Wednesday 28 February 2024

NukaTap - Hands on Review


We've been using NukaTap's for a number of years now, after initially fitting them to our fridge-converted-kegerator, and most recently to our KegLand Series X Kegerator as part of our outdoor kitchen setup. So let's take a look at how these taps have held up over the course of time, and what we really think of them.

The NukaTap is a forward sealing faucet and is designed and manufactured by Kegland. The NukaTap comes in three variations: the NukaTap SS (stainless steel), the Nukatap FC (flow control) and the NukaTap Mini. The price range for these models is from $18.95 to $49.95 AUD. For the purpose of this review, we'll be focusing mainly on the NukaTap SS - which come in a couple of different colour options (ours is the first generation "Stealth Bomber" black version).


As with many of the products available from KegLand, it's no surprise that the packaging is minimal, with our NukaTap's arriving in a small, white cardboard box, although they were at least wrapped in some bubble wrap to help prevent the nice, smooth black finish from getting damaged. On the bright side, such minimalistic packaging surely helps keep the price down, so we don't mind not paying for a pretty box that will likely be thrown straight into the bin anyway.

The tap comes assembled, with the exception of the handle component (sold separately) which simply screws onto the male thread on the top of the tap.

Forward Sealing Shuttle Mechanism

One of the main features of the NukaTap is its unique shuttle design, which resembles the cliche atomic bomb shape (hence the name - "Nuke-a-tap". There's a good reason for this unique shape though, and that is it's supposed to reduce the turbulence of the beer as it flows through the tap and around the sealing mechanism, thus minimizing foaming and wastage. The NukaTap also has a shorter spout than other faucets, which reduces the exposure of the beer to oxygen and bacteria. 

NukaTap is compatible with various nozzles that can be easily swapped to suit different styles of beer, such as stout, creamer, or even a ball lock post for connecting things like a counter pressure bottle filler, beer gun, or even to pump some cleaning solution through.

The NukaTap features a forward sealing mechanism, which means that it seals at the front of the faucet, rather than at the rear. This prevents the beer from being exposed to air and contaminants when the faucet is closed, which can cause the faucet to stick and the beer to spoil and lead to the build up of unwanted gunk within the tap. Forward sealing faucets are generally preferred by homebrewers, as they are easier to clean and maintain than rear sealing faucets, although we have found that periodic disassembly for thorough cleaning is probably a good idea, as the nuke-shaped-shuttle does end up with a bit of build up on it over time. The sealing mechanism in our experience is great too, with next to no dripping after closing the tap, and we've never experienced any other leaks or failures with any of our NukaTaps in the years we've been using them.

Appearance and Design

These taps look great, with a sleek and modern design that can enhance the appearance of any kegerator or keezer setup. All NukaTap models are made of high-quality stainless steel, which is resistant to corrosion and wear. The Nukatap FC model also has a flow control lever that allows you to adjust the flow rate of the beer, which can be useful for serving different carbonation levels and avoiding foam issues, though we can't currently vouch for the real-world effectiveness of this as our taps are the non-flow control model.

The design isn't purely aesthetic either, with a great deal of engineering going into the overall shape of the tap to help improve the laminar flow of beer through it. Less resistance to the beer moving through the tap means less turbulence and foaming. On top of this, with a low overall thermal mass it means the NukaTap cools down rapidly once beer is flowing through it, which helps to reduce the effect of what is known as "first pour foam". This phenomenon, as the name suggests results in significant foaming occurring on the first pour, due to the tap itself being at ambient temperature, and typically at a warmer temperature than the beer being served. Once the cold beer starts rushing through the tap, the beer warms up which forces dissolved carbon dioxide out of solution and creates foaming. We address this issue by opening the tap for 0.5-1 second (into a glass) before closing it again - which will pour mostly foam. Wait 5-10 seconds for the tap body to cool down (you can gauge this by simply touching the tap body), then resume pouring again after discarding the small amount of foam already in the glass (pouring beer onto foam will only result in more foam!). The low overall mass of the NukaTap means the cold beer brings the temperature of the tap down quite rapidly which would take longer if there was a greater thermal mass that needed to be cooled.

