REVIEW: Götterdämmerung IPA from Stone Brewing Co.

Quick Characteristics
Brewery: Stone Brewing Company
Location: Escondido, CA
Style: West Coast IPA (with Pilsner Malts)
ABV: 9.5%
Appearance: Bright, Deep Gold
Aroma: Hoppy Grains/Grass, Grapefruit and Lemon
Flavor: Smooth Citrus, Slightly Bitter & Well Balanced
Availability: Limited
Pairs With: Rotisserie Chicken, Crab Cakes, Cajun Shrimp

Stone Brewing, out of Escondido, California, has long been an unapologetic purveyor of high-flavor beer. One of their mottos – “Fizzy Yellow Beer is for Wussies” – is pretty emblematic of their approach to beers. Over the years, they have begun releasing anniversary beers, once-a-year beers using flavor combinations, beer styles, or brewing methods that have not been found in Stone beers before.

This year’s 17th Anniversary beer, Götterdämmerung IPA, translates to an apocalyptic event, while the beer itself translates to a hoppy IPA. Not just any hops, though – all of the hops have ties to German brewing. Whether it is Sterling, a US-bred hop developed from the German Saaz hops; Herkules, a new breed of hops from Germany that imparts stone fruit characteristic; or Hersbrucker, a classic German hop with intense floral aroma, all the hops and malts are what is traditionally used to brew German lagers and European pilsners. By changing up ratios and the recipe, Stone has taken these traditional lager ingredients and fashioned a new twist on a West Coast Double IPA.

Appearance

The bottle has the usual Stone appearance – the gargoyle and artwork, the story on the back of the bottle. But once you pop the cap off and start pouring, you’ll notice this isn’t the typical Stone beer. Best served in a snifter glass or a shaker pint, the appearance is a nice, bright gold, a very deep color, while the head is frothy and white, leaving some lacing along the sides of the glass as you drink it. It is a clear gold, no murkiness or particulates.

Aroma

Gotterdammerung IPA

The aroma is not too punchy or overpowering, surprisingly. Usually Stone’s beers punch you in the face with hops aromas, but this is subdued. There are hints of grains, grass, grapefruit and lemon in the aroma, but it is all smoothly blended with no one note overpowering the others.

Flavor

The taste is also quite surprising. Labeled a West Coast Double IPA, and being one of Stone’s brews, you expect overpowering hops, with relatively poor balance. Götterdämmerung doesn’t do that though, as it has a very smooth, balanced flavor profile. Sweet, biscuit malts are very much present, reflecting the pilsner and lager background of the ingredients. There are hints of citrus fruits throughout a mouthful, especially lemons and grapefruits. It is slightly bitter towards the end but, again, not overpowering. They have balanced it well enough that the taste of alcohol – it does clock in at 9.5% alcohol by volume, after all – is almost completely buried, with only a hint of alcohol working its way through. They have also managed to balance it well enough that, even though it clocks in at 102 IBUs (International Bittering Units), it doesn’t taste like it, and it doesn’t produce the dried-out, soapy post-beer taste and feel in your mouth.

Tasting Notes

Götterdämmerung is medium-bodied, leaning towards the light end of the spectrum. It also has a medium amount of carbonation, just enough to liven it up, but not too fizzy. This makes for a crisp, refreshing beer that is well suited for the warmer weather, but is also welcome into the cooling fall temperatures. This is not a beer that will age well though, so you’ll want to crack it open and drink it in short order.

Located in Escondido, Stone Brewing Co. is often recognized by craft beer fans as one of the top breweries in the United States, as well as around the entire world. They are not as thoroughly decorated as some, with only a handful of GABF and World Beer Cup medals, but their sturdy, flavorful year-round brews, special releases, and Anniversary Ales keep customers coming back year-round. The attitude of founder Greg Koch is also some of the attraction – he is opinionated, a major voice in the craft beer scene who doesn’t just tout his brand, but pushes for the success of craft beer as a whole. He personifies the brash attitude behind the brand, one of big character and rebellion.

