Kegerator – The kegerator is the king of beer dispensing, which is the reason why many restaurants rely on kegerators to dispense their kegs. Not only is the taste and experience of drinking beer from a kegerator better than other dispense systems, a kegerator is designed to preserve the quality of a keg.
- With a refrigerator storage cabinet, the keg is stored at the ideal temperature for the specific beer that is stored inside.
- This temperature maintenance also prevents beer from being dispensed warm and foamy.
- The CO2 dispense system of a kegerator prevents oxygen from accessing the beer and maintaining the fresh brewery taste.
For a properly stored keg in a kegerator, how long the beer will remain fresh will depend on the style of beer. Pasteurized beers can stay fresh from three to six months. For non-pasteurized beers, you can expect the keg to stay fresh approximately two months.
- 1 How long does beer last in a keg once opened?
- 2 Can beer oxidize in a keg?
- 3 Can you tap a keg the night before?
- 4 How do you store kegs overnight?
- 5 Why does my keg beer taste bad?
Does beer go bad in keg?
How Long Does Draft Beer Remain Fresh? – There is no one hard and fast rule for how long a keg of draft beer will stay fresh. This is especially true for craft beers because different styles of beer last longer than others. A good rule of thumb is that the shelf life for a keg of pasteurized beer is about 90-120 days (or 3-4 months), and unpasteurized draft beer will last about 45-60 days (or 6-8 weeks) when stored at the proper temperature.
- Many import and domestic beers are pasteurized.
- If you’re unsure whether or not your beer has been pasteurized, then treat it like it is unpasteurized.
- An important thing to remember is that countdown starts the day your keg is filled at the brewery, not when you tap it or buy it.
- One of the first things you should do when you pick up a keg is to check is the label to see if it has a “born on” date or expiration date.
If the beer in your keg is passed its expiration date, then we wouldn’t recommend drinking it.
How long is a keg good for once tapped?
How Long Does a Keg Stay Fresh? – For most beers on tap, dispensed with CO2, the rule of thumb is that non-pasteurized beer will retain its freshness for 45-60 days, if proper pressure and temperature are maintained. If you are serving up pasteurized draft beer, the shelf life is around 90-120 days.
If you have just gotten an air pumped party keg, you should consume the beer within 8-12 hours if you want to enjoy it at peak freshness. You will find that most breweries now print a freshness date on the keg for your convenience. Be sure to read the labeling carefully, as some breweries print this as an expiration date, while others opt for a “born on” date.
These dates have the days it is in inventory at the brewery figured into the equation and generally print the date on the side of the keg or on the cap.
How long does beer last in a keg once opened?
How long will a keg of draft beer remain fresh All beers are at their best on the day the keg is filled at the brewery. As days go past, the freshness reduces. In general, the fresher your keg draft beer is, the better it tastes. Keg beer will remain fresh if dispensing with CO2 while maintaining the proper temperature and pressure: For non-pasteurized draft beer, about 45-60 days.
For pasteurized draft beer, about 90-120 days. NOTE: When dispensing keg beer with a party pump (air), any draft beer will remain fresh for no more than 8-12 hours. For quality assurance, most breweries now print a freshness date on each keg’s cap or side. Depending on the brewery, this may either be a “born on” (filled) date or an “expiration” date.
Read the label carefully. While each brewer’s shelf life may differ, days in inventory before it reaches you are factored into the keg’s shelf life. For example, non-pasteurized beer has a shelf-life of 45-60 days. Here is an example of a keg’s life:
Days 0-10 (Transit/Satellite Warehousing) Days 10-20 (Distributor Warehouse/Retail Delivery) Days 20-60 (At Retail/Home)
So the average keg has 25-40 days of shelf life at retail or in a home. Breweries recommend not drinking draft beer past the freshness date. Don’t forget that air contains oxygen, and oxygen is an enemy of beer! : How long will a keg of draft beer remain fresh
How long does beer last in a keg not refrigerated?
