Draft beer is the best of the brewer's art, and serving it cold and fresh is the best way to enjoy it. At half the cost of cans and bottles, keg beer is also your best value, and it's easy to dispense whether you're at home or at your favorite bar or restaurant.
Let's take a look inside a kegerator and figure out how it works. The temperature is critically important because it can be the primary reason for draft beer dispensing problems. Before you buy a keg of beer, give your kegerator time to cool down to 38 degrees Fahrenheit and then be sure the thermostat stays at 38 degrees. You can check the temperature whenever you'd like by keeping a glass full of water inside and then taking the temperature of the water in the glass.
The first step is to connect the CO2 regulator to the CO2 cylinder. Check to see if there's a special fiber washer at this connection. Some regulator connections have integrated o ring seals on the tank connector and if they do a fiber washer is not necessary. Then securely tighten the tank nut to prevent gas leaks. Attach the red CO2 gas pressure tubing to the CO2 regulator outlet nipple and secure it with a clamp. Connect the other end of the red CO2 pressure tubing to the CO2 pressure inlet nipple on the keg coupler and secure it with a clamp. When you open the CO2 cylinder valve, open it all the way to be sure there are no leaks. The tank pressure gauge will read approximately 750 PSI, depending on whether the ambient temperature is warm, resulting in a higher psi, or cold which would cause a lower psi. Set the CO2 output pressure to 12 PSI. This setting will accommodate most keg beers with the exception of stouts. It's important to know that the length of the beer tubing and the required amount of CO2 gauge pressure may vary depending on the brand of beer, the beer temperature and the altitude where the beer is being served. For more information we recommend that you visit the beer forum or beer questions areas on our website at micromatic.com.
After the pressure is set you should tighten the lock nut on the pressure adjusting screw to prevent tampering with the setting. Then turn the shutoff lever down to line up with the red gas pressure tubing, allowing the gas to flow. Next, connect the beer line hex nut to the keg coupler. You should always use a neoprene washer at this connection. Before connecting to the keg, check to be sure the other end of the beer line is connected to the faucet hardware. The keg coupler should be in the untapped, handle up position. Press the keg coupler into the keg valve and lock it into the lugs with a 1/4 clockwise turn. Then you can start the flow of the beer by pulling the keg coupler handle out and pushing down. The beer will immediately begin to flow and fill the beer line to the faucet.
First, start with a beer clean glass that's been thoroughly washed in an oil free detergent. Hold the glass at a 45 degree angle, about an inch below the faucet. Do not let the faucet touch the glass. Then open the faucet completely and quickly. When the glass is about halfway full, gradually bring it to an upright position. Finish filling the glass by allowing the beer to pour straight down the middle. This ensures the proper release of CO2 by producing a 3/4" to 1" foam head. Then close the faucet completely and quickly.
Now it's time to enjoy a cold draft beer from your new kegerator. To maintain the quality of your draft beer, you should clean the beer lines and the rest of the equipment regularly. You can always find cleaning instructions and equipment information at micromatic.com. Kegerators are available in many shapes and sizes and it's also easy to build your own using one of our conversion kits and a standard kitchen refrigerator. Micro Matic is the world's leading manufacturer of draft beer equipment. The brewery's choice in over 120 countries. Depend on Micro Matic for equipment and knowledge; the draft equipment specialists.
This brief video shows you how a kegerator works, from how to set one up and clean it, and even how to build your own!