Ask Better Beer

How Often Should You Adjust The Beer Gas Regulators?

How Often Should You Adjust The Beer Gas Regulators?

Sometimes managers think that they're experts on draught, and they'll go into the beer fridge, and they'll adjust the regulators when the beer is pouring foaming at the tap.

They think that adjusting the regulator is going to fix it.

Usually, they're wrong.

Very seldom they're right, but it doesn't fix it long term.

Here's the problem:

The regulators are designed to regulate how much beer gas - a mix of CO2 and nitrogen goes into the keg.

They are set it and forget it.

The installer who designs the system, who builds the system they set the regulators based on the length of the line, the resistance, all these mathematical calculations and that number that they land on, that is it. 

Beer Gas Regulators are set it and forget it.

Here's the problem: 

The manager/busser/bartender taps a warm keg and the beer starts pouring foamy.

It's not pouring foamy because the gas is wrong, it's pouring foamy because the beer is warm.

So the manager goes back and cranks up the pressure on the regulator.

This extra pressure going into the keg helps counter the extra pressure inside the keg so the beer won’t pour as foamy, but it will pour faster from the tap.

Now back at the tap, it comes out faster, but it's solid; it's clear beer, it’s not foamy any more. 

The manager thinks, Woohoo! I solved the problem!


Because the manager goes home at the end of the shift and doesn't adjust it back down and the keg cools.

Now we've got more CO2 going into the keg than we need and the keg over carbonates. The morning bartender comes in, and the first pint of the day is coming out really fast and it's coming out foamy.

Doesn't matter if you dial down the regulator back to normal, the keg is over carbonated. We've already got too much CO2 in it. The keg is ruined.

So here's the solution: Set it and forget it. Do not touch the regulators. 

Do not touch the regulators. Leave them as they are.

If you tap a warm keg, yes, you're going to get a foamy beer.

The second part of the solution is to stop tapping warm kegs.

If you tap cold kegs and you don't touch the regulator, you're not going to have foamy beer caused by pressure.

What happens when I tap a warm keg? Foamy beer.

Well, how do we know if it's a warm keg or not?

Warm kegs are caused because they're not given enough time to cool when they come in off the truck.

And when you think about it, beer comes out of the bottom of the keg.

And when kegs are delivered, we stash them in underneath the shelves and we barricade more warm kegs around them.

The fan that blows cold air is above the kegs and it's blowing cold air on the top of the keg.

But, the beer comes from the bottom of the keg. 

You need to make sure that the kegs are in the fridge for almost two days.

It's about 40-42 hours that the kegs need to cool in the fridge before we tap them.

The other problem is that during the delivery they usually throw them off the truck, the kegs get knocked around and become agitated, which causes foam. 

Let newly delivered kegs sit for 6-8 hours to settle and two-days to get cold.

It's better to just wait, don’t tap it - 86 it just for a little while until it's ready to be tapped.

Stop adjusting the regulators. You're pouring beer down the drain. It's killing you. It's wasting beer and it's killing your profitability.

Set it and forget it.

Has someone told you something about your draught system that you aren't sure is true?

Do you wonder why things are done they way they are or wonder how things could be done better?

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Questions like how often should you clean your lines?

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