Draft Beer Equipment Parts & How They Work With Your Beer Dispenser

Any beer dispenser or kegerator is powered by a set of draft beer equipment parts that must work together for a successful pour. Keep reading to learn more about these kegerator parts and how they work!


draftBeerSystem


tap-handle

Faucet Handle

A faucet handle (or tap handle) is the lever that screws into your draft beer faucet. When you want to dispense, pull it forward to pour your beer. It’s one piece of draft beer equipment that allows you to give your kegerator or other draft beer system a little bit of personality.

We carry a wide range of novelty tap handles including a variety of customizable options. There are North American industry standards for tap handle threads (⅜”-16 UNC) so virtually every handle screws into your faucet easily. Please note: If you have a European faucet, you’ll need a European handle.


Draft Beer Faucet

The draft beer faucet is the tap that your beer is dispensed from. Faucets are available at a wide range of different quality levels and with a host of different features. It’s wise to know what level of performance and quality you expect from your draft beer faucet (and how much you’re willing to spend) before deciding to purchase one. Also keep in mind that if you’re trying to serve Guinness or other nitrogen-dispensed stouts you will need a European specialty faucet.

All of the faucets sold at KegWorks have standardized North American attachment male threads for connection to standard shanks (1-⅛-18 UNES-2A).

Remember that regardless of which draft beer faucet you choose it should be disassembled and cleaned regularly for optimal performance.


Shank

This very important kegerator part connects the beer line to the faucet. The shank is a chrome-plated brass tube with external threading. It runs through the hole in a draft tower (or in the side of your fridge if you built your own kegerator) where the faucet screws onto the front end and the beer line attaches to the back end with a hose barb.

The standard North American shank is a ⅞-inch x 14 straight pipe thread and will work with all North American faucets. If you’re using equipment from outside North America, you’ll need to source a specialty shank.


Beer Line

Beer line is nothing more than a piece of dense 3/16-inch inner diameter, food-grade plastic tubing that connects the keg coupler to the rear of the shank. Not surprisingly, it’s where the beer runs through. Beer line is purchased by the foot or you can opt for a pre-made jumper that comes complete with the hex nut connectors needed to secure the beer line to the shank and coupler.


Keg Coupler

A keg coupler is a vital part of any beer dispenser. It attaches to the flange on the top of a keg and lets the gas in to power the dispensing. There are six different types of keg couplers that attach to different types of kegs. For a complete list of which coupler you’ll need to dispense your chosen brew, click here!


Air Line

Air line is very similar to beer line, but features a 5/16-inch inner diameter. It connects the keg coupler to the regulator for easy air flow that helps power your dispensing.


Regulator

The regulator connects your kegerator parts to the CO2 tank and ensures that your brew is dispensed at an appropriate pressure. We recommend using a double gauge regulator (one gauge tells you the pressure going into the keg and the other reports how much CO2 is left in the tank) for the most efficient and dependable dispensing.

We also offer secondary regulators that work in conjunction with a primary regulator. A secondary regulator lets you dispense multiple beers at different pressures, as long as the highest pressure dispensing is powered by the primary regulator.


CO2 Tank (compressed gas cylinder)

At KegWorks, we sell both 5 and 10-pound aluminum CO2 tanks and 10-pound aluminum nitrogen tanks (for Guinness dispensing). A 5-pound tank serves about 5-7 half kegs of beer.

Our tanks ship empty, but you can easily get them filled at any local welding supply company, fire extinguisher supply company, or gas dealer. Just check your local listings or do a quick Google search to find an appropriate vendor. Each tank is fully-inspected and bear all the correct US DOT and Transport Canada markings.

Please note that CO2 tanks and Nitrogen tanks are almost exactly the same. They are both made of aluminum, but have different valves (CO2: CGA 320 valve, Nitrogen: CGA 580 valve).


Draft Beer Tower

An insulated draft beer tower makes it easy to dispense cold, delicious beer from the top of your kegerator or right from your countertop. They’re available in a variety of styles and can accommodate a range of draft beer faucets.

All of our fully assembled tower kits include the faucet head(s) and about three feet of beer line. You’ll need to supply mounting screws and tap handles.


Beer Line Cleaning Kits

Do you need a beer line cleaning kit to power your kegerator? No. But you should get one anyway.

