There’s nothing that can make a homebrewer feel quite as professional as a good beer faucet, and the very best out there are the renowned Perlick faucets. With a good Perlick installed in your bar room, you’re halfway towards creating the perfect pub ambience in your house.
Not only that, but because of their forward-sealing design and stainless steel material, Perlicks ensure that there’s no leftover beer deposited in the faucet to go stale and affect the taste of future pints.
At least, in theory. But the cold hard reality is that sometimes your Perlick Faucet can leak, causing both a mess and a build-up of old beer that can ruin the taste of your pints unless you clean it every single time.
This is laborious and tedious, of course, so how can you prevent it in the first place? What can you do to avoid Perlick faucet leaking?
What Is A Perlick Faucet?
A Perlick faucet is a tap designed especially with beer in mind. It’s constructed of high-grade stainless steel to prevent corrosion, and it’s forward-sealing (as opposed to rear-sealing).
A forward-sealing faucet (also called a “ventless” faucet) massively reduces your beer’s exposure to oxygen, using a valve shaft that controls beer flow from the front end of the faucet (rather than the rear, as is usually the case). This means less beer trapped in the faucet and thus less mould and bacteria.
The downside? Your beer will flow much faster, possibly leading to frothiness and too much head. Thankfully, a flow control version is available to prevent this – or you can up your pouring game!
How Does A Perlick Faucet Work?
As mentioned above, a Perlick faucet is forward-sealing rather than rear-sealing. But what’s the mechanism behind this? It’s really quite simple. A Perlick faucet contains a small free-floating ball called a “Perl” (hence the name), which moves like a pendulum when the faucet is opened up.
The ball is paired with a floating O-ring at the front of the faucet; when closed, the ball locks into place with the ring, shutting off further beer flow, and the vertical design of the front of the faucet prevents beer from pooling and collecting. This also prevents the handle from sticking and potentially becoming a reservoir for mould and bacteria.
Does Perlick Make A Stout Faucet?
They certainly do. The company’s stout faucet is not only good for stout itself, but it is also often used to pour cold-brew coffee. Its narrow design makes it perfect for a slow, rich, creamy pour.
How Do I Fix A Leaking Keg Tap?
Despite its sturdy and clever design, the fact is that sometimes Perlick faucets can run into problems. These are often flow control problems, but sometimes the problem can be one of leaking.
This is, of course, a major issue, as the whole point of Perlick faucets is to obviate the issue of leakage in the first place.
If your Perlick faucet is leaking, then, it’s important to figure out what the problem is as quickly as possible – before you end up with the sort of mould and bacteria growth the faucet is there to prevent!
The steel parts of your Perlick faucet are unlikely ever to become worn or damaged, but the same cannot be said of the O-ring that works in tandem with the Perlick to prevent leakage. If your Perlick is leaking, in fact, odds are that it’s an O-ring problem.
Thankfully, O-rings are inexpensive, easy to replace, and easily ordered directly from Perlick. Simply order your replacement, open up your tap and swap out the old O-ring for the new one.
This gasket joins your keg to the faucet itself and, after the O-ring, is the second-most-likely point of failure that can cause a Perlick faucet leak. Again, as with the O-ring, it’s easy to diagnose a coupling gasket failure and easy to get a replacement part and fit it.
Though it’s more likely to be your O-ring causing issues, it can occasionally be a problem with the bearing cup. This small metal circle sits underneath the O-ring and helps stabilise it when you use the lever, helping with the optimum flow and ensuring there is no leakage when the faucet is not in use.
If you’ve opened up your Perlick faucet and found there’s nothing wrong with the O-ring itself, it could be a bearing cup problem. Thankfully they’re inexpensive and easy to order.
Dirty Perlick Faucets
This problem is the most basic and easy to fix: are your faucets being regularly disassembled and cleaned? If not, it could simply be an issue of your Perl not properly connecting with the O-ring because it’s not been properly cleaned, or else the same issue with the coupling gasket or bearing cup.
Be sure to clean your Perlick faucet regularly (at least once a week); you may find your leakage woes go away without ordering replacement parts.
Although Perlick faucets really are the optimal way to ensure a smooth pour, the fact is that problems can and do arise with them from time to time.
Thankfully, most of those issues are, at best, solved with regular cleanings and, at worst, fixed with a cheap and easily ordered replacement part. Whatever the issue, it’s unlikely to be a major one, and you’ll soon be back to pulling pints like a landlord!