If you own or manage a restaurant that offers draft beer, you never want to see that the beer gets to be a little funky, meaning that it becomes flat, doesn't taste quite right, or is a bit warm coming out of the tap. Whatever the problem with the draft beer, you want to fix this as soon as possible; when your restaurant's draft beer isn't quite right, you can quickly and easily lose even the most loyal customers. Note a few reasons why your draft beer might be a little funky, and then check these potential causes in your own restaurant.
The glycol bath is not working properly
If the taps are located far from the keg or cooler itself, chances are you have a glycol bath attached to this system. Glycol is a food-grade coolant that runs along the hoses that deliver beer to the taps, and which keeps beer cool as it travels that distance. Glycol systems can fail to circulate if there is something blocking the hoses, or if the motor or pump fails. If your restaurant's tap beer is warm, check the glycol system for proper circulation and to ensure there is not a leak in that system, which can allow the beer to get warm before it reaches the taps.
Your cooler is failing
If beer is allowed to become warm, it easily goes flat and the taste can change, as beer is meant to stay cold all the time, not just when it's delivered to taps. Don't assume that kegs provide enough coolant to keep the beer inside cold, but check your cooler regularly and ensure it's maintaining the right temperature. If not, this could be a problem with the fan or blower, or the insulation in the room. The thermostat in the cooler can also fail, so that the cooler doesn't keep a constantly cool temperature, and beer then goes flat. Ask a contractor to pinpoint the problem in the cooler and address this as needed, to ensure your restaurant's beer is always kept at the right temperature.
If your restaurant is suddenly serving flat beer, check the connectors between the kegs and hoses, as these are the most common areas for leaks that allow air into the kegs. You may not have connected the hoses to the taps properly, or the connectors have old gaskets that don't seal those connections. Replace these connections as needed and this will help to protect and preserve your restaurant's keg beer supply.