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Common Draftbeer Questions


Common Draftbeer Questions

Q: How long will a keg last?

A: While beer does not "go bad", it does change flavor with exposure to bacteria, oxygen, and temperature. The rate at which beer will spoil is dependent upon the combination of all three of these factors.

  • If you dispense your beer with a party pump, which uses air instead of CO2 to drive the beer, you can only expect your beer to remain fresh for 8-12 hours.
  • If you keep your kegs warm, and drive them with CO2 through a jockey box or other faucet, they will most likely last a couple of months.
  • If you keep your beer cold, use CO2 instead of air to drive the beer, keep the dispensing system clean, and buy kegs from breweries that have strict sanitizing and cleaning procedures, your keg will last 4 months or more with minimal or no noticeable flavor change.

Q: How many 12 oz. beers can you get out of a keg?

A: Depending on the type of keg, you can expect to get the following:

TypeGallonsOunces# of 12 oz. Beers
3 Gallon Keg338432
5 Gallon Keg566155
Quarter Barrel Keg7.7599282
Euro Keg13.21690140
Full-Size Keg (1/2 Barrel)15.51984165

Q: What are the major components of a kegerator?

  1. Faucet Knob/Tap Handle
  2. Faucet
  3. Draft Beer Tower
  4. Guard Rail
  5. Drip Tray
  6. Regulator
  7. CO2 Tank
  8. CO2 Tank Holder
  9. Keg
  10. Metal Keg Floor Support
  11. Casters (x4)
  12. Beer Line
  13. Keg Coupler
  14. Air Line

Faucet Knob/Tap HandlePush or pull the faucet handle to start beer flowing out of the faucet.
FaucetDispenses beer and controls its flow into your glass. Also referred to as a tap.
Draft Beer TowerContains the beer lines and holds the faucets in place. Can be air or glycol cooled, comes in various styles and finishes, and can hold single or multiple faucets.
Guard RailHelps prevent beer glasses from falling off of the kegerator.
Drip TrayLocated under the faucet to catch any runoff beer.
RegulatorControls the flow of gas.
CO2 TankHouses the CO2 gas, which is used to push beer from the keg through the beer line to the faucet.
CO2 Tank HolderHolds the CO2 tank in place on the kegerator.
Metal Keg Floor SupportAllows the kegerator floor to support the weight of a full keg, and prevents cool air from leaking out of the bottom of the unit.
CastersAllows you to roll the kegerator wherever you need it.
Beer LineBeer travels through the beer line from the keg coupler to the faucet.
Keg CouplerTaps the keg, allowing gas into the keg and beer out of the keg.
Air LineAllows CO2 to flow from the regulator into the keg, pushing beer out of the faucet.

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 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. 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. Stainless steel is also resistant to chemicals and less porous than brass, so it is more sanitary and less likely to harbor bacteria. Stainless steel faucets also do not affect the taste of what they are dispensing.

Q: What is the ideal beer temperature?

A: Temperature is a key factor in storing and dispensing draught beer. Beer can freeze at 28 degrees, and temperatures above 39 degrees cause the CO2 molecule to expand, making your beer foamy, so it is important to select and maintain proper operating temperatures inside the refrigerator cabinet. The optimum temperature for serving cold beer is between 34-38 degrees.

Q: How important a role does a clean beer glass play?

A: Keeping your glassware clean is the key to serving good draught beer. To achieve this:

  • Maintain strict sanitary conditions in the glass washing area.
  • Never wash glassware with utensils or dishes used to serve food. Food particles and/or residue can affect the quality/taste of draught beer.
  • For best results, use a dedicated dishwasher for your glassware, or wash in a clean three-tub sink where you can clean the glass with hot water and detergent, rinse it in fresh cold water, and sanitize it with a mixture of hot water and the appropriate sanitizer.
  • Do not use regular liquid household dish washing detergents for glassware. They are fat-based and will leave a slight oily film on the glass. This causes beer to go flat quickly. Use a detergent designed specifically for beer glass cleaning. It must be low-suds, odor-free, and non-fat.
  • Avoid drying glassware with towels, as they tend to leave traces of lint on the surface of the glass. Instead, air-dry and store on a stainless-steel wire basket or corrugated basket or surface for maximum air circulation. Store in an odor, smoke, grease, and dust-free environment.
  • We recommend that you use beer glassware only for beer. Dairy and other food products leave a residue which can affect the quality/taste of the draught.
There are three ways to test if a glass is "beer clean":
  • To perform the "sheeting test", dip a glass in water. If it has been properly cleaned, the glass will be evenly coated with water, which it will shed evenly in unbroken "sheets". If there is still film remaining, the water will break up into droplets.
  • To perform the "salt test", sprinkle salt on the interior of a wet glass. The salt will adhere evenly to a clean surface, but will not adhere to any parts still containing film.
  • To perform the "lacing test", fill a glass with beer. In a beer clean glass, foam will adhere to the inside of the glass in parallel rings after every sip, forming a lacing pattern. In an improperly cleaned glass, any foam will adhere in a loose, random pattern, if it adheres at all. A glass that has not been properly cleaned may have loose, large bubbles that will cause the head to disappear quickly.

Q: What is the best way to pour draft beer?

  1. Make sure that your glass is "beer clean".
  2. Hold the glass about an inch under the faucet at a 45 degrees angle, then fully open the faucet. Make sure that the outside of the faucet does not touch the inside of the glass or the beer itself.
  3. Once the beer has reached about a halfway point in the glass, begin to gradually tilt the glass upright.
  4. Pour beer straight down into the glass, forming a one-inch collar of foam ("head").
  5. Quickly close the faucet to avoid overflow.

Q: What is the best way to fill a growler?

A: Growlers can be a great way to transport and share beer when a traditional keg is inconvenient. When filling a growler, be sure to always use clean and sanitized growlers and filling tubes, and be aware of how laws on filling growlers may vary in your state.

  1. Before filling a growler, it is always a good idea to rinse it out with cold water to cool down the growler and prevent the beer from excessively foaming.
  2. Insert a tube (3/8" ID x 1/2" OD works for standard faucets) into the faucet that reaches to the bottom of the growler.
  3. Open the faucet handle all the way and fill the growler from the bottom up.
  4. When foam begins to come out of the top of the growler, close the faucet, remove the tube, and seal the growler

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