REVIEW: Sah’tea from Dogfish Head Craft Brewery

Quick Characteristics
Brewery: Dogfish Head Craft Brewery
Location: Milton, DE
Style: Sahti
ABV: 9%
IBUs: 6
Appearance: Cloudy & Pale Golden-Orange
Aroma: Reminiscent of Belgian Tripel with Notes of Banana & Clove
Flavor: Interesting Clove; Clean Astringency; Hints of Sweet Banana
Availability: Limited
Pairs With: Soft Ripe Cheeses, Roasted Duck or Venison

Everyone knows of Dogfish Head Brewery, either because of their strange name, their beer, or the Discovery TV show Brew Masters; which, sadly only ran 5 episodes before being cancelled. They are known for high hop IPA’s, dabbling in some strange brews, and trying to re-imagine some ancient beers to be enjoyed in the modern age. The one I have set to review this week is one of those in the “Ancient Ales” series.

Sahti is a Finnish beer dating back to the 9th century. This beer uses juniper as part of its flavor profile. Juniper branches are placed in the bottom of a kuurna, (a mash tun traditionally made from an aspen log that has been hollowed out) and the beer is filtered through the juniper twigs. The malt bill is usually a single light malt with, possibly, some rye added and very little if any hops. The yeast would have been just a baker’s yeast. Over time the strain most used has become associated with the brew, imparting clove and banana-like characteristics to the beer.

Traditional Sahti is said to be turbid and full-bodied most likely due to the poor flocculation of the baker’s yeast and an abundance of proteins that would not be present if a standard wort boil was part of the brewing process. Instead of boiling, the traditional process uses hot rocks to add heat to the mash. This practice causes the malt to caramelize around the hot stones adding a caramel and burnt sugar flavor to the beer. So, there’s a little bit about traditional Sahti, time to see how Dogfish Head measures up.

The first thing you notice about Dogfish Head’s rendition, beyond the little girl riding the reindeer with a tea pot in one hand and a glass of beer in the other, is the name… uummm “adjustment”. They’ve added chi tea to the brew and changed the name to reflect this addition, cleverly I might add, to Sah’tea. Neither the label or website says anything about using juniper twigs in the mash tun, but juniper berries sourced from Finland are used, can’t get much closer to the beer’s roots then that.
[Read more...]

Kegerator Economics: How Much You Can Save With A Kegerator

Why Buy a Kegerator?

Kegerator Economics: How Much You Can Save

When you buy a kegerator, you’re not only able to conveniently store large amounts of cold draft beer, but you can also save approximately 40-60% in costs, compared to buying the same volume of beer in cans or bottles.

Consider that the average cost for a standard half gallon keg of Budweiser is approximately $100. A standard keg contains 15.5 gallons, or 1,984 ounces. A case of Budweiser contains twenty-four 12oz. cans (288 total ounces) and costs about $23. To get the same volume by ounce as a standard keg, you would need to buy seven cases of Budweiser for about $160 – resulting in over $55 in savings per keg.

This means by the time you purchase your tenth keg, you will have completely offset the cost of your kegerator in savings, breaking even while enjoying high-quality draft beer at home. The savings can be even greater for some brands of beers, as well as various keg sizes. In some instances, kegerator drinkers will break even in as few as eight kegs. Consult the chart below to see how much you can save.

[Read more...]

Keg Size Comparison Chart

Comparing Keg Sizes & Types:

Here’s a chart that compares eight common types of kegs, including how much beer they hold, their overall size and most common uses for each.

  Capacity
(gal / oz)
Cans / Bottles
(12oz)
Pints
(16oz)
Height / Weight Width
(Diameter)
Mini Keg 1.32 / 169 14 10.6 9⅞” / 13lbs. 6¾”
Cornelius Keg 5.0 / 640 53 40 23″ / 49lbs. 9″
Sixth Barrel 5.16 / 661 56 42 23⅜” / 58lbs. 9¼”
Quarter Barrel 7.75 / 992 82 62 13⅞” / 87lbs. 16⅛”
Slim Quarter 7.75 / 992 82 62 23⅜” / 87lbs. 11⅛”
Half Barrel 15.5 / 1984 165 124 23⅜” / 161lbs. 16⅛”
Rubber Barrel 7.75 / 992 82 62 13⅞” / 87lbs. 17″
Beveled Barrel 7.75 / 992 82 62 13⅞” / 87lbs. 17″

Keg Sizes Detailed:

While the comparison chart above gives you a quick way to compare different sizes of kegs against others, below we have gone into more detail on each type of keg.

Mini Keg

Mini Keg:

Designed for mini kegerators, this size keg only holds 5 liters of beer, or 169.07 ounces to be exact. This is the perfect sized keg for one-time use and/or portable purposes. This may include watching the game with a couple of friends, weekend camping trip or a small dinner party with family.

  • Nicknames:  Bubba Keg
  • Common Uses:  One-time Use, Portable Applications
  • Dimensions:  9⅞” x 6¾”

Cornelius Keg

Cornelius Keg:

Commonly used by homebrewers as an alternative to bottling their beer, Cornelius kegs hails to us from the soft drink industry. While Pepsi and Coca-Cola both have uses for them, they have grown in popularity by those that brew their own beer or soda from home. They are easy to fill up and clean. There are two types of connectors that are available for the Cornelius keg, including ball-lock and pin-lock. Both have different connectors that you would need to become familiar with.

