Tapping your keg can sometimes seem complicated, but with this guide on how to tap a keg, anyone will be easily able to do it. We walk you through on how to tap the American “D”, European “S”, “U”, Grundy “G” and the German slider, “A” and “M” valves properly.

We will also explain a few things that you will need look out for when connecting a coupler to a keg.

Now before you begin this guide, we highly recommend that you ensure you know what type of valve your keg uses by contacting your vendor.

How to tap a keg

Chill the Keg in Advance

One of the most important steps to ensuring a perfect head from your brew is to cool your brew in advance. A warm beer is one of the most common causes of excessive foam. The exact ideal serving temperature varies from one type of beer to another, however, for your average standard American macro brew, the best temperature for your brew will be between 41°F to 46°F (5°C to 8°C for those who don’t use Fahrenheit).

Of course to get your beer cool enough, this means you should begin chilling your beer at least two hours ahead of time, ideally, though you should start chilling that even further ahead of time.

If you’re unsure on how to chill a keg easily, then be sure to check out the guide on it. We take the steps to getting a keg chilled without using a beer kegerator.

Don’t forget you should also chill your tap. Otherwise, as soon as the cold brew hits the warm pipe of the tap, you will lose carbonation. Ideally, you should try to start chilling your pipe up to an hour in advance of using it.

Below we go through all the most common systems that you will find on the market. The kegs that use these types of connections are known as sanke kegs. Each will explain how to tap a keg correctly and anything else that you should be aware of.

How to Tap the European S, U or the American D Systems?

  1. Firstly, remove the cap from the central valve located on the top of the keg.
    • On the top of the keg, you will see a few open slits and a round valve with a ball bearing in the middle.
    • The slits you see will help guide the tap’s indentations and helps secure the tap in its correct place.
    • You also have to make sure you don’t get confused between the “E”, “D” and “U” valves. These valves are extremely hard to distinguish by eye from the German slider, “M” and “A”. If you are unsure of what valve system your keg has, then please check with your vendor.
  2. Now place the coupler on the top of the keg.
    • Ensure that when you’re installing the tap, you keep the lever up in the OFF position. Align the two coupler lugs with the corresponding opening on the keg valve.
    • Push the tap system down on the keg valve, and this will drive the ball bearing down. Please note you may have to use a bit of force to get the tap pushing down correctly. You won’t have to be super strong to do this, but a little elbow grease certainly helps with the process.
    • While you’re continuing to push downward, twist the tap clockwise. It is very important to keep a steady downward pressure on the tap until it is fully screwed in.
    • Ensure you keep twisting the tap until you cannot twist anymore, and it should be about a 90-degree turn.
  3. Test it out by using the tap;
    • Pull the handle out, and push it down into it’s On position. Or, with some taps, twist the flanges.
  4. Check the seating
    • If you see foam or bubbles escaping around the tap fitting, that means it is not seated correctly.
      If this happens, it means you will need to disengage the pump, take it off and try again from.
    • Otherwise, If everything looks good, and no foam or bubbles are appearing, your fine to continue.

Tap Beer

How to tap a German Slider or “A and M” Systems?

  1. Remove the plastic cap from the valve located on top of the keg. (Sometimes the valve have cardboard caps)
    • You will see a round valve on the top of the keg.
    • You will notice that the “A” and “M” valves are very hard to differentiate from the “S”, “U” or “D” systems. The best way to ensure it is an “A” or “M” system is to check with your vendor when picking up the keg or over the phone, if you have already received it.
  2. Place the coupler on to the valve
    • Make sure the coupler handle is in the off position.
    • Making sure that the lever in its upright OFF position, align the base of the coupler with the side of the keg valve.
    • The coupler should slide onto the keg valve if you have aligned it correctly.
  3. Turn the tap on
    • Press the handle down, so that is in the on position. Once you have done this, the connection is complete.
  4. Ensure the tap is correctly connected.
    • If you see foam or bubbles escaping around the tap fitting, that means it is not seated correctly.
    • If this happens, it means you will need to disengage the pump, take it off and try again from.
    • Otherwise, If everything looks good, and no foam or bubbles are appearing, you’re fine to continue.

How to Tap a Grundy “G” Keg Valve?

  1. First, remove the cap that is covering the valve on the top of the keg.
    • You will notice that with Grundy “G” valve systems, there is a triangle shaped valve on top of the keg. If you are unsure if you have a Gundy valve, then it is best to contact and check with your vendor.
  2. Secure the coupler onto the valve.
    • First, make sure the tap lever is up in its off position. Then alight the triangular coupler opening with the keg valve.
    • Using a bit of force push the tap system down onto the valve on the keg.
    • While pushing downward, turn the tap clockwise. It is very important to keep a steady amount of pressure on the tap until you have it fully screwed in.
    • Keep twisting the tap until you’re unable to twist it any further. This twist should be about a 90 degrees turn.
  3. Turn the Tap on
  4. Now to test simply pull the handle out and then down into its on
  5. Ensure the tap is correctly seated.
    • If you see foam or bubbles escaping around the tap fitting, that means it is not seated correctly.
      If this happens, it means you will need to disable the pump, remove it and try again from.
    • If everything looks good, and no foam or bubbles are appearing, you’re fine to finish setting up the keg.

Once you are done, you should finally be able to enjoy a nice cool beer straight off the tap. This setup is perfect for any avid beer lover, partiers and much more.

If you don’t have a sanke keg but instead are using a Cornelius keg then be sure to check out our guide on the pin lock vs. ball lock kegs. The guide goes through the types of connection that are in use on a Corny keg.

I hope this guide has helped you learn how to tap a keg correctly. If we have got something wrong or something needs clarification be sure to leave us a comment below.