Beer Faucets


Q: What are the pros and cons of the different types of faucets?

A: Depending on your style preferences, preexisting dispensing equipment, and the type of beer that you expect to be serving, there are several different types of faucets that you can choose from:


Standard
  • Most commonly used faucet
  • Made in a variety of sizes, shapes, and finishes
  • Designed to dispense many different styles of beer

European
  • Works in the same way as the standard faucet
  • Thinner and longer spout than the standard faucet
  • Decreases the overall amount of foamhead in your pour
  • May have different threads or a shorter shank than standard US faucets, which could affect your ability to use it with your kegerator

Rototap
  • European-style faucet
  • Has fewer parts, making it easier to clean
  • Tapered design helps keep bacteria out of your tap lines

Stout (Nitrogen)
  • Used with nitrogen-based draft systems, allowing you to dispense stout beers such as Guinness
  • Features a restrictor disc that slows down the pour, helping to give nitro beers their unique texture
  • Push forward to pour, push backward for a creamy head
  • Can only be used to dispense nitro beers

Perlick
  • Perlick faucets have a revolutionary ball and floating front seal design that prevents beer from being exposed to air
  • Handle lever doesn't stick
  • No buildup of mold and bacteria in the faucet body
  • Fewer internal parts for better reliability and fewer service calls
  • Spout handle is more vertical for better pouring and draining; there is no flat area for beer to collect

Creamer
  • Variation of the standard faucet
  • Push forward to pour, push backward for a creamy head

Self-Closing
  • Variation of the standard faucet
  • Has a spring that allows it to quickly and completely close, preventing loss of beer

Flow Control
  • Allows you to adjust the beer flow right from the tap
  • Can be especially useful if you are serving different beer styles from one pressure source
  • May have different threads than standard faucets

Q: What are the pros and cons of the different faucet finishes?

A: Beer faucets can be purchased in chrome-plated, stainless steel, and polished brass finishes. Chrome faucets are generally brass faucets with a shiny silver chrome-plated finish, making the difference between chrome-plated and brass faucets purely aesthetic. Chrome and PVD brass faucets are economical so they're great for a brewer on a budget, but they may need to be replaced over time if the brass becomes exposed.

Chrome has no negative effect on the quality of your beer, but beer that comes into contact with brass will react and pick up a metallic off-taste. It is also difficult to clean exposed brass. The chrome coating on these parts rarely wears away on the outside, but cleaning and beer flow will eventually expose the brass on the inside of these parts, bringing the beer in contact with the brass. If your system already contains chrome-plated brass components, inspect the beer contact surfaces regularly for exposed brass and replace those components immediately when this is detected.

Brewers recommend stainless steel draft parts whenever possible to avoid brass contact. Stainless steel is a much stronger material than brass, making faucets with stainless steel levers much more durable if you plan on frequently using the faucet. In addition to being resistant to chemicals and inert in contact with beer, they are less porous than brass, making them more sanitary, less likely to harbor bacteria and easier to clean, helping to maintain high quality draft dispense.

For the above illustration, we took a chrome plated brass faucet and a stainless steel faucet and soaked them in acid line cleaner for 5 days. This simulated the type of tarnish you can expect on a faucet over time, depending on the amount of use and the frequency of cleaning. As you can see, there is some tarnish on the chrome plating on the outside of the chrome plated brass faucet, but the plunger and lever that are on the inside of the faucet and have the most contact with your beer are the most tarnished areas. The stainless steel faucet shows no signs of wear on any of the parts that contact beer. This is precisely the reason that stainless steel, although slightly more expensive, is a better choice for your draft beer system fittings for the long haul.