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Beer Keg Equipment Questions

A beer keg is large drum like barrel or cask usually constructed of aluminum, steel or wood. It is used to store, transport and serve beer. Generally beer kegs have a single opening at one end and a tube referred to as a “spear” that extends from the opening to the other end. When the keg is tapped, there is a self closing valve which is opened by the coupling fitting. The opening at the top portion of the spear purges the carbon dioxide gas to drive the beer out of the keg. Usually one or two valves on the coupling control the outflow of the beer and influx of gas into the keg. The keg must be upright in order to dispense beer.

Listed below are a few common questions answered by the Experts on beer keg.

What can be the cause of beer not being dispensed from the tap of a Danby beer keg?

These kegs will have a check ball usually at the center of the probe in the coupler. Sometimes it may be stuck hence place the coupler in a bucket of hot water and use a small brush or tool to push the ball to the top of the probe to free it. Prior to doing this, ensure the retainer at the top is in position. If not the check ball could prevent the beer from flowing into the beer line. The ball has to function correctly to prevent the beer from flowing into the keg. Sometimes the check ball can be missing or not installed in the beer keg. You will need to dismantle the keg to check if the ball falls out by itself. Another important factor to be noted is that Danby units are generally installed with a domestic coupler and may not work if you are trying to tap a foreign keg of beer.

Is it normal for a beer keg to dispense only foam if the temperature is at 40 degrees?

Ideally the temperature of the beer should be below 40 degrees and it could go up to a maximum of 40 degrees. In your case the issue the unit could be getting warmer each time it cycles to defrost the coil. If you are facing erratic temperature problems it could be due to a faulty thermostat. You could try using ice to lower the temperature of the keg. Another cause could be a refrigeration issue if your unit operates constantly but does not go lower than 40 degrees.

If a beer kegs temperature will only go down to 56 degrees, does the beer keg need to be replaced, or are there other solutions?

When you turn on the unit and it continues to run there could be a Freon leak. Since it is cooling and not shutting off, it implies the coolant is not circulating as it should and there could be a leak. If the problem was with the compressor it would not start or it would be buzzing and clicking. The temperature control problem can also be ruled out as the compressor would not come on or it would shut off soon after coming on. You will need to call a licensed technician to handle the coolant leak repair. The following two questions would be helpful before accepting to repair the keg:

  1. Does the repair service own a license to recover Freon?
    Ans: As per federal law one must be licensed to handle Freon. Hence you will be aware they are qualified and competent to handle the issue.
  2. What is the minimum charge for a sealed system repair?
    Request them to bring the tools needed for repair and to repair the leak within the same day to save on the cost of an additional trip. Based on this amount you can decide whether repairing the beer keg is worth it.

Why is my Vissani beer keg cooling insufficiently even when set on the coldest setting?

First try moving the unit away from the wall to allow for better air circulation for the condenser. Clean out the condenser coil and fan using a vacuum cleaner. Ensure the condenser fan is working. Wait for a day or two to ensure this. If it has not helped and you hear the compressor cycling on and off, the thermostat is malfunctioning and would need to be replaced. On the other hand if the condenser and fan run continuously, there is a possibility of a tiny refrigerant leak.

Beer kegs are a unique appliance meant to store and cool kegs of beer. Apart from beer, other alcoholic, non-alcoholic drinks, carbonated and non-carbonated beverages could be contained in a keg as well. This may not be a common appliance in many households and could have specific mechanisms which are unfamiliar to an untrained eye. However, beer keg troubleshooting may be challenging to the owners of such units. To have Experts guide you and provide you with insights and information, it will be helpful and useful to resolve your issue.

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