Stone Gotterdammerung IPA

Some of Stone’s Anniversary Ales have been revived at later times, for special releases. One, the Sublimely Self-Righteous Ale, an American Black Ale introduced as Stone’s 11th Anniversary ale, has even become one of their year-round staples.

So it’s possible that we could see Götterdämmerung again in the future, or a version thereof. Even if we don’t, you can be assured that Stone will try and top this ale for next year’s 18th Anniversary beer, so you should start looking forward to that.

Stone 17th Anniversary Götterdämmerung IPA

To learn more, watch as Stone Brewmaster Mitch Steele explains Götterdämmerung IPA in the video below.

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REVIEW: Storm King Stout from Victory Brewing Company

Quick Characteristics
Brewery: Victory Brewing Company
Location: Downingtown, PA
Style: American Imperial Stout
ABV: 9.1%
Appearance: Dark Brown
Aroma: Caramel, Roasted Malts
Flavor: Caramel, Espresso, Bitter Chocolate
Availability: Year-Round
Pairs With: Chocolate, Brisket, BBQ

Imperial stouts, like many imperial styles, have devolved over the years. Where they were once smoky, flavorful brews with a slight uptick in alcohol content, they have transformed into dark, syrupy messes with overbearing alcohol notes. For some, the aim has shifted from flavor to inebriation. On the other end of the spectrum is Victory’s Storm King.

At 9.1% alcohol by volume, Storm King barely nudges the heavy hitters of the class – sought after beers such as AleSmith’s Speedway Stout and Three Floyd’s Dark Lord are well into the double digits, while Dogfish Head’s massive World Wide Stout comes up just short of 20%. Even Bell’s Expedition Stout, a stalwart of the style, comes in above 10%. What Storm King provides, however, is a beer that is an all-around winner, well balanced with plenty of discernible tasting notes.

Appearance

The appearance is of a standard imperial stout – dark brown, bordering on black, with amber coloration towards the top of a pour. Poured properly, it will produce a small but stable dark tan head – it won’t overwhelm the glass, but will produce just enough to provide a pleasing appearance and a good opportunity to inhale the scents.

Aroma

Storm King Stout - Victory Brewing

The aroma is one of caramel and roasted malts, with hints of chocolate and coffee thrown in, and a distinct hop note that will pierce through the others in the end. Surprisingly, the smell of alcohol is not as present as in many other beers of the style – it smells more like a standard coffee or espresso stout. As it warms, the alcohol aroma will develop slightly, but will never overpower it.

Flavor

The taste delivers what the aroma promises, but with some surprises. The caramel, espresso, and slightly bitter chocolate is all there, with a slight burn thanks to the Imperial nature. The overwhelming taste is that of roasted malts, with almost a slightly burnt hint, a note that is further enhanced by the aggressive hop finish. This bitterness adds a certain drying snap to the end of a sip, and provides a great change of flavor throughout a mouthful. It definitely leans towards the more bitter end of the Imperial Stout spectrum.

Tasting Notes

Victory doesn’t cheat by providing a creamy texture to counter the bitterness, they let it all hang out. The feel is mildly carbonated, on the dryer side of the Imperials. It is also not particularly thick, allowing it to play the field between a drinking beer or a sipping beer.

When it’s all said and done, Storm King is definitely a winning brew. It is somewhat of an oddity – an Imperial style that you can drink a few of in a sitting without risking alcohol poisoning, a stout with a distinct hoppiness. It is an incredibly balanced beer for its style, wowing the drinker with taste instead of beating them into submission with high alcohol content and one singular, overbearing tasting note.

For the true stout fans, who want to push further, Storm King can sometimes also be found on cask, adding a whole new level to the brew. A hand-pumped pint will produce greater aromas, accentuating the base ingredients, with sharper hops and bigger, toastier malt aromas. The mouthfeel will develop as well, it will be creamier and less carbonated. It is well worth having on cask when available – where sometimes the cask is a mere gimmick, in the case of Storm King, it enhances the beer.

