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How to Tap a Keg

Your party guests are arriving and you have a full keg iced down in the corner, but how in the hell are you going to get anything out of it!?! There are a lot of people standing around telling you weird things like leave the cap on and you have twist that thingy open to get rid of the head. Whatever you do, don’t listen. Best case scenario, you get frustrated. Worst case, you break the tap or … beer shampoo.

Here are 7 easy steps for how to tap a keg:

“Tappa-Tappa-Tappa”

1. After picking up the keg, place it where you want to have it for serving and let it set a while. Remember, you’ve just taken a very large beer can and wrestled it out of the store, into your car, out of your car and into your garage, kitchen, backyard or basement. Chances are rolling of the keg was involved.

2. Remove the plastic or cardboard cap from the fixture on top of the keg.

3. Get your tap, making sure it is not “engaged”(this will give you a “beer shampoo”). Line the notches up with the hole at the top of the keg. You'll notice a few open slits at the top of the keg and a ball bearing in the middle. The slits guide the tap's notches and hold the tap in place. The ball bearing serves as a stopper, forced up from the pressure inside the keg. You're about to “screw” the tap into place.

4. Push down. You need to push the ball bearing down to allow beer flow. You don’t need to he-man this, but a little pressure is needed.

5. Slide the tap into place in a clockwise motion, while maintaining the downward pressure. Don’t let up, you need to keep pushing down as you spin the tap into place. Once it's turned into place, it should lock there from the pressure in the keg.

6. Pour about six cups of beer or a pitcher. Don’t be alarmed, there will be foam. When the foam falls, the pitcher should be about half full. You should be pouring without any foam at this point.

7. Enjoy your party! Why wasn’t I invited?

Matt Rye
Adventures in Homebrewing