18 Frequently Asked Questions About Kegerators

Here at Kegerator.com, we know everything there is to know about kegerators and draft beer dispensers. Because of this we tend to receive a lot of questions from people that are interested in buying or troubleshooting their kegerator. Here are the eighteen most frequently asked questions that we receive.

Kegerator
  1. What is a kegerator?
  2. What are the different types of kegerators?
  3. What are the different types of kegs?
  4. What parts are included with a kegerator?
  5. What size keg will fit in my kegerator?
  6. What kind of coupler do I need?
  7. What do I need to tap my keg?
  8. At what temperature should I store my keg?
  9. How long does a keg stay fresh?
  10. How many kegs can I tap on one CO2 tank?
  11. Can I use my kegerator outside?
  12. How long should I wait before using my kegerator?
  13. Is a kegerator freestanding or built-in?
  14. Can a freestanding kegerator be built in?
  15. Can I build my own kegerator?
  16. How do I troubleshoot my kegerator?
  17. How do I defrost my kegerator?
  18. How do I clean my kegerator?

If you have any other questions about kegerators, please leave them in the comments down below or give our customer service department a call at 1-866-950-8710.
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3 Things to Remember When Storing Draft Beer

Draft Beer

As we all probably know, draft beer is a brew that is dispensed from a cask or, in modern times, a kegerator. Because yeast and carbon dioxide influence its characteristics, knowing the right temperature and pressure plays a crucial role in the overall quality and flavor of your beer. Casks and kegs mediate these variables and cause the resulting draft beer to differ from beer consumed from a can or bottle.

Certainly, there are a number of qualifications that must be met for a beer to qualify as draft beer, and the success of each batch depends on the quality of the keg. Here’s three things to take into account when you buy and store your draught beer.

Temperature

Temperature, for example, is a crucial determinant of the taste of draft beer. The majority of the time, the beer inside your keg has not been pasteurized, so it’s important to keep it cold. From the moment you get it from the distributor until it’s empty, it’s important to maintain the proper temperature or you will sacrifice the quality of the beer.

When its temperature is to high, foam dominates the beverage because the higher temperature liberates carbon dioxide too quickly. This will cause your beer to foam more than it should, leading to a loss in flavor. Conversely, draft beer that is too cold retains carbonation, causing the beer to taste flat because the true flavor cannot escape.

The optimal temperature to store and serve your draft beer is right at 38°, especially for ales. You can go slightly lower without sacrificing the quality of the beer, but it’s not recommended to go above that temperature. Any reputable kegerator system should be able to maintain the proper temperatures in order to avoid these problems.

Pressure

Furthermore, a great draft beer depends on pressure, just as much as it does temperature. If the beer is kept at a pressure that is too high or too low, the over all taste and characteristics of the beer will be detrimentally altered. If the pressure is too low, the first few pours coming out of the keg will have excessive amounts of foam, and then gradually the rest of the pours will produce beer that tastes flat. On the flip side, too much pressure will cause the beer to come out of the keg at a faster pace than normal, and eventually produce beer that has too much foam.

Generally, the pressure regulator on your kegerator should stay at a consistent 10-12 PSI for American ales and lagers. Unfortunately, the proper amount of pressure may differ slightly between the various brands, styles and types of beer. Because of this, it would be wise for you to call the distributor from which you got your keg and ask what they would recommend.

Keg of Beer

Let It Settle Before Tapping

When you get your keg, try to be gentle with it. Try to limit how much you shake or roll it around. It’s always wise to let it sit idle for a few hours before tapping it. We all know what happens when you shake a can of beer and then immediately open it. The same principles apply to a keg, as it does a can.

Once you get in your keg set up in your kegerator, we would recommend letting it sit for at least an hour or two before drinking from it. This should be plenty of time to let it settle a bit. However, depending on how long it took you to get from the distributor to the kegerator, you may need to give it more time to chill a little long to reach the proper temperatures.

Takeaways

When it comes to draft beer, the flavor profile of beer is very much dependent on temperature and pressure. These two factors work together to retain the beer’s intended taste and aroma. Although there is an optimal temperature range that retains the qualities of draft beer, this may vary somewhat when you take the type of brew into account. It’s important to find the optimal temperature and pressure for your beer of choice prior to serving, and the distributor of that beer may prove to be an invaluable source of information.

What storage tips for draft beer would you add to this list? We’d like to hear your successes and failures in the comments below?

Mini Keg Beers for the Mini Kegerator

EdgeStar Mini Kegerator

If you’re a draft beer lover like I am, there is something to be said for bottled beers. The beers they contain are delicious, but something about them being in a bottle just doesn’t taste as good as if they’re poured right from the tap. Unfortunately, most grocery and liquor stores force you to buy the bottles, and there is no way around the fact that you’ll have to drink bottled beer yet again.

