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?

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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The Perfect Pour: Tricks & Tips for Pouring the Best Tasting Beer

Pouring the perfect beer is a bit of an art, and it’s certainly not as simple as it looks. Think of those commercials where the bartender turns and angles the beer glass as he pours. That’s exactly what you need to do in order to achieve the perfect pour. If you’re currently just holding the glass under the tap as you pour, it is time to learn something new.

3 Tricks to Pouring the Perfect Beer

The Perfect Beer

Here’s a brief summary of our three favorite tricks to pouring the perfect beer.

  • Start with a clean glass:
    While this should be common sense, many people don’t seem to realize how a dirty glass can actually ruin your your beer. Oil residues, dust or blemishes not only look bad, but they may also impede the flavors within the beer.
  • Hold your glass at a 45° angle:
    When you turn the tap on, make sure you’re holding the glass at a 45° angle. Once you turn the tap on and the beer is flowing, make sure the stream of beer always hits the slope in the middle of your glass. Hold your glass at this position until is is approximately half-full.
  • Slowly tilt your glass to 90°:
    This is arguably the most important step. After the glass is approximately half-full, slowly tilt it up to a 90° angle as the beer fills the glass. This last motion will create the perfect amount of head. To create the perfect pour, it’s essential to have a little bit of a head in every beer. We recommend no more than an inch of foam head.

Once you have the basic pour mastered, try adding a few more moves. First, hold the glass about 4-6 inches away from the faucet or tap. Never put the faucet inside the glass as you pour. Second, when you tilt your beer from 45 to 90 degrees, add a quarter-turn twist. This gives your pour an extra bit of finesse. Lastly, to make the beer look more appealing, practice stopping your pour just as the foam reaches the rim of the glass.

Why Foam Head is Essential for a Perfect Pour

This is a common debate amongst beer lovers – how much foam head should your beer have?

The general rule of thumb that we like to follow, is to keep about an inch of foam at the top of each beer. This is for a variety of reasons. Not only does a little bit of foam look better, but it helps circulate plenty of aromatics that allows you to taste the full flavor of the beer, as it was intended to be tasted.

Additionally, a small layer of foam will help keep your beer fresh. The oxygen in the air can actually start to breakdown your beer, leaving it tasting somewhat stale. The foam head provides an extra layer of protection against that oxygen, leaving you with a fresher tasting beer. On top of that, the proper amount of foam head will release carbon dioxide. This will leave you without that bloated feeling when you’re done with your beer.

How Kegerators Help Achieve The Perfect Pour

EdgeStar Kegerator

Kegerators have multiple advantages over the plain beer keg. Not only do they keep your beer cool for several months, they also contain a mounted faucet to aid in pouring. If you are familiar with tapping kegs, and then trying to simultaneously hold both the glass and the tap steady, then you will surely appreciate the ease of a kegerator faucet. Getting a perfect pour from a traditional beer keg is possible, it’s just significantly more difficult.

A kegerator like the EdgeStar kit comes with everything necessary to create the perfect pours, excluding the keg of beer, of course. The faucet is at just the right height to allow you to twist, turn and tilt your glass, without the worry of spilling a drop. If you are pouring from a kegerator, we would advise to go the extra step and use real beer glasses, instead of cheap plastic cups.

Learning how to pour the perfect beer takes a bit of practice, but the payoff is well worth the effort. Mastering the art of tilting and maneuvering a beer glass until it fills just to the brim is one of those skills that separate true beer enthusiasts from amateurs. Give your beer pouring a few practice rounds, then invite your friends over and show off your style.

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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.

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.

Mini Kegerators Aren’t Just For Beer

rootbeer mini keg

Mini kegerators are great for personal use and can also be utilized while entertaining. If you are using a full size kegerator to serve beer, a mini kegerator can be used to serve a nonalcoholic option. This gives you a wider variety of drinks to serve your guests. It’s also a nice option to have if you are entertaining people who don’t drink alcohol or if there will be children at your party.

