Kegerator Glossary: Terms You Should Know

The world of draft beer has its own language, or so it may seem if you don’t recognize the terms being used. You may find yourself asking, They want me to connect what to the what? Whether you’re reading assembly instructions or browsing product descriptions, here are all the kegerator terms you need to know:

Keg Shell

Acid Cleaner — Removes beer and water stones from the beer lines. Not all acid cleaners are safe to use on all components, so these should only be used on your lines.

Barrier Tubing — Tubing lined with nylon or PET in order to better protect from the oxidation of your beer.

Beer Pump — A device that uses compressed air or CO2 to move beer great distances. Used when the faucet is far away from the keg.

Cleaning Pot — Also called a cleaning can. A vessel used to clean dispensing components. Once filled with cleaning solution, it is then tapped in the same fashion as a keg and dispensed through the draft system.

CO2 — In direct draw systems where the faucet is near the keg, carbon dioxide is used to push the beer from the keg.

CO2 Cylinder — Also called a CO2 tank, it’s the vessel that houses the CO2 gas mixture. Many kegerators arrive with a cylinder, but they are empty and need to be filled.

Conversion Kit — This kit contains everything you need to convert a refrigerator into a kegerator. There are different kinds of conversion kits, but they all typically include a faucet, beer line, air tube, coupler, draft tower, regulator, CO2 cylinder, and spanner wrench.

Coupler — The device that is attached to the top of a keg and is responsible for allowing gas into the keg and pushing beer out. The keg coupler is the component that connects the gas and beer lines to the keg. Think of the keg coupler as a “key” and the valve of the keg as the “lock”. They need each other in order to work. (Learn more).

Direct Draw — A draught beer system with self-contained keg storage and dispensing system. Most commonly these are air-cooled and beer is dispensed in lines fewer than five feet.

Drip Tray — Placed below the faucet to catch any spilled beer. The health department requires that these are used in commercial settings. It is recommended that they be connected to a drain system.

Draft Tower — Typically mounted on top of a counter or kegerator box, draft beer towers hold the faucets in place and contain the beer lines. These are available in several styles and feature single or multiple faucets. They can be either air or glycol cooled and are most commonly composed of brass or stainless steel.

Faucet — Also called a tap. Faucets are responsible for dispensing and controlling the flow of beer into your glass. The most common faucets can dispense almost all beer types, but there are some exceptions. Beer dispensed using nitrogen requires a stout faucet, which contain a restrictor plate and provides a barrier between the nitrogen and the beer once dispensed.

Faucet Handle — Usually referred to as a tap handle. This is the device that begins the flow of beer out of the faucet. To use the faucet handle, you either pull or push.

FOB — Acronym used for “Foam on Beer” detector. This device minimizes a pour full of foam by stopping the beer flow as soon as foam is detected and beer is not.

Glycol — A refrigerant used to insulate tubing and keep beer cold.

Jockey Box — A jockey box is basically an ice chest that is modified to dispense beer using a metal coil to chill the beer at the point of dispense. The coils inside the jockey box must be covered with ice and cold water to ensure proper temperature for the beer running through the lines.

Lift — The vertical distance between the keg and the faucet.

Long Draw — A draught beer system that requires the use of barrier tubing in a refrigerated bundle, typically longer than 50 feet. This type of system is preferred for multiple beer setups that require storage of kegs in a separate refrigerator room. You will commonly see this set-up at restaurant and bars.

Nitrogen — Used to push beer from the keg to the faucet. Nitrogen used in dispense systems must be more than 99% pure.

NSF — An abbreviation for National Sanitation Foundation, the organization that certifies food service equipment for performance and sanitation.

Party Pump — A manual hand pump used when dispensing beer directly from the keg. There are a few different types of manual keg pumps you may be interested in. They all follow the same principle of using oxygen to pump out beer. The downside of using a manual party pump is that it will spoil the beer in your keg at a much quicker rate than a kegerator using CO2 would.

PSI — Pounds per Square Inch, a unit of measure of gas pressure.

Regulator — The valve which controls the gas that is delivered from the CO2 tank, the pressure of the delivered gas is determined by the setting on the regulator valve. (More on Regulators & Gas Equipment).

Sanitizer — A product designed to kill harmful microorganisms and clean dispensing components. All components that come into contact with beer must be sanitized.

Sankey — The most popular coupler style. It fits the majority of U.S. and European kegs.

Secondary Regulator — A secondary regulator allows multiple pressures to be run from the same tank. The existing gas line in your dispense setup can be attached to the secondary regulator, allowing the regulator to be adjusted to a different pressure than the existing.

Shank — The piece that connects the beer line and the faucet and provides a stable mounting place for the faucet. Shanks come in a variety of lengths and are typically composed of brass or steel.

Short Draw — Short draw is a dispensing system in which the keg and the faucet are fairly close together. It requires the use of air-cooled or refrigerated lines to keep liquids cool while straight CO2 or mixed gas pushes liquids through up to 50 feet of beer lines.

Tail Pieces — Used to connect tubing to equipment pieces, such as a faucet.

Are we missing any terms, words or definitions that you are wondering about? If so, leave a comment down below, and we’ll get you clarification as soon as we can.

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Jeff Flowers

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Jeff Flowers has been a self-described beer geek for over a decade now. When he's not chasing his daughter around, you can usually find him drinking a fresh brew and wasting too much of his time on both Google+ & Twitter.

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