  • Nicknames:  Corny Keg, Homebrew Keg, Soda Keg
  • Common Uses:  Home Brewing
  • Dimensions:  23″ x 9″

Cornelius Keg

Sixth Barrel Keg:

Commonly used for personal use in dual or triple-tap kegerators, the sixth barrel is roughly the same size as the Corny Keg, just slightly larger. This keg functions just like their larger counterparts with just a smaller capacity.

This size keg is also a great choice for restaurants and/or bars that have little space, but want to have a large variety of beer available for customers.

  • Nicknames:  Sixtel, Torpedo, Log
  • Common Uses:  Dual-Tap Kegerators, Home Brewing, Individual Use
  • Dimensions:  23⅜” x 9¼”

Quarter Keg

Quarter Barrel Keg:

Short and stubby in size, the Quarter barrel keg is the same width (16⅛”) as a full barrel, yet much shorter in terms of height. Commonly called a “Pony Keg” or a “Stubby Keg,” this keg will hold the equivalent of sixty-two pints.

  • Nicknames:  Pony Keg, Stubby Quarter
  • Common Uses:  Small Parties
  • Dimensions:  16⅛” x 13⅞”

Slim Quarter Keg

Slim Quarter Keg:

The Slim Quarter holds the same amount of beer as the aforementioned Quarter barrel, however, the over shape and size resembles the sixth barrel keg. With a tall and skinny build, the Slim Quarter is the same height as the Sixth barrel, but has a larger width. This extra width allows it to hold an extra two gallons, which equals an extra 27.5 bottles of beer.

  • Nicknames:  Tall Quarter, The Slim
  • Common Uses:  Dual-Tap Kegerators; Small Parties
  • Dimensions:  11⅛” x 23⅜”

Half Barrel Keg

Half Barrel Keg:

When you think of your average beer keg, the Half barrel size is probably what comes into your mind. Undoubtedly, you’ve probably seen this size keg at a party or large event. This full size keg is the largest that is available to you, and what is commonly used in bars and restaurants across the world. Most home kegerators will fit this size keg, however, the smaller versions are typically more popular amongst beer drinkers.

  • Nicknames:  Full Size Keg, Barrel of Beer, Full Keg
  • Common Uses:  Home Bar, Large Events, Business, Frat Parties
  • Dimensions:  16⅛” x 23⅜”

Do you have any questions about the shape or size of kegs? If so, please leave them in the comments section down below or give us a call at 1-800-297-6076.

More Kegerator Info:

Featured Image: Photo Credit

Kegerator Video Library

For expert information and informative tutorials about choosing, using, and cleaning your kegerator, check out our video guides below!

Video Index:

[Read more...]

Homebrew Kits: How to Choose the Right Kit for You

Having the right equipment is crucial to a successful home brewing. Rather than attempting to search for all of the necessary components individually, choosing to get a comprehensive Equipment Kit is the best place to start. That way, you know you’ll have everything you need right there and won’t be scrambling for parts come brew time.

We’ve put together an assortment of equipment kits that range from basic to complete, all created with the needs of all types of homebrewers in mind. We’ll take you through each package to help you decide which equipment kit is the perfect one for both your brewing style and your wallet.

[Read more...]

Troubleshooting Your Kegerator

If you are experiencing problems with your kegerator, please refer to our troubleshooting guide below. If your problem is not found below or you are unable to correct an issue you find on the chart, please leave a comment and/or give us a call at 1-866-950-8710.

Issue Possible Cause Solution
Cloudy Beer:
Beer is hazy and not clear
Temperature too low Increase the temperature of the refrigerator to 36°F or higher.
Faucet partially opened Turn the tap off, then open it quickly and fully.
Keg has something warm on it Remove any item that is not cold from the keg.
Flat Beer:
Head comes out like large soap bubbles and disappears quickly. Beer tastes less fresh
Greasy glasses (grease can come from fried foods, lipstick, or dirty hands) Wash glasses thoroughly after use and allow to air dry. Do not dry wipe. Cold rinse glasses before pouring beer. Designate beer-only glasses.
Poor pour Be careful about the distance of the faucet to the glass. A perfect pour will give you about a 1/2″ to 1″ thick tight head on top.
Low pressure Check if the CO2 tank is on and is not empty. Check for obstructions in the air lines. If the PSI is too low, raise it a little bit at a time. (Be careful as the regulator is very sensitive). Regulators need to be replaced every 4-6 years after wear.
Bad or Off-Tasting Beer:
Beer is bitter and has an unpleasant bite.
Dirty beer line or faucet Clean the faucet and lines after you finish off every keg.
Dirty air line Replace the air line if it looks to be contaminated. Otherwise, clean it like you would the beer line and rinse it clean.
Old beer Toss the keg, and get a new one.
Foamy Beer:
You pour and it comes out all foam and no beer.
Warm Beer Regulate the refrigerator’s temperature to be at 38-42° Fahrenheit
Excessive CO2 Lower the CO2 pressure going into the keg. Turn off the CO2tank, pull the relief valve for about 3 seconds, wait about 15 minutes before turning it back on.
Old beer lines Replace your beer lines.
Clogged faucet Remove the faucet, soak in hot water and clean with a brush every few weeks.
Poor pour Be careful about the distance of the faucet to the glass. A perfect pour will give you about a 1/2″ to 1″ thick tight head on top.
Worn down parts in faucet Check for worn washers and replace as needed. Check the faucet to make sure it opens fully. Replace the faucet or it’s parts as needed.
Warm beer lines The full length of beer tubing needs to be refrigerated. Beer lines longer than 6 feet may cause issues as well.