That is where the 5 liter keg comes in. It was designed by draft lovers, just like you, to allow you to serve fresh draft beer in your home without having to buy a keg or build a home bar. We love these specialized kegs, but not every beer brand comes in this size. So, to help you out, we’ve compiled a list of a few brands that you will be sure to love on draft. If you’ve had them, try them on draft; if you haven’t had them, then be sure to put them on your grocery list!

 

heineken mini kegHeineken Lager

As one of the most popular European beer brands, Heineken’s unmistakable look and label has given the beer increased notoriety over the last few decades. This clean-tasting lager is malty and has a nice bite to it, and the most distinctive part of this beer is its “skunky” smell, meaning that the hops really take effect in the aroma of the beer. A good mix of sweet and bitter, this Dutch beer goes down smooth.

ABV: 5%

 

newcastle mini kegNewcastle Brown Ale

Newcastle Brown Ale is heralded by critics, thanks to its sweet and nutty flavor that seems to please most beer drinkers. Originating from Britain, the brown ale has hints of caramel, a malty taste, and a creamy texture that is easy to drink. The light body also gives this beer a certain quenching aspect that enables you to drink several without getting too full.

ABV: 4.7%

 

Coors Light Mini KegCoors Light Lager

Coors Light, one of the major American brews enjoyed by millions, is a thirst-quenching beer with a light body for easy consumption. The crystal clear beer features notes of grains and high carbonation, which is great for those who don’t like heavy or dark beers. A crisp finish and clean taste, this beer can be enjoyed by people of different tastes and styles.

ABV: 4.2%

 

Paulaner Mini KegPaulaner Oktoberfest Marzen Amber

A local favorite in Germany, the Paulaner Oktoberfest was a seasonal beer that was so popular, the brewery decided to brew it year-round. Very malty and sweet, this beer is great for those who don’t like an aggressively bitter taste, and the medium body has hints of bread and butter. Because of the malty taste, this beer goes down smooth and quite easily and leaves a bit of an aftertaste to enjoy.

ABV: 6%

 

DAB Mini KegDAB Original Lager

The DAB lager is a German pilsner with a very earthy smell and rich golden color. A simple beer, the taste of bread, malt, and hops are the key notes taken away from the taste, while a slight citrusy flavor combines to provide a great aftertaste. The light body allows for it to quench your thirst with ease, while the crisp flavor will leave your taste buds satisfied.

ABV: 5%

 

Widmer Mini KegWidmer Hefeweizen

This popular American brew is a slight mix between a hefeweizen and a wheat beer, as the taste is wheaty with a mix of a citrus flavor like most wheat beers. The medium body ensures that it will be lighter than wheat beers, but the overall light taste is reminiscent of a hefeweizen. With a malty feel and distinct taste, this hefeweizen will be sure not to disappoint.

ABV: 4.9%

 

Bell's Oberon Mini KegBell’s Oberon Wheat Ale

A typical wheat beer, Bell’s Oberon has a full wheat taste with a hint of citrus for flavor, as well as a nice, hoppy taste that will mix together well. A sweet, floral aroma entices you to drink more, while the malty texture mixes in with the smells and tastes to create a wonderful drink. The sweet flavor and medium body is great for drinking in the summertime, which is the only time this beer is in stores.

ABV: 5.8%

 

Rogue Yellow Snow Mini KegRogue Yellow Snow IPA

In the traditional fashion of most IPAs, Rogue Yellow Snow features high notes of hops, but it also has a citrusy bite to it that gives the beer some flavor. Beer drinkers should note that, like most IPAs, the bitterness of the hops in this beer takes over as the main flavor. With a hazy feel and medium body, this beer will quench your thirst as well as fill you up, and the aftertaste has hints of pine and, of course, hop.

ABV: 6.2%

 

Bitburger Mini KegBitburger Premium Pilsner

This light pilsner hails from Germany, and – as most pilsners – is very golden in color, and features a grainy aroma. However, Bitburger is a bit of an anomaly when it comes to pilsners, as it has a more hoppy flavor than others thanks to its origin. This beer provides a good balance of spice and bitters with malt to give a good, crisp taste.

ABV: 4.8%

 

Spaten Mini KegSpaten Premium Lager

Originating in Germany, the Spaten Premium lager is an easy beer to drink, thanks to the smooth taste and light body. The grassy, earthy aroma gives a clue to the taste: an herbal taste with a small amount of hops. A malty texture is another feature of this beer, and the balanced flavors make for an overall enjoyable drinking experience.

