Keg Beer Glossary of Terms

Glossabeer – A Glossary of Beer Dispensing Terms

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Applied Pressure
- The push required to propel the beer from a keg through a beer dispensing system. The Applied Pressure may be the same as the Ideal Gauge Pressure as in a kegerator beer system or it may be a much higher pressure needed to push the beer through a long draw glycol system. An Applied Pressure higher than the Ideal Gauge Pressure may over pressurize and require properly blended gas in order to avoid changing the flavor and quality of the beer in the keg.

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Beer Faucet - A device attached to a beer tower or beer shank through which beer is poured into a glass (point of dispense). An American style faucet is opened or closed in a quick one step pull to allow the beer to flow or a push to stop the flow of the beer. European faucets often have a flow control knob for adjusting the flow rate of the beer at the faucet. The faucet is sometimes referred to as a tap or a spigot.

Beer Line/Tubing/Hose - Used to connect the keg coupler to the faucet. Comes in a variety of materials, colors and sizes. Materials might be stainless steel, vinyl, polyethylene or barrier. Vinyl line is often used in jockey boxes, or direct draw systems. Stainless Steel is often used in Draft Towers or in Special Event Coolers. Barrier and polyethylene is often used in glycol systems.

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CO2 Volume – A term used by Brewers to measure the amount of CO 2 (Carbon Dioxide) dissolved into each beer. In a Brewer’s recipe, there is a specification for the CO2 volumes. The CO2 volume in a beer determines the amount of CO2 that needs to be applied to the keg in order to maintain the characteristics of the beer.

CO2 Cylinder - A tank used to hold CO2 in liquid form. Usually made from steel or aluminum. The cylinders come in a variety of sizes ranging from 2.5 lbs to 50 lbs. The cylinder should be secured at all times, and installed in an up right position. Laying the cylinder on its side while connected to the regulator could damage the regulator. Whether the cylinder is small or large, the internal pressure of the unit is approximately 800 lbs at room temperature, and so the cylinder should not be allowed to roll around or stand freely. Caution - Damage to a cylinder valve or cylinder may result in a serious injury or death. In the event the CO2 is released into the room, the room should be vented to allow fresh air to enter.

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Draft Font- See Draft Tower.

Drip Tray- A catch basin placed below a faucet to capture spilled beer. Drip Trays are available in a variety of shapes and sizes and are made from a variety of materials such as stainless steel, brass and plastic. Metal drip trays can have a polished or brushed finish. It is recommended to connect the Drip Tray to a drain system.

Draught Beer - See Draft Beer

Draft Beer - Beer in a keg, and dispensed through a faucet rather than in a bottle or can. The beer can be pasteurized or non-pasteurized, but should always be stored at and served at a Brewer’s recommended temperature to ensure maximum drinking pleasure.

Draft Tower- Also referred to as a Standard or a Font. This is the unit on the top of the bar or the kegerator holding the faucet in place (the point of dispense). Inside the tower are the beer lines and in some cases the glycol cooling lines. Towers can come in a variety of shapes and sizes, and can hold as few or as many faucets as desired. Towers may be made from a variety of materials such as brass or stainless steel. Some may have an LCD screen built into them like the Micro Matic vPOD.

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Faucet Handle - Also known as a knob, tap knob, tap marker or tap handle. This is the part of the faucet pulled or pushed to open and close the faucet. Handles are made in a wide variety of materials and come in an even wider variety of shapes and sizes from breweries, equipment suppliers, and craftsmen. The Beer Faucet Handle is usually imprinted with the brand logo of the beer being dispensed from the beer dispensing system.

Flow Rate - The rate at which the beer pours through the opened faucet of a beer dispensing system. The ideal flow rate for most beers is 2 ounces per second, 120 ounces per minute, nearly one gallon of beer per minute. The flow rate is influenced by the pressure applied to the keg, and by the amount of restriction built into the beer lines and hardware used in the beer dispensing system.

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Gas Blender - A device used to mix gases together to push the beer from the keg without over or under pressurizing the beer in the keg. Beer industry standards specify blending CO2 and Nitrogen together. Recommended blenders are preset at the factory and require no adjustments. Gas Blenders are recommended for high volume accounts, as well as, accounts where temperature fluctuations are common, and there is a need for a high amount of pressure to push the beer from the keg to the faucet.

Gas Line/Tubing/Hose - Used to connect the primary regulator to the secondary regulator, the blender, or the CO2 inlet of the keg coupler. Gas line is available in a variety of materials such as vinyl or braided vinyl, with a selection of colors and sizes. Red is usually used for lines with less than 50 lbs of pressure. Braided line is used for systems that require more than 50 lbs of applied pressure.

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Ideal Gauge Pressure - The Ideal Gauge Pressure for any beer is the applied gas pressure matching the amount of CO2 in the beer. Some of the variables affecting the Ideal Gauge Pressure are elevation (atmospheric pressure), temperature, CO2 volume and the system operating pressure.

