Beer Kegs 101

by nixforsix on August 4, 2010

in drinking,tailgating guide

Have questions about kegs? This quick guide will cover how to tap a keg, how many beers are in a keg, how to cut down on the foam, and other tips and tricks to make sure you get the perfect pour.

How many beers are in a keg?

A half keg, which is what you most commonly see, holds 165 12oz servings (15.5 gallons), weighs 161 pounds when full, and is two feet high. The smaller 1/4 keg is also called a pony keg. It holds 82 12oz beers (7.75 gallons) and weighs 87lbs full.
(source: kegworks.comicon)

Tips for Tapping

After bringing the keg home quickly, let is settle for two hours. You want to ice it during this time making sure that the ice covers the outer circumference of the keg. You should treat the temperature of your keg the same way you would milk. Never let it get warm. A keg tapped with your standard hand tap will stay fresh for about 24 hours.

Most American beers use the same basic Sankey connection tap. But if someone decides to get fancy with their beer choice, double check with the liquor store that you have the right type of tap. See the bottom of this post for videos on how to tap the keg.

How to Pour Keg Beer

Once you’ve let the keg settle and you’ve tapped it, give it a few pumps and start by filling a pitcher with the initial pours. The first few beers will be very foamy and you might as well let them sit for a little while. When filling pitchers, you can pull the faucet forward until it locks so that you don’t have to hold it down the whole time.

Never pump the keg before at least a test pour. The rookie ahead of you may have pumped the hell out of it. You want to get a medium pour that you let flow down the side of your cup. All push the faucet all the way down and get a full flow to eliminate unnecessary foam.

An overview of keg tapping and pouring by Chow.com

A more detailed look at how to properly tap a keg and pour beers by Wired

(keg photo by rick)

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