Setting Up A Commercial Keg

OK. this is assuming that you have purchased a commercial kegging set-up from Main Street. If you bought your system from another homebrew store, you may or may not have the same equipment and/or do the same procedure, so please consult your local store.

First, you will need to connect your regulator to your CO2 bottle. Be sure the plastic (or fiber) washer is inside of the hexagonal "cup" of the regulator before you screw it onto the CO2 bottle. If you do not have a washer in there, you will have a hard time preventing gas leaks from that connection. Tighten the regulator on by hand until it is snug. Then rotate the gauges backward about 90 degrees and - with a LARGE crescent or adjustable wrench (not a pipe wrench!) - tighten the regulator onto the CO2 bottle. The gauges will rotate themselves until they come around and you can see them clearly. At this point they will be immoblized and you will not be able to adjust them, so make sure they are in a good "locked" position when the regulator is fully wrench-tightened.

OK, once you regulator is VERY tight (we will check it in a minute), hook your red airline to the barb on the regulator, and the other end of the red airline to the barb on the Sanke tavern head. You have two hose clamps which you should use to squeeze the airline TIGHTLY onto these two barbs. Use a screwdriver to tighten the hose clamps.

Once your red airline is clamped securely on both ends, take your tavern head and - with the handle in the UP position -and push down and rotate it onto your keg. Now get ready to install the mounted faucet.

In the door or side wall of your refrigerator, drill a 1 to 1.125-inch hole using a hole-cutting bit mounted on a hand drill. Do not cut through the back of your fridge, as this is where the freon lines typically run. If you are unsure, drill or cut a small pilot hole to see what is inside. Press the hole-cutting bit securely against your fridge and dig through. It should leave a nice smooth hole in the side of your refrigerator.

Mount the long metal shank in the hole. The black disc goes on the outside of the fridge and should easily cover the hole you just drilled. There is a backnut that screws tight from the inside and secures the shank. As an option, some people insert a small (one-inch) piece of PVC into the hole to act as a "tunnel." This can be inserted from the inside of the fridge after the hole is cut. You may need to "shave away" some of the inside in order to insert the PVC. This allows you to run the shank through the PVC tube and then the backnut will have a more secure structure to lock onto. This also keeps the wall (or door) of the fridge from "bowing" as the shank is locked tight. It is not necessary, but if you feel your shank and faucet are too loose, it would be a good option to produce a tighter structure.

You can now screw the chrome faucet onto the collar on the outside end of the shank. We sell Spanner wrenches in the store if you feel you cannot tighten it well enough by hand, but most people seem to have no problem. Screw the black pull-handle onto the top of the faucet.

Now you are ready to connect the product line. It is the clear tubing with two hex nuts. Connectone hex nut to the inside end of the shank (inside your refrigerator). The other end connects to the top of the Sanke tavern head. (You may need to pull off the plastic cap on top of the tavern head to reveal the threads). Be sure that each hex nut has a black rubber washer inside of it before you screw them on or else you will leak beer from these connection once you start tapping.

OK - almost done. Turn the "main" open on your CO2 bottle, and screw the center nut on yor regulator inwards (clockwise) until the gauge on the regulator reads 8 - 10 psi. With soapy water check the connection between the regulator and the CO2 bottle. VERY OFTEN you will see bubbly leaks popping out and the regulator will need to be tightened down again (with your crescent wrench) until it is not leaking. If you do not check for leaks you have a very high percentage chance of losing all your gas within 12 hours. Also check the red airline where you have tightened the hose clamps at the regulator barb and at the Sanke tavern head air barb. Be sure you see no air leaks when all the connections are checked with soapy water.

Now, push the handle down on the Sanke tavern head this opens up the keg and allows the beer into the tapping system. Go to your faucet and pull the handle to tap off your first pint. Your glass should fill up with beer. Enjoy!

If the beer is very foamy it is usually one of two things. The keg of beer must be cold for the beer to flow properly. If the keg has been sitting at room temperature for awhile, allow it to cool down overnight, then try another pint. If the beer is very cold and it is still foamy, lower the pressure on the regulator (turn the center screw counterclockwise) until the line pressure drops to 4 or 5 psi. This should slow down the speed of the flow and the beer will fill the glass less violently. This will produce less head and less foaming.

On the other hand, if the beer is taking a long time to fill a glass and you have little to no head, turn the center screw on the regulator clockwise to INCREASE the line pressure. This will make the beer come out faster and produce larger heads and more foam.

Do not be afraid to paly around with the dispensing pressures, but it is very odd if you need to dispense at less then 5 psi or more than 15 psi. Please call me if you are running your beer under 5 psi or over 15 psi. You can have long-term dispensing problems if you continue to do this.

Your five pound bottle of CO2 will dispense six or seven 15-gallon kegs.