This is the type of beer we’ve come to expect from Victory. The Downingtown-based brewery, founded in 1996, has a history of producing well-balanced, basic beers. They tend not to be too experimental with their beers, instead producing brews that fit the style profiles very neatly. While this has resulted in very little in the way of decorations, it has earned them quite a following as far as beer drinkers are concerned.Victory are one of the most highly respected and distributed craft beers in Pennsylvania, and their restaurant and brewery is a key part of any Pennsylvania brewery tour. It has lead to them being the most highly distributed craft beer from the state – Victory can be found in 30 states, plus Japan and Singapore. It has also helped them to become an integral partner in a number of collaboration beers, working with the likes of Dogfish Head, Stone, and Fat Head’s.

One of the most unique things about Victory is their brewing methods– they are one of the few breweries that use whole flower hops in their brewing process. Their brewers feel that this provides better flavor and aroma to the beers. This move has earned them praise and collaboration on an international level, with the German Hop Growers’ Association tapping their talents for a number of specialty beers for events in the past.

So as the weather cools, grab yourself a nice, warming bottle of Storm King for a little bit of relaxation.

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Kegerator Essentials: Cleaning Kits

So, now you have a new kegerator, and you’ve thrown your first party. The post-party cleanup is certainly a breeze since you don’t have to pick up dozens of empty beer bottles and cans laying around your home. But what about your kegerator, do you need to clean that? The simple answer is yes, and it’s incredibly easy to do.

Kegerator Cleaning Kit

Why You Should Clean Your Kegerator

Every part of your kegerator, from the walls to the coupler, needs to be cleaned at a regular basis. Not only will this keep your beer tasting fresh, it will also help maintain the equipment and keep the beer flowing at an optimal rate. The first thing you must do is get a kegerator cleaning kit. These kits provide everything you need to properly clean your kegerator, including a nylon faucet brush, a check ball lifter, a special beer line cleaning compound and a kegerator faucet wrench and gasket.

How to Clean Your Kegerator

Your kegerator cleaning kit will contain in depth instructions that cover every aspect of how to clean your kegerator. Before starting, it’s always wise to thoroughly read over the instructions. It’ll explain how to turn the powdered compound into a liquid cleaning solution that is then sent through the coupler. It also details how to use the check ball lifter to raise your coupler ball without breaking the coupler or the beer line. It basically tells you everything you need to know, in order to sanitize and maintain your beer dispenser.

The cleaning kit also includes a replacement faucet wrench and gasket set, since these two parts are pretty small and easy to lose. Use the faucet wrench and gasket to remove yeast buildup from the kegerator faucet. If this buildup is left for too long, it can start to mold.

A good rule of thumb, is to clean your kegerator every time you switch out the keg. Cleaning your kegerator isn’t necessary in order for it to work, however, for the best quality beer you’re going to want to clean it on a semi-regular basis. Otherwise, your beer will begin to taste flat and kind of odd. Having a clean beer line is the best way to pump perfect, great-tasting beer.

Although cleaning a kegerator may seem a bit complicated at first, the entire process takes less than 15 minutes and is incredibly easy to do. It’s wise to buy a cleaning kit when you initially buy your unit. Without the kit, your kegerator begins to mold and lose its ability to pour the perfect beer. Use the kegerator cleaning kit to clean the coupler, beer line and faucet.

Also, cleaning the outside of your kegerator is easy. Use a damp rag to wipe any dirt or dust off the body, and maybe look into using a stainless steel cleaner to give it a nice shine. Assuming you have a stainless steel dispenser, of course.

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House Essentials: Double Tap Kegerators

Double Tap Kegerators

Double tap kegerators are designed to store not one, but two kegs of your favorite beer. Just like a single tap kegerator, the double taps allow you to serve your favorite brews at the perfect temperature any time you want, with the added bonus of choosing between two brews.

Using a double tap kegerator is an ideal solution if you are throwing a house party, both large and small. Save your money and eliminate the need for beer runs in the middle of your party. Even if your guests don’t drink all the beer, the kegerator will keep your beer fresh for months to come.

