How to Tap A Keg | Pro-Instructions and Tips

14 June 2021
Category:
Bar Management
Tips
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Wondering how to tap a keg without getting an unwelcome beer shower or too much foam in your cups? Read on for the tips and tricks to getting that perfect pour from your keg…without getting soaked.

Avoid Frustration by Having the Right Equipment

Did you know that certain kegs require certain pumps? Nothing is more frustrating than hauling your keg home and discovering you have the wrong coupler system. As a general rule, most kegs in the United States use the “D” system, while imported kegs require the European “S” system, or another lesser-known system. 

Pro Tip: Make sure your supplier gives you the proper coupling system.

 

Chill Out

Beer that is properly chilled will have less foam when being poured. If you don’t have a bucket deep enough to cool the keg, consider placing it in an ice-filled trash bag. Make sure the entire keg is covered with ice, and let it cool for a few hours prior to tapping it.

Pro Tip: Ice your beer line and tap for around one hour.

 

Tapping a Keg Properly is All About Your Connections

Now it’s time to connect the tap to the keg.

  • Line up the keg valve and the tap coupler lugs
  • Apply pressure 
  • Turn the tap system clockwise as far as it will turn, usually about 90 degrees

Pro Tip: Make sure the pump handle is pulled up to turn the tap off before connecting it to avoid a beer bath.

 

Engage the Tap

Turn the pump to the on/ready position by pushing the handle down. This first pump is what allows gas to flow into the keg so the beer can flow out.

Pro Tip: Bubbles around the tap means the connection isn’t seated properly. Remove the pump and try again.

 

Pour a Cold One

When the keg is freshly tapped, there is no need to pump for the first few cups. Beer will flow since you’ve already built up pressure from connecting the tap.  For the perfect pour, open the outlet valve before pumping.

Pro Tip: Your first few cups after you tap a keg will most likely contain all foam. This is normal. 

 

How Long Will a Tapped Keg Last Before Going Flat?

As a general rule, kegs using “picnic pumps” (the most common system for tapping a keg for a single-use event, such as a party) will only stay fresh for around 24 hours. There are other tap systems that use CO2, however, and these may be a better option to keep the beer fresh longer. 

Pro Tip: A keg check is a handy device that shows you exactly how much beer you have left in a kag so you can send out for reinforcements or wrap up the party.

 

Don’t Forget Your Non-Beer Drinkers

As hard as it is to believe, some people don’t like beer. Gather a supply of staple alcohols such as gin, vodka, and rum to make light, heat-busting drinks.

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