The Different Types of Beer Regulators Explained

Whether you’ve been considering taking the plunge into the world of draft beer with your own personal kegerator or you’ve been serving beer on tap for years, you may have some questions about regulators. I know I did after I got my first kegerator.

CO2 Tank & Regulator Inside a Kegerator
CO2 Tank & Regulator Inside a Kegerator

Finding the perfect CO2 or Nitrogen pressure is, perhaps, the most tedious part of dispensing draft beer. Regulators help to perfect and ease this cumbersome task.

So, kick back, pour yourself a beer and get ready to learn the differences between the many different types of beer regulators.

What is a Regulator?

A regulator is the device that connects the gas cylinder to the air tube. As one of the most important components of a kegerator, the regulator controls the flow of CO2 or Nitrogen from the cylinder through the line. If the pressure needs adjusting, the regulator is where you would make those adjustments to find the right pressure.
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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.
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The Ins & Outs of a Kegerator

Beer is best when served fresh, cold, and on draft. Half the cost of canned and bottled of beer, kegged beer is a cost-efficient way to enjoy your favorite beverage. A kegerator makes this enjoyment possible, and depending on your beer buying frequency, can paying for itself in just a matter of months. It’s kegonomics, really.

Kegerator Anatomy

Let’s take a closer look at the ins and outs of this aptly named beer dispenser.

Components & Tools Used in Assembly

If you purchase a complete kegerator, all components and tools necessary for assembly will be provided for you.

However, if you’re building your own custom kegerator, you’ll need to be sure you have the following components and tools:
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How Long Does A Keg Remain Fresh?

Due to a variety of beer styles and storage options for your keg, there’s no set answer to this question. Depending on who you ask or what site you read, the answer will range between 20-120 days.

There are many variables that can play a role in how quickly your kegged beer starts to alter in taste, but a general rule to keep in mind is that as soon as that keg is filled at the brewery, the “freshness clock” starts. As time goes by, your beer will slowly start to taste less and less fresh.

How Are You Dispensing Your Beer?

To give you a better idea of how long your keg will last, let’s take a look at the two most common scenarios that one would find themselves in when they tap a keg.

1. Using a Manual Pump:

Manual Keg Pump

Commonly found attached to the top of kegs at house parties and backyard cookouts, the manual pump — sometimes called a bronco pump or party pump — works by pumping air into the keg, pressurizing it so that it can dispense your beer. If you’ve ever poured a beer out of a keg, then you’re probably familiar with this kind of pump, as well as the problems that come along with it, such as over-pumping and excessively foamy beer.
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6 Common CO2 Questions Answered

CO2 Regulator Single Gauge

CO2 is an essential factor to consider when dispensing draft beer and it’s typically the component that has the most questions associated with it. It’s unclear why people are easily intimidated with CO2, but it could be because chemical compounds and subscripts remind them of their high school chemistry class.

Without getting too technical, here are the answers to the most frequently asked CO2 questions:

1. How do I know what pressure my CO2 is set at?

Your regulator, which is the component that connects the tank to the air hose, will have either one or two gauges on it. If it only has one, then that’s the one you’re looking for. If it has two, look for the gauge that shows a range of about 0-60 PSI (pounds per square inch). This will be your regulated pressure gauge. The number the arrow is pointing to on this gauge is how much pressure is being delivered to your keg.
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Top 10 Gifts for the Beer Snob in Your Life

The holiday season is officially here. The Christmas lights are up in my neighborhood, the house smells like a fresh tree and my daughter keeps asking me when Santa is coming over. Whether you love it or hate it, it’s definitely that time of year again.

No matter what you celebrate, it’s quite possible that you’re looking for gift ideas for that special someone in your life. In this case, that special someone is your favorite beer snob. Here’s a list of my favorite beer-related gift ideas that any beer geek is guaranteed to enjoy.

Listed in order of price, starting with the lowest, here are the best ten beer gifts to get for your favorite beer snob.
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What is a Keg Coupler?

Keg Coupler

Now that your home bar or man cave has its own kegerator to cool and dispense that frothy beer you love so much, it would be wise to get acquainted with some of the essential components of your kegerator. One of the most important parts of your kegerator is the keg coupler.

What the Keg Coupler Does

Think of the keg coupler as a “key” and the valve of a keg as the “lock”. They can’t work without each other. The keg coupler attaches to the valve and to a CO2 compressed gas line. It allows the compressed air to enter the keg and push out the beer. As a result of all of these components working together, you get a perfectly chilled and delicious draft beer in the comfort of your home.
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Eliminate the Beer Run: The Advantages of Home Draft Beer Systems

Having your very own home draft system is a dream come true for almost every beer geek. There’s nothing quite like enjoying a cold, draft beer in the comfort of your living room or backyard. Forget the hassle of opening beer bottles and the excess waste they create. Owning your own kegerator is the perfect set-up that every beer geek needs.

Types of Home Draft Beer Systems

There are several home draft beer systems you can choose from.  Before going out and buying the first kegerator you find, make sure you know the differences between the two most common types of kegerators so you know which one will be best for you.

Mini Kegerators

Mini Draft Beer System

The mini kegerator is the smallest kegerator that you will find. It’s designed to tap and serve a 5-liter keg, but only contains approximately 10½ pints. Because of its smaller size, it’s perfect for those that don’t drink beer very often. Additionally, if you don’t have much space in your kitchen or man-cave, then a mini draft beer system may be the best fit for you, because it can fit easily on a countertop or corner table.

Another great benefit of having a mini-kegerator, is how easy it is to find 5-liter kegs of beer. Many grocery stores carry them along with their six-packs and cases of beer. Specialty craft beer and liquor stores also typically carry a wide variety of 5-liter kegs.