An EdgeStar double tap kegerator turns any room in your home into your favorite pub. EdgeStar kegerators offers ultra-low temps, so you serve your brew at the perfect temperature every time. EdgeStar double kegerators are capable of reaching temps well into the low 30s. There’s plenty of brands of kegerators out there, and we even carry multiple brands on the site, but it’s hard to beat an EdgeStar.

For those who love to brew their own beer, the kegerators come complete with a conversion kit and two ball-lock cornelius kegs. These kegs are exactly what you need to serve up your own home brew at your next gathering. If you are not a brewmaster, or if you just like the taste of a beer already on the market, commercial kegs fit perfectly as well.

When it comes to EdgeStar kegerators, all of the parts are made in the U.S. and are NSF approved. Commercial-grade parts include a five-pound C02 cylinder, faucets, tap handles, regulator and a stainless steel draft tower. All beer lines and air lines are included, making it incredibly easy to set up your kegerator.

A double tap kegerator is a great addition to your man cave, game room, garage, kitchen or home bar. The ability to store, chill and dispense two of your favorite beers from one source makes this a versatile system that keeps your party going for longer. These full-size kegs are available in black or stainless steel, and look great wherever you decide to place them.

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6 Tips Everyone Needs to Know Before They Brew Their Own Beer

Home brewing has taken the nation by storm. The beer brewing competitions are fiercer than ever because there are so many more competitors. If you are just getting started then there are a few things you need to know. By learning the basics and creating good habits from the beginning, you will find the entire process easier, more enjoyable, and hopefully tastier.

1. Never Overlook Sanitation

Sanitation and sterilization are two terms you should respect immediately. Sanitation issues begin before you have even started brewing and don’t end until your bottles are capped. The most important time for sterilization concerns is the period immediately after you cool your beer. This is when bacteria and other infections are most likely to take over because the yeast has not yet started to ferment.

2. Cool Your Wort Fast

It is essential that you always try to cool your wort as quickly as possible. A fast cooling process will increase the fallout of tannins and proteins that are bad your beer. It will also minimize the opportunity for bacteria to grow. As an added bonus, cooling your wort quickly can enhance the clarity of your beer to ensure it is as visually appealing as possible.

3. Start with Darker Beers

Regardless of what your favorite type of beer is, the best place to start is with the dark stuff. Darker beers, such as porters and stouts are typically better at covering up mistakes you may have made due to their forgiving makeup and flavor profile. It is easy to get disheartened if your first few batches flop so don’t make it harder than it needs to be.

4. Just Like Cooking, Your Ingredients Are Everything

There is no arguing that high quality, fresh ingredients are essential to crafting the best home brew possible. It is also important to understand your ingredients. For example, you store fresh hops in your freezer without losing much freshness, but storing crushed grains and malt will eventually end in oxidation which will destroy the flavor. Some items you can store and some you can’t.

5. Opt for Glass Fermenters

A lot of home brewing kits include plastic buckets for fermenting. While plastic fermenters are an inexpensive way to get started, they should also be a piece that you consider upgrading down the line. Glass or stainless steel fermenters offer a number of significant advantages over plastic. Contents don’t stick as easily, so they are easier to clean and sterilize. They also provide a better barrier against oxygen which plastic can’t match because they are porous.

6. Always Think Long-Term

Home brewing is an investment. Anytime you make an equipment purchase, think of how it will work over the long run. Saving a few bucks today can cost you a lot tomorrow. If you are looking to upgrade, then there is a good chance you are in it for the long haul anyways so upgrade intelligently.

Home brewing is part art, part science and a whole lot of fun. The key to brewing successfully is thinking strategically, appreciating your ingredients and making decisions with the long-term in mind. Once you have the basics down, it is all about testing and tweaking until you discover the perfect beer.

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Must-Have Kegerators for Your Summer Parties

In the dead heat of summer, there are few beverages more refreshing than an ice-cold beer. When you’re having a large gathering, though, one of the prime concerns is keeping the beer cool. Consider investing in a kegerator so you can drink cold beer any time and any place.

