Clean/Operate a spile/tap


Our neighbouring pub has kindly donated an unopened 40Lt keg of real ale to us locals… I have an old brass tap/spile that I’d like to use. I’m cleaning it with water detergent – but I cannot seem to get any flow through it, whichever way the tap is sitting ?   There is spring pressure as I operate the tap but nothing runs through.  Am I missing something simple, is there a way to strip it down further ?

Thanks !


  1. Hi Bill, sorry if I’m using the wrong terminology, total civilian here…. I’ve a 40lt metal job with the large side hole. and smaller top hole, both currently sealed with plastic fittings, contents are 40lt of “Local Motive” from Fallen Brewery…. My job is to extract the beer and distribute FOC to the neighbours. I bought a brass/plastic spile/tap from ebay, intending to let the beer settle, pour from the smaller hole.. trying to clean the tap, I can’t see any major amount of gunk but it seems blocked. Operate the tap, blow down it —- nothing happens, seems blocked. Any suggestions welcome ! ( Does the site accept pictures ? …worth 1000 words etc !)

  2. Not sure which tap you have, but it would be best to try and get a black plastic one.
    Like this.
    Perhaps the pub would lend you one there’s millions about. Then follow the tutorial from here
    with the cask lying on its’ side. venting from the shive( on the top ) there are a few videos on there to show you exactly. After about 48hrs of venting it should be ready to drink,taking it directly from the tap, make sure it is all used up in 3 days.

Do you have a better answer? Leave a reply or an opinion