Handle Options

When purchasing a NukaTap, you typically buy the tap itself and the handle separately (at least when you're purchasing directly from KegLand) - as there are a number of options you have when selecting a tap handle. We've always used the simple, black plastic tap handles (referred to as the "Long Slender Type"), and cost all of AU$1.50 each, but if you're looking for something more interesting, there are chrome/black chrome plated options, as well as short ball types, or even Bishop Tap Handles that allow you to print and insert your own labels into the tap handle.

An example of the Bishop Tap Handle - available from

If you're feeling really creative you can even 3D print your own tap handles, or use just about any other object you can stick a standard-sized female thread piece into.

Mounting Options

Although not technically part of the NukaTap itself, one thing you will need to consider is how you're going to mount your tap. If you're using a beer tower/font, then you'll need a short shank, or if you're mounting through a fridge door, or wooden panel as part of a keezer setup you'll need a longer style shank. 

A tap spanner is a must-have for fastening/removing the tap from a shank

We've used both and found the seal from tap to shank to be flawless with either, though you'll definitely need a tap spanner to ensure you have the collar fastened tight enough to prevent any leaks from occurring in the join between tap body and shank.


At the end of the day, we're talking about a tap, so the operation here is pretty basic as you'd expect. Pull the tap handle towards the front of the tap to open it, then press back to close it. You can fit auto closing springs to assist with this if you like (more on this later).

You do get a couple of drips immediately after closing the tap, but we've never experienced anything more than this and this is perfectly acceptable for us. The feel of this opening/closing operation is good, though the rubber shuttle can make the occasional sucking noise as it seals

Disassembly and Cleaning

Although the forward sealing design of the NukaTap is preferred and more sanitary than the rear sealing alternative, in our experience occasional disassembly for cleaning is required. In particular, we've noticed some build up can occur on the front part of the nuke shaped shuttle - as you can see in the photo below. When the tap is closed, the front part of this shuttle is exposed within the spout which is how this build up occurs.

Thankfully, the process for taking the NukaTap apart is super simple, with no tools being required (aside from the aforementioned tap spanner to fasten or remove the tap from the shank). Everything is screwed together with components that can be hand tightened, so pulling it apart every now and then and soaking it in some PBW is definitely recommended to ensure any build up doesn't begin to contaminate or affect the flavour of the beer being served. A bit of a scrub is all that's required to clean the build up off the shuttle, and a spout brush sure comes in handy to keep the nozzle component clean - and can also be used whilst the tap is in place.

One thing we've also started doing recently is spraying some diluted StarSan up the spout after each session to hopefully help and reduce this build up on the front of the shuttle. It's also a good idea to put a little plastic cover over the tap spout when not in use - particularly if your taps are located outside to stop bugs or other critters from crawling up inside the tap spout.

You can buy replacement seal kits for the NukaTap as well, though this isn't something we've needed to do after several years of use. 

Powder Coating Durability

We must admit that we love the black finish on our NukaTap's, however, we did notice that after a couple of washes after dismantling the tap, the powder coating finish began to flake off the spout piece. For whatever reason, this particular issue seems to only affect the spout, as the finish on the tap body has remained intact, but we were certainly disappointed when this started happening.

We suspect that this was a known issue, and we're guessing one that KegLand couldn't easily resolve, as they stopped selling NukaTap black version with a black spout for some time and only had the option for a black tap with a stainless spout piece - which in our opinion doesn't look as good as the all-black version.

The NukaTap black version now comes with a stainless spout piece

Until recently that is, when KegLand introduced the Stealth Bomber Gen2 which features a special metal surface treatment process known as Quench-Polish-Quench (QPQ) to help improve the resistance to wear and corrosion, and improve the durability of the stainless steel components after being powder coated. We're not able to comment on the effectiveness of this as our taps are the Generation 1 Stealth Bomber models, but it's good to know the all-black option is available again now.

We'll look at replacing the spout pieces in due course with stainless equivalents - and perhaps with chrome handles as well to change up the look a little bit from the all-black style we currently have. Importantly though, as we previously mentioned, the powder coating finish on the rest of the tap hasn't had any problems at all which would have been a much bigger issue and really affected the overall look.


