Everything you need to know about a Kegerator — That you didn’t know you needed to know
Kegerators, draft beer dispenser, keg beer cooler, home brew tap, home bar / wet bar, call for a good time bar — whatever you want to call it — when you have a Kegco kegerator, the bar is always open. There are so many kegerator options out there and with so little time to pick one, because you needed that draft beer tap in your basement, like yesterday. Lucky for you, we created this Kegerator 101 crash course, soon you will be the smartest of all your friends.
Now you have two choices...
Carefully read through the entire blog word for word like a good student, or scan the topics and hop down to your favorite part like we all do.
- What is a kegerator?
- Different types of kegerators
- Different types of kegs
- What comes with a kegerator?
- How many kegs will fit in a kegerator?
- What kind of coupler do I need?
- What do I need to tap the keg?
- What temperature should I set my kegerator?
- How long does a keg stay fresh?
- How many kegs can you tap with one CO2 tank?
- Does a kegerator work outside?
- I got my kegerator, can I use it right away?
- Can a kegerator be built-in?
- Can I make my own kegerator?
- How do I clean my kegerator?
- I have questions about my kegerator, who do I call?
1. What is a kegerator?
First thing's first, what the heck is a kegerator? Is that even a real word? I let Google help me with this first question, according to Wikipedia -“Kegerator, a portmanteau of keg and refrigerator, is a refrigerator that has been designed or altered to store and dispense kegs. By keeping the keg in a refrigerated environment and using CO2to pressurize and dispense the keg, it will allow the contents to remain fresh and carbonated for an extended period of time, generally a couple of months. Specifically designed kegerators are available for both commercial and residential use, however a common refrigerator can be reconfigured into a kegerator with a kegerator conversion kit”
A kegerator is a refrigerator that holds a keg of beer and uses CO2 pressure to dispense that beautiful brew into your container of choice for your enjoyment.
2. Different Types of Kegerators
Big or Small we love them all. There are different types of kegerators depending on your needs and space including: freestanding, built-in, indoor, outdoor, commercial, residential, slim, and full size. You can also customize the number of taps and what you are dispensing.
Wondering which kegerator you need? Read our blog, The Pros and Cons of Different Types of Kegerators.
Outdoor kegerators like our Kegco HK38 Stainless Steel keg cooler, is the best friend your BBQ didn’t know it needed. What else goes better with a juicy burger than an ice cold draft beer? Don’t forget to tuck it in at night under a cozy kegerator cover.
Limited on space? The Kegco 15” wide keg beer dispenser is just like a full size kegerator but on a diet. Holds a 7.75 gallon keg of beer, that’s 62 pints of that yum yum.
Are you a home brew hobbyist? We got a kegerator for you too, locked and loaded with all the home brew quick connect parts to hook up your ball lock kegs and share some of that home brew love. Ferment and chill your home brew in our Kegco 309 kegerator with a wide temperature range of 32-75 degrees.
It’s not always all about beer... dispense almost anything from your kegerator! Kombucha, cold brew, nitro cold brew, wine, carbonated water, cocktails, cider... really we could go on and on but you get the point.
Find out more about the different types of kegerators here.
3. Different Types of Kegs
Just like us, kegs come in all different shapes and sizes. Domestic and imported beers will also vary in the type of keg and coupler. Read our full blog about keg sizes here.
Let’s start with the smallest and work our way up. The Kegco 1.75 gallon keg is the baby of our keg family, it holds about 14 pints, just enough for you and a few friends.
The next most common size is the 5 gallon or sixth barrel keg, holding 40 pints of liquid gold. We offer this size in commercial (D system coupler) or home brew (ball lock). Next we go up to the 7.75 gallon, holding 62 pints in this slim quarter keg.
Finally we have the half barrel, 15.5 gallon keg, most commonly found at keggers and frat parties. Also called a full size keg, this holds a lot of beer, 124 pints to be exact. If you are a Coors lover you know they make their kegs a little different, while they might not fit in all kegerators, rest assured they will fit in ours!
Guinness drinkers know you need the nitro hook up to dispense that dark goodness. We specialize in complete Guinness kegerator kits too. Check them out here.
Different styles of beers will have different coupler types, so make sure you have the correct coupler to connect to that kind of keg. Whats a coupler you ask? Its that little device that connects to your keg and allows the gas (CO2 or Nitro) to flow in and your beer to flow out.
