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Three Pint Stance - Kegerator 3: The Drinking and The Cleansing

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OK, so you chose your kegerator, you have it installed and the first keg is ready to tap. Now what?

Well, first, you have to tap the keg. Using the supplied coupler (the thing that has the beer and gas line coming out of it), twist it onto the keg and pull the lever out while simultaneously pressing down to engage the coupler. This will open the kegs ball valve and allow beer to make its way up to the faucet, one step closer to your glass!

When pouring from your keg, remember this crucial advice - there are only two correct positions on a beer faucet: completely on and completely off. If you open the faucet halfway, you will create turbulence in the liquid and you will pour lots and lots of foam. The best thing to do is to open the faucet all the way while tilting the glass, and as the beer starts to come out, slowly tip the glass upright to help in head formation.

And there’s your primer on the basics of pouring beer from your kegerator. You may encounter problems like foamy pours and/or fast- or slow-moving liquid; most often these issues can be solved by adjusting the CO2 pressure or by ensuring your keg is at the proper serving temperature.

So we’re done here, right? The kegerator is installed, the beer is flowing and everyone is having a good time drinking fresh draft beer in the comfort of their own home. End of article, call it a day, that’s that?

Not so fast…

We have to keep this baby clean! The biggest enemy to beer deliciousness besides freshness is cleanliness (or lack thereof). Keeping your draft system clean and functioning at top form is simple, but a few careful steps must be followed.

First off, buy a simple Kegerator cleaning kit. You can find these at any Kegerator supplier online and Amazon actually has some pretty good and affordable kits. Most basic kits will include:

Spanner (Wrench for removing the faucet)

Brush (For cleaning the faucet)

Cleaning Solution (These can vary, but all are meant to be diluted. Follow directions on bottle)

Bottle and Pump (This is where you will mix the solution, and attach the pump to the faucet threads)

You will also want to equip yourself with a five-gallon bucket, a smaller (two or three quart) bucket and some clean towels as well. This can get messy, especially the first few times you do it.

Your cleaning kit will come with more tailored instructions, but most kits follow this general order or operations:

(1) Disengage your coupler, remove the coupler from the keg.

(2)Turn off your CO2 at the tank and then place the coupler into the bucket, leaving the coupler with the handle down (engaged).

(3) Remove faucet from tower, disassemble and set in small bucket filled with cleaning solution.

(4) Fill pump bottle with proper dilution of cleaning solution.

(5) Attach pump bottle to faucet threads and tighten with the spanner.

(6) Pump cleaning solution through the line - if your setup is correct, the solution should come out the coupler into the bucket. Some couplers will have a check valve in them, stopping this reverse flow of liquid. if you find this to be the case, remove the coupler completely and just run the solution through the beer line and wash the coupler in the smaller bucket with the faucet.

(7) Empty pump bottle, rinse well and fill with clean water. Reattach to faucet threads and flush line with clean water.

(8) Reassemble everything and have a cold beer from your newly cleaned kegerator!

So, this concludes my three-part series on how to get beer on draft at your home. Is it all-encompassing? Of course not! Did I skimp on some details? Of course I did! If this series of articles has at least made you more curious about having beer on draft at home, I’ve done my job. Be adventurous, do lots of research and above all else - have fun!

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