How Long Does A Keg Last Unrefrigerated? – The exact shelf life of an unrefrigerated keg depends on the type and brand of beer. Generally, a well-sealed keg will remain good for up to three months when left at room temperature. After that, it may start to taste flat or stale.
Can beer oxidize in a keg?
One of several problems that can happen in beer brewing is oxidation. Blogger Bryan Roth explores oxidation, its effects, what causes it, and how to avoid it. ———- The process of oxidation is detrimental to your beer, but it’s something that can be difficult to avoid.
- To some degree, oxidation in homebrew will occur whether you keg or bottle your beer.
- Oxidation in homebrew is a chemical process that can destabilize it and cause stale, off-flavors.
- Most commonly, people describe the taste of oxidized beers as having flavors of wet cardboard, sherry, or fruit, but that’s not the only issue.
Along with altering the taste of your beer, oxidation can also affect the quality of your beer. Having oxidation in your homebrew can cause it to be less stable, meaning it will not stay as fresh as long. When Oxygen Is Good For Homebrew? A tricky part of the oxidation concept is that oxygen is actually beneficial early in the brewing process, so there is a time when oxidation in the homebrew is good. After you’ve boiled and cooled your wort and moved it into your primary fermenter, take a few minutes to rapidly stir or shake and rock your wort. At this early stage, building a frothy head on your wort is good, as pitched yeast will need the air for healthy growth and will remove the oxygen during the fermentation process.
- You can even purchase aeration devices to help this process.
- After you’ve pitched your yeast and fermentation has begun, you’ll want to avoid shaking and agitating your beer as much as possible.
- When Oxidation May Occur In Your Homebrew Oxidation can take place at many points throughout the brewing process, from creating a large froth while stirring your mash to the moment you move your beer into a keg or bottle.
For most homebrewers, their beer is at greatest risk of oxidation while racking from one carboy to another or into their final vessel of choice, whether it be bottle or keg. In all these instances, it’s important to try and avoid splashing of your beer. and siphon connections to make sure they’re tight. While moving beer from one carboy to another, allow your siphon tubing to rest on the bottom of the secondary fermenter or as close to the rising beer as possible. This will dramatically reduce the oxidation in your homebrew.
- How to Avoid Oxidation In Homebrew When Kegging or Bottling Homebrewers who keg their beer may have an easier time avoiding the effects of oxidation so long as they’ve been careful in other steps of the brewing process.
- Purging a keg with CO 2 before and after filling it with homebrew will help keep the beer fresh.
Those who bottle, however, will still want to make sure to avoid unnecessary splashing or air bubbles while racking into bottles. Moving a homebrew from a carboy to a bottling bucket can help, as a spigot and properly fitted tubing will move the beer safely from one vessel to your bottle. Many homebrewers also prefer to use oxygen absorbing bottle caps that will help mitigate oxidation. Be sure to also store your beer in a place where temperatures are controlled and preferably cool. Warm storage can promote oxidation in homebrew. Bottled beers can’t help but become oxidized over time, so know that some beers styles may be impacted greater than others.
- Your IPA, for example, may have a shift in its hop flavor compared to a barleywine or imperial stout, which may actually find pleasant tastes from sitting in cool storage for a little longer than normal.
- The important thing to remember when it comes to oxidation in homebrew is that once properly carbonated, many beer styles are meant to be consumed fresh.
Don’t be afraid to pop your cap and enjoy it! —– Bryan Roth is a beer nerd and homebrewer living in Durham, North Carolina. You can read his thoughts on beer and the beer industry on his blog, This Is Why I’m Drunk, and send him suggestions on how to get his wife to drink craft beer via Twitter at @bryandroth,
Do kegs go bad if they get warm?