ABV: 5.2%

 

Warsteiner Mini KegWarsteiner Premium Verum

As a German pilsner, the Warsteiner Premium has a straw-colored yellow look with a crisp, light taste. The mild hop flavorings do not tend to overshadow the rest of the beer, and a malty sweet flavor tends to carry through the initial taste. A very simplistic but refreshing beer, the carbonation level is not too high, which is great for being able to taste the subtle notes inside.

ABV: 4.8%

 

Feel free to leave a note in the comments if I missed any!

The Different Types of Kegs

Simply put people love beer!  You love to try new types of beer, you love hanging out with friends while drinking beer or maybe even brewing your own, so you decide the next step is finally buying a kegerator.   The big question is what type of kegerator do you want, but before you choose your new beer dispenser you should know what types of kegs are out there. Did you know there are six different types of kegs?  Here is a quick guide to help you on your way to becoming a Master Cicerone (an expert on beer).

Mini Keg (5 Liters)

The mini keg, nicknamed “Bubba,” is a 5 liter keg.  This keg is produced for retail sales and you can only purchase specific beers, which limits your choices.  There are more and more labels popping up to make mini kegs, some of the  beer companies currently are Heineken, New Castle,  Beck’s, Coors and Miller Light to name a few. This is a great keg size for small apartments or if you want the party to become portable.

A mini kegerator will hold and dispense your beer all from your kitchen counter top, so you don’t need to worry about having much space if you decide to go the mini keg route. A mini keg is equal to about 10.6 pints, so enough beer for a small get-together or a few people.

Cornelius Keg (18.9 Liters)

The Cornelius Keg has a few nicknames “Corny Keg,” “Pepsi Keg” and “Home Brew Keg.”  The origin of this type of keg is it was originally used by the soft drink industry and can be used to store and dispense homemade sodas and home-brewed beer. There are also two varieties of connectors which attach to the ports: pin-lock and ball-lock which is useful to know since they are not interchangeable. Historically, pin-lock kegs were used primarily by the Coca-Cola company, while ball-lock kegs were used primarily by Pepsi.

The most common use nowadays of the corny keg is for home brewing as opposed to bottling the beer.  They are easier to fill and maintain and are preferred over bottling for conditioning purposes.  Another common use for this keg is it’s also good for micro-brewing.

Sixth Barrel (19.8 Liters)

The Sixth Barrel is sometimes referred to as “Sixtel,” “Log” and “Torpedo.”  This is not a widely used keg as it is mostly used for breweries when they want to use a smaller keg than a half barrel.  The sixth barrel is typically the same size as the Cornelius.  This size lends itself to be a great choice for retailers with a small space but want to showcase a large variety.  Common uses for these kegs are for home brews and micro brews, but these you can also use with a dual tap kegerator which is good to keep in mind.  This keg functions identical to its full size counterpart.

A sixtel is equal to about 42 pints of beer and only weighs around 58 pounds when full, so a great alternative to a half barrel keg for a party.

Quarter Barrel Keg (29.3 Liters)

The Quarter Barrel also goes by “Pony Keg” and “Stubby Quarter.”  The name simply comes from it being a quarter of a barrel and is half the size of a standard beer keg (called a half barrel).

The size allows it to be moved easily but you do need to do all the same setup as a large keg.  You need to provide a deposit when purchased from a store and will need to get a tap to serve.  This keg is great for small parties or watching the game with a group of friends. Pony kegs typically hold about 62 pints of beer.

Slim Quarter (29.3 Liters)

The Slim Quarter is also known as “Slim ¼” and “Tall Quarter.”  The name says it all, this keg is the exact capacity as the quarter but just slim.  The difference between the slim and the regular quarter is not just the shape but the slim can be used with a dual tap kegerator.  That means not only is it smaller and easier to maneuver like the quarter but more versatile and can be used with a dual tap application.  This is not a keg that is as widely known though, so most people use a sixth barrel keg or a corny keg when setting up a dual tap system.

When full, the slim quarter weighs around 87 pounds – same as the pony keg.

Half Barrel (58.7 Liters)

Simply put, this is the “Full Size” keg.  This is the mostly commonly known type of keg and is basically a great party waiting to happen.  You’ve probably seen this keg at parties and for large functions. If you’ve been to a frat party once in your life, this was the large wonderful barrel dispensing your beer perhaps propped in a garbage can filled with ice.

For home bars and nicer functions than a frat party, this can be used with a home kegerator.  While a half barrel is a lot of beer (around 124 pints), when used with a kegerator, it can keep the beer fresh for up to a few months. This will only work with a Co2 dispensing system though, not an air pump, as the air will cause the beer to eventually go flat after a day or two.

Here is a helpful chart for a quick comparison of all of the kegs. Happy and safe drinking!

Keg Comparison Chart: