A keg is a metal storage unit for beer that uses pressurized carbon dioxide or nitrogen for easy dispersion. Beer, like soft drinks, will eventually go flat and loose its flavor, aroma and bite. However, there are a few important factors to take into consideration while using a keg that will ultimately extend the life of the beer you are serving.
Store your keg in a cold environment at all times. While bottled beer is pasteurized to kill bacteria and can be warmed without any loss to flavor, beer from a keg is typically unpasteurized. Therefore, it is important that the keg is kept at a temperature below 55 degrees Fahrenheit. If the temperature climbs above this level, dormant bacteria within the beer will become active and ruin the flavor.
Refrain from over-pumping your keg. Excessive pumping will increase the pressure and cause foam to form. Since a keg is already pressurized before a pump is attached, there is no need to pump the keg before dispersing the first few drinks. After you attach your pump, pour your first few beers without any pumping. This will minimize the foaming caused by an over pressurized keg.
Use all of the beer in the keg relatively quickly. After a keg is tapped for dispersion, it is only considered fresh for roughly 8 to 12 hours. Keeping the keg cold and properly pressurized while serving will help extend the life of the beer to its fullest potential.