For example - A traditional American beer (2.6 CO 2 Volumes) at 38° F would normally have an Ideal Gauge Pressure between 13 and 14 lbs when stored in a kegerator at an elevation of sea level.

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Jockey Box - This is a picnic cooler/ice chest converted to a beer dispenser using either a cold plate or a stainless steel coil to chill the beer. If using a cold plate, the plate should be tilted, and the box should be continuously drained of water. If using a coil, a mixture of ice and water must completely cover the coils in the cooler. In either case, beer should be run through the system prior to adding the ice to prevent a freeze up inside the coil. Cubed ice should be used in this type of box, and the CO2 regulator should be set between 30 and 40 lbs of applied pressure.

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Keg Tap - See Keg Coupler

Keg Coupler -This device connects the gas line and the beer line to the keg. The keg coupler is also the device opening the valve in the keg allowing the beer out, and the gas in. Most domestic brewers use the “D” system keg coupler.

Kegerator – A direct draw dispensing system consisting of a self contained thermostatically controlled refrigeration unit in which a single keg of beer is stored at the optimum temperature 38° F. The unit is equipped with beer dispensing hardware allowing a glass of beer to be properly poured from a faucet located on the outside of the unit. These units are available for purchase commercially and for home use. Also referred to as a keg box.

Kegerator Conversion Kit - A complete set of items needed for a do it yourself person to change a refrigerator into a kegerator. A standard kit will include; a single gauge regulator, gas line with clamps, beer line, door spacer, beer faucet with shank, drip tray assembly, faucet wrench, keg coupler and instructions. Additional items needed include a CO2 cylinder and a cleaning kit.

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Line Cleaning - The process used to remove foreign objects and containments from a beer line (including the keg coupler and faucet). No matter how long the line is, or how much beer is poured through the line, the line should be properly flushed, cleaned with an approved beer line cleaning chemical, and totally rinsed at least every two weeks. The best process for cleaning a beer line is one providing a turbulent action, which enables the cleaning solution to have greater impact throughout the line. Once the cleaning solution has been drained from the system, the line should be thoroughly rinsed with fresh water to ensure no chemicals remain in the line that could injure a beer drinker. Flushing the line out with beer is not considered to be a suitable rinse.

Line Cleaning Kit - The complete set of tools and chemicals used to clean a beer system. The chemicals might include a line cleaner or sanitizer; the tools may include a faucet brush for scrubbing out the faucet, faucet wrench for removing the faucet, and instructions. The best kits contain an electric motor driven pump for circulating the cleaning solution. Other types of cleaning kits might contain a cleaning bottle or tank for holding the cleaning solution to be pumped either by hand or by gas through the beer system. The instructions for using the line cleaning chemicals should be followed carefully, as cleaners can be toxic and can cause injury or death.

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Nitrogen Generator - An on-site device used to produce Nitrogen gas by filtering the Nitrogen from the air. Used in high volume accounts to reduce costs associated with refilling Nitrogen tanks, and where changing tanks can be a burden.

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Party Pump - A device found at a celebration or special event where draft beer is served for a limited time. It is a self-contained device used on a keg to push the beer from the keg to the beer cup without the use of CO2. When using a party pump you should remember to keep the beer cold because as the beer warms up, foaming will increase. The beer should be consumed in 8 to 12 hours in order to avoid contamination.

Primary Carbon Dioxide (CO2) Regulator - The Primary CO 2 Regulator attaches to the gas source, a bottle or bulk tank and is used to decrease the tanks high gas pressure to a lower pressure. A primary regulator may be adjusted to the ideal gauge pressure and connected by gas line directly a keg coupler, or it may be installed to provide gas pressure to the Secondary CO 2 Regulator(s). Utilizes a female connector in order to connect to the gas source.

Primary Nitrogen (N) Regulator - Similar to a CO2 Primary Regulator but used for Nitrogen gas. Utilizes a male connector to connect to the source of the Nitrogen.

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Restriction - The resistance beer encounters as it flows from a keg, through the tap, beer line and other hardware designed into a beer dispensing system. A beer system is considered to be in balance when Applied Pressure equals the Restriction and results in a Flow Rate of approximately one gallon of beer per minute. Restriction in a beer system comes from the type of beer line used and the size and length of that line, the gravity (lift or drop) in the system, the altitude at which the beer is dispensed, and the components used in the beer system. Sometimes referred to as resistance or hold back.

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Sankey -This device connects the gas line and the beer line to the keg. The keg sankey is also the device that opens the valve in the keg allowing the beer out, and the gas in. Most domestic brewers use the “D” system keg sankey. Acronym: Keg Tap

Secondary Regulator - A regulator not connected directly to the gas source and normally located in the cooler. Typically, the Secondary Regulator is installed between the Primary Regulator and a keg coupler to enable the Ideal Gauge Pressure to be set for individual beer kegs.