Why Storage Temperature Matters – Here’s where it starts to get a little bit more complicated — How you store your keg is important, No matter what kind of pump you have on your keg, if you don’t store it at the right temperature you will notice a decrease in quality. The recommended temperature to store your keg is 38°F, Try not to go too much above or below that temperature. If the temperature rises above this, your beer may become foamier as the warmer temperature liberates carbon dioxide too quickly.
- Not only does this cause excessive foam, but also leads to stale beer.
- If the temperature rises above 55°F, then it’s likely that bacteria will start to grow which will spoil the beer pretty quickly.
- If you keep the temperature too cold, the beer will retain its carbonation.
- If this happens, you won’t be able to experience the true flavor and aroma of each pour,
If the temperature falls below 28°F, then your beer will likely freeze. Obviously, you want to avoid storing it at this temperature. It is recommended to store your keg of beer in your kegerator, or perhaps a converted refrigerator, so that it maintains this desired temperature at all times.
Can you tap a keg multiple times?
Can a Keg Be Tapped Twice? – If you’re like most of us, you can’t drink a keg of beer in one sitting—even if you’re surrounded by some of your rowdiest friends. Naturally, you’ll want to know if you can tap your keg twice. The good news is yes, you can tap a keg twice —with some limitations, of course,
- In the event that you’re using a manual or O2 pump, you’ll unfortunately only get one tap out of your keg.
- If you’re using a CO2 pump, however, you should be able to tap your keg at will, as you aren’t introducing any foreign gases into the keg, which already comes with CO2.
- With that being said, it won’t matter if you don’t store your keg the right way, so make sure to follow all steps of the storing and tapping process if you want to get maximum use out of your beer.
Can you tap a keg the night before?
How Long Does A Tapped Keg Last? – Keg taps and pumps are great for parties and events because of their portability and ease of use. Since a picnic pump uses oxygen instead of CO2 a tapped keg only lasts about 12-24 hours depending on the style of beer and how much oxygen was pumped into it.
Can a keg last two days?
Tip 4. Keg that’s been tapped via a party pump will only last up to 24 hours – No matter how strongly you cool your beer down in this case, nothing will prevent it from going flat in a day or two at best (unlike the classic draft dispensing system powered by CO2 or nitrogen).
How do you store kegs overnight?
How Can I Keep My Keg Cold in the Summer? – The heat can do a number on the flavor and quality of your beer. If you have a big day coming up, you can keep your keg in your refrigerator the night before. You can also keep your keg inside a tub or garbage can and cover as much surface area as possible with ice.
Why does my keg beer taste bad?
Beer tastes stale, with a papery or ‘wet cardboard’ aroma The keg could be past it’s expiration date. If the keg has been on tap for longer than 4 weeks, it can go bad, and should be returned to the distributor.
Why do you keep beer in a keg?
Taps – Kegs are sealed to contain the liquid and pressurized gas for storage and transportation. Most beer is served carbonated, and this is most easily accomplished by storing it carbonated as well. Beer kegs are designed to maintain the carbonation in a beverage by storing it with pressurized carbon dioxide in the headspace above the liquid.
- The liquid is also dispensed using pressurized gas; the pressure of the gas provides mechanical force to overcome friction and gravity to push the beer to the dispensing location.
- To serve the beverage, a keg must be tapped to breach the container so that pressurized gas can be added and the liquid can be dispensed.
Originally, this was done by hammering a tapping rod through a cork bung, similar to how a keystone is still used today to tap unpressurized cask ales. Tapping a keg this way would often waste a bit of beer, which would be forced out under pressure until the tap was secured.
By the 1950s and 60s when metal kegs had replaced wooden ones, common tap systems included Golden Gate, Hoff–Stevens, and Peerless taps, which all had one or two couplers for pressurizing and dispensing the beer but retained a separate bunghole for cleaning and filling the keg which was sealed with a wooden bung.
These made it easier to tap the keg, but still had sanitation problems (from the wooden bung and attachments that penetrated the keg, and from ports that were at the bottom of the keg next to the floor) and tended to leave some beer inaccessible at the bottom of the keg.