We previously mentioned all the options you have for different tap handles that you can fit to your NukaTap, but there are a range of other accessories available including;

  • Self Closing Spring
  • Stout Spout
  • Creamer Aerator Discs for the Stout Spout
  • Growler Spout (screw-in type)
  • Growlser Spout (push-in type)
  • Liquid Ball Lock Post/Spout
  • Cleaning Brush
  • Spout Plug

We haven't used or tested all of these attachments, but we have used a couple of them which we'll outline our experience with below.

Self Closing Spring

The self closing spring option is one we used some time ago, where you insert a spring between the tap and shank which exerts a constant force on the tap handle so as soon as it's released the tap closes. It works exactly how it should, and is a great idea if you (or other people who may visit) tend to forget to close the tap. Not something we've personally had problems with, and we did find that the spring seemed to disrupt the flow of beer through the tap and create a bit more foam so we ended up taking them out after using them for a couple of months.

Liquid Ball Lock Post/Spout

    NukaTap with ball lock post fitting

    The liquid ball lock post/spout is definitely a great accessory to have and allows you to fit a ball lock disconnect directly to the tap, for a leak free connection from the tap into a beer line. We've used this for two main purposes. The first, to run a cleaning solution through the tap using a submersible pump in a bucket of cleaning solution (same concept as a keg cleaner). The second purpose is to connect our counter pressure bottle filler and saves us having to mess around with disconnect/reconnecting from the keg itself.

    In both of these use cases, the liquid ball lock post connection has worked flawlessly, and in our opinion is definitely a worthwhile accessory to have on hand for your NukaTap(s).

    Cleaning Brush & Spout Plug

    Cheap, simple, and effective - these are two must-have accessories in our opinion. The spout plug is simply a small rubber cap that goes over the end of the spout to keep it sealed and help reduce build up from occurring within the tap spout. We always make sure we put the cap on at the end of each beer-pulling session and in our opinion it does help to reduce build up in the tap spout, and of course stops other things from crawling up into the tap spout. A quick spray of sanitiser up the spout before putting the cap on is also a good idea in our opinion.

    The cleaning brush is another great little tool, and is pretty self-explanatory. It also double as a plug so you can leave the plug stuck in the spout when not in use to help keep it sealed in the same manner as you would with the spout plug above.

    The bristles on the brush are pretty stiff though, and we were worried about it actually flaking off some of the black finish on the spout at the opening, so we don't use it very often and have had good results keeping things clean with a spray of sanitiser as mentioned above.

    Final Thoughts

    After several years of use with 5 different NukaTaps (all the black phantom Gen 1 models), we couldn't be happier with the performance they've given us. Consistently good pours, leak free operation and simple disassembly for cleaning, they're definitely a great option if you're looking at setting up or upgrading your kegerator tap configuration.

    There's a decent variety of accessories you can use that are designed to fit and integrate tightly with the NukaTap, as well as plenty of spare parts like seals and replacement shuttles if you ever find things are starting to wear - though after literally years of use in a sometimes boiling hot and sometimes freezing cold garage, we haven't had to replace any parts on any of our taps yet.

    Our only complaint is the powder coating finish on the spout piece, but we don't consider this a big problem, and hopefully the latest generation of the black NukaTap's addresses this.

    The NukaTap range is available from the KegLand website, or from other KegLand distributors worldwide.

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    Friday 16 February 2024

    All Star Hazy Pale Ale - Tasting Results & Review

    This is definitely one of the best hop-forward beers that we've made to date. Big thanks to Dudes Brews and Adam Makes Beer for sharing this recipe. Although I did vary the hop schedule a little, the basis for the beer - in particular the grain bill and water profile are really what make it and lay the platform for the hops to really shine and do their thing.


    As you'd expect we've got a nice pale gold colour, and it's definitely hazy. This one looks exactly as it should, with the Lallemand American East Coast ale yeast, a chloride heavy water profile and a bunch of oats and wheat combining to give that classic hazy appearance.

    The head retention is quite poor, with it dissipating fairly rapidly after pouring quite thick. This is pretty much expected though with oats and the oils they contribute to a beer really impacting on foam stability.


