A relative newcomer to the beer scene, Intertap has released a set of premium beer taps to rival other forward sealing faucets. The Intertap Flow Control Faucet is a forward sealing faucet, with a flow control knob and removable spout. That is a lot of features for one tap, and luckily the faucet delivers in a big way.
Similar to the Perlick line of faucets, the Intertap Flow Control Faucet is a forward sealing design. Regular faucets seal in the back, close to where the beer line is connected. Every time the tap is closed, the beer that was contained within the faucet drains out and the inside is left empty. If you are pouring constantly this isn’t a big issue; the beer that coats the inside of the faucet won’t have time to dry and cause any issues.
However, if you are like me, a tap can go days or weeks without being being used. With a rear sealing faucet, you are likely to try to pour a beer and find that the tap is completely stuck; the beer coating the inside of the faucet has hardened and fused the moving parts together. This is a common occurrence with rear sealing faucets. They are best used in situations where the tap is being pulled constantly and the faucet doesn’t have time to dry out. But for a home kegerator a forward sealing faucet is the way to go.
In a forward sealing faucet the seal is located directly before the spout. This means that when not in use the faucet will be full of beer. Since the moving parts don’t have a chance to dry out, the residue that causes the stickiness isn’t a factor. The tap will open smoothly even after weeks of non-use.
The Intertap faucets use a ‘sliding shuttle’ to guide the o-rings into position when closing the tap. This is in contrast to the floating o-ring design that Perlick uses. Intertap claims that the sliding shuttle will prevent sealing issues with the faucet as it ages.
While using the Intertap Flow Control Faucet, I found that opening the tap was never a problem. I had left the tap closed for weeks, and came back to find that it opened smoothly and without issue. In general, compared to Perlick 630SS that I have, the Intertap Faucet is slightly harder to open. It certainly isn’t difficult, but it feels snappier when opening compared to the smoother motion of the Perlick. I would guess that this has to do with Intertap’s sliding shuttle, which is designed to increase longevity. If it works the way Intertap says it does this is a great trade-off that I don’t mind making.
With a normal beer faucet, balancing your beer lines is incredibly important. Put simply, balancing your lines means that the higher the pressure of your beer is, the longer your beer lines need to be. If your lines are shorter than they need to be you will have a foamy pour. I’ve found that balancing lines isn’t always an exact science; I’ve gotten foamy pours even after using beer line calculators.
A major feature of this tap is the flow control knob. The flow control knob will adjust the resistance in the line; this lets you dial in the right flow speed for a perfect pour. This is very useful for anyone who has been having issues with foamy pours, or who doesn’t want to worry about beer line balancing.
Along with the improvements in pouring full pints, the flow control knob has some other uses as well. When pouring small amounts of beer (like a taster or a flight) the flow can be turned way down to lessen the foam. It is also incredibly helpful with taking your beer on the go. Normally when filling a bottle or growler from a keg, you would turn your regulator down to ~5 PSI. With the flow control knob turning your pressure down is unnecessary; you can simply regulate the flow with the knob instead, for a nearly foam free transfer.
A major feature of all Intertap Faucets is the removable spout. The threaded spouts are easy to remove and install with just your fingers. MoreBeer sells three different spout attachments besides the standard one.
Intertap Stout Spout
Besides being fun to say, the stout spout is a must-have if you have a system with beer gas. Beer gas is a mixture of CO2 and nitrogen. Nitrogen doesn’t absorb into the beer very well, so beer on beer gas is normally at a higher pressure than is common. When a beer is served through the aerator disc in the stout spout, the nitrogen is roused out of solution and creates the lovely cascade effect that stouts are known for.
Having this spout is a great solution for somebody that enjoys stouts, but doesn’t have the room to dedicate tap space to a stout faucet. Unfortunately I do not have beer gas in my setup, so I was unable to review this spout. When used with straight CO2 the beer is going to become a foamy mess; only get this if you have beer gas or plan to get some.
Intertap Ball Lock Spout
The ball lock spout is designed for a liquid out ball lock disconnect to fit onto it. Specifically, it is made for things like the Blichmann Beer Gun or a counter pressure bottle filler. Where this spout shines is when combined with the flow control of the tap. Normally when you use a bottle filler it is best to lower your gas pressure to a few PSI. This helps the beer move slow and prevent foaming. When attached to the ball lock spout however, you can use the flow control of the tap to adjust the speed of the beer. This allows you to fill bottles without changing the pressure of your system. If you don’t have a bottle filler with a ball lock disconnect, this spout is not going to be of any use. If you do though, the spout can be a very helpful tool.
Intertap Growler Filling Spout
The growler fitting spout is used for just that, filling growlers. The spout has a barb on the end that will fit ½” tubing. If you are looking to fill a growler or a few bottles, this is an easy way to get it filled. Much like with the bottle fillers, using the flow control of the tap is an easy way to adjust the beer flow and minimize foaming.
One problem with this attachment is that the ½” tubing is fairly large. The beer won’t fill the tubing as it fills a growler, which means that as the beer travels down the tube it is introduced to some oxygen. This is fine for a growler that will be drank quickly, but if you plan to have your bottles sit for a while before drinking you should consider an alternative.
One alternative is the ball lock spout listed above. A beer gun attached to the ball lock spout will minimize oxygen easily. Another way to reduce oxygenization is to reduce the tubing size. A standard beer line (with ⅜” ID) will fit inside the ½” tubing and is an easy way to ensure the beer line is full and not introducing oxygen.
Using this bottling method I have not noticed any off flavors due to oxygenation. Because of its ease of use, this is my favorite and most used accessory for the Intertap faucet.
Simply put, I absolutely love this faucet. It does everything you will ever need a faucet to do. The forward sealing design should be standard for all faucets, and the flow control knob has eliminated the stress of trying to balance my beer lines. For as long as I have been kegging, I have been refining my process to quickly get beer into bottles and growlers. The flow control knob and the replaceable spouts are incredibly useful and are the simplest way to get take your beers on the go.
Due to the versatility of this faucet, I firmly believe that anyone with kegs should have at least one. If you are building your kegerator and have no faucets yet, it would be a great idea to make all of your taps the Intertap Flow Control Faucet. It will cost marginally more than standard Perlicks, but the lack of line balancing and the added features make it a great value.