How do I know what type of Keg Coupler I need?

How do I know what type of Keg Coupler I need?

Posted by Ron on 23rd Sep 2019

Tapping a keg properly simply isn’t possible without using the right type of coupler. To become a tap-master, you should know about the six main keg couple types so you can handle different styles of beer like a pro. Here is a detailed look at all the main keg couplers and tips on how to use them with your draught beer setup.

Beer Keg Couplers and What Is the Difference Between Them?

Two common questions asked by those who are not familiar with  keg couplers are:

  1. Where do all these different types come from?
  2. Why can’t these guys just agree on the same, universal type of coupler for every keg out there?

The first one is really easy to answer. Most couplers were independently designed by beer producers around the world before globalization and transnational corporations were started.

Problems started to come up when beer from, let’s say, Germany became easily available and commonly ordered in other parts of the world. Manufacturers wouldn’t compromise, so consumers had to work with multiple keg coupler types if they wanted to carry different styles or brands of beer.

What we have now are six different keg coupler types which cover pretty much every type of beer out there:

Before exploring the differences between these coupler types, here are a few things they have in common:

  • gas and beer flow directions (pressurized CO2 or nitrogen comes in through the side and the beer goes out through the top)
  • a locking mechanism that covers the keg valve
  • a back lever that engages in the coupler with the keg valve

These keg coupling types are fairly similar in terms of how they work. The actual difference is in the way they are attached to the keg valve - more on that below.

D-Type Keg Coupler Characteristics and Fit

Also known as the American Sankey coupler, the D-type keg coupler is the most common on this side of the world. Used by the majority of North American beers, including Molson, Corona, Coors, Budweiser, Miller, PBR, Yuengling, and so many more.

In addition to the standard variety, the keg coupler type D is also available in a low-profile (short handle) version to accommodate kegs in smaller, tight-space refrigeration systems.

D style keg coupler

U-Type Keg Coupler Characteristics and Fit

Alternatively known as the Irish or Guinness keg coupler type, the U-type keg coupler is mostly used for beers originating from Ireland, such as Guinness, Harp Lager, Smithwick's, and Magners Cider.

It’s not always easy to find a good U-type keg coupler for sale but we always have some in stock!

U style keg coupler

G-Type Keg Coupler Characteristics and Fit

Known for its unusual triangle shape (see the picture below), the G-type keg coupler is most notably used by some British, Dutch, and even a few American breweries, including Anchor.

The legend says they decided to switch to an unusual European-style keg coupler G-type to help distinguish their kegs so they could be returned without confusion.

Other popular brands that use the G-type keg coupler include Boddington’s Pub Ale, Fuller’s, Grolsch, Sir Perry William’s, and Watney’s.

G style keg coupler

S-Type Keg Coupler Characteristics and Fit

Often referred to as the European Sankey coupler, the S-type keg coupler is used for popular European brews like Amstel, Pilsner Urquell, Newcastle, and more. Alternative names for this type include:

  • Stella Artois keg coupler type
  • Heineken keg coupler type

The major difference between this European Sankey and American Sankey is in the probe. In American couplers, it’s short and broad while in the European ones it’s skinny and long.

If you try to hook up the S-type coupler to an American beer keg, you will most likely get a spray of beer in your face.

Reverse that (D-type coupler connected to a European Sankey keg) then the beer won’t pour at all.

S style keg coupler

A-Type Keg Coupler Characteristics and Fit

Used on almost all German beers and about half of the Belgian beers, the A-type keg coupler is commonly associated with brands like Ayinger, Bitburger Pilsner, De Dolle, Franziskaner, Hoegaarden, Krombacher, Löwenbräu, Paulaner, Warsteiner, and some others.

A style keg coupler

So, these were the five most common keg coupler types - D, U, G, S, and A. What about the sixth one? That’s right, there is also the M-type coupler, which is somewhat less common, but still worth a mention. M-type keg couplers are used on a few German beers like Schneider Weisse.

Unsure of which keg coupler type you need for your keg?

No problem. Below we have compiled a list of popular beers and which coupler type they belong to.

Although we try to keep this list as up-to-date as possible, the beer industry is constantly evolving. If the beer you're looking for is not listed, please  contact us and we will be able to look into it for you. 

