Draft Beer 101

Kegerator Troubleshooting: Keep Your Beer Dispenser Running With This Handy Guide

As long as its working, a kegerator is a beautiful thing. But if you start experiencing problems that prevent you from enjoying delicious draft beer things go downhill fast. Use this troubleshooting guide to address your beer dispensing problems and keep your draft beer system pouring like a dream come true!

Download the Draft Beer Quality Manual (PDF)

Common problems, causes and corrections for draft beer gone wrong.

Problem Causes Corrections

Cloudy Beer
Beer appears hazy and not clear.

Overchilling: Excessive low teperatures may cause cloudy beer.

Maintain your refrigerator temperatures at 36° to 40°F for the best results.

Partial Opening of Beer Faucet

Always open faucet quickly and completely.

Unrefrigerated Foods Placed on Keg

If unchilled products like meats, vegetables, fish or fruits are placed on a keg of cold beer, the beer becomes warm long before these products cool down. This change in temperature can cause cloudy beer.

Flat Beer
Foamy head disappears quickly; Beer lacks usual zestful brewery-fresh flavor.

Greasy Glasses

Do not wash beer glasses with other glasses that have contained milk or other fatty substances (including lipstick). Eating greasy foods while you’re drinking beer can cause your beer to go flat too. Wash glasses thoroughly with a good detergent; do not use soap. Do not wipe glasses dry. Instead, allow them to air dry and rinse in fresh cold water just before serving beer. It is best to serve beer in a wet glass. Beer glasses should be used exclusively for beer.

Improper pour

Open the faucet quickly and completely. Proper foam should be a tight creamy head, and in an average glass the head should be ½” to 1” high. Beer drawn without a head has the appearance of being flat.

Not Enough Pressure

Check CO2 tank; if empty, get refilled. Increase the pressure if beer runs too slowly. Correct flow will fill a 10 oz glass in 4 seconds (approximately 8 oz of liquid). Check that there are no obstructions in the air line. Check air line, CO2 regulator, and gauge. Regulators will wear down and typically need to be replaced after 4-6 years. Make sure CO2 pressure is ON; do not run the system off the keg pressure alone. Make sure temperature of refrigerator is not above 40°F.

Loose Foam
Large soap-like bubbles that settle quickly.

See "Flat Beer" Causes See "Flat Beer" Corrections

Off-Taste Beer
Often bitter and sometimes completely lacking in flavor and zest; Beer may also have a foul odor or unpleasant taste.

Dirty System

Clean the entire system thoroughly, immediately after each keg is emptied. The faucet should be removed, disassembled, and cleaned with hot water and a brush weekly. Inexpensive cleaning compounds, equipment, and kits are available. Click here for beer line cleaning kits.

Contaminated Air Line

Examine air line and replace if necessary. Dirty air lines should be washed with the same process used for cleaning beer lines.

Old Beer

The beer in the keg may be old and past its prime. Buy a fresh keg.

Foamy or "Wild" Beer
Excessive amount of foam and not enough liquid beer.

Warm Beer

Your keg must always be kept between 38ºF and 40° F.

Excessive CO2

Lower the amount of CO2 by adjusting your regulator. In a normal keg fridge set up, you should keep your regulator set between 10 and 12 PSI. If a keg is over pressurized, pull the relief valve on your keg coupler for about 3 seconds, then wait about 15 minutes and turn your CO2 tank back on.

Old Beer Lines

Replace old beer lines, especially if you’ve recently purchased or inherited a previously used system. Click here for replacement lines.

Improper Pour

Open the faucet quickly and completely. Proper foam should be a tight creamy head, and on the average glass the head should be ½" to 1"high. Keep the glass at an appropriate distance from the faucet throughout the pour.

Obstruction in Faucet

The faucet should be removed, disassembled and cleaned with hot water and a brush every few weeks.

Worn Faucet Parts

Replace worn washers as needed. If faucet does not open wide, worn parts or entire faucet must be replaced. Click here for Faucet Rebuild Kits and New Faucets.

Warm Spots in Your Beer Line

All beer tubing should be kept inside your fridge to maintain consistently cold temperatures.



KegWorks has been selling cool tools for drinking and serving knowledge on tap since 1998. We are all about enjoying good drinks with good friends.

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