Shanks & Bulkheads
Difference Between a Shank and a Bulkhead
An effective home brew system is made up of different tools, accessories and equipment. Accessories like nuts, bolts, and valves are necessary to customise and improve your home brewing set up. When customizing your home brew set up, you can use shank and bulkheads. These accessories are used to allow beer lines to pass through different surfaces like kettle walls, fridges and anything that obstructs how you dispense your beer. While both improve the flow of liquid particularly in dispensing beer, how are shanks and bulkheads different from one another?
Shanks are often used when making kegerators or to create a wall mounted dispensing faucet. They are usually made from either stainless steel or chrome-plated tubes with external threading, and come in many different lengths. They can be used in connecting the beer line to the faucet via a hole in a draft tower. They can also be installed on the side of the fridge if you are customising your own kegerator. To install a shank, it requires a mounting hole, a mounting nut, and flange.
While shanks are specifically used in creating or customizing a kegerator, bulkheads are mainly used in thin walled kettle applications. They are used to attach different types of accessories such as attaching ball valves to brew kettles or mash tuns. They are also used to attach thermometers and sight glasses on the brew kettle. Shanks are made from different kinds of materials but stainless steel is preferred as they withstand higher temperature. Lastly, to keep the bulkhead free from leaks, most also come with O-rings.