Koldfront Deluxe Mini Kegerator

The first thing you may ask – what is a kegerator? A kegerator is a unit that stores, refrigerates and dispenses a keg of beer. If the kegerator is utilized properly, a single keg of beer is available to drink for several months at a time. This saves you money over time by cutting back on the need to make return trips to the store. But what kind of kegerator is right for you?

Portable Kegerators

If you’re an active person who likes to bring the party with you, then consider getting the Koldfront deluxe kegerator, which is a portable kegerator that has a lightweight design. This is an ideal solution, as it features the capacity to hold a 5 liter non-pressurized keg with an included tap, so it gives you a quality pour every time. This mini kegerator also features an LCD display, which displays the current temperature of the keg. This allows you full control to adjust the temperature of your keg to your taste.

Full-Sized Kegerators

For those times that impromptu small gatherings occur in your home, Koldfront offers more options in its line of kegerators. These full-sized kegerators are perfect for your home, as they have the capacity to hold a 1/2 barrel keg, assuring that you won’t soon run out of your favorite beer. They feature a cooling capacity that allows the kegs to get as cold as the 30 degrees, meaning every mug you pour is perfectly frosty. These units are also easy to convert into a mini-fridge, making them a versatile addition to any home.

Whatever route you decide to take, rest assured that the kegerator you’ve picked keeps you cool and refreshed by refrigerating your beer to your preferred temperature. Nobody likes warm beer; if you plan to have a large (or even small!) gathering, then consider investing in a kegerator.

A Crash Course in the History of Beer

Beer GlassThe rich history of beer spans thousands of years.  The earlier parts of beer history can be unclear depending upon how you define beer and if you include when beer was first produced on a domestic scale.  The full history of beer is as interesting and intriguing as it is exciting.  In fact, beer is considered to be one of the oldest beverages ever produced.

The Beginning of Beer

It is impossible to pinpoint exactly when beer was first created, however it has accurately been depicted as far back as the fifth millennium BC.  It is written in the history of Asia and Egypt as well as in Mesopotamia.  In most cases, beer was created by cultures soon after they developed any serial type food containing certain sugars.  This is because the cereals could undergo spontaneous fermentation due to wild yeasts in the air.  Chemical tests on ancient pottery jars reveal that nearly 7000 years ago is when the first biological process of fermentation was used.  The oldest hard evidence of beer is a 6000 year old Sumerian tablet.  Additionally, a nearly 4000-year-old Samir in Holland contains the oldest surviving beer recipe.

The Middle Ages to Early European History

The importance of beer in cultures ebbed and flowed until the Middle Ages as wine was often the more popular beverage.  For example, beer was important to early Romans however it was quickly replaced by wine because it was considered fit only for barbarians.  During the medieval period, as many as 500 monastic breweries existed in Germany alone.  Some historians credit monks as the first to introduce hops as an ingredient in beer.  They also are responsible for a number of beer-related scientific breakthroughs of the time.

Many European drinkers didn’t immediately take to the addition of hops.  For some time, ale was considered a separate beverage from beer which was brewed with hops.  In fact, during the late 15th century English ale and beer were brewed separately because no brewer was allowed to produce both at the same time.  By the 16th century, ale had come to refer to any strong beer and all ales and beers contained hops.  Historians note that lagers were discovered by accident in the late 16th century because beer was stored in cool caverns for extended periods of time.

The Industrial Revolution

With the invention of the steam engine, the industrialization of beer quickly became a reality.  Since then, a number of additional innovations to the brewing process have been created and implemented to improve efficiency and attenuation.  Several important breakthroughs were made during this period.  For example, the drum roaster was invented in 1817 which allow for the creation of very dark, roasted malts.  In 1857, the role of used in fermentation was officially recognized as a way to prevent the souring of beer.

Modern Beer

Prior to prohibition in the United States, most brewers focused on European-style beers.  Since Prohibition forced most breweries out of business, beer was often little more than a watered down light lager.  Today, the brewing industry is a global success.  The size and scale range from multinational companies to successful home brewers.

