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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