Guinness is world famous, and for good reason: it’s creamy and rich; it has a delightful Irish pedigree; and, at just 125 calories per 12-ounce serving, it’s relatively low calories when compared to most non-light beers.
Guinness on draught is especially delicious. Thankfully, all you need to dispense a keg of Guinness (or any stout) at home is a stout system.
You have a couple of options to get the Guinness flowing: you can either purchase a dedicated Guinness Draught Kegerator or you can convert an existing draft dispensing system, which can be switched back to standard dispensing whenever you like.
The draft beer equipment that you already have and your budget will determine which route you choose to get Guinness on tap at home. Regardless of the option you choose, there are three basic differences between a standard draft beer system and a stout system that you’ll want to keep in mind:
- The Type of Gas Used
- The Keg Coupler
- The Faucet
The Type of Gas Used
Instead of CO2 like a traditional draft beer system, Guinness uses a nitrogen/CO2 blend to push the beer through the lines, and it’s nitrogen that gives Guinness it’s tell-tale creamy, tight head. Mixed gas comes in an all-in-one air tank that contains 75% nitrogen and 25% CO2.
To find a mixed gas dealer in your area, it’s a good idea to ask your local Guinness distributor who he or she recommends. The Guinness Import Company goes to great lengths to make sure that gas dealers are properly blending mixed gas. Some gas dealers are particular, and they will only fill a nitrogen tank with mixed gas. Other dealers have no qualms filling your regular CO2 tank with the mixed gas, given that the only difference between the two types of tanks is the threads.
We offer specialty nitrogen regulators, but, if you prefer, you can use a standard CO2 regulator with a nitrogen tank by utilizing a CO2/nitrogen adapter. Just be sure to set your regulator to 30 psi.
The Keg Coupler
The keg coupler you need for your stout system depends on the brand of stout you want to serve. Kegs of Guinness, Harp and Kilkenny require a U System Keg Coupler, while other brands of stout may call for a different coupler. See our coupler guide.
If you’ve ever watched a bartender pour a pint of Guinness, you’ve probably noticed that a stout faucet is different from other faucets. Sometimes called a European Specialty Faucet, the stout faucet has a different type of handle that pulls forward and down. There’s also a tiny restrictor disc inside of the faucet head. When Guinness and other stouts are forced through the disc, the beer forms the unique head that people love. To dispense any other type of beer (i.e.: Bud, Miller, Coors etc.) with one of these specialty faucets, all you need to do is remove the restrictor disc.
With the right knowledge and the proper equipment, it’s easy and affordable to enjoy your favorite stout at home. And once you have your system in place, you’ll want to consider having a proper Guinness glass. For more information on how the right drinkware can improve the taste of your beer, stout or otherwise, check out the KegWorks Guide to Glassware.
- How to Use a Kegerator Conversion Kit
- The Basics of Beer Line Cleaning
- Guide to Draft Beer Faucets
- Video: Keg Couplers 101
- Troubleshooting Your Draft Beer System