Kegerators 101

Adam Rogers
Jul 31, 2019 · 3 min read

If you want craft beer tap for your office, the first thing you’re gonna need is a tap. A great solution for your office could be a kegerator. But what exactly is a kegerator?

The word “kegerator” is a portmanteau, combining the words “keg” and “refrigerator”. Popularised in the home brewing community, where intrepid brewers would butcher a domestic fridge to accommodate their kegs and affix beer taps to serve from, kegerators have become commercially available and have proven themselves to be useful pieces of kit in a number of situations.

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A kegerator with an air compressor on top

Kegerators are freestanding, meaning they don’t require plumbing in. They are also usually on wheels, meaning they are easy to move around the office (into the boardroom for that important meeting, for example). In the configuration supplied by DeskBeers, kegerators can be rolled in, plugged into the mains and are good to go. We pre-chill all our kegs before delivery, so while we do recommend letting the beer settle for a couple of hours before service, you can usually start pulling pints pretty quickly after your new office beer tap has arrived.

Under pressure

DeskBeers makes another significant customisation to improve kegerators for use as an office beer tap — an air compressor.

Any keg needs to be pressurized in order to force the beer out of the keg and up, through the tap, into your glass. Traditionally the gas used is carbon dioxide (CO2). CO2 is preferred because it isn’t oxygen. Oxygen causes beer to, appropriately enough, oxidise. Oxidation causes beer to taste stale and papery. CO2 isn’t oxygen, so oxidisation isn’t a concern. However, CO2 is still absorbed by beer and, after a while, the beer will start to over-carbonate, causing the beer to become uncontrollably foamy, leading to a sharp uptick in the number of “would you like a flake with that?” jokes. Not funny, on many levels.

Air compressors alleviate both problems, but come with another tradeoff. Our GCSE science tells us air contains some amount of oxygen, and we now know that oxygen will cause beer to oxidise. That means pressurizing a normal keg of beer with air isn’t an option for us. Fortunately, there is an alternative — KeyKegs.

KeyKegs are sometimes described (by me, at least) as a “bag in a box”. It’s not a box — it’s a plastic barrel, but you get the ideal. With KeyKegs, we can force air into the plastic barrel but outside of the bag containing the beer, leaving the beer untouched by gas of any kind. This is really great for an office beer tap, as it means the longevity of the keg vastly increases. With all the will in the world, an office will get through a keg much more slowly than an pub, so this increase in shelf-life is a real boon in the office environment.

KeyKegs are described as being a “one-way” keg, meaning they don’t get taken back to the brewery to be used again as a regular steel keg would. Instead, your friendly DeskBeers dispense engineer will collect your empty kegs and bring them back to us where they will be recycled. Clearly this kind of single-use plastic isn’t ideal, and we will continue to look for alternative solutions for serving great beer in offices, but for now we believe this is the best tradeoff for the planet and your beer.

Vital Statistics

Before you get yourself a beer tap for the office, you’re going to want to know how much space your kegerator will take up.

We like to supply kegerators from the American refrigeration specialists, True. We have found the True TDD-1 kegerator to be a real workhorse — reliable, rugged and super functional. The dimensions are:

Height: 1010mm
Width: 597mm
Depth: 794mm
Door: 550mm

Conclusion

We hope this has been a useful primer on what kegerators are, and why they might make a good office beer tap for you. If you’re looking for something a little more sophisticated, you might like to consider a bespoke, integrated solution. Get in touch with one of the team to discuss that.

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Delivering DeskBeers

Ruminations on developing a craft beer delivery service

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