What you need to know about Kegerators
There is nothing more important to a beer drinker than taste. A cold, crisp draft tastes like no other alcohol. If that beer becomes stale, the taste declines. Storing beer in a keg, can, or bottle can shorten its life. Luckily there is an invention that can help preserve the fresh, clean taste of your favorite beer. It is called the kegerator.
What is a kegerator?
Simply put, a kegerator is a small appliance designed to keep beer fresh and chilled for longer periods of time. It is a unique combination of a beer keg and a refrigerator. Hence the name, kegerator.
Do you need a kegerator?
If you are a craft beer brewer you might want to have a kegerator. The kegerator will allow you to keep a large quantity of beer fresh for longer than bottling it would. For those who purchase beer, buying large quantities in bulk can save up to 60% as compared to purchasing small quantities over time. Purchasing a keg is more cost effective than purchasing several six packs.
Which kegerator is best for you?
Mini kegerators are small. They are designed to be compact and portable. They can hold a 5 liter keg, or 10- 13 ounce bottles of beer. The mini kegerator can be carried to a party quite easily.
Full sized home kegerators can be integrated into your existing kitchen or bar space, or mounted on casters so they can move from room to room. They hold a full sized keg. The beer is forced through a tower up to the tap by pressurized carbon dioxide. Pulling the tap allows you to have a fresh, crisp glass of beer.
Commercial kegerators are used primarily in bars or restaurants. These large scale kegerators allow businesses to offer draft beer to customers, rather than being limited to cans and bottles.
Outdoor kegerators are available to those individuals who want access to fresh beer poolside or by the barbecue. These kegerators are designed with special insulating materials to protect the draft from warm outside temperatures. These kegerators typically cost more due to the assembly and materials required to make them
Buying a kegerator
When considering buying a kegerator, there are several factors to think about.
How much beer do you consume? If you only have the occasional beer on the weekend, do you really need a kegerator? Would the expense be worth it to you?
How much available space do you have in your home? If size is a priority, you might be forced to purchase a mini kegerator. Would that hold enough ale? If not, do you have space for a larger kegerator? If you purchasad the larger model, would you consume a large quantity of beer before it went bad?
Do you need the more expensive outdoor kegerator? Are you willing to pay the extra price to get one?
Would you be able to build it yourself? Numerous plans for do it yourself kegerators exist on the internet. Are you handy enough to build your own? Would it really be cheaper than buying one? (Probably not).
Using and cleaning your kegerator
Your new kegerator should come with manufacturer's assembly instructions. Be sure to follow them carefully. Common parts of the kegerator include the refrigerated box, the keg, couplers, tower, faucet (tap), CO2 canister, regulator, hoses, and tubing. There are several online tutorials for how to assemble your kegerator. Improper assembly can be dangerous. CO2 is a pressurized gas that must be handled correctly to avoid injury. Be sure to use the proper tools and tighten all the couplers and connections to the recommended PSI.
After assembly, you are ready to start using your kegerator to chill and dispense your beer. Fill your keg and allow it time to chill. Then turn on the CO2, and pull down on the tap. Your crisp, frothy beer will dispense into your glass of choice. When you are finished dispensing, turn off the CO2. Your beer will stay fresh until the keg is empty, unless you take a very long time to finish it.
Between kegs it is very important to clean and disinfect the kegerator, including all the hoses and tubing. You will need to purchase a special beer line cleaner solution. Run it through the lines and tubing, then disassemble everything and scrub all the parts with a line brush. Proper cleaning is necessary to avoid accidental illness from bacteria.