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Home and Commercial Beer Tap Systems

by Tony Chase on February 23, 2021

Beer Tap Systems

Beer enthusiasts are increasingly favoring draft beer to canned or bottled beer, and with good reasons. Draft beer offers more decadent flavors and a fresher taste due to less oxidization, pasteurization, and limited light exposure. These benefits are typical because you get more control of the beverage until it is served through beer tap systems. 

As more beer drinkers continue to enjoy draft beer, consumers are also demanding more choices. And that explains why many restaurant and bar owners are installing sophisticated beer tap systems. Patrons today want the option of choosing their favorite malt lagers on tap, and they want every variety to have a strong taste as expected and served skillfully.

Therefore, all bar owners need to learn the best ways to clean and maintain draft beer tap systems. That way, they can avoid any contamination that would adversely affect the overall beer quality in their establishments, which would leave their clients immensely dissatisfied.

Now, considering the fast growth experienced in the craft beer industry over the past few years, it is likely that unhappy clients may seek out other draft bars or restaurants, which would mean losing your precious clients.

Below are a few tips to guide you on maintaining your home and commercial beer tap systems to always serve hygienic and flavorful beer.


Importance of Maintaining your Beer Tap Systems

Here are some of the reasons why it is essential to maintain and clean your beer systems:

  • To preserve the consistent and engaging taste of your beers
  • To avoid infected lines due to yeast build-up
  • To prevent the introduction of molds and microbes in your beers
  • To stop solids or beer stones from accumulating in your tap systems
  • To ensure a smooth flow of beer through the taps


How to Correctly Maintain your Beer Tap Systems

There are two main options to correctly maintaining your beer tap systems, including the following:

  1. Using a custom cleaning kit designed for beer taps
  2. Hiring an external service provider to manage all your beer tap cleaning needs conveniently

Regardless of which option you decide to use, you must also decide on the cleaning frequency for your beer dispensing unit. Experts recommend long draw dispensing systems where the keg lines are longer than 25 feet be cleaned every week.

Likewise, if your commercial beer tap systems dispense significantly high volumes daily, like in a bustling nightclub or sports bar, then you should clean them weekly. Meanwhile, shorter lines in a direct-draw, low-volume dispensing system should be maintained roughly twice a month.


Types of Cleaning for Beer Draft Lines

Here are the two main ways to flush cleaning chemicals through your beer lines:

  • Pressurized cleaning: Chemicals are pressurized across the lines from the taps to the keg. It is a fast and efficient way to clean short lines
  • Re-circulating cleaning: This type of cleaning is ideal for long lines, and it involves pumps that push and pull the chemicals, continually building a turbulent flow. 


Choosing your Cleaning Chemicals

Specialty chemicals are necessary to ensure your beer tap systems are clean and free of contamination from yeasts and microbes. You can either use caustic or acidic chemicals.

  • Acidic chemicals: These prevent mineral accumulation in the system and stop beer stones from forming
  • Caustic chemicals: These will remove microbes, molds, and protein from your lines

Both acidic and caustic chemicals are quite harsh; thus, you must handle them carefully. In particular, strictly follow the recommended application and concentration. These two chemicals should also be applied separately for more effectiveness. Also, ensure you wear safety gear to protect your eyes and hands when using these cleaning chemicals.


Tips to Help You Prepare a Keg for Tapping

Below are the necessary steps for preparing a keg and putting a tap on it:

  • Start by chilling your keg in ice for at least three hours before tapping
  • Identify the specific coupler system your barrel uses and ensure you have it on hand
  • Remove any cardboard or plastic around the tap on top of the keg and connect the coupler
  • Engage the pump by pushing it down to allow gas into the keg so that beer starts flowing out
  • Check for bubbles at the connection and reseat if not connected properly
  • You are now ready to pour without pumping first since the full keg already has enough pressure
  • After several pints, you can start using the pump to continue dispensing the beer as the pressure will go down due to the displaced liquid


Maintenance Recommendations for Beer Tap Systems

Keeping your commercial beer tap systems clean will help you avoid various common issues like foamy or flat beer. Below is a summary of tips to help you effectively maintain your beer taps:


1. Temperature considerations: 

  • Keep your draft cooler at 38 degrees Fahrenheit.
  • Ensure your beer lines are properly insulated or refrigerated at the ideal serving temperature
  • Make sure you store different beers at the required temperatures to avoid over chilling or extra-warm beers

2. Best serving practices:

  • Always use clean glasses
  • Beer should be properly dispensed following the best practices like how to hold the glass and distance from the faucet
  • Avoid using glasses that are too cold 
  • Ensure the taps are always clean and working properly
  • Always serve fresh beer by noting down the date of purchase on your cylinders

3. Pressure considerations:

  • Check that your system is running at the right pressure depending on the type of beer since ales, lagers and stouts have different pressure requirements
  • Ensure there’s adequate pressure to keep the beer tap system running efficiently
  • Never use an air compressor to add pressure as it causes carbonation and produces a flat beer
  • Check your pressure sources regularly to prevent contaminants like rust from accumulating in your beer, particularly if you are using a refillable carbon dioxide cylinder

4. Keg cylinder considerations:

  • Replace empty kegs as soon as possible
  • Consider adding pressure regulators to see how much beer you have left
  • The CO2 in your gas cylinder must be set on at all times
  • Ensure your kegs are tapped and seated correctly to avoid flow or dispensing issues



If you follow all the practical tips shown above and correctly maintain your commercial beer tap systems, you will never have to worry about foamy or flat plus foul-tasting beer. With regular cleaning and proper maintenance, your beer system will run efficiently and continue to serve up great-tasting, quality beer to your patrons for a long time.