In the 1960s and 70s, several similar styles of tap were created in Europe and America which used a single hole for cleaning, filling, pressurizing, and dispensing. A single bunghole at the top of the keg is used to clean and fill the keg, after which it is sealed with a metal assembly containing a ball bearing which acts as a stopper, held in place by the gas pressure inside the keg.
The tap is twisted or slid into place atop the keg, and a lever provides the mechanical force needed to push the ball bearing down, providing access to the keg’s contents. These taps, or “couplers”, are more sanitary and easy to operate, and were adopted by major U.S.
- Breweries like Anheuser-Busch in the 1970s and quickly displaced other taps to become the industry standard.
- One such system was referred to as Sankey after its designer ( GKN Sankey Ltd.
- Named for founder Joseph Sankey).
- The term Sankey, often misspelled “Sanke”, has become a generic name for all of the similar industry standard couplers.
Today there are six industry standard couplers:
- The D System is used by most breweries in the Americas.
- The S System is used by many breweries in Europe. It is similar to the D System but has a longer probe.
- The G System (or Grundy) is less common and is used by some British and Irish breweries and beers including Tennent’s, Boddingtons, and Fuller’s ESB,
- The U System (or U/E.C.) is uncommon and is used for a few Irish beers (mainly beers from Guinness/Diageo: Guinness, Harp, Kilkenny, and Smithwick’s ) and Magners cider.
- The A System (or Flat Top German) is used by many large German breweries. It slides into place rather than rotating.
- The M System is very uncommon and is used by only a few breweries in and around Germany (mainly for Aventinus Eisbock, Einbecker, Schneider, Veltins, and Żywiec ). It also slides into place.
There are two different types of tapping equipment that are available for kegs. A “party tap” or “picnic tap” is a hand-operated pump that utilizes outside air, thus introducing oxygen and bacteria into the keg. This causes the beer to oxidize, affecting the taste; the partial pressure of CO 2 will also decrease, causing the beer to go flat.
- Egs dispensed with a party pump should be used within 18–24 hours so that the beer does not become unpalatable.
- Commercial installations, as well as some home users, use pure pressurized gas; these can preserve a keg up to 120 days with proper refrigeration.
- In simpler installations only CO 2 is used to pressurize and dispense the beer, but in installations with very long lines between the keg and dispensing location (bars with customer-operated faucets at each table being an extreme example), the pressure needed to pump the beer for dispensing would over-carbonate the beer.
In these situations, “beer gas” or “mixed gas” is used which combines CO 2 with another gas, usually nitrogen, Nitrogen is 80 times less soluble in water than CO 2, so it can provide additional pressure without noticeably affecting flavor. Typical beer gas is 70-75% nitrogen and 25-30% CO 2, but the ideal ratio depends on the beer being served and the installation; more advanced installations blend the gas on site so it can be adjusted for each beer.
- A few beers like Guinness are required to be pressurized and dispensed with mixed gas; they usually also require the use of a special faucet that deliberately creates additional friction to force the nitrogen out of solution, creating a thick frothy head.
- As with any pressurized container, a keg can cause injury, even at normal operating pressure, whether with compressed air or carbon dioxide: “The tapping system and pressure regulator both should be equipped with a pressure relief (blow off) device.
If you are not familiar with tapping equipment, consult your retailer.” (printed on an Anheuser-Busch ‘s keg cap) Commercially, kegs are usually kept in a refrigerated room for storage and dispensing, and liquid lines run from this room to all of the faucets in the restaurant.
- Egs are too large to fit in a typical home refrigerator.
- A kegerator (specially designed for kegs, or converted from a suitable small refrigerator) can be used, but as these are somewhat specialized they are cost-prohibitive for the average consumer who has only occasional use for one, and are obviously impractical to bring to a beach or campsite.
