Draft Beer Systems

Ultimate Guide to Beer Tap Supply: Find the Perfect Draft Beer Setup

March 3, 2024
Ultimate Guide to Beer Tap Supply: Find the Perfect Draft Beer Setup

Selecting the right beer tap supply is essential for anyone keen to achieve the perfect pint. From tap handles to maintenance, this no-fluff guide provides you with the knowledge to choose, install, and upkeep your system. Expect practical insights on making your selections, detailed setup instructions, and tips to keep everything flowing smoothly.

Key Takeaways

  • Personalize your draft beer experience with a wide variety of tap handles in different shapes, sizes, and materials, ensuring compatibility with stainless steel faucets.
  • Choose the perfect kegerator for your home beer system by considering the location, number of taps, and keg sizes, along with the necessary accessories for optimal performance.
  • Maintain the quality of your beer with regular cleaning every two weeks, using the right techniques and understanding how to troubleshoot common issues like foamy pours.

Exploring the Variety of Beer Tap Handles

When it comes to draft beer, the tap handle is not merely a lever; it’s a statement piece that represents your personal taste or the brand of beer on tap. Beer tap handles come in a plethora of shapes and sizes, with over 200 pub-style options available for you to choose from.

From generic handles for standard use to novelty handles showcasing favorite beers or unique bar themes, the options are virtually limitless.

Choosing a Style That Suits You

Choosing the right tap handle style can elevate the visual appeal of your draft beer setup and contribute to a more enjoyable beer-drinking experience. Whether you’re partial to the classic look of pub-style handles or prefer to customize your taps, remember, that the handle you choose becomes an extension of your personality or brand. So, make sure it’s a fit!

Material Matters

Now, let’s talk materials. Beer tap handles can be crafted from a range of materials like:

  • Metal
  • Wood
  • Acrylic
  • Glass
  • Ceramic
  • Brass
  • Porcelain

These materials not only offer a diverse range of colors and visual appearances, but they also help you realize that your tap handles are designed to be equally durable, ensuring they stand the test of time.

Still, the choice of materials is not merely about aesthetic appeal or durability. It’s also about how well these materials align with your overall theme. So, whether you’re looking for the rustic charm of wood, the modern appeal of acrylic, or the timeless elegance of brass, there’s a beer tap handle that’s just right for you.

Compatibility Considerations

Let’s not forget about compatibility. After all, what good is a stunning beer tap handle if it doesn’t fit your faucet? Standard North American draught beer faucets have specific requirements for tap handles to fit perfectly. The good news is providers offer a variety of keg tap handles that are compatible with most standard draft beer faucets.

And if you’re still having trouble finding the perfect fit, you can always opt for generic tap handles, designed to fit any standard North American draught beer faucet.

Kegerator Essentials: Setting Up Your Draft Beer System at Home

Having explored the fascinating world of beer tap handles, let’s shift our focus to setting up your draft beer system. But where do you start? Enter the kegerator, a specialized refrigerator designed to store and dispense kegs. A complete kegerator setup includes:

  • Faucet handle
  • Beer tower
  • Drip tray
  • Double gauge regulator
  • CO2 air tank
  • And more
2 Brand 3 door Commercial Kegerator

The assembly might seem daunting at first, but with the right tools and a step-by-step approach, you’ll have your kegerator up and running in no time. And remember, maintaining the quality of your draft beer is just as crucial as setting up the system. This means storing your beer at an optimal temperature range between 36°F and 38°F.

Finding the Right Kegerator

Finding the right kegerator is crucial to ensure that you get the most out of your home draft system. The first thing you need to consider is the location of your kegerator, the number of beers you want on tap, and the keg sizes you intend to use.

Kegerators come in a variety of designs to cater to different needs, including:

  • Mini kegerators
  • Freestanding kegerators
  • Built-in kegerators
  • Outdoor kegerators
  • Commercial kegerators
  • DIY kegerators

So whether you have limited space, require flexible placement, or wish to convert an existing refrigeration unit, there’s a kegerator just for you.

Must-Have Accessories

To ensure your kegerator performs optimally, you’ll need some essential accessories. A regulator and a spanner wrench, for example, are crucial for ensuring a tight connection and preventing leaks. A CO2 tank is also necessary for proper kegerator function.

But it’s not just about the initial setup. Regular maintenance of your draft beer system is key to its longevity. This includes replacing vinyl jumpers if they’re discolored or cracked and using a specialized beer line cleaning kit. And if you ever want to switch things up and serve other beverages like nitro cold brew coffee or kombucha, you’ll need appropriate gases, such as Nitrogen, faucets, and lines.

Draft Beer Towers and Faucets: The Pillars of Pouring Perfection

Now that you’ve got your kegerator and essential accessories sorted, it’s time to take an in-depth look at the stars of the show: draft beer towers and faucets. These are the pillars of pouring perfection, playing a crucial role in your beer dispensing system.

Custom Draft Beer Tower

Whether you’re serving beer from a distance or dispensing various types of beverages, your selected kegerator must cater to the specific requirements of your setup. Are you serving:

  • regular draft beer
  • Nitro cold brew coffee
  • kombucha
  • wine

Each type of beverage affects your choice of tank, regulator, faucet, and lines.

Tower Types and Features

Beer towers come in a variety of types, each with its unique features:

  • Standard draft towers: versatile and can mount to multiple surfaces, holding various numbers of draft faucets
  • T-Towers: shaped like a ‘T’, accommodating numerous draft faucets, making them versatile for commercial use
  • Double-pedestal towers: can support a large number of faucets and are typically used in air-chilled systems.

