The 8 Main Parts of a Draft Beer System and How They Work

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If you are to start draft beer brewing and dispensing, then you need to make up your draft beer system. 

As a rule, such systems consist of: 

  • keg;
  • beer line;
  • air or glycol line;
  • beer tower;
  • faucet and tap handle;
  • gas cylinder and pressure regulator;
  • keg coupler;
  • shank.

To help you better understand the purpose of these components, let’s look at the basics of their functions and features.

Stay tuned!

1. Keg

It is a container designed to store a specific amount of beer. They are made of stainless steel or aluminum. 

There is a wide range of keg models available on the market: 

  • Corny kegs;
  • ⅙ barrel;
  • ¼ barrel;
  • Half barrel;
  • Schaefer kegs etc.

To maintain the right temperature in the kegs, you also need a kegerator. It’s a refrigerator with kegs instead of beer bottles.

There are various types of kegerators:

  • For home or commercial use;
  • Standard and plug-in models;
  • With different number of doors;
  • With different installation options: you can install your kegerator under the bar counter, at a considerable distance from it, or even outside of the bar.

2. Beer line

Beer lines are an integral part of any draft beer system. They carry beer from the keg to the beer tap. One side of the line is attached to the keg coupler and the other to the shank and beer tower.

The most popular beer line models:

  • ¼ inch is suitable for home brewing, and works in tandem with Corny keg;
  • 5/16 inch is the most commonly used for commercial purposes;
  • 3/16 inch is the most popular model that works with most beer varieties.

Do not underestimate beer lines, they are not just a piece of plastic, vinyl or stainless steel.

Properly selected beer hose pipes:

  • Provide an uninterrupted beer supply;
  • Help to avoid leaks;
  • Ensure the best beer quality.

3. Air or glycol line

Nobody likes warm beer. It loses its flavor and aroma – all that we love so much.

That is why it is so important to ensure that the beverage is stored at the correct temperature.

For this purpose, brewers use air or glycol cooling systems.

  • The air line is suitable for bars with kegs located directly under the counter. This is the simplest system for cooling alcoholic beverages.
  • The glycol line runs on a mixture of glycol and water. It features better antifreeze properties, and that is why it is often used in bars with long-draw dispensing systems (from 7.5 m or more), where the kegs are located quite far from the beer tap. Also, glycol refrigerant has proven itself where it is necessary to maintain the maximum accurate and narrow temperature ranges.

4. Beer tower

This equipment consists of a tank, a beer tap, and a tap handle. It makes beer dispensing not only more convenient but also more spectacular, which helps to increase the interest of your visitors to try a particular product.

The following beer tower types are available, depending on:

  • Material: steel, brass, copper, and ceramic;
  • Location: on the bar counter, floor- and wall-mounted;
  • Number of taps: 1, 2, 12, or even 14 taps for different beer varieties;
  • Number of pedestals: single and double;
  • Shapes: elbow, cylindrical, pass thru towers, T, T-Box, and Y towers.
  • Design: Indie and European style models.

5. Faucet and tap handle

Faucet is one of the elements of the beer tower. When you press the tap, the compressed gas from the cylinder pushes the beer out of the barrel through the air duct coming from the gas. Then, via the beer line beer enters the beer tower and tap, from where it is poured into your glass.

You can choose: 

  • Material and finishing of the tap: brass or stainless steel;
  • System: with rear or front sealing, self-closing faucet, valve with adjustable pour rate, models for stouts dispensing.

Beer taps also play an important role. Besides the beer dispensing, they brand your products. 

You can place the logo of your brand or beer on it to encourage customers to try new varieties.

6. Gas cylinder and pressure regulator

Gas helps propel beer from the keg into the glass. It is also responsible for the stability of the beer while storing, as well as for its foaminess and flavor.

  • If you serve traditional beers, you need a carbon dioxide cylinder.
  • For stouts, you need to buy a nitrogen cylinder.

These gasses are under different pressures, which can be adjusted to the required level using a special pressure regulator.

The normal pressure of carbon dioxide is 10 to 12 pounds per square inch, and nitrogen pressure is about 30 to 40 pounds per square inch.

7. Keg coupler

It is a connector, required to open the keg and make the beer flow through the system. 

There are different types of keg couplers, depending on the keg type and beer variety: 

  • D-type is the most popular coupler type in North America. It is used with 99% of all beer varieties brewed here: Corona, Molson, Abita, etc.
  • U-type is often used for Guinness and Smithwick’s beer brewing.
  • S-type is designed for European beer varieties such as Heineken and Newcastle.
  • A-type is used for German beer brewing such as Carlsberg and Franziskaner.
  • M-type is also used in the production of slightly less popular German beers such as Schneider and Einbecker.
  • G-type is a triangular coupling used in the production of Grolsch and Fuller’s beer varieties.

8. Shank

It is some kind of connecting element between the beer line and the tap.

There are three main types of shanks:

  • straight;
  • nipple;
  • bent-tube.

Are you ready to assemble your draft beer system and look for all these components?

Visit the Beverage Craft online store and you will be helped to find optimal kegs, beer line, faucets, tap handles, and other equipment to create the most convenient and modern brewing system.

Most modern brewers prefer to work with this equipment. We are sure that you too will be completely satisfied!

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