How to Set Up a Beer Tap

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How to set up different beer taps.

Things You'll Need

  • Keg of Beer
  • Tap
  • Co2 Canister (5lb is standard)
  • Hoses (Air and Beer)
  • Hose Clamps
  • Co2 Regulator
  • Patience
  • Decide on what kind of setup you want. There are many to choose from. Although the taps themselves are relatively standard, depending on the type of beer you want, the setups vary substantially and are not interchangeable without some work.

  • Decide on where you will be setting up the tap, and where you are going to store the beer keg and co2 canister w/regulator and where you will run the beer and air lines. Some common ideas are convert a fridge to a beer fridge, or to mount the tap on a home bar and store everything below (in a fridge or freezer).

  • Once you've decided on what you want and where you want to put it, go out and get everything you need. Well equipped liquor stores, homebrew supply shops, and home improvement stores will have everything you need.

  • Bring everything home and "dry" fit it. Place the keg(s), co2 canister, and tap where they will go. Make sure everything fits correctly and that all the lines reach where they need to go.

    Make sure the air line from the Co2 reaches the inlet on the keg, the beer line from the keg reaches the tap, and that both the co2 and the keg fit inside the fridge or freezer.

  • Begin to hook everything up for real. Attach the regulator to the co2 then the line from the regulator to the keg, finally the line from the keg to the tap. The best way to do this is hook everything up first, but nothing to the keg, then pop on both the air then the beer to the outlets on the keg.

  • Set your regulator, this depends on the carbonation level you want (or want to keep) as well as the length of your lines. There are charts on the internet for the type of beer and recommended level of carbonation, and which PSI to use to get it. Or, a good rule of thumb, is to start with between 10-12PSI and test it by pouring a small amount of beer in a small glass. If it pours too fast with too much head, back off the pressure. If it pours slow, or loses carbonation over time, increase the pressure.

  • Check the system for leaks, use a spray bottle with some soapy water and spray it on all the connections, if bubbles form, then fix the leak. Or if your regulator as a shut off, open the co2 canister valve and pressurize the system, then close the valve on the co2 and the regulator, see if the pressure drops, then open the regulator valve and see if it drops then.

    Check the pressure every few hours. After a steady pressure for a few days then it's good to go. If not, do the soap spray method to find the leak.

  • Enjoy!

Tips & Warnings

  • Be sure to get the right setup for the beer you want. Homebrewed beer requires a Cornelius keg and fittings, American beer needs a Sankey fitting, and European beer needs a different Sankey fitting. They are not interchangeable. If you want more than one beer on tap, depending on the beer, you may need different fittings and hoses.
  • Drink responsibly and definitely don't drink and try to set up a tap, you can make an awful mess and the co2 canister is potentially dangerous.

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