Virgil’s makes mini kegs of Root Beer and Cream Soda that can be served with a mini kegerator.  The benefit of the mini kegerator is that it will add CO2 and make for a faster, more carbonated pour. Not to mention drinking soda from a keg is a pretty darn fun and is sure to amuse party guests.

Gluten Free Beer

When you have a gluten allergy, not being able to partake in festive treats like birthday cake is something you get used to. In fact the rule is better safe than sorry, and unless you know you can have it, don’t.  But with an abundance of gluten free alternatives showing up in stores over the past few years, it was only a matter of time before the beer industry was infiltrated as well.

Since beer is made from wheat, you can imagine wheat free (and therefore gluten free) beer doesn’t really taste that much like beer. My gluten tolerant coworkers that were nice enough to partake in this taste test certainly seemed to agree. It’s kind of like having a popcorn flavored jelly bean instead of popcorn.

tasting gluten free beer

Bard’s, Omission and Redbridge were the brands we tried. Omission, which is not recommended for people with Celiac disease because it is only “gluten removed” not, gluten free, was the favorite of my coworkers. I can only assume that is due to the remnants of gluten and consequently, most beer-like taste. Bard’s and Redbridge received a resounding “Eh, it’s okay.”

Never really having been a fan of beer anyway, cider has always been my go-to alternative.  It’s light, crisp, refreshing, and oh so delicious. And there is a plethora of brands and varieties.

Crispin is a very popular brand that can be found in most stores and bars and it comes in seven different varieties: Original, Light, Brut, Browns Lane, Honey Crisp, The Saint and Lansdowne. Original and Browns Lane are the most commonly found and not as sweet as other brands of cider.

Ace cider also comes in different varieties; Apple, Apple-Honey, Berry, Pumpkin and Joker, with Pear being my favorite.

If you are new to the gluten free lifestyle, I would suggest sticking with ciders until the taste of real beer is such a distant memory, that the faint beer essence of gluten free beer will be enjoyable. Since gluten free beer is still such a new addition on the market, perhaps with time, breweries will get the hang of it and the taste will improve. Until then, there are plenty of other options to help those of us that are gluten free feel included.

How Many Beers are in a Keg?

Many have often wondered how many beers are in the different kinds of kegs.  There are many reasons to ask yourself this question; from trying to calculate how many kegs and what type of kegs you will need for a wedding or other celebration, to just trying to figure out how many beers you and your friends actually drank when you polished off that keg last Friday night.

Whatever the reason may be for this inquiry, we have the answer along with some common uses for each type of keg.  We even put this information in a handy keg comparison chart for your viewing pleasure.

different keg sizes

 

Mini Keg – Also called a Bubba Keg.  Typically used in a mini kegerator, they are commonly used for individual or small gathering use.  They also are good for portable applications as these kegs are easily transportable.  They hold 14 twelve ounce pours.

Cornelius Keg – Also known as a Home Brew Keg, Pepsi Keg or Corny Keg.  These kegs were once used in the soda industry but are now commonly used in home brewing or micro brewing   They hold 53 twelve ounce pours.

Sixth-Barrel – Also known as a Sixtel or Log, these kegs have become very popular with microbreweries as well as other establishments that would like to offer a wide-variety of beers in a limited space.  They are known for their small footprint.  Due to their smaller footprint these are often used in dual tap kegerators.  They hold 56 twelve ounce pours.

Quarter-Barrel – Also known as a Pony Keg or Stubby Quarter, these kegs are often used for small to medium-sized parties.  They have the same footprint as a half-barrel, but are more easily maneuverable as they come in at about half the weight. They hold 82 twelve ounce pours.

Slim Quarter – Also known as a Tall Quarter, these kegs are also often used for small to medium-sized parties.  They have the same capacity as the quarter barrel but offer a smaller footprint allowing for a wider variety of beers in a limited space.  Due to their smaller footprint these are also often used in dual tap kegerators.  These hold 82 twelve ounce pours.

Half-Barrel – Also known as a Full Size Keg or Full Keg, these are the most widely used and commonly distributed type of kegs.  They can be used in a large assortment of applications from college parties to restaurants and bars or even large events.  They hold 165 twelve ounce pours.

