Keg couplers are one of the most important components of a kegerator, acting as a key to unlock and dispense beer. They are attached to the valve and CO2 line to release compressed air into the keg forcing out your favorite brew within seconds.
Keg couplers come in 6 distinct varieties called types and you need to know what type of keg coupler is required for your draft setup. Without the right keg coupler, you won’t be able to pour a drop.
BeverageCraft offers a wide selection of different types of beer keg couplers coming in various styles as well as parts and accessories to them. We will cover all of your home beer dispensing needs and ensure great prices.
If you are not sure which type of keg coupler is right for your draft beer dispensing system, let BeverageCraft specialists step in and help you make the right choice. Contact our team via live chat, email or phone - we’ll be there in an instant to provide you with professional consult and assistance.
What Is a Keg Coupler?
Keg coupler is an essential part of any draft beer system. Think of it as a key that unlocks the keg and gets the beer flowing.
All keg couplers have a few things in common - they basically have the same shape where pressurized CO2 or nitrogen in through the side and the beer goes out through the top. They all cover the keg valve with a locking system and have a back lever that engages in the coupler with the keg valve.
Despite being similar in their overall features, keg couplers do differ. Depending on your keg and style of beer, you may need a different type of coupler to properly dispense it.
How Does a Keg Tap Work?
When a coupler is affixed to a keg, it connects to what’s known as the spear, inside the keg. The gas from your beer gas tank pushes the beer from the keg out into the beer line. Most draft beer systems use CO2 but, for certain beers such as dry stouts, nitrogen (N2) is required instead.
Finally, to round up the system, you have a beer line, which is another food-grade PVC tube featuring a 3/16 inch inside diameter and running 5 feet for most dispensing scenarios. The beer line screws onto the top of the coupler and connects to the shank or draft beer tower.
Keg Coupler Types
As we have mentioned earlier, there 6 different types of keg couplers depending on the sort of beer and type of keg. These 6 types are used for 99.9% of all beers out there.
Since different types of beer use different types of kegs, which in turn requires using different types of couplers, you must have the correct one for the beer to pour.
There’s no such thing as “the best keg coupler” as they all serve their respective purposes working with different valve systems. If you try to hook up the wrong type of coupler to the wrong kind of keg, it just won’t pour.
Here are the six keg tap coupler types:
- D coupler (fits US Sankey keg valves)
- S coupler (fits European Sankey keg valves)
- U coupler (fits some European-type keg valves)
- A coupler (fits most German keg valves)
- G coupler (fits some European keg valves)
- M coupler (fits some German keg valves)
Since those basic descriptions are clearly not enough to understand what type of coupler you’re dealing with, we need to go into detail for each type and help you make the right choice.
✓ D-type coupler
The reason we put the US Sankey keg coupler D system (aka US Sankey keg coupler) on top of our list is because it is probably the most common keg coupler type in North America and is used on 99% of all beers produced in the US. Think everything from Abita to Yuengling, Molson to Corona, and most breweries in between.
US Sankey keg beer coupler is also available in a low-profile or short handle version (the so-called Low Profile D-system coupler) for kegs fitting into smaller refrigeration systems where you may not have enough room. Here’s an example of such type - a low-profile Perlick keg coupler.
✓ S-type coupler
Another popular Sankey-type coupler, this one is also known as the European Sankey keg coupler. It is the type of coupler you could find on beers like Heineken, Newcastle, and Pilsner Urquell to name a few.
The major difference between the American Sankey keg coupler and the European keg coupler is the probes. If you look at the Euro keg coupler, you will see it is skinny and long while the American D-system keg coupler is short and broad.
What will happen if you try to hook up a European coupler to an American sort of beer? You will most likely get a spray of beer or even a shower. Sometimes it will work, sometimes it won’t.
In a similar fashion, if you try to hook up an American coupler to European beer, it won’t pour at all.
✓ U-type coupler
In addition to the Sankey-style couplers, other types are available like a U-type coupler that works with European-type keg valves. This coupler system is most commonly used for Guinness, Harp, and Smithwick’s as well as Magner’s cider among others.
✓ A-type coupler
The A-type coupler is also known as the German slider-style keg coupler A system. It is used with kegs that have mainly German as well as certain English beer brands.
You can find the German slider keg coupler available for Carlsberg, Ayinger, Franziskaner, and several other notable German beers.
✓ M-type coupler
The M system coupler isn’t in such heavy use as the previous 4 types since it is mostly used for German beers that are not very commonly available worldwide.
You will need the M-type keg coupler for a few different brews like Einbecker and Schneider.
✓ G-type coupler
Finally, the most unusual type of them all - a triangle-shaped coupler that goes under the letter G. It is used by a few notable breweries including Fuller’s, Grolsch, and Anchor. The latter chose the G-system to help distinguish their kegs so they would be returned without confusion.
That was our quick roundup of the 6 major keg coupler types currently available on the market. If you want to check which type of keg coupler would be right for your particular sort of beer, please refer to this article that contains images of each type and the list of beer it is used for.
How To Assemble Keg Coupler
Once you’ve got your keg coupler disassembled (usually, for cleaning purposes), putting it back together is really easy. One important thing to keep in mind before you start: using a pair of rubber gloves will help you to avoid any unnecessary contact with cleaning solutions and liquids.
Here’s how you do it:
- Put the probe in - without the probe seal!
- Put the probe seal back on (twist it a little bit if you need) and push it up
- Put the handle back on - you’ll notice that the probe has a round side and flat side. The flat side will have to be positioned in a way that will allow you to slip your handle right over it
- Put the retention pin back in
- Put the Thomas valve and tail piece back on (you can leave it connected to your gas line if you need it to)
Most types of couplers can be assembled and disassembled in a similar way so there’s no need for a separate instruction for each type.
Keg Couplers From BeverageCraft
We offer all six types of keg couplers for sale - whether it’s your standard keg coupler D-type or a rare M-type coupler, we’ve got it in stock and ready for shipping.
All of our couplers provide the highest level of consumer safety, ease of installation and cleaning, not to mention ergonomic design and durable stainless steel (tin-nickel plated brass is an option).