The Keg Valve
Kegs come with their own unique locking systems that don’t let even a single drop of beer out and keeps the beer fresh. It has a concentric valve system at the top and consists of a hole at the centre which is blocked by a spring-loaded ball. This is connected to the bottom of the keg through a long narrow tube.
To the side of this centre hole is another smaller hole for gas which is also closed with a loaded-spring. This is the complete keg spear assembly.
And the key that unlocks a beer keg is called the Keg Coupler. Lets see how this keg coupler works.
A keg tap aligns with the valve system and opens its gas and liquid valves. It has a gas inlet through which the CO2 gas from the tank is pumped into the keg. The gas pressure then pushes the beer through the narrow pipe into the coupler beer outlet and the attached hose. It is then carried through the rest of the draft system and finally poured to serve.
Hence, a keg coupler is a vital component in the draft beer setup. Beer Keg Coupler types
Not all beers are the same and so are beer kegs. There are 7 major commercial keg valves used in the world and you can unlock it only with a complementing keg coupler. Let’s go ahead and see the similarities and differences among these keg couplers.
• A system keg coupler
Works with notable German beers and hence is more commonly known as German slider. It is designed to fit many German beers such as Hacker-Pschorr, Hoegaarden, Paulaner, Pimms, Spaten, Warsteiner and others.
• D system keg coupler
Also called American Sankeys as they work with most North American kegs. American and Canadian brands, like Budweiser, Busch, Coors Light, Killian’s, Labatt, Michelob, Miller Lite, Milwaukee’s Best, Molson, Moosehead, OV, Pete’s Wicked, Sam Adams use D type keg valves.
• G system keg coupler
Named after its English developer Grundy and used by many European breweries, G type kegs are used by beer brands like Anchor Steam (50 liter kegs), Boddingtons, Caffrey’s, Carling, Fuller’s, Grolsch, Old Speckled Hen, Tennents and Watneys.
• M system keg coupler
M system keg valves are comparatively new entrants into the US market. They used to dispense a few German beers. Notable among them are Aventinus, Einbecker, Schneider and Veltins.
• S system keg coupler
S System kegs are the most common keg type used in Europe and hence the coupler is also known as European Sankey. It has a longer stem than its US counterpart.
European brewers that use this keg valve system include Amstel, Becks, Heineken, Newcastle, St. Pauli Girl and others.
• U system keg coupler
Derived its name from the manufacturer UEC and used to dispense rich and creamier beers called stouts. Popularly used with Guinness, Harp, Smithwick's and more.
• Keykeg coupler
KeyKegs are plastic kegs that are recent entrants into the beer industry. They are gaining popularity as light, one-way kegs that are recyclable too.
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