keg regulator problems

5 Common Keg Regulator Problems and How to Fix Them

Brewing beer is not an easy task. It might be especially daunting for newer brewers as there are a lot of things that can go wrong with the keg regulator. 

So what are the keg regulator problems?

There could be a variety of problems with a keg regulator. The problems may be with the gas tank, the coupler, or the regulator itself. Gas tank and regulator connection problems are very common. There might be other miscellaneous problems with the keg regulator as well.

That’s just a summary. Want to know more details? Just follow us to this article.

Troubleshooting the Keg Regulator

There are three major components that are prone to having problems. Problems in any of the components will cause trouble for the whole keg regulator.

Keg Regulator
Source: homebrewfinds.com

Here is how you can check the keg regulator problems and how to fix them.

Problem 1: Gas Tank Not Being Connected Properly with the Regulator

The gas tank stores the gas and needs to function properly for the keg regulator to work. 

The CO2 gas tank must be properly attached to the keg regulator or there will be leaking gas. You need to check for gas leaks if you suspect that your gas tank is not functioning. 

Here is how you can check the gas tank or cylinder for leaks and fix it. 

Step 1: Opening Gas Cylinder

Check whether the kegerator’s brass shut-off valve is closed. Then, completely open the valve on the gas cylinder.

Step 2: Fine-tuning the Adjustment Nuts & Screws

Turn the kegerator’s adjustment nut counterclockwise until the screw comes loose. Turn the adjustment screw clockwise with a flat head screwdriver. Keep turning till the required pressure is displayed on the output pressure gauge. 

We suggest that the regulator be adjusted to 12 PSI for CO2 gas tanks.

Rotating clockwise on draft beer regulators increases output pressure. On the other hand,  turning counterclockwise decreases output pressure. 

There are other factors, such as altitude or unique beer types, that may necessitate some modification. For suggested PSI values, check with your keg distributor or the brewery of each beer.

Step 3: Allowing Gas to Flow to Coupler

Confirm that the keg coupler is secured downward. Then let CO2 gas flow from the regulator to the keg coupler. Do this by opening the shut-off valve on the regulator.

The keg will start to pressurize. The output needle on the regulator should decrease briefly until the pressure has equalized. And then return to the previously adjusted pressure.

Step 4: Venting Gas on the Pressure Release Valve Briefly 

A pressure release valve is included in the keg coupler. Let gas leak by momentarily pulling the ring on the pressure release valve. When you pull the pressure release valve, you will hear a harsh hissing noise.

Step 5: Verifying the Output Pressure

Then, re-check the output pressure on the kegerator. And, if required, re-adjust using step #2 till the proper pressure is shown.

Step 6: Making Sure Beer Pours Properly

Confirm that the beer comes out correctly through the faucet. The beer should be dispensed normally if everything is alright.

Problem 2: The Regulator Problems

Now look at the centrepiece of the keg regulator which is the regulator itself. The regulator manages the gas flowing into the keg.

Regulator Problems
Source: thebrewshop.com.au

And if the gas tank itself is alright, the regulator might be the one causing the problem. 

So here is what you have to do. 

Step 1: Checking the Gas Shut-off Valve. 

First, see if the valve is running parallel to the gas lines. If it is, it means the gas is on. And it is ready to flow into the 

But what if the valve is running perpendicular to the lines? In that case, the gas is not flowing. 

If the gas is not flowing, the valve needs to be flipped on. By that we mean flip it to a parallel position to the gas lines. 

Step 2: Checking the Gas Tank Gauge

We have already briefly touched on the matter of gas pressure. Now let’s get some more details. 

If the needle of the gauge is red, it means the tank is empty. Refer back to the previous section to properly set up the gas tank with the regulator. 

Now let’s discuss the pressure gauge. The pressure needs to be just right. If the pressure is too low, the flow may stop or just be super slow. 

So, it’s really important to have a functioning gauge in your keg. If you see that the gauge is not giving normal results then try replacing the regulator with new ones. 

Personally, I’ve found the MRbrew Keg CO2 Regulator and the Kegco KC LH-542 Draft Beer Regulator to work exceptionally well. Both of them are long-lasting and less prone to damage or rust. 

Now let’s look into the correct pressure for different products using different glasses.