4. What comes with a Kegerator?
Like an all inclusive resort in Cancun, we give you the whole package. But unlike those internet deals, you can customize our kits however you like. Our Kegco kegerators come complete with everything you need including the tower, faucets, regulator, coupler, hoses, clamps, and CO2 tank. Just add beer and you are good to go.
Oh you fancy! We offer many upgrade options such as the 14” stainless steel tower and premium dual gauge regulators. Each kegerator comes with aspecialized direct draw kit designed for exactly what you want to drink.
Home Brew keg coolers come with ball lock couplers designed specifically for your home brew kegs. The cold brew coffee “javarator” comes with a nitro tank and stout faucet for that perfect cascading pour.
Our team of beverage dispensing experts are always just a call or email away to help you with any questions to make sure you have the ultimate setup!
5. How many kegs fit in a kegerator?
Well that’s a loaded question. Depending which kegerator you choose will determine how many kegs fit. Lucky for you , we made this handy dandy little chart.
|Brand||Full Size||Pony Size||Quarter slim||5 Gallon D System||5 Gallon Ball Lock||5 Gallon Pin Lock||5 Gallon Strap Handle|
* - Using Wood riser for front keg
** - With external CO2 tank (3 with internal CO2 tank)
Looking for something bigger? Our commercial units hold up to 3 full size kegs or 11 five gallon kegs, now that’s a lot of beer.
6. What kind of coupler do I need?
Don’t get caught with the wrong coupler, rookie mistake. What kind of beer you are dispensing will determine what coupler you need. If you are the “do it yourself” kind of person, you probably brew your own beer and use Cornelius or “corny” kegs.
These kegs have either ball lock or pin lock disconnects. Unlike commercial kegs, which have one valve that requires one coupler, Corny kegs have separate posts for gas and liquid that each require their own coupler. These gas and liquid couplers are not interchangeable, and ball lock keg couplers are not interchangeable with pin lock keg couplers.
If you will be dispensing commercial kegs, you will need to select the coupler that corresponds to the brand of beer that you are dispensing.
Oh look we made another chart for you, just like Nana, we are always here to help.
- D SYSTEM: Fits Most North American Beers (E.g. Budweiser, Coors, Miller, Labatt, and Molson)
- S SYSTEM: Fits Many Import Kegs (E.g. Heineken, Becks, and Amstel Light)
- A SYSTEM: Fits Many German Kegs (E.g. Spaten, Warsteiner, and Paulaner)
- M SYSTEM: Fits Some German Kegs (E.g. Schneider, Aventinus, and Einbecker)
- G SYSTEM: Fits Some European Kegs (E.g. Bass, Boddingtion's, Caffrey's, and Anchor Steam)
- U SYSTEM: Fits Some European Kegs (E.g. Guinness and Harp)
7. What do I need to tap the keg?
If you purchased a Kegco kegerator with the direct draw kit you will have everything you need to tap the keg. Make sure to get your CO2 tank filled at your local gas supplier as all tanks are shipped empty. Brew up some beer or stop by your favorite local watering hole to grab a keg and lets tap that!
Some of our customers like to get creative and make their own kegerator, or as us beer people call it, a keezer. You can turn your old refrigerator or freezer into a beer dispensing machine with our Kegco conversion kits.
Got an old car or bus sitting around, turn it into a kegerator. Got a boat with a hole in it, make it a kegerator! Did you steal your neighbors trash can? Make a kegerator! Really you can make a draft beer dispenser out of almost anything and we have seen some crazy stuff.
Wow really went off on a tangent there, anyways. Our Kegco conversion kits have all the same goods as our kegerators but without the cooling unit.
Guide to Tapping Your Keg in a Kegerator
- Before tapping the keg, you want to give it some time to settle in the kegerator and reach the proper serving temperature. The amount of time it cools depends on how cold the keg is when you get it. The right temperature can depend on the style of beer you are serving as some brands are served warmer than others, but the general rule is that beer needs to be between 32 and 38 degrees to stay in its liquid form. Otherwise, you'll end up dispensing a bunch of foam.
- The next step is tapping the keg. Make sure that you have the right type of keg coupler for the beer you're serving. Most domestic beers use a D-system keg coupler but you may need something else if you're tapping an import or home-brewed beer. Check out our Keg Coupler Compatibility Chart to find the one that is right for you.
