Hands on Review: NukaTap Flow Control Faucets!

This review is by Homebrew Finds Contributor Brad Probert.  Brad is an engineer, expert homebrewer and experienced reviewer.  Grab a link to Brad’s website at the end of this review.

Nukatap Flow Control Keg Faucet

There are a wide variety of options for how to take your kegged homebrew with you to a party or meet up with friends. There is a big draw to kegging your homebrew because of how it simplifies the process of serving your beer after it’s finished in the fermentor. But it’s obviously less portable than individual bottles. There are mini keg/growlers you can fill from the tap, or bottle fillers that you can connect right to your tap. But these options all come with the extra step of cleaning and filling additional “stuff”. Being able to serve directly from the keg has advantages from that perspective.

Flow Control Faucet Disassembled

The most common option of serving from the keg is the picnic tap/cobra tap attached to a length of beer tubing. The downside of cobra taps is their propensity to fail, or propensity of your partygoers to not know what they’re doing and end up spilling/wasting a lot of beer. A jockey box is great for a bigger event where you’re going to be pouring a lot of beer over a longer period of time. But these are expensive, big/bulky to haul around, and makes another thing that has an involved cleaning process afterwards.

There have been ball lock keg faucets out on the market for some time. But unless you’re using these on a growler with a restrictive dip tube in it, these aren’t very practical. Putting a regular faucet on a keg gives you a cup of mostly foam unless you take special care to nearly de-carb your beer first (and who likes flat beer?). For these to work properly when directly attached to a keg, you need a flow control faucet. Kegland’s ball lock shankReview – has the same interface as a regular keg shank like you have on your keezer, so they just mate this to their regular Nukatap. Then you can serve directly from the keg, and it’s not a big piece of gear to haul around with you or clean up later.


Check Current Pricing and Availability, Review Continues Below:

NukaTap Faucets come in three variations. Stainless, Stealth (Matte Black) and Flow Control. All feature stainless steel construction, forward seal design and all the other NukaTap innovations.

I’m also linking to Intertap faucets and accessories where applicable because all Intertap spouts work with NukaTap


How Does a Flow Control Faucet Work?

Quick explanation of how a flow control faucet works. A flow control faucet has an external adjustment lever that connects to a tapered shuttle piece inside the faucet. Adjusting the lever moves the shuttle closer or further away from a seat, changing the flow area for the beer as it’s headed for the faucet tip. The smaller the flow area, the more restriction, and thus the beer flows more slowly. The key in the design of this shuttle is to provide flow restriction but avoid areas where you quickly move from high to low pressure. This leads to CO2 coming out of solution, which means beer foam. An example of this type of “flow control” is a half open faucet. It creates a small flow area, but it creates a big pressure drop as the beer pushes past the sealing ball, and you get a bunch of foam in your cup.

Flow Control Tapered Shuttle


Related Top Post:

What Does a Flow Control Faucet Do?


Hands on Review

I have previously evaluated the Nukatap faucet, so I was familiar with all the benefits it brought to the table. – Nukatap Hands on Review – The new part for me was the single-piece molded ball lock housing with the shank incorporated. This was nice versus other designs I have seen. Others have an adapter piece to go between the faucet and an MFL ball lock fitting (more parts = more potential leak spots). Having this as a single molded piece was clean, simple, and efficient.

Faucet with FC Shuttle Inside

One thing that is unique to the Nukatap Flow Control faucet is it can have a self-closing spring added. It’s different from the standard faucet self-closing spring because the geometry of the parts inside a flow control faucet are different. I did not get a chance to try this out, but since this keg faucet tap is intended for mobile usage at parties or gatherings, the $1 it costs from Williams Brewing for the self-closing spring is money well spent.