6 Man Cave Necessities You Can’t Be Without

Every guy needs a man cave and every man cave is different.  If you are looking to upgrade your man cave or build one from scratch, there are a few necessities you absolutely have to have.  Regardless of your style, tastes, and preferences there are six things that will determine whether or not you have a man cave or just another room.

1.  A Big Screen HDTV

mancave

The most important thing your man cave needs is a TV and not just any TV.  You need a big screen HDTV although a 3D TV is ideal.  The TV is a focal point of every man cave.  The entire room doesn’t have to be centered on it, but it should get the respect it deserves.  If your man cave includes a lot of additional entertainment, such a pool table, full bar, poker table, etc., you may find a single big screen HDTV to be inefficient.  Don’t be afraid to strategically place a few additional small screen HDTVs around your space.

2. Beer

mancavebeer

It doesn’t matter what you drink, you must have the beer.  Without beer, you don’t have a man cave.  Even if you are primarily a hard liquor kind of guy, you still need beer.  Beer is a man-staple and should be treated as such.  A growing number of men don’t want to settle for regular beer and that’s fine.  Feel free to stock your man cave with dark, flavorful micro-brews.  Note: hard cider is not beer – leave it outside.

3. The Vibe

man_cave_1

You have your own tastes, interests, and desires and your man cave should reflect them.  Just because the man cave is traditional centered on sports themes doesn’t mean yours has too.  The key is to have a theme or a fantasy that your man cave embodies – it doesn’t really matter what it is – it just has to be manly (aka no kittens, chick flicks, or knitting).

 

4. Comfortable Seating

mancaveseating

The man cave isn’t designed for one person.  It is a meeting point for a group of men with similar interests.  More importantly, it is designed for long meetings of multiple men.  This means your seating needs to be comfortable, spacious, and durable.  All the better if your seating can hold beer.

 

5. Entertainment

mancavegames

Your man cave should be a hotspot which means you need to have some kind of entertainment.  This could be your HDTV blasting sports 24-7, video games consoles, dart boards, pool tables, poker tables, or whatever you and your friends want to spend time doing.  The important part is that entertainment options exist and are in ample supply.

 

6. Separation

mancave2

The number one thing every man cave needs is separation.  This is why you find most man caves in basements and garages.  It is a separate space that no one else in the house has authority over.  You can make a mess, stain your furniture, and punch the wall if you decide it is a good idea.  Your man cave – Your rules.  The only way to truly be able to create your own rules is to have your own separate space.

Leave a comment below and let us know us know your man cave must haves!

4 Ways to Convert a Single Tap Tower to a Double Tap

Kegerator Tower Conversion Kit One of the first changes most people want to make to their kegerator is adding more taps.  This is because a single tap tower is the most popular first purchase.  Fortunately, there are several ways you can turn your single tap tower into a double tap.  If there is enough space for three kegs in your kegerator, it is even possible to convert a single tap into a triple tap.  The key is choosing the best way to accomplish this based upon your budget and level of skill.

Ready-Made Conversion Kits

Perhaps the quickest way to convert a single tap tower to a double tap tower is to buy a conversion kit that is put together by the manufacturer or another vendor.  A conversion kit will have everything you need, and will include step-by-step instructions in regards to that specific kit.  This makes it an ideal solution regardless of your technical skills.  The only drawback is that these conversion kits can be a little more expensive because of the convenience provided by the seller.

Compile Your Own Kit

Another option is to piece together all of the necessary materials on your own.  This is perhaps the most affordable solution, however, it does require a little more planning and technical skill.  There are also numerous considerations you must keep in mind to ensure you buy parts that will work with your current kegerator.  You must select a tower, faucets, hoses, hose clamps, coupler(s) and air distributor, and you may also want to invest in a dual product regulator or secondary regulator to maintain different pressures for each keg. If you’re handy and want to save money, this is the option for you!