- Next, open your Co2 tank and set the pressure. Make sure the valves on the regulator are open also and adjust the regulator to your serving pressure. Again, the type of beer you are serving dictates the amount of pressure necessary to dispense it, but we generally start with around 10 psi and adjust as necessary to balance the keg You want to make sure that the regulator is pressurized before tapping the keg to prevent your beer from flowing back into the air lines when you tap it.
- Take the dust cover off of your keg and connect the keg coupler. Twist the coupler clockwise into the keg until it's snug. Lever handle couplers require you to pull the handle out before pushing it down or lifting it up. Once the keg is tapped, you'll notice a little beer go into the line but it won't fill it until you open the faucet.
8. What temperature should I set my kegerator?
The debate of the century... how cold should I keep my beer? Too warm and you’ll have more head than you know what to do with. Too cold, and you might get a sloppy slushy instead.
The general rule is that beer needs to be between 32 and 38 degrees to stay in its liquid form. Although the right temperature can vary depending on the style of beer you are serving, some beers recommend a warmer temperature than others.
9. How long does a keg stay fresh?
A Kegco kegerator is the sure way to keep your beer freshest for the longest. You control the exact temperature and the CO2 dispense system keeps oxygen from accessing your beer.
Humans + Oxygen = Good
Beer + Oxygen = Bad
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. Each beer is different and storing your beer at the ideal temperature is essential for its preservation.
10. How many kegs can you tap with one CO2 tank?
Hey we finally found a reason for you to use math... if you are drinking a half barrel of beer per week and it takes about 1/2 lb. of CO2 to dispense 1/4 barrel of beer, how long will it take you to use up all your CO2 from your 5lb tank?
Yeah, we don’t want to do the math either, but a standard 5lb. CO2 tank can dispense between 2 to 4 full-sized kegs, depending on the ambient temperature. The colder the ambient temperature the closer you will get to 4 kegs.
Find out everything you need to know about CO2 in our blog, click here for more.
11. Does a kegerator work outside?
Yes sir, it sure does. Well that is if you were smart and purchased a Kegco HK38 All Stainless Steel Outdoor Kegerator dispensing up to 3 different beverages at one time. We don’t like to brag, but the HK38 unit is kind of a big deal. NSF approved for commercial use but also great for that outdoor patio at home. This kegerator is like the king of kegerators, built to withstand all the elements. It can be built-in to your outdoor kitchen or keep it freestanding poolside so a cold draft beer is never more than an arm’s reach away.
12. I got my kegerator, can I use it right away?
We know you are excited for your new kegerator, but its best to let it sit upright for 8 hours before use. This will reduce the possibility of a malfunction in the cooling system from handling during transportation.
After that you are good to go, power that baby up. Make sure to remove all packaging and wipe interior clean with a soft cloth and lukewarm water if you desire.
Once you turn it on, allow about 24 hours for the unit to reach the desired temperature. Our Kegco K309 kegerator features the Deep Chill function which allows the compressor to run continuously for 24 hours to cool your keg as fast as a kegerator can cool beer if a kegerator could cool beer... which to be clear, it does.
13. Can a kegerator be built-in?
Kegco offers both built-in / under-counter kegerators and freestanding kegerators. A built-in unit can also be freestanding, but a freestanding unit cannot be built-in. Why, you ask? Our built-in units are specially designed with front ventilation, while our free-standing kegerators vent from the back.
14. Can I make my own kegerator?
YES! Convert any refrigerator or freezer into a draft beer dispenser with our Kegco conversion kits. Turn your old VW bus into a mobile bar, add a beer dispenser to the back of your bike and be the talk of the town. We offer the widest selection of conversion kits, from door mount kits or tower kits. If you can dream it, we can do it!
Understand the differences between a kegerator or keezer in our blog here.
Visit our Instagram and TikTok to see a quick video tutorial of how easy it is to turn that old fridge into a kegerator!
15. How do I clean my kegerator?
If you are going to clean one thing in your house, make sure its your kegerator. Nothing is worse than dirty beer. We make it easy to keep your kegerator clean and your beer tasting fresh af.
Dirty beer lines can contaminate your beer with icky yucky bacteria, and cause excessive foaming when poured. Cleaning kits contain equipment that easily flushes through the beer lines and essential dispense parts.
Cleaning is so important we have a whole blog dedicated to it, so listen up and don’t forget to wash behind your ears. Read Blog Here.
16. I have questions about my kegerator, who do I call?
At Kegco we offer lifetime tech support for our products. Our team of beer experts are always here to help. Give us a call at 800-710-9939 or email us at firstname.lastname@example.org, or check out our helpful blogs online.
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