Here are the best Beer Keg Couplers, Taps and Pumps! [2019]

If you own any type of a draft beer system, then a keg coupler is one of the key elements you will have to consider having for the successful operation of your system. It may be a small piece of equipment, but it is very vital as its fundamental function is to connect the beer lines and the gas to your keg.

Gas under pressure (nitrogen or CO2 depending on the type of beer being dispensed) flows into the coupler using a thin airline, and then the beer flows out of the system through a beer line normally attached to the top of the system. 

In as much as keg couplers may be similar in appearances and applications, it should be noted that they actually vary and you should be aware of the right size or type that will work best with your draft beer system.

Choosing just any type may not be useful when you try to fit it into your system only for you to realize that it is not compatible or not working as well as you had anticipated. In this piece, we highlight more on the keg couplers so that you know the various types available, how to use them and also give a recommendation on some of the best types that you can find in the market today.


How to Tap a KEG

Now that you know about the various types of keg couplers you can potentially choose for your system, it is also important to know how to tap a keg. This will not just ensure smooth dispensation of your craft beer, but also will help to eliminate the occurrences of accidents with your home brewery system.

The good news is that you don’t need to have knowledge in Rocket Science for you to tap a keg like a pro, even if it is your very first time. Below is a simple guide on how you can tap your keg following a few easy steps:

Step 1: Preparation

The first step before you embark on the actual tapping process is to identify the type of coupler system your keg uses. This is important because different beer system uses different couplers and if you don’t get this right, you will most definitely not get the results you had wanted. 

If you are in the United States, most of the beer kegs in the market use the American D System. Most imports, on the other hand, uses the S systems. If you are not sure of the right type to go for, don’t hesitate to contact your distributor since they will always have an idea of the kind of keg system that you need.

Step 2: Ice your keg

To enable you to have the perfect head on your beer, it is imperative to chill the keg before you begin the tapping process. You should chill the whole keg and not just the bottom third as is normally done by most people. This is how you will manage to pour a perfect head, and not fill up your glass with foam. 

To help you chill the keg, you may need a large bucket or a garbage can which you will stuff lots of ice inside with the keg placed in the middle. Allow the keg to chill for several hours, and while you do so, also remember to chill the beer line and the tap for about two hours prior to your pour.

Step 3: Connect the coupler

Check to see and remove any plastic or cardboard that may be present around the tap fixture on top of the keg. With the pump handle in the up position, align the coupler lugs to correspond with the openings on the keg valve. Apply downward pressure while you turn the tap system clockwise for as long as it will go – possibly up to 90 degrees. 

Step 4: Engage the coupler 

Push the pump handle to on position (handle should face down), to allow for some gas to enter the keg and to push out some beer through the faucet. If you do this and notice some bubbles around the connection, then it means that it is not seated properly. Simply turn back the pump handle to the off position, disconnect the tap and reconnect again until there is no bubble around the connection when you operate it. 

Step 5: Pour your drinks

With a full, new keg, there will be enough pressure within the keg to keep your beer flowing during the first few pints, so you will not have to do any pumping. All you have to do is push down the valve at the end of the beer line and then let your drink to pour. 

It is normal for the first pint to be full of foam, but this will not be the case with the subsequent pours. After letting out several pints, you may need to pump to increase the pressure in the keg system again.
Kindly note that the process of tapping your keg may vary from one type to another, but the taps will always ship with detailed installation instructions. In case you are stuck, simply refer to the instructions to ensure that you do the right thing.


TYPES of KEG COUPLERS

As noted, a keg coupler, also known as a keg tap, is the element that connects the beer line and the airline in a keg system so that everything flows as designed. It utilizes the compressed air (either CO2 or Nitrogen) to force the beer out the draft system into your glass.

If this tiny, but vital element is not attached properly, pouring the beer out of the system may be a problem, and in some instances, it may be completely impossible to get any liquids out.

Just like with every other component of a draft beer system, there are various types of keg couplers, and it is imperative that you know about them so that you know exactly which type to choose based on your draft beer system. There is a total of six primary types of keg couplers, and here is a brief look at them:

A-Type Keg Couplers 

A-Type couplers are compatible with A Type Kegs only and may not work properly if fitted in any other type of keg systems. In most cases, these couplers are known as tapping heads or dispense heads, and their design is to allow for the safe introduction of the gas into the keg, and also the safe extraction of the liquid into the rest of the dispensing system. 

They are simple, and easy to use since once you purchase them, all you have to do is attach the coupler head to the keg and then press the handle to engage. Pressurized gas will then be allowed into the keg system, which will, in turn, push out the beverage through the spear or the extractor tube.

G-Type Keg Coupler 

The G-Type Keg couplers are compatible with Grundy type kegs only, and they also feature a simple design that is also easy to use. In most cases, they are compatible with European brands of beer. The coupler connects the beer lines, gas tank, and keg to allow for pressurized dispensation of the beer. 

It is made of durable nickel-plated brass, and just as it is easy to install, it is also easy to operate. Whether you need a coupler for home or commercial applications, the G-Type is one of the best you will find in the market today. 

KeyKeg Coupler

If your bar or home draft beer system uses the revolutionary single-use KeyKeg system, then the only coupler you can trust is the KeyKeg Coupler. This is because the standard couplers will not fit such a system, and you must specifically use the Keykeg Coupler if you desire to have the best results. 

It is cheaper, lighter and recyclable, and just like other couplers, it connects the gas tank to the keg to make it possible for pressurized gas to push out the beer through the line. Most of these couplers are made of steel and features a brass-plated body that comes with a lever handle to make operating it easy.

S-Type Keg Couplers

The S-Type Keg Coupler is mainly compatible with Sankey Kegs only and will work best with models such as Tetley, John Smiths, Amstel, Carlsberg, San Miguel, Woodpecker, Peroni, Marstons, Courage, and Fosters among others. It features a simple connection that can be done by anyone without the need for any special instructions and once connected, and its operations are also very simple. 

The U-Type Coupler

This is another type of coupler that works best with European keg systems, and it can only be used with a few specific brands, with the most notable ones being Leffe, Stellar Artois, and Boddingtons. 

M-Type Couplers

If you know that you will be dispensing German beers or using German keg systems, then the M-Type couplers are what you are likely to use. They are not very commonly available in the global markets today because they are niche-specific, but if you do a little digging, then you can always find them.

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