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August 15, 2020

Secondary C02 Regulator: The All You Need To Know Tutorial

In this post we are going to talk about the secondary c02 regulator. We will talk about their purpose. How they fit into draft beer systems, how to set them up, and lastly which one I recommend.

After this post you’ll be a pro on regulators, where to source them and how to set them up correctly. Here we go!!

How to Add a Secondary Regulator To Your System

Whether you have a home kegerator, large direct draw system, or an elaborate long draw system at a bar. A secondary c02 regulator helps a beer system pour draft beer.

Secondary regulators dispense a specific pressure to a particular keg of beer. Sometimes one regulator is controlling multiple kegs. I will always recommend one regulator per keg set up. This helps maintain exact applied pressure per keg. So we can achieve equilibrium dispensing draft beer. Thus, maximizing keg yield, and pouring great beer.

How To Connect a Secondary C02 Regulator

When you connect a secondary regulator down stream from your sourced C02. Usually, it’s going to happen somewhere close to the keg it’s supplying C02 to.

If you would like to read up on how to use a beer primary regulator and how a primary works with secondary regulators read this guide.

Back to connecting a secondary regulator...

In a kegerator the connection will be right above the kegs. In a walk-in cooler whether it’s a direct-draw or remote system, the regulator should be close to the keg it’s supplying as well.

Take the regulator and use ½”- ¾” sheet metal screws to attach the reg to the cooler or kegerator wall. I’ll sometimes use ¾” stainless self-tapper screws with a 5/16 nut drive. These screws have worked well for me over the years.

Next, take the supply C02 and connect it with high pressure braided ¼” air line and attach an otiker clamp (13.3) or a hose clamp to secure that connection. I like to use ¼” I.D. Braided line to distinguish my higher pressure C02 coming into the draft system. You can use the red- airline if you like, but don’t exceed the max pressure rating on the airline. I like to use the braided line because I’ll set my primary reg anywhere from 80-100 PSI and I need a high pressure tubing. From there, I will regulate my exact pressure with the secondary regulators to the kegs.

After that connection, I’ll take the red-airline, connect the hose fitting that supplies c02 from the regulator with a 16.2 or 15.7 otiker. Then connect the other end to a beer coupler or tavern head.

How To Adjust The Regulator

Adjusting the regulator is very simple to do. It's very similar to adjusting a primary regulator. Depending on the type of regulator will determine how you can adjust. Some will have pull out knobs on the front like Taprite, and others will have adjustment screws. For the regulators with adjustment screws, you will need to use a flat head screw driver to adust the pressure.

When adjusting pressure make sure that the c02 main pressure is on coming from the primary regulator or source. Shut off the hose valve or make sure the secondary is in the off position. Pop out the knob and adjust accordingly.

If the regulator has an adjustment screw, ( Micro Matic) adjust the pressure by turning the screw clockwise to adjust the pressure.

Set the secondary Regulator anywhere from 10-12 PSI. Again, this depends on the beer cooler temperature, the type of beer you're pouring, restriction values and altitude.

Different Set-Ups of Co2 Regulators


2 Brand Secondary c02 Regulator

2 Brand Secondary Regulators

4 Brand Secondary c02 Regulators

4 Brand Secondary Regulators 

Picture of a Taprite Secondary Regulator

1 Brand Secondary Regulator

Secondary regulators are set up as a stand a lone secondary regulator most of the time. However, if there are multiple brands of beer that need to have c02, beer gas or Nitrogen regulated. Two, Three, and Four regulators can be grouped together.

Let’s say you have 10 Brands of beer to dispense. Out of those 10 Brands let’s also say 2 of the brands will be using Nitrogen vs C02, and let’s say the beer system is a direct-draw system.

An easy install application would be to do 2 4-brand secondary regulators and a 2 Brand secondary set-up. The 2- 4’s would be dedicated to C02 gas ,and the 2 other brands would be set up for Nitrogen.

You could do 8 single brand regulators for the 8 Brand and 2 single for the 2 Nitro, but you’d be adding extra fittings to make this application work. Therefore it’s best to go with 2- 4 brands and 1 2-brand.

Secondary C02 Regulator Review

These are my recommended secondary regulator reviews. Starting with Micro Matic.

Micro Matic Secondary Regulator:

Picture of a secondary regulator


This is my go to secondary regulator. I like Micro-Matic simply because their products are very reliable, they’re quality products and they work. To adjust these regulators you will need a straight edge screw driver to turn the screw on the front of the regulator.


Turn Clockwise to increase pressure and counter clockwise to decrease pressure. Once the pressure has been set. There’s a tiny little nut you can spin until in locks in place. This will make sure the regulator doesn’t change the set pressure.



Taprite Secondary Regulator:

Picture of a Taprite Secondary Regulator

Taprite Single Product with Shut-Off

This is also a good go to and for some the knob on the front is considered easier to adjust the regulator than the Micro Matic ones. This is also a very reliable secondary regulator. To me the quality of product is just a tad better in the Micro-Matic regulator.

It’s kinda funny because I think Taprite’s Primary C02 regulators are better than Micro Matics.

Both of these regs come in singles up to groups of 4 or more.With either regulator choice you won’t be disappointed.


Summary

To recap we talked about how to add a secondary regulator to a beer system and where to put it in proximity to the keg it’s going to be regulating.

We followed that up with how to use it and adjust the regulator, and the different set-ups one can achieve with secondary regulators.

The regs come in singles, doubles, triples and quads. These help draft technicians set up dispensing systems a little easier, but also allow each beer or brand to be controlled by its own regular. This is very important to the craft beer world.

Lastly, I picked Taprite's secondary c02 regulators over Micromatic's as my number one recommended regulator.

Picture of a Taprite Secondary Regulator

One Pressure One Product Regulator

If you have any more questions feel free to reach out to me here. Also, be sure to check out my other recommended products for beer dispensing equipment.

Cheers!

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About the author

I've been a draft beer technician for 9 years  building, designing, and installing large commercial beer systems. Through the years I've worked on breweries, tap houses, casinos and stadiums around the country.

I enjoy sharing my passion for draft beer dispensing by talking about it, recommending dispensing equipment I've used in commercial installs, or private settings. 

Cheers!

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