Gas TypeProductPSI Range
CO2Almost every beer style and ciders8-12
CO2Sparkling Water8-12
CO2Kombucha & Sparkling Tea8-12
CO2Sparkling Wine8-12
Mixed Gas/Beer GasGuinness (Along with Nitro Stout Faucet)32-37
NitrogenRegular & Cold Brew Coffee8-12
NitrogenCold Brew (With Nitro Stout Faucet)38-42
NitrogenNon-sparkling Tea8-12
NitrogenNon-sparkling wine (White and Red Wine)8-12

If you need to adjust the pressure, refer back to the 2nd Step of Checking Gas Tank.

Problem 3: Keg Coupler Problems

Finally we get to the keg coupler problems. It is the component that is placed on top of the keg and tapped. Beer not coming out could be because of issues with the coupler. 

There are many kinds of couplers. But the most commonly used is the Sankey D Coupler. And our discussion is focused on that specific model. 

Now, exactly what are the keg coupler problems?

The main problem with keg couplers is the little plastic ball getting stuck. The plastic ball is the check ball. If it gets stuck then the keg refuses to function properly. 

Fortunately, solving this issue is pretty easy. 

Step 1: Untapping The Coupler

Begin by untapping the coupler from the keg. Now gently move the coupler around.

keg coupler problems
Source: content.kegworks.com

You will get the sound of a ball shaking around. If you cannot hear it, then the call is stuck somewhere. 

Step 2: Mobilizing the Ball

Turn the coupler over. Now try to insert a long thing, yet sturdy object. And try to get the ball unstuck. A pen or a similar object should do the job. 

Step 3: Cleaning the Coupler 

We recommend soaking the coupler in warm and soapy water. This will help prevent the ball from getting stuck in the future. 

Problem 4: The O-Rings Being Worn Out

Damaged o-rings can be problematic. So it is best to inspect all the o-rings before filling the keg. 

Forgetting to check the o-ring and getting foamy beer is pretty common. In that case, the o-rings on the dip tube might be the cause. 

A symptom of damaged o-rings is bubbling appearing in the beer line, and flowing up. The bubbles are CO2 from the headspace leaving through the broken seal. 

The fix for this is also pretty simple. 

Step 1: Depressurizing the Keg

Before you can do anything, start by depressurizing the keg. Be sure to depressurize the keg properly. 

Step 2: Installing New O-Ring

Now take out the beer post and dip tube. And then install a new o-ring. But don’t just use any o-ring this time. Try to get higher quality o-rings like the Captain O-Ring COLOR CODED O-Ring from Amazon.

Installing New O-Ring
Source: powertank.com

That’s it. The O-ring should be fine now. If your beer is not carbonating, it has nothing to do with the O-rings being worn out. 

Problem 5: Overcarbonated Beer Because of Unclear Headspace

Beer can be both over and under-carbonated. Both of which are a problem. But over carbonation is more common.  

Fixing this issue is pretty simple, so How do you Decarbonate a keg?

Step 1: Unplugging the Gas

To decarbonate a keg, first, you have to unplug the co2. And then clear the head space. 

Step 2: Saturating the Headspace

Now keep the gas unplugged, and let the mixed gas in the beer leave and saturate the headspace. 

Step 3: Reconnecting the gas

Wait a few hours and then reconnect the gas at serving pressure and retry. Redo the process until satisfied.

That’d be all regarding this topic!

Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs)

What PSI should a beer keg be at?

The most ideal pressure for the keg regulator is 10 – 12 PSI. But almost all ales and lagers produced in the United States should be dispensed at 10 – 12 PSI. But stout and other nitrogen-reliant keg beers are usually dispensed at 25 – 30 PSI.

Why is my regulator leaking?

Keg regulators may leak due to them not being installed correctly. The regulator should be connected tightly. But, the connections cannot be too tight. In that case, the regulator might get cracked and start leaking. Keg regulators may also leak due to excessive gas pressure. 

How do I know if my regulator is leaking?

To inspect a leak, close the inlet valve and the outlet valve to separate the regulator. The pressure on the gauge will drop from the set point to zero if the regulator is leaking. Another method of checking is by covering the bonnet port using a finger to know if the sound goes away

Conclusion

And now we know about keg regulator problems and how to deal with them. The problem could be in the gas tank, the coupler, or the regulator itself. 

Follow our instructions and everything should be just fine! Don’t forget to take necessary safety measures as well.

Good Luck!

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