Perfectly poured draft beer is the result of proper temperature, gas pressure and mixture, and a well-maintained draft beer system. It’s easy to take all the variables for granted when beer is pouring well. But improperly pouring beer can be very frustrating, and can result in loss of sales. This chapter is intended to provide useful troubleshooting steps anyone can follow to solve draft beer dispense problems.

The single most common cause of problems encountered in draft beer dispense systems is temperature control. The first step in solving any dispensing problem is to confirm that the temperature of the keg and the cooler are where they are supposed to be. In air-cooled and glycol-cooled systems, the next step is to check the temperature of the beer being delivered to the faucet, confirming that the air and glycol systems used to maintain proper beer line temperature are working properly. The troubleshooting steps that follow are organized by the type of draft beer system and how the systems are cooled, using air or glycol. Direct-draw systems and long-draw systems cooled by air or glycol each have unique features that are addressed in the troubleshooting steps. Other steps including gas pressure and supply, beer supply, and mechanical issues.

All content has been adapted from the Brewer’s Association Draft Beer quality manual.