To Keg or Not to Keg?
Should You Have a Kegerator in Your Man Cave?
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To Keg or Not to Keg, that is the question. Or more specifically, should you have a Kegerator in your Man Cave. We think so. Why? Well, for starters, there is nothing like having tap beer at your disposal. Especially during the opening week of March Madness. Trust us, this will become an annual ritual, and rightly so. As Roy Hobbs explains to Pop Fisher in the Natural, there is “Nothing like a farm…”
…we believe there is “Nothing like draft beer.” Still, there is a caveat. That is, though we recognize that real Man Cave enthusiasts probably would require a Kegerator, it could be cumbersome for several reasons.
First, will you be drinking beer enough to make it worthwhile? Well, how long does keg beer last you ask? For non-pasteurized draft beer about 45-60 days. For pasteurized draft beer about 90-120 days. Most keg beer (especially domestic) is non-pasteurized. A quarter barrel keg (pony keg) can pour about 83 twelve-ounce beers and a half-barrel about 165 twelve-ounce beers. So, you will need to ask yourself, will I, and my friends, drink at least 83 beers over six to eight weeks. Clearly, you could probably handle this enviable task yourself but add in college football Saturday and a few poker games with your friends, it will be a non-issue. Yet, there are those dog-days of Summer where sports are lacking and vacation time is prevalent that you may struggle to “kill” a pony keg in six to eight weeks. Then again, it is not as if you have to continuously have an active keg, and can always just have one at your disposal for parties or special events, such as your kid going to college, or yet again, March Madness.
Second, getting your kegerator to pour a perfect beer is definitely a skill, and you may want to get a professional to install it, particularly if you are going with a built-in kegerator, though this video makes it appear that it fairly simple to set up a free standing kegerator…
Still, there is a lot that goes into installing a Kegerator. A critical component is the length of the beer line (the beer line carries the beer from the keg coupler to the draft faucet). This beer line calculator will help you figure out just how long your beer lines need to be for a perfect pour of beer every time. The pressure on the Co2 regulator is also key. The ideal serving pressure should be between 10 and 12 psi, though some draft beer demand lower and some higher. Typically, 12 psi works well. The common issues that seem to arise is the beer has too much foam, or is too flat, or too warm. For example, if your serving pressure is too high, it can pump excess Co2 into the keg and lead to foaming. Here is how to fix common problems with your kegerator. A google search will help you find answers to any issue you encounter with your kegerator, as well as any life-issue – just google it!
Finally, if you own a kegerator then it is highly recommended that you clear the beer lines after every keg. If kegerator beer lines are left unclean then it can lead to the growth of bacteria, yeast, sediment (beer stone), and mold, which can ruin the taste of the beer…and we do not want that. Therefore, you must regularly clean the kegerator beer line.
If you have gotten this far, you probably have decided to purchase a kegerator for your Man Cave, which, in our opinion, is a solid decision. You definitely will save money purchasing kegs rather than cans and bottles unless you plan on drinking Old Milwaukee, which you still might be able to purchase for $10.99 a case…somewhere…maybe Illinois…ah, speaking of the Land of Lincoln, you got to love a state where you can buy hard liquor in a 7-11. You will also not have to deal with cleaning up the empty bottles and cans after a Man Cave marathon though that may be outweighed by the fact that you have to purchase and carry the keg and set it up as well as return it after the keg is killed. Still, a keg will look cool in your Man Cave, and you always want to be cool, but you won’t be able to do a keg stand like this Grandma before an LSU football game…
So, what kind of kegerator should you buy? Well, your initial choice is whether you want a freestanding keg or a built in kegerator, which if you have a bar, a built-in would be the likely choice. Next, how may taps (single, dual, triple?) If you go with a triple tap keg, you could turn your Man Cave in to a Speakeasy, and charge your neighbors a cover.
The Edgestar Store on Amazon has a wide selection of kegerators, including the Edgestar KC200 Full Size Kegerator, for freestanding use only, which holds both ¼ and ½ sized kegs.
Or, you can consider the KegCo 2-keg Dispenser, which holds two 1/6 barrel kegs, or one ¼ barrel or one ½ barrel.