    Yakima Valley hops consider a combination of Citra, Mosaic and Galaxy (we used Melba instead which is considered a worthy alternative to Galaxy) as a "cheat code" for making Hazy IPA's. Although this isn't an IPA, the dry hop dose could certainly be considered IPA-worthy. This GOAT combination is amazing, and gives loads of tropical fruit and citrus aromas that are just jumping out of the glass. With only a post-boil whirlpool hop addition and a sizeable dry hop, it's no surprise the aroma is so strong and exactly what you're looking for with a hazy, hop forward beer like this.


    We feel we've really nailed the flavour here, with a fairly restrained bitterness, but enough to balance the huge fruit flavours from all the hops. You could easily mistake it for a Hazy IPA, it certainly drinks like one in many ways, but doesn't pack the alcohol punch you get with an IPA. Coming in at just under 5% ABV, you can enjoy a few of these in succession without needing a lie down afterwards which is great.

    The mouth feel is quite good, and we certainly wouldn't want it to have attenuated any lower as we feel that would have led it to being a little thin in terms of mouthfeel - so for a regular strength beer, it's exactly where it should be. The chloride-heavy water profile helps to prop up the mouth feel a little bit as well, and the inclusion of oats gives a slightly slick kind of feel on the palate which we quite enjoy.

    Final Thoughts & Potential Changes/Improvements

    Without a doubt we'll be making this one a regular feature in our brewing schedule. The grain bill and water profile are spot on, though we will make some adjustments to compensate for the reduced efficiency we saw (typically expected when using lots of oats). This should negate the need for us to include dextrose like we did for this one to make up for the losses and may help to improve the body and mouth feel just a touch.

    The Citra + Mosaic + Galaxy hop combination is a real crowd-pleaser for sure, but we're thinking we'll use this recipe as a basis for trialling other hop combinations too which we're very much looking forward to.

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    Wednesday 14 February 2024

    Country Brewer - Irish Red Ale Kit - BrewZilla Brew Day

    For our latest brew day, we've opted for a simple Irish Red Ale kit from The Country Brewer.

    The kit itself comes with;

    • 4kg of Bestmaltz Red X 
    • 500g of Simpsons Golden Naked Oats, 
    • Safale S-04 dry yeast
    • 1 x Whirlfloc tablet
    • 2 x 20g Fuggles hops
    • 1 x 20g Goldings hops

    It's all neatly packaged and comes with a simple brew sheet as well (pictured above)

    There was no indication of Alpha Acid % content of the hops, so we're unsure on bitterness ratings, but after entering the recipe into Brewfather it looks like it's going to get us into the vicinity of an irish red ale, so let's see how it goes.

    We started off as always with water adjustments using magnesium sulfate, calcium sulfate and calcium chloride. We've gone for a balanced water profile in Brewfather.

    We mashed in the grains and left the grain bed to sit for 10 minutes, and whilst waiting we took to adjusting our sparge water pH. After a bit of stuffing around again (even after adding less than what is suggested by Brewfather, we end up way too acidic with a pH of 4 and need to make further adjustments to raise it back up again), we eventually landed on a pH of 5.57 - just within the generally acceptable range of 5.2 - 5.6.

    After our 10 minute mash-in rest, we took a pH reading of the mash which gave us 5.27. This is with no phosphoric acid added to the mash - the Red X malt being reasonably dark certainly adds more acidity and drops the pH. Interestingly, this is exactly the expected pH value that Brewfather gave us for the mash.

    The recipe run sheet called for a mash temp of 68°C - we were generally around 67-68°C throughout the mash

    We began recirculating the wort and had a pretty good flow and recirculation rate thanks to the relatively light grain bill

    After our 60 minute mash we raised the temperature to 75°C for our 10 minute mash out period, then lifted the grain basket and began sparging.

    We feel like we're starting to get the hang of our integrated sparging setup that uses our Spike Flow pump connected to our Digiboil to pump the sparge water up the recirculation arm and out of the Sergeant Sparge Head wort sprinkler.

    After an uneventful sparge we reached our pre-boil volume of 27L and we set our BrewZilla to HH and waited for a boil to be reached.

