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How to Troubleshoot Beer Taps

Updated February 21, 2017

When throwing a party or serving beer on tap in your home bar, a keg tap that's not dispensing beer can be frustrating. There are a number of reasons the tap on your beer keg might not be working properly, from the keg itself being empty to the tap not being properly installed. Troubleshooting the obvious steps one by one can save you a lot of frustration in the face of thirsty friends and family.

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  1. Check the keg to make sure it's not empty. Tilt the keg to the side and try dispensing from the tap again. If the tap is hissing and no beer comes out, the keg is probably empty.

  2. Check the tap to make sure the line is all the way open. Sometimes the tap line may be partially closed, which will keep the tap from pouring or created unwanted foaminess.

  3. Check the gas tank. If the gas tank is improperly connected or empty, the tap will not dispense properly. Slow pouring beer is a sign that your gas tank may be empty, not connected properly, or turned off. Check the gas valve for pressure and available gas, and replace if necessary.

  4. Shut down the glycol system for at least one hour if your beer line is frozen. A keg kept at a temperature lower than -1.11 degrees Celsius may freeze, causing ice backup in your beer line. Allow the line to thaw for an hour and attempt to pour again.

  5. Check the line for blockage if beer burps or sputters when poured, as something heavy may be laying on the line and pinching it closed.

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About the Author

Jennifer Hudock is an author, editor and freelancer from Pennsylvania. She has upcoming work appearing in two Library of the Living Dead Press anthologies and has been published in numerous print and online journals, including eMuse, Real TV Addict and Strange Horizons. She has a Bachelor of Arts in English/creative writing from Bloomsburg University.

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