Full Size Kegerators

Full Size Draft Beer System

The most common type of kegerator is the full size system. This is your typical draft beer system that you envision when you think of a kegerator. There are many kinds of full-size kegerators available to you. The two most common are the single-tap and the dual-tap.

Just like the draft beer system you see at your favorite bar, this system works the exact same way. You can fit many different size kegs into this larger single tap system, including half barrel kegs, pony kegs and slim quarter kegs. Each size keg will serve a different amount of beer, so be sure to know how much each size keg holds before you go out and buy more beer than you need. If you aren’t sure about how many beers are in a keg, it would be wise to check out our handy keg comparison chart.

Full size kegerators also work better at keeping your kegs at your chosen temperature. Make sure you get a home draft system that has foam insulation or refrigeration within the tower, as this helps keep the beer inside the lines stay at the right temperature before it’s poured.

Cleaning Your Draft System

Like anything you buy for your home, a home draft beer system does require a little bit of maintenance. Draft beer is ideally dispensed through a six-foot line that connects the keg and the faucet. It’s important to clean all of the components of your home kegerator regularly. Not only does this help protect your investment in the equipment, but it also ensures that you have the freshest, best-tasting beer.

Cleaning the various components of your system is easy and doesn’t take much time. We would recommend buying a cleaning kit because it will make the process much easier for you, but it is possible to clean your kegerator without a kit. For more information, please refer to our previous write-up that details how to clean your kegerator.

Don’t Forget About Glassware

Now that you have your home draft system set up and your beer is ready to be poured. We would also recommend getting a nice set of glassware. There are many different types of beer glasses available, so learn about the differences and buy a nice set. You’d be surprised how much better your beer tastes and smells when you drink it out of the right style of glass.

If you really want to go the extra mile with your beer glasses, then purchase a special kind of detergent designed for glassware. Your typical dish washing detergents can sometimes leave a slight film on the glass. You may not notice if this film affects the taste of your beverages, but it may cause the CO2 in your beer to break out and lead to it tasting somewhat flat.

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Win up to $25,000 in the Kegerator.com Kickoff Pick’em League

Kegerator Kickoff Pick'em League

We are very excited to announce the first annual Kegerator.com Kickoff Pick’em league! This public pick’em league is 100% free and gives you the opportunity to win all sorts of prizes, as well as $25,000!

How it works:

Sign up for the pick’em league by following this link.

Every week, before the games start, you will log into your account and enter who you think will win the match-up. The top three players of the week will be entered into a monthly drawing for a chance to win a mini-kegerator. At the end of the season, all of the top weekly winners throughout the entire season will be placed into a random drawing for the MVP prize package.

The beauty of this contest, is no matter when you join the league, you still have an opportunity to win the grand prize! Do you have what it takes to win?

Winners will be notified by email. Prizes are as follows:
  • Monthly: There will be one winner each month. The contestant with the most points accumulated in the weekly contest will be entered into a drawing for a Mini-Kegerator every month.
  • Postseason MVP: There will be one postseason winner. The top 3 point earners for each week, throughout the entire season, will be placed in a random draw for the following: Dual Tap Home Brew Keg, Home Brew Kit, Beer Glasses (set of 4)
  • Grand Prize: There will be one grand prize winner. Each week the top point earner will be asked to pick the half time and final score of the 2 Monday night teams. If someone picks the exact scores, they will win $25,000!

Kegerator Essentials: Cleaning Kits

So, now you have a new kegerator, and you’ve thrown your first party. The post-party cleanup is certainly a breeze since you don’t have to pick up dozens of empty beer bottles and cans laying around your home. But what about your kegerator, do you need to clean that? The simple answer is yes, and it’s incredibly easy to do.

Kegerator Cleaning Kit

Why You Should Clean Your Kegerator

Every part of your kegerator, from the walls to the coupler, needs to be cleaned at a regular basis. Not only will this keep your beer tasting fresh, it will also help maintain the equipment and keep the beer flowing at an optimal rate. The first thing you must do is get a kegerator cleaning kit. These kits provide everything you need to properly clean your kegerator, including a nylon faucet brush, a check ball lifter, a special beer line cleaning compound and a kegerator faucet wrench and gasket.

How to Clean Your Kegerator

Your kegerator cleaning kit will contain in depth instructions that cover every aspect of how to clean your kegerator. Before starting, it’s always wise to thoroughly read over the instructions. It’ll explain how to turn the powdered compound into a liquid cleaning solution that is then sent through the coupler. It also details how to use the check ball lifter to raise your coupler ball without breaking the coupler or the beer line. It basically tells you everything you need to know, in order to sanitize and maintain your beer dispenser.

The cleaning kit also includes a replacement faucet wrench and gasket set, since these two parts are pretty small and easy to lose. Use the faucet wrench and gasket to remove yeast buildup from the kegerator faucet. If this buildup is left for too long, it can start to mold.

A good rule of thumb, is to clean your kegerator every time you switch out the keg. Cleaning your kegerator isn’t necessary in order for it to work, however, for the best quality beer you’re going to want to clean it on a semi-regular basis. Otherwise, your beer will begin to taste flat and kind of odd. Having a clean beer line is the best way to pump perfect, great-tasting beer.

Although cleaning a kegerator may seem a bit complicated at first, the entire process takes less than 15 minutes and is incredibly easy to do. It’s wise to buy a cleaning kit when you initially buy your unit. Without the kit, your kegerator begins to mold and lose its ability to pour the perfect beer. Use the kegerator cleaning kit to clean the coupler, beer line and faucet.

Also, cleaning the outside of your kegerator is easy. Use a damp rag to wipe any dirt or dust off the body, and maybe look into using a stainless steel cleaner to give it a nice shine. Assuming you have a stainless steel dispenser, of course.

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