Related Top Post:

Balancing Your Kegerator Draft System


Related Review: Hands on Review Nukatap Faucets


Before this, I had not tried a flow control faucet. On my keezer, I run a single regulated pressure, and have common line lengths for everything, so I had no need. But for a keg-mounted faucet, the flow control was mandatory since I wouldn’t have 6 feet of beer line between the keg and faucet. I was nervous about the potential for the flow control mechanism to create foaming. However, it turned out that I had nothing to be worried about. I don’t know if Kegland’s Nukatap flow control faucet has a different design from other flow control faucets, or if they all use the same basic design. But it worked exactly as you’d want it to. Before adjustment, the beer came out way too fast and made a foamy mess in the cup. I adjusted the lever on the side of the faucet until it was filling a 16 oz glass in around 12 seconds (which is the same as I target for beers poured from my keezer). Even without doing any special pre-chilling of the faucet, I was getting good pours with decent foam head on top. With a 12-second pour, I was getting about 1″ more head on top from the flow control keg faucet compared to the same beer poured through a regular Nukatap faucet on my keezer.

12-Second Pour Comparison

I had different types of kegs at home, so I checked the keg faucet with each of them. The Torpedo keg and the Corny ball lock kegs worked fine. Both of those style kegs have handles on two sides and a gap where the keg posts are. However, I also have a Coke keg that was converted from pin lock to ball lock. With that style of keg, the shank part of the fitting runs into the handle of the keg and the ball lock can’t get seated. So, it doesn’t work on that style of keg.

Torpedo Keg- Faucet Fits

I had a great opportunity for a field test with this faucet, as I was headed out of town to meet up with college friends. Of course, that meant I brewed special beer for the occasion. I had two kegs feeding through a draft box, and I hooked up the Nukatap Flow Control Keg Faucet to the third. I kept the keg cold in a Cool Brewing insulated keg cooler bag with an ice pack. The angle and the height of the faucet allowed it to poke up through the top of the bag, and you could easily get your cup under it to fill up. It worked flawlessly through an extended weekend.

Keg Faucet in Cool Brewing Bag

Conclusions

The faucet worked reliably, and I was impressed with how the flow control worked. I loved the small compact size that made for easy packing/transport, and how easy it was to clean when finished. Dispensing beer on a mobile unit with a tap interface worked so much better than watching people try to operate a picnic tap properly. A picnic tap is definitely cheaper than a keg faucet, but if you can afford the upgrade, the flow control keg faucet delivers with reliability and style.

Check Current Pricing and Availability, More Photos & Related Content Below:

NukaTap Faucets come in three variations. Stainless, Stealth (Matte Black) and Flow Control. All feature stainless steel construction, forward seal design and all the other NukaTap innovations.

More Photos, Related Reviews and Resources Below:

Pin Lock Conversion Keg- Fitting Body Hits Keg HandleCorny Keg- Faucet FitsField Test in Action

What About Intertap Flow Control Faucets?

Great Question… What Happened to Intertap (and Nukatap) Flow Control Faucets?

Works with Tapcooler!

Hands on Review Intertap Faucets

intertap faucet review

Hands on Review Nukatap Faucets

Related Reviews & How-Tos

More Kegland Gear Reviews!

Keg Deals!

keg deals

Keg Reviews!

Rebuild Your Kegs!

Food Grade Keg O-rings in Bulk!

bulk keg orings

 

More Homebrew Finds!

Recent Deals!

10 Most Recent Homebrew Resource Posts & How-To’s!

We are Homebrew Review HQ!  Our 10 Most Recent Reviews

Also: Kegerator Tips & Gear | Keg Repair Part #s | Recent Keg Finds

Our Top Draft Resources!

Special Thanks to William’s Brewing for providing the unit used for evaluation in this review.

By Brad Probert.  Check out Brad’s website – beersnobby.com

Price, promotions and availability can change quickly. Check the product page for current price, description and availability.

Make sure the components you use are compatible and rated for your intended application.  Contact manufacturer with questions about suitability or a specific application.  Always read and follow manufacturer directions. review:fcnukatap tag:tpr

Leave a Reply