Beer Keg Coupler Types

D Type

Abita Amber Killarney
Abita Golden Killian's Irish Red
Abita Light Kirin Ichiban
Abita Purple Haze Kokaneev
Abita Turbodog Labatt Blue
ACME Brown Ale Leinenkugel
ACME IPA Little Kings
ACME Pale Ale Lost Coast Alleycat Amber
Alaskan Amber Lost Coast Apricot Wheat
Alaskan ESB Lost Coast Downtown Brown
Alaskan Pale Ale Lost Coast Great White
Alaskan Smoked Porter Lost Coast Raspberry Brown
Alaskan Stout Lowenbrau (US)
Alaskan Winter Ale Mad River Jamaica Red Ale
Alexander Keith Mad River Steelhead Pale
Anderson Valley Belks Bitter Maudite
Anderson Valley Boont Amber Miami Trail Brewing
Anderson Valley Hop Ottin IPA Michael Shea's
Anderson Valley Poleeko Gold Michelob
Bad Frog - BAD Light Michelob Amber Bock
Bad Frog Golden- Amber Lager Michelob Light
Bad Frog Micro-Malt Michelob Speciality
Bay Hawk Chocolate Porter Michelob Ultra
BayHawk Amber Ale Mickey's
BayHawk California Pale Ale (CPA) Middle Ages
BayHawk Hefeweizen Miller
BayHawk Honey Blonde Miller Genuine Draft
BayHawk OC Lager Miller Lite
BBC Long Beach Crude Milwaukee's Best
BBC Marathon Modelo
BBC Strawberry Blonde Molson Canadian
BBC Top Sail Moosehead
Black Dog Natural Ice
Blanche de Chambly Natural Light
Blue Moon New Amsterdam
Breckenridge New Zeland Steinlager
Brooklyn Brown Ale Nor'Wester
Brooklyn East India Pale Ale North Coast Old Rasputin Stout
Brooklyn Lager North Coast Pranqster Belgian
Brooklyn Pennant Ale 55 North Coast Red Seal Ale
Brooklyn Pilsner North Coast Scrimshaw
Brooklyn Post Road Pumpkin Ale O'Doul's
Brooklyn Weisse Old Milwaukee
Bruin Pale Ale Old Vienna
Bud Dry Pete's Seasonals
Bud Ice Pete's Wicked Ale
Bud Ice Light Porter & Summerfest
Bud Light Portland Mactarnahan's Amber
Budweiser Portland Oregon Honey
Budweiser Select Pyramid Hefeweizen
Busch Pyramid Seasonal
Carlsberg Razors Edge
Carlton and United Breweries (CUB) Red Ale
Castlemaine Red Dog
Celis Red Hook Blonde
Cider Jack Red Hook ESB
Columbia Brewing Red Hook IPA
Coors Red Hook Seasonal
Coors Light Red Wolf
Corona Rogue Dead Guy Ale
Custom Brewcrafters Rogue Hazelnut Brown
Deschutes Black Butte Rogue Red
Devil Mountain Rolling Rock
Dos Equis Amber Rouge-Mogal
Dos Equis Lager Sam Adams Boston Lager
El River Brewing Sam Adams Seasonal
Ellicottville Saranac
Fat Tire Saxer Brewing
Firehouse Schmitt's
Firestone Double Barrel Ale Shiner Bock
Firestone Lager Ship Inn
Firestone Pale Ale Shipyard
Firestone Walker's Ale Sierra Nevada Pale Ale
Flying Dog Sierra Nevada Seasonal
Foster's Sleemans
Full Sail Amber Ale Southpaw
Full Sail Pale Ale Spanish Peaks Black Dog
Genesee Starr Hill Brewery
George Killian's Irish Red Steinlager
Goose Island Stroh's
Gordon Biersch Hefeweizen Tecate
Gordon Biersch Marzen Thomas Kemper
Grant's Trois Pistoles
Green Mountain Cidery Unibroue
Hamm's Wasatch
Hard Core Cider Weinhard's
Henry Weinhard's Whitbread Ale
High Falls Widmer Hefeweizen
Holy Cow Red Widmer Seasonal
Hornsby's Woodchuck Dark & Dry Cider
Hudson Valley Wyder's Apple Cider
Humboldt Hemp Ale Wyder's Peach Cider
Humboldt IPA Wyder's Pear Cider
Humboldt Pale Ale Wyder's Raspberry Cider
Humboldt Red Nectar Ale Yuengling
Ice House Zebra

S Type

Amstel Maredsous Abbey Ale (Belgium)
Amstel Light Marston's Pedigree
Beck's McEwan's
Beck's Premier Light Moretti Italian Pilsner
Belhaven 80 Shilling Murphy's Irish Red
Belhaven Best Murphy's Irish Stout
Belhaven Best Extra Cold Newcastle
Belhaven St. Andrews Ale Pilsner Urquell
Belle-Vue Piraat Ale
Beamish Scottish & Newcastle
Cantillon Rose (Belgium) St. Pauli Girl
De Koninck Ale (Belgium) Stella Artois
Delirium Tremens (Belgium) Strongbow Cider
Dortmunder Union Tetley's
Double Diamond Tooheys
Erdinger Hefetrub Weisse Tucher
Hahn Van Steenberge
Heineken Woodpecker Cider
John Courage Young's
Lindeman's Framboise Young's Chocolate Stout
Lindeman's Peche Young's Oatmeal Stout
Lion Nathan Young's Ram Rod Bitter
Lowenbrau (Import) Young's Special London Ale

G Type

Abbot Ale Fuller's ESB
Anchor Liberty Ale Fuller's London Pride
Anchor Porter Grolsch
Anchor Steam Old Speckeled Hen
Bass Pale Ale Rouge
Blackthorne Cider Scottish Tennents
Boddington's Pub Ale Sir Perry William's
Caffrey's Watney's

U Type

Abby White Leffe
Guinness Stout Magners
Harp Smithwicks Ale
Kilkenny

A Type

Ayinger Altbairisch Dunkel Isenbeck
Ayinger Bräu-Hell Krombacher
Ayinger Bräu-Weisse Kronenbourg 1664
Ayinger Celebrator Paulaner Hefeweizen
Ayinger Frühlingsbier (Springtime Beer) Paulaner Lager
Ayinger Jahrhundert-Bier Paulaner Pilsner
Ayinger Kirta-Halbe (Pint of Country Fair) Paulaner Salvator
Ayinger Liebhard's Kellerbier Spaten Lager
Ayinger Premium-Pils Spaten Oktoberfest
Ayinger Ur-Weisse (Traditional Wheat) Spaten Optimator
Ayinger Winter-Bock (Winter “Buck” Beer) Spaten Pils
Bitburger Pilsner Staropramen
Fischer Victoria Bitter
Franziskaner Hefe-Weisse Warsteiner Dunkel
Hacker-Pschorr Weisse Warsteiner Pils
Hoegaarden White

keg coupler types