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If you've been thinking about taking the plunge into the beer industry, you might want to know more about beer regulators. When it comes to beer-dispensing, regulators are just as essential as other parts of the system.
Without a correctly functioning beer regulator, your brew won’t get the top marks it deserves. Here's all you need to know about the CO2 and nitrogen draft beer regulators.
A regulator is a component that connects the air tube with the gas cylinder. Since gas tanks' pressure is usually high, you need a beer regulator to lower that pressure to a more usable level. Plus, it maintains optimum carbonation levels of the dispensed beverages.
Draft beer regulators come in different types and variations. Knowing the differences and similarities between each can help you settle for the best option for your dispensing needs.
This is the most standard option available. It has at least 1 gauge and is designed to regulate nitrogen or CO2. This gauge is known as the output pressure gauge. A primary regulator shows the amount of gas you use to dispense your beer.
Regardless of the brand or model, your regulator must feature a safety relief valve and a shut-off valve. The safety relief valve regulates the gas flow, while you can easily use the shut-off valve to stop the gas movement.
You cannot interchange CO2 with nitrogen regulators since nitrogen regulators are specially meant to withstand higher pressures. They also feature specific characteristics for nitrogen systems like threads with conical fittings.
If you plan to dispense a nitro beer such as Guinness, you'll need to use a primary Nitrogen regulator. Just like the CO2 regulators, they connect directly to the cylinder to control pressure.
A nitrogen converter can also help you dispense nitro beers without having to use a nitrogen regulator. Primary regulators come in two models:
Single-gauge regulators only feature an output pressure gauge. It measures up to 60 PSI and shows the pressure of the gas dispensed into the beer.
On the other hand, a double-gauge regulator has both a tank pressure gauge and an output pressure gauge. The tank pressure gauge ranges from 0 to 3000 PSI and shows the amount of gas left in the tank.
If you're using more than one keg and need multiple output pressures for each one, you may have to invest in a secondary beer regulator. Unlike primary regulators, you cannot connect secondary regulators directly to the gas tank.
You should use them as additions and attach them to the primary regulators. Since they have up to 4 hose nipples and adjustment screws, you can dispense as many as 4 kegs using just 1 source. And just like their primary counterparts, secondary regulators feature:
If you want to dispense many kegs with the same pressure, a distribution bar can help you out. It's typically a large splitter, and you can't use it to regulate the pressure for each brew.
Generally, beers are dispensed somewhere between 10 to 15 PSI. However, if you're using a nitro beer, the range can increase to at least 30 and can reach up to 40 PSI.
When the dispensing pressure is too low, it can lead to excessive foam since the gas contained inside the brew comes out of the solution. This can, in turn, cause flat beer. So, how do you go about this?
To rectify this issue, set your regulator to the proper PSI. Here, you'll have to turn the adjustment screw clockwise, which will help you raise the pressure to the appropriate level. Or ensure that the CO2 tank is full and nothing is obstructing the airline.
If you've checked everything and you're still getting a flat beer, it might be time to replace your regulator or the gauge. Remember, these components do wear down over time. So, be ready to purchase new ones after every 4 to 6 years.
When the dispensing pressure is too high, additional gas may get into the beer. This leaves you with foamy beer, which flows quickly out of the faucet. Typically, the foam appears with a large bubble when the brew is over-carbonated.
But don't fret. Fixing this problem is as easy as sipping your beer. All you need to do is turn the adjustment screw counterclockwise. That way, you'll effectively lower the pressure to the appropriate level.
You can as well use the coupler's relief valve to draw out the extra pressure. With these measures, you can rest easy knowing that your system will balance itself out again.
As you can see, beer regulators play a crucial role in draft beer dispensing systems. Now that you know the basics, you can confidently pour perfect pints and enjoy your drink!