But if you want your Kegerator situated under your bar, you should consider this Dual-Tap Built-in Kegerator from Edgestar…
We further recommend a simple lock for your keg tap, especially if you have teenagers in your house. You can also purchase certain Kegerator accessories, including a cleaning system.
Of course, if you purchase a Kegerator, you will also need a Co2 tank. The size of the Co2 tank could be dependent on how much room you have in your Kegerator. A 5-lb CO2 tank will last between 6-8 half barrels before it will need to be filled. A 10-lb CO2 tank will dispense between 10-13 half barrels per fill.
This number can be higher or lower based on how often you’re using your kegerator, the level of carbonation, and if your system is properly balanced. You may even be fine with a 2.5-lb CO2 tank for your Man Cave. Oh, you will also need a Co2 regulator, which allows you to control the gas flowing from the tank/cylinder into your beer via the keg.
We note that with any CO2 tank you purchase, if possible, you should consider mounting the Co2 tank on the back or side of the Kegerator. You don’t want to jam it inside the Kegerator along with the keg, the beer and Co2 lines, and the Co2 regulator.
You will also will need a drip pan if it’s not included with the purchased Kegerator. What? You don’t think you’ll spill any beer or have any overflows or even forget to turn off the spout. C’mon, now…
Now if you don’t want to have a kegerator in your Man Cave due to limited space or you just don’t feel like you’ll use it enough to make it worthwhile… you know, kind of like joining that gym where you go 15 times that first month and then within six months, it’s down to zero monthly visits but you’ll still end up paying monthly dues for another 18 months, thinking that, hey, I’ll start to using the gym again. Yes, everybody has done that at least once in their lifetime.
Anyway, there are other solid options, which are far less expensive than purchasing a full-sized Kegerator, such as…
Homecraft Mini Kegerator
WHY BUY THIS? The Homecraft Mini Kegerator comes with a 128 oz reusable growler if you want to file it with your own homebrew or favorite beer from your local microbrewery. Or, you can use any 5 liter pressurized or non-pressurized keg, including, but not limited Heineken, Coors, and Newcastle. This item works with standard threaded Co2 and No2 cartridges that should keep the beer fresh for at least thirty days, though we expect you to finish off 128 ounces of beer well before thirty days. If you want to get a better understanding of how the Homecraft Mini Kegerator, just watch the video on the product page.
NutriChef Mini Keg
WHY BUY THIS? The NutriChef Mini Keg is similar to the Homecraft Mini Kegerator above except that its smaller in size, though it holds the same amount of beer (128 ounces), and only uses a growler for home brew or craft beer, and it must be kept in the refrigerator when you are not using it. Well, we guess it fairly different then the Homecraft Mini Kegerator. Though this item comes with an adjustable Co2 regulator, you will need to purchase the Co2 cartridges separately. Our sense is you probably won’t have to store this in your refrigerator for too long, given that 128 ounces only consists of a little more than ten 12 oz beers. You can do that in your sleep by yourself.
Fizzics Draught Beer Dispenser
WHY BUY THIS? The final option is the most simple and interesting. It’s the Fizzics Draft Pour Beer Dispenser, which essentially turns any canned or bottled beer into a draft beer. You know, kind of like converting water to ice. Well, maybe not. This item is small, and USB powered, but also takes batteries, to allow you to take it anywhere, like maybe to that gym you belong too, so you can enjoy a draft beer after that vigorous workout followed by a visit to the sauna. Oh, and make sure you watch the video on the product page below, which should be enough to convince you to buy one for your Man Cave, even if you have a Kegerator.
At the end of the day, you just want to consume beer in some form or another as you watch football or one of our 10 Football Movies to Watch in Your Man Cave. Whether it’s sipping a beer from a can or bottle, or enjoying a cold draft beer from your newly-minted Kegerator, it does not really matter. Because you can have a nice little Saturday planned and go to Home Depot, and maybe Bed Bath & Beyond with your spouse, or you and your friends can watch sports, and well, just maybe do one beer bong, unless it feels so good when it hits the lips….