    Our pre-boil gravity reading was low (again) at 1.035 - 4 points lower than the expected 1.039. We're not sure whether it's the fact that this recipe included oats again (which tends to reduce efficiency), or if our new sparging setup is causing this (or perhaps a combination of both?), but looks like we'll be calling on dextrose to make up for some lost sugars again.

    Plenty of foam and hot break to be seen just before we reached the boil

    We added our hop additions at 60 minutes, 20 minutes and flameout as per the brewing run sheet and then proceeded to chill our wort using our KegLand Counterflow Chiller

    And yet again we ran into difficulty with wort suddenly not pumping through the chiller. We ended up with a few hundred mL in the fermenter before the flow suddenly stopped, and after stuffing around trying to figure out what the problem was (around 20-30 minutes) we gave up and chucked in our stainless immersion chiller

    We're having repeated issues with this counterflow chiller, and we're very close to doing away with it - stuffing around with boiling hot wort not flowing is nerve wracking to say the least. We have a suspicion on what the problem may be, so we're going to give it one more try next time and do a bit more testing in the meantime.

    We added 200g of dextrose with approx 10 minutes left in the boil, and we ended up with a starting gravity of 1.042 - bang on what the original recipe predicted.

    After our issues and delay with chilling the wort, we ended up transferring to the fermenter still a bit warm at around 37°C, so we left the fermenter in our fridge overnight to cool down to fermentation temperature (around 21°C) before pitching the yeast the following morning.

    Fermentation was underway and terminal gravity was reached after less than 48 hours

    We certainly enjoyed the simplicity of a read to go kit like this one with all the hops in particular being measured out and packaged separately. We're very interested to see how it turns out.

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    Gladfield American Pale Ale - Tasting Results & Review

    We'll keep this one fairly brief, as there isn't really too much to say except that this one unfortunately didn't turn out well at all. 

    It would seem that we were a bit too aggressive with our dry hopping - in particular the use of CTZ (Columbus/Tomahawk/Zeus) which has lead to a harsh, lingering bitterness on the finish that has rendered this one pretty much undrinkable - even after conditioning for good month or two. We ended up tipping this one down the drain - the first batch we've ever had to dump.

    Life's too short to be forcing yourself to drink beer you don't love, or at least like, so it was disappointing but we've got plenty more beers lined up to brew, so onwards and upwards.

    The actual grain bill seemed pretty decent so we will likely try this one again in the future with a different hop schedule, but here's the dry hop dosage we went for. Some of these hops were pretty old so we were happy to use them up in any case!

    60g El Dorado
    42g Galaxy
    35g Chinook
    35g CTZ

    Looking at these numbers and we wouldn't have thought the CTZ dosage would impart so much bittnerness - we certainly don't recall that overwhelming bitterness on the finish when we tested it prior to dry hopping.

    We also think the pale ale water profile in Brewfather that we use has a really high count of sulfates which would only help to accentuate the bitterness so we may look at adjusting our use of this water profile in the future as well.

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    Tuesday 13 February 2024

    Country Brewer - Irish Red Ale - All Grain Recipe Kit

    Here's a quick dump of the recipe for the Country Brewer Irish Red Ale Kit (dubbed "With the Grain")


    Batch Volume: 22L 
    Boil Time: 60 minutes
    Brewhouse Efficiency: 75%

    Original Gravity: 1.044
    Final Gravity: 1.011
    IBU (Tinseth): 19
    BU/GU: 0.43
    Colour: 25.5 EBC
    Expected ABV: 4.3%


    Temperature: 68°C - 60 minutes
    Mash Out: 75°C - 10 minutes


    4.0 kg - Bestmaltz Red X (89%)
    0.5 kg - Simpsons Golden Naked Oats (11.1%)


    60 mins - Fuggles - 20g
    15 mins - Fuggles - 20g
    5 mins - East Kent Goldings (EKG) - 20g


    Fermentis SafAle S-04 (1 packet)


    20°C - 14 days


    2.4 CO2-vol

    Water Profile (Brewfather's "Balanced" Water Profile)

    Ca2+ (Calcium): 32
    Mg2+ (Magnesium): 10
    Na+ (Sodium): 35
    Cl- (Chloride): 70
    SO42- (Sulfate): 69
    HCO3- (Bicarbonate): 35

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