I'm planning on build a cooler-based jockey box to drink my kegged beers. And was thinking what's the different things in a beer tap/faucet? I'm having trouble to find one with reasonable price in my town.

I understand that some faucets have 'cream function', or 'flow control' diferences, material finishes (stainless, chrome plated, brass, plastic..) but the standard/basic type just allow you to on/off your flow of beer. Rigth?

Can I simple choose other kind of tap to put on my draft box? That's just a matter of style or its needed by some reason?

  • Don't know if my question is clear, I'm not a native english speaker. Talking about common water taps, or water drinking devices, even ball valves like these used in kettles, etc. Any kind of no-"beer faucet". – jards Nov 10 '14 at 21:28

Ball valves should work fine. However consider:

  • Turbulence causes CO2 to come out of solution. Faucets are designed to minimize this effect whereas ball valves may not.
  • Ball valves will be difficult to clean and can harbour spoilage organisms. Faucets have fewer places for such to hide and are easily disassembled.

That being said, give it a shot and see what happens.

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    A three piece ball valve solves the sanitation issue but they're likely to be even more expensive than a beer faucet. – rjbergen Nov 11 '14 at 6:37
  • Thanks for your both. Like I said in other answer's comments, my problem is a lack of specific brewing options, so maybe a very cool ball valve can be cheaper than a normal beer faucet. I think I'll take my kettle's valve and give it a try to see what happens! – jards Nov 11 '14 at 19:48

For getting an optimal pour, you're best to go with a beer faucet. For the best flow with the least amount of foam, the tap should be fully open, or it will agitate the beer causing lots of foam. Other taps may have too small an opening, causing the beer to gush out or be agitated.

There's also aesthetics - the beer taps have been engineered to look good, and shaped to direct the beer into the glass at the appropriate angle. This is not the case with non-beer taps.

Other taps will work, but possibly not as well. If you have another tap to try, then give it a shot, and see how you like the pour you get.

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  • Thanks for the angle tip, mdma, I'll certainly be aware of that. The aesthetics have its value, also. A shining beer faucet is a very enjoyable thing, and if its not, maybe it don't worth the saving of money. – jards Nov 11 '14 at 19:08

Standard plastic 'cobra' or 'picnic' faucets are fairly cheap. They won't mount to the side of a jockey box but if price really is the primary issue then at least these work. You can drill a hole and pass the tubing through them. The hole can then be used for a proper faucet in the future. I think some of the other non beer related options will create too much foam.

Example of a picnic faucet.

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  • Thanks, brewchez. My core problem isn't the money specific. But the lack of options suited for craft/homebrewing in my town. Import thing via internet here is also a problem, because of many taxes that inviabilizes everything. So, beside the fact that your answer really solves someone problem, I don't have easy access to picnic taps also. And one of my goals is to have a thing that stand up to cleaning processes, so I will run off plastic. – jards Nov 11 '14 at 19:20

Beer has a relatively low pH, usually around 3-4. As it's acidic, it can be more reactive with certain materials. Chrome-finished faucets, in particular, will over time have the chrome finish stripped off. As well, faucets need to be cleaned regularly, so the ability of the material to stand up to chemical and/or mechanical cleaning is important.

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  • Hi, jsled, I really agree with your argument. One reason of my question is that also. Since I don't have a plenty full of options homebrew market here, maybe it will be cheaper to me to buy a stainless non-beer faucet than a chrome-finished one designed for beer. – jards Nov 11 '14 at 18:55

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