Why? Because if you expect quality performance and great tasting beer, dirty beer lines just aren’t going to cut it. Over time your beer lines collect deposits of yeasts and sugars that can negatively affect the taste of your beer and cause excess foaming. To avoid those problems, we recommend cleaning your beer lines after every ½ keg.

For your convenience, we sell two types of beer line cleaning kits: hand pump units and kits that use CO2 from your tank. Either version is easy to use and simply uses air pressure to push a mixture of water and specially-formulated cleaning solution through your beer line.


Note: All parts sold at KegWorks are made to conform to US draft industry standards, which makes it convenient to interchange parts from different manufacturers. If your kegerator is listed on the chart below, some of our parts might not fit your system as these makes and models have not conformed to industry standards:

Manufacturer Model Years Affected
Danby 2004 and earlier
Avanti All
Haier 2004 and earlier
Nostalgia Electronics All

Looking for more information about draft beer systems?

Draft Beer Troubleshooting
Common conditions, causes and corrections for draft beer gone wrong.

Cleaning and Maintaining Your Draft Beer System
Regular maintenance will improve the taste and quality of your beer and extend the life of your draft system.

Refrigerator Conversion Kits
If you’ve got a new or used spare food refrigerator or freezer, a conversion kit is the perfect choice.

Guinness on Tap
Want Guinness on tap at home? We’ll guide you through your options and all that you need.

11 Comments

  • Paul W June 8, 2015 @ 10:00pm

    I’m about to build a bar. I’d like to have a tower installed on a bar top, probably granite. How does the tower attach to the bar? How is the hole made through the bar top?
    Thanks

    • Caleb Houseknecht June 10, 2015 @ 10:42am

      Hey there Paul,

      It depends on the tower you’re looking at, but they are typically attached with screws. With granite, you would want to through bolt the tower (through the counter and secured with a nut on the underside) using machine screws.

      The main hole through the bar is usually made with a large hole saw. Hope this helps! And let us know if you have anymore questions!

  • kimberley November 27, 2015 @ 4:59am

    hi am looking to purchase a beer tap system so pints can be poured at home but am unsure what i need so far i have a cooler? need help !

  • Chad May 5, 2016 @ 1:18pm

    On a granite top you might want to use threaded inserts like PEM fasteners to accept the three screws that go through the tower base flange. You’ll still have to drill 3 holes. This way you won’t have to bolt through. Either way works. Depends if you mind nuts on the underside of the bar.

  • Neil November 24, 2016 @ 1:32am

    When installing the tower on a countertop, can you wrap pipe insulation around the hoses to keep the beer cold? Are all towers insulated?

    • Caitlin November 30, 2016 @ 1:10pm

      Hi, Neil. Most towers are insulated. You can wrap pipe insulation around the lines as they go up, but you are better off with a blower fan. Cheers.

    • vikrant January 25, 2017 @ 1:31am

      no there is not need to insulate whole tower, we can insulate pipe only it will be sufficient to keep beer chilled.

  • Nick January 21, 2017 @ 4:50pm

    Hi,

    I too am building a bar with granite countertop and want at least a double tap tower and preferably triple tap. Some questions:

    1) what diameter should I drill the main line hole? Would this be standard dimensioning or is it specific to the tower I get?

    2) I understand I can drill mounting holes through the granite so I can use machine screws and bolts; or drill part way and use threaded inserts. Do any towers forgoe screw attachments on the surface and instead mount via some sort of undercounter collar to the tower itself (i.e. a portion of the tower extends completely through the counter ad a threaded collar clamps it tight from below)?

    3)lastly, my tower will be somewhat removed from my kegerator location. As it turns out, it will be over top of a dishwasher location. Is this a problem? Or would it be ok as long as I fully insulate the lines?

    Thanks in advance for your help.

    • Caitlin January 23, 2017 @ 11:27am

      Hi, Nick. To answer your questions: 1) The diameter is different for different towers. We always tell customers to have the tower in hand before making any holes. 2) Yes some do, such as the Axis Tower. Most mount via screws. 3) It may be quite a problem with the heat. Not only will you get more foam to start, but it may also decrease the lifespan of your beer. Depending on length, it may be inadvisable to create this system. Hope this helps!

  • sofonias May 1, 2017 @ 3:54am

    hi, how about the refrigeration system which one is more preferable for small bar

  • Stafford kayame May 26, 2017 @ 2:32pm

    Am from Zambia build a bar and I need the full list and amounts for everything I need to set up a draught beer place

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