Trade Up

Perhaps the easiest way to “convert” from a single tap tower to a double tap is to simply sell your entire single tap kegerator and purchase one with a double tap tower already installed. This will more than likely require that you invest additional money, but the amount can be minimal if your kegerator is in good shape and you find a good deal on a double tap unit. Plus, you won’t have to worry about purchasing the right parts, switching them out, and even potentially voiding a manufacturer’s warranty. For these reasons, you may choose to go the “trade up” route.

Add an Adapter

Another option is to add a tower adapter to your existing tower. These adapters are typically part of a small kit that attaches to the top of your tower and can include hoses, clamps, faucets and anything else that you may require, Be sure that your tower diameter will accommodate the line(s) that you wish to add. Also, make sure that the tower adapter is the same diameter as your tower. Though, similar to compiling your own kit, you will also need an air distributor or a dual product or secondary regulator.

Never Skimp on Materials

It doesn’t matter if you choose a conversion kit or decide to do it yourself, never skimp on materials.  Saving money by purchasing plated copper may seem like an easy way to save money, but it brings a lot of long-term problems.  Chrome or stainless steel plated copper wears out comparatively quickly.  Once the degradation process begins, you will be forced to replace the parts because it will dramatically alter the taste of your beer.  Go with stainless steel hardware from the get-go to avoid this.  Plus, weaker materials are more likely to break or collapse during the conversion process.

5 Tips for Buying the Perfect Outdoor Kegerator

outdoor kegerator

Summit Professional Outdoor Kegerator

Buying the perfect outdoor kegerator isn’t as simple as it seems.  There are a variety of factors many people overlook, which can cause problems in the long run.  At the same time, if you know what to look for, the right outdoor kegerator will quickly reveal itself.  The key is having a general idea of how you will be using it before making the purchase.

What Makes an Outdoor Kegerator Unique?

The most important fact to understand is there are unique characteristics which separate outdoor kegerators from the rest.  In general, kegerators can be separated into four categories – mini, indoor, commercial, and outdoor.  Outdoor kegerators are engineered with the ability to keep beer frosty and cold, regardless of the surrounding temperature.  Most are rated to operate within a range of 45 degrees to 100 degrees.  Indoor and commercial kegerators should be used only within a moderate temperature range.  Outdoor kegerators are also typically designed to provide some additional mobility, whereas indoor kegerators are often designed to be setup in one place and never moved.

Decide What Type of Keg You Will Be Using

If you are new to home brewing or rarely buy kegs from liquor stores or breweries, then you may not know that there are multiple keg designs.  For example, most home brewers use a 5 gallon Cornelius keg.  This type of keg is more narrow with ball lock or pin lock gas and beer posts.  At a glance, it is immediately distinguishable from the kegs purchased from breweries.  As a result, the coupler for the gas and the beverage lines are different.  Make sure you buy a kegerator capable of handling the type of keg you use most often.

Stick with Stainless Steel

In order to save money, many people turn to outdoor kegerators with chrome-plated brass faucets and shanks.  While this is a great way to save money initially, it is actually more expensive over time.  Chrome-plated brass wears out quickly and can alter the flavor of your beer.  The best material is stainless steel.  If you really need to cut costs during your initial purchase, choose plastic fixtures and plan on upgrading to stainless steel in the future.

Check the Thermostat

When you buy an outdoor kegerator, getting a precision thermostat is essential.  External thermostats are ideal for outdoor kegerators because they allow you to continually monitor the temperature of your kegerator without needing to continually open the door and letting all of the cold air out.  Few indoor kegerators include an external thermostat, whereas a majority of outdoor kegerators do.

Think About What Type of Beer You Drink

Most beer can share the same type of outdoor kegerator system with no problems, but there are exceptions.  For example, if you drink stout beer then your kegerator will need a stout-style faucet.  Plus, stout beers are carbonated with a CO2/Nitrogen blend.  Most other beers rely only on CO2.

Buying the perfect kegerator doesn’t have to be a difficult or overwhelming process.  All you need to do is take your time and think about how you will be using it.  Consider where it will be stored, what type of kegs it needs to handle, what type of beers it needs to support, and the specific fixtures you will need (and the materials they are made out of).