Craft Beer Club: Delirium Tremens

delirium tremens logoOne of my favorite beers is Delirium Tremens, a blonde Belgian style trippel, offered up by the Huyghe Brewery in Belgium. This beer first came into production in 1989 and has since won numerous accolades worldwide for its complex taste that has been proven to please the palates of many beer drinkers. Delirium Tremens is the brewery’s best known beer and one of four beers in the Delirium line up all branded with the signature pink elephant. A strong brew coming in at 8.5% ABV, this one is not for the faint of heart as one might tell from the tongue-in-cheek name referring to the shakes caused by alcohol withdrawal.beer bottle label - Delirium Tremens

Some may be intrigued by the unique label on the bottle illustrating colorful whimsical crocodiles and dragons attacked by a row of Hitchcock’s birds meant to symbolize a state of delirium; the masses agree that they love this beer. Though, it is hard to come to a consensus on what exactly makes up its taste profile. As you pour the beer into a glass you will notice the pale blonde coloring and dense white foam head that dissipates slowly. Upon tasting, I recognized coriander and orange that give it a light, fruity flavor profile. I also noticed the beer is very carbonated with a creamy complexity stemming from the multiple yeasts used in the brewing process. Just when you think you have the flavor figured out, the profile shifts into a dry, bitter, lingering finish.

This is a beer that really develops on the palate, from front to back, which makes it an ideal beer for laid back slow drinking. You definitely want to discover and enjoy each and every nuance and intricacy in Delirium Tremens. Save the chugging for the light macro brew  and enjoy Delirium Tremens at a leisurely pace with friends. Delirium Tremens is a great beer choice year round. The light, crisp, carbonated elements of the beer would make it a great choice for a summer evening on the patio. While the strong alcohol content and its yeasty, dry, bitter finish make it an ideal beer to serve up alongside a bowl of chili in the cold winter months. Let us know what you think of Delirium Tremens and cheers to good health!

Best Beer Quotes

 

I learned from beer

Beer, as we all know, is one of life’s greatest pleasures. It can be enjoyed with the masses or in the comfort of complete solitude. But no matter whom you’re with or where you are, you can imbibe knowing that you’re enjoying that pint with many others all over the world, because beer simply has that global appeal. People from different geographic locations, different cultures, and different periods in time have had, and continue to find a great level of satisfaction in this timeless concoction. Since its creation, beer has been bringing us together, sparking great conversation, and has served as the inspiration for countless bright ideas and profound revelations from members of all areas of society and countries, the world over. With that said, here are some of my favorite quotes, inspired by yours truly…beer!

  •  “Drinking beer doesn’t make you fat; it makes you lean…Against bars, tables, chairs, and poles.” – Anonymous
  • “Without question, the greatest invention in the history of mankind is beer. Oh, I grant you that the wheel was also a fine invention, but the wheel does not go nearly as well with pizza.”– Dave Barry
  • I am a firm believer in the people. If given the truth, they can be depended upon to meet any national crisis. The great point is to bring them the real facts, and beer. – Abraham Lincoln
  • “Beauty lies in the hands of the beer holder.” – Kinky Friedman
  • “Give my people plenty of beer, good beer, and cheap beer, and you will have no revolution among them.” – Queen Victoria
  • “A fine beer may be judged with only one sip, but it’s better to be thoroughly sure.” – Czech proverb
  • “Some see the glass as half full, others see the glass as half empty. I just wonder who the hell has been drinking my beer!” – Anonymous
  • “You can’t be a real country unless you have a beer and an airline – it helps if you have some kind of football team or some nuclear weapons, but at the very least you need a beer.” – Frank Zappa
  • “Give me a woman who loves beer and I will conquer the world.” – Kaiser Wilhelm
  • “Cerevisia malorum. divina medicina (A little bit of beer is divine medicine.)” – Paracelsus, 16th Century physician
  • “Beer has food value, but food has no beer value.” – Anonymous