Instead, in the US and Australia, kegs are usually kept in a bucket of ice and/or water to keep the beer cool. Alternately, the keg can be kept at ambient temperature and served using a “jockey box”, consisting of a cooler with beer coils (50–120-foot-long (20–40 m) metal dispensing lines arranged in a coil) and filled with ice, which acts as a heat exchanger to cool the beer to serving temperature by the time it reaches the faucet.
How do you know if keg beer is bad?
Foul Taste – The most obvious red flag of a bad keg is a foul taste. Your beer may be unnaturally sweet, with the taste of ripe apples or other fruit. Conversely, it may also taste like sulfur. Either way, these strange (and potentially foul) tastes can let you know right away that your keg isn’t good anymore.
Is it safe to drink 10 year old beer?
Does Beer Expire? – Allagash Brewing Company A question we get often: does beer expire? Short answer, no. Beer isn’t like milk. With age, it doesn’t actually expire or become unsafe to drink. Old beer’s taste, however, will absolutely change. But stored properly, an old beer’s effect on your body won’t be different than a freshly packaged beer.
- How does that work? The wort—or unfermented beer—is basically Pasteurized by the brewing process, effectively killing off any unwanted organisms.
- Once the beer is fully fermented, it creates an environment in which the types of pathogens or bacteria that can cause harm aren’t able to survive.
- This is due to the combination of alcohol, the beer’s low pH, and the antimicrobial activity of hops.
There are quite a few other microbes that can live in these conditions, but they’re not harmful. This means that in a properly brewed and packaged beer, you’ll just find the beer’s ingredients and a teensy bit of air. That tiny amount of air is important.
There’s no way to package a beer without a miniscule amount of oxygen sticking around. At our brewery, we measure this amount in parts per billion. With time, that oxygen inside every bottle, can, or keg, changes the beer. This is called “oxidation” and is responsible for a range of flavors. Some beers will develop a stale, cardboard-like flavor, accompanied by a note of sherry.
More malt-forward beers can develop a sweet, bready, and even toffee-ish flavor. In a beer of ours called —a bourbon barrel-aged Tripel—we’ve noted some of those pleasant toffee and almost caramel-like flavors developing with age. A beer’s “hoppiness” will also dissipate with age.
Hop aromas in particular are notoriously time-sensitive. The bitterness hops impart in the beer will stay in the mouthfeel, but any of those piney, citrusy, or floral hop aromas that characterize a hop-forward beer won’t stick around in an older beer. But what about skunky beer? Light is the culprit there.
Beer ages poorly under any ultraviolet light (thus why a term for properly aging beer is “cellaring” or keeping it in a dark place). Brown bottles and aluminum cans are both effective at blocking out light. But beer in a clear or lighter-colored bottle will develop that signature “skunk-like” flavor if left out.
Another, different staling agent is heat. The higher the heat, the faster the staling. Heat doesn’t create a specific off flavor itself (unlike light). Instead, it acts to speed up the process of oxidation. Our lab actually uses a warm fridge to simulate age in our beer, to get an idea of how it will hold up with time.
Intentionally aging beer is an entirely different subject, and one that’s worth a blog post of its own. But long story short, if you enjoy beer, you’ll want to drink it closer to its release date. It’s the best way to taste the beer as close as possible to the way the brewer intended.
Will a keg of beer go bad at room temperature?
Do untapped kegs need to be refrigerated? – Yes, most beers brewed in the US need to be refrigerated. To store a keg of beer at room temperature it needs to be pasteurized so it will not spoil and most beer brewed in the US is not pasteurized. A typical keg needs to be kept between 36 and 38 degrees to maintain freshness and flavor.
- There are a few exceptions to refrigerating keg beer; beers brewed outside of the United state are pasteurized to keep beer fresh longer when they ship the kegs around the world.
- In the United States we consume most of the beer brewed locally and quickly.
- There is little need for pasteurization and very few breweries practice it.
Click here to see more about the pasteurization of beer.