Choosing the right tower type also depends on the chilling method. Air-cooled towers are best suited for shorter systems and require a wider diameter for efficient air circulation. On the other hand, Glycol-cooled towers are optimal for long-draw systems surpassing 25 feet in length, maintaining consistent beer temperature through a cooling block.

Air Cooled Custom Towers

Faucet Functionality

Faucets are the final point of contact between your beer and the glass, making their functionality crucial in the dispensing process. All draft beer faucet handles and faucets manufactured for the U.S. market have the U.S. beer industry-standard 3/8’-16 UNC threads, guaranteeing compatibility across most U.S. systems.

Different types of faucets offer unique functionalities. For instance, Nitro faucets provide a distinct serving advantage for nitrogen-infused beers, creating a creamy head with a unique plate featuring tiny holes. Similarly, Perlick Flow Control faucets allow for the adjustment of pour rate, tackling issues with foamy beer and offering adaptability for various carbonation levels.

Jockey Boxes: Portable Draft Beer Solutions

Jockey Box Setup

For those who love to take their beer on the go, jockey boxes are your perfect companions. These portable devices keep your beer chilled and ready to serve at various events, utilizing ice and coils to cool the beer as it is dispensed. They are the perfect solution if you’re looking to serve draft beer at an outdoor event or if your venue lacks the space for a full-size beer dispensing system.

Choosing a Jockey Box

When selecting a jockey box, material matters. Stainless steel is recommended due to its durability, ease of cleaning, and non-reactivity, ensuring your beer’s flavor remains unaltered. Besides, you should avoid copper coils as they can oxidize and contaminate the beer with copper ions.

The length of the coil also plays a crucial role. A 50’ coil provides a good balance of cooling surface area and the pressure needed for optimal beer dispensing.

Lastly, consider the number of taps. The more taps you have, the heavier the system, so choose a number that aligns with your needs without compromising portability.

Setting Up Your Jockey Box

Setting up your jockey box might seem like a daunting task, but with the right dispensing kit, connections, and temperature control, you’ll be pouring perfect pints in no time. First, run beer through the jockey box coils to ensure no moisture is left inside that could block the coils. Then, use the included beer washers between each connection and secure them with Oiteker clamps to prevent leaks.

Once all connections are secure, follow these steps to set up your beer cooler:

  1. Fill the cooler with ice.
  2. Allow 10-15 minutes for the parts to acclimate.
  3. Regularly check for leaks, both on the gas side and the liquid side, to ensure a smooth operation.

Remember, proper setup ensures the beer is dispensed at an optimal temperature, maintaining its freshness and enhancing its taste.

Maintaining Your Draft Beer Equipment

Now that you’ve got your beer dispensing system up and running, it’s time to talk about maintenance. Regular cleaning of draft beer systems is crucial due to organic buildup from:

  • bacteria
  • yeast
  • microbes
  • proteins

that can impact the beer’s flavor and the reliability of the system.

Cleaning Schedules and Techniques

Whether you’re a casual beer enthusiast or a seasoned bar owner, regular cleaning of your beer lines is essential to maintain the best taste and hygiene. Draft beer systems require caustic cleaning every two weeks and acid cleaning every three months to prevent buildup and maintain cleanliness.

Remember, the cleaning solution for caustic cleaning should be:

  • a 2% to 3% solution
  • maintained at 80°F – 110°F
  • kept in contact with the system for at least 15 minutes for flow cleaning or 20 minutes for static cleaning

Afterward, rinse the system with clear water to ensure all chemical residues are removed from the beer lines and taps, restoring the water’s pH balance to normal levels.

Cleaning a GLycol System with recirculating pumps

Troubleshooting Common Issues

Even with regular maintenance, you might occasionally run into some common issues. For instance, if your beer pours are too foamy, you might need to ensure that you’re using the proper beer line equipment with a specific inner diameter and length.

If you’re facing issues with yeast and bacteria build-up, try the following steps to clean your faucet and keg coupler:

  1. Disassemble the faucet and keg coupler.
  2. Soak the parts in a cleaning solution.
  3. After soaking, scrub the parts to remove all deposits.
  4. Rinse the parts with clean water to remove all cleaning solution and residue.

These steps should help remove any build-up and ensure that your faucet and keg coupler are clean and functioning properly.

Pricing and Purchasing: Getting the Best Deals on Beer Tap Supplies

After all the planning, setting up, and maintaining, let’s talk about another crucial aspect of beer tap supplies: pricing and purchasing. The type and design of tap handles, for instance, can significantly impact the price of beer tap supplies. But don’t worry, there are ways to ensure you get the best deals.

Comparing Prices and Quality

It’s always a good idea to compare prices and quality before making a purchase. Kegerators, for instance, come in a wide price range, with entry-level mini kegerators beginning around $150 and premium models exceeding $1,500. The original price differences are largely determined by the features and design quality.

Where to Buy

With a plethora of online retailers offering beer tap supplies in stock, finding the perfect one for your needs has never been easier. Micromatic and Perlick are among the popular choices for customers, providing a broad selection of beer tap supplies, including equipment for both home and commercial use.

Summary

As we wrap up let’s take a moment to recap. We started with the basics, exploring the wide variety of beer tap handles, the importance of choosing a style that suits you, the materials used, and compatibility considerations. We then guided you through setting up a draft beer system, helping you find the right kegerator and essential accessories.

We took an in-depth look at:

  • draft beer towers and faucets, understanding their types, features, and functionality
  • the portable draft beer solutions provided by jockey boxes, how to choose one, and set it up
  • the importance of maintaining your equipment, discussing cleaning schedules, techniques, and how to troubleshoot common issues.

Lastly, for any other questions related to draft beer systems or components feel free to reach out to us at Renny's. We'd love to assist and help you out.

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