How to Untap Beer Kegs Without a Tap

Updated July 20, 2017

Every once in awhile a party will find itself with a keg but with no tap or a keg with a broken tap. And while taps can be rented or bought, they are expensive and once the local beer stores close you might be out of luck. Instead of giving up or waiting till the next day to start the drinking, use the following tips to open your untapped keg and get that beer out and into some cups.

Find the ball pressure valve on top of the "spear" in the keg. The spear is the long cylinder that goes through the entire keg, with the tap fixture attached on top and the pressure valve in the centre of it.

Turn the keg over, and using the screwdriver push the ball valve in and release the pressure inside the keg. Trying to remove the spear without releasing the pressure can cause it to shoot outwards. You may have to repeat this step two or three times before all the pressure is out of the keg. Some beer will come out but not very much.

Use your screwdriver now to remove the retaining ring from the top of the spear. It will often be coiled in a springlike manner and can be pried out with a screwdriver before being unwound.

Release any pressure again once the retaining ring has been removed by pushing down on the pressure valve.

Place your screwdriver against one of the two notches on the top of the spear. These notches will need to be lined up with the two slots in the keg in order to be removed.

Tap the screwdriver against one of the two notches, turning them a quarter turn until the notches match up.

Pull the spear out of the keg when the notches are lined up properly. You will have to pour beer out by tipping the keg but it will work.


Making sure the keg is no longer pressurised is a crucial step and not doing so properly can put people near the keg at serious risk if the spear is removed while it is still under pressure.

Things You'll Need

  • Standard slotted screwdriver
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About the Author

Topher Drew has been writing professionally since 2010. Specializing in video games and electronics, as well as budget travel, Drew has edited and updated a travel blog for Carpe Diem International Education. He is pursuing a Bachelor of Arts in political science at the University of Richmond.