[Read more...]

How to Brew Beer

Home brewing beer has been said to be part science and part art. There is a precise and calculated aspect to the process but at the same time the “rules” and any possible confines can be hazy, presenting grounds for personal interpretation and the creation of a truly unique beer. Sounds like it could be difficult, right? Well, it’s not.

Brewing beer really comes down to a simple process that has roots as far back as 12,000 years. You essentially heat water and grain (and/or extract from grain), boil the mixture with hops, cool the mixture, ferment the mixture using yeast and then carbonate. Easy enough, right? Well, now we’ll go into a little bit more depth within each step.

The Main Steps of Homebrewing:

  1. Cleaning and Sanitizing
  2. The Brew
  3. After the Brew
  4. Fermentation
  5. Bottling and Kegging

[Read more...]

Step-by-Step: Kegerator Assembly Guide

This is a general reference guide for assembling and installing a standard full size kegerator. Depending on the kegerator brand, make, and model, slight modifications may be needed in the assembly and installation.

For a visual reference of parts that are numbered in parentheses in this installation guide, please view the kegerator diagram below.

Listed Parts:
  1. Faucet Handle
  2. Faucet
  3. Beer Tower
  4. Guard Rail
  5. Drip Tray
  6. Regulator
  7. CO2 Tube
  8. CO2 Cylinder
  9. CO2 Holder
  10. Keg Coupler
  11. Metal Keg Floor Support
  12. Caster Washer (x2)
  13. Casters (x4)
  14. Neoprene Washer
  15. Snap-On Clamps (x2)
  16. Wire Shelves (not pictured) (x2)
  17. Half Barrel Keg (not included)
  18. Faucet Wrench (not pictured)

Kegerator Parts Guide
For a more in-depth review of what each component is, please refer to our Kegerator Parts article.


Step-by-Step Instructions for Assembling Your Kegerator

Follow these step-by-step instructions for assembling your kegerator and installing/tapping a keg inside of it.

[Read more...]

REVIEW: Brother Adam Honey Bragget Ale from Atlantic Brewing Company

Quick Characteristics
Brewery: Atlantic Brewing Co.
Location: Bar Harbor, ME
Style: Braggot
ABV: 10.5%
IBUs: ?
Yeast: Nottingham, Champagne
Malt: Pale, Black, Munich
Hops: Pilgrim, Wye Goldings
Appearance: Dirty, Brown Amber Resembling Dark, Unfiltered Honey
Aroma: Sweet & Malty With a Vinous Stitch of Alcohol
Flavor: Robust Malt & Mouthcoating Sweetness
Availability: Limited
Pairs With: Bleu Cheese, Dark Chocolate, Plums

Something new this week. A style I’ve never reviewed… come to think of it I’m not sure I’ve ever had a commercial offering of this style. So, a Bragget for your consideration. A quick note here: there is an older spelling of the name “Braggot,” and this is the more common spelling I believe, but the dictionary recognizes the spelling used by the Atlantic Brewing Company, so in the interest of keeping things consistent I will use “Bragget” in this review.

This is an interesting style of beer with a long, but mostly lost history. The fact that a bragget is actually a marriage of both mead and beer gives it a non-to-firm date of origin, but its roots can be traced back to a wild tribe of the European Isles known as the Picts. Not much of this people’s history is known today. They were enough of a thorn in the Romans side that they were part of the reason Hadrians Wall was built. Most of their beer brewing legacy is lost to history along with any definitive answer to their ultimate fate, but one of the few things that does seem to have matriculated down through the shadowed faults of the past is their truly renowned skills in brewing. Robert Lewis Stevenson even wrote an poem about it.

According to the label this beer’s fermentable sugars are equal parts malt and honey. Historically the bragget contained more mead then beer but using a 50/50 split allows the Brewery to classify this as a beer and not a mead.
[Read more...]

Beer Brewing Equipment: What You Need to Brew from Home

Making the decision to start brewing your own beer is an exciting one but can also seem quite daunting. With all the different pieces of equipment and ingredients out there, it’s hard to know what’s absolutely necessary, what’s recommended, and what’s completely optional.

To help you get started, we’ve broken it down into those exact three categories for you:

What You NEED to Get Started

If you’re a beginner, you’re probably wondering, “What do I need to get started?” At this stage, you may not want any of the bells and whistles but you do need the essentials. Here is exactly what you’ll need for your first 5 gallon yield brew:
[Read more...]