsibility for them, we do try to avoid offensive or litigious statements being made. They are written by concerned professionals in the industry who feel that these issues should be raised to ensure that all licensees are made fully aware of many hidden pitfalls.


7 thoughts on “Barrell-Dregs, Brulines … How it works or Doesn’t??? (131)

  1. Publican Sam

    and as I can say from personal experience this equipment is wildly innaccurate, at one point in my last Brulines monitored house, over a period of 26 weeks we “underdispensed” some 2,900 gallons of product … which, of course, we stored in some 130, 22 gallon kegs in our 30ftx50ft cellar!

    This would have amounted to 23% of our annual stock just sitting about.

    A report by SGS (which describes itself as a “global leader and innovator in inspection, verification, testing and certification services”) last December in the Morning Advertiser said that it was “not able to distinguish between different liquids” and it found this to be a “major source of error” because of volumes attributed to line cleaning.

    “The determination of line cleaning volumes on cask beers is not based on any physical measurement which results in the potential for significant errors in the variance value,” it said.

    “Note that the type of meter used to monitor beer flow will continue to register if a different liquid (ie water or cleaning solution) is passed through it.
    “Given sufficient flow velocity, the meter will also register air/gas flow. gas trapped in the flowing liquid will also be registered.”

    But the report said that “with keg beers this should not be an issue as the dedicated water meter should give reasonable guidance as to when line cleaning took place and the volumes involved”, although some variance was also found.

    It also said that there “does not appear to be an adequate calibration routine”.

    It added: “Overall, it is concluded that the accuracy of the variance figure is questionable, due to issues with the flow monitoring measurement system and the manner by which line cleaning volume is attributed.

    No wonder Brulines have been trying to get their kit accredited by the National Weights and Measures.

    My advice to any tenant caught in the Brulines lie is to fight it every step of the way!

  2. Shafted

    ..shome mishtake shurely?

    Didn’t the CEO of a leading pubco (oh, alright then, it was half of the Punch & Judy show) – actually LIE to the Select Committee hearing that this rather basic system could differentiate between water and beer?

    I think that little porkie ranks alongside Tony B Liar’s view of WMD, as far as porkies in the Westminster Village go!

  3. Robert Feal-Martinez

    I think in the interests of clarity, the comments above may well still be relevant but according the BISC evidence from Titan you are making a basic error as did FP’s SGS ‘experts’ in that Brulines have the Titan 300, not 800 fitted.

    ‘ 7. Titan Enterprises Ltd the manufacturer of the flow-meter, possess substantial expertise in calibrating flow-meters to the standard required for Weights and Measures approved dispense. They have described the SGS report as being based on “assumptions and poor science” and noted that in its laboratory testing, SGS mistakenly tested Titan’s 800 series flow-meter and not the 300 series used by Brulines. If nothing else this casts serious doubt on the rigour with which testing was conducted by SGS’

    1. Dave Law

      27/10/2010 08:56:53

      Brulines: beer monitoring business is challenging


      I gave you an answer to this, as per below on another forum. Shame you didn’t see fit to pass it on.

      SGS report;-A review of their website and a telephone discussion with Mr Jeremy Thorn of Titan indicates that the meters installed are from the 800 series and are described by Titan as a mini turbine. There are a number of meters in the 800 series offering different flow rate ranges. Although there are no identification marks on the meter obtained from the Eagle pub, Mr Thorn believes that the range would be 0.5 to 15 litres per minute which relates to Mini Turbine 824 in the Titan range. Dr Mark

      However, the 300-10 or ‘beverage meter’ as it is commonly called, is still an 800 series meter,ie, 810. It is only slightly different in that it has John Guest fittings that restrict the flow in the pipe even further, thus affecting performance. Mr Thorn appears to have misled Dr Mark. Could it be because his company rely heavily on keeping Brulines as their main customer? The meter that Dr Mark tested was the 824 which actually has a slightly better k-factor than the 810 and could therefore be considered as potentially being capable of better results for Brulines. Of course we know that after testing, this ‘better meter’ still performed poorly.

      edited by: David Law at: 27/10/2010 08:57:22

  4. Paul Davies

    Bob, I wish you would do your homework before posting. The titan 300-10 flow meter as used by Brulines is the same as the 810, the only difference is the type of pipe connector.
    The 800 series flow meters may be calibrated to the figure quoted but the 300-10 is supplied uncalibrated. This is why Brulines go through the farcical calibration procedure.
    What a comfort it is to have such people as yourself who know everything commenting on this tricky problem.


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