6 Best Kegerators | March 2017
- room for dispensing 3 kegs at once
- dishwasher safe components
- converts to a full 2-shelf fridge
- integrated electronic control panel
- convenient front-facing ventilation
- interior led illumination
- dual gauge regulator
- 2-faucet insulated draft tower
- auto defrost functionality
How Does a Kegerator Work?
To understand what a kegerator is, let's first deconstruct the word. We define the keg as a vessel that holds a large amount of beer, while a refrigerator is designed to keep anything inside it cool to prevent spoilage. The kegerator, then, is essentially a refrigerator with a protruding tap or faucet connected to an internal keg through which fresh beer may be dispensed.
Though one might suspect the kegerator is a complex system, the mechanics of its operation are quite simple. While kegerators come in a variety of shapes and sizes, they all have the same basic components. These components include a carbon dioxide cylinder, regulator, coupler, special tubing with a line for beer, the keg, faucet, and refrigerator itself.
Inside the fridge, a tap is hooked up to one hose, which is, in turn, hooked up to a keg, along with a coupler and a CO2 tank. The CO2 tank is used to keep the pressure even, thereby preventing the beer from going flat. The kegerator ultimately applies carbon dioxide pressure to the keg itself, pushing the beer upward and out through a faucet.
One of this device's main benefits is its ability to keep beer fresh for extended periods of time. A well-pressurized keg, for example, can keep beer fresh for up to four months. The next obvious benefit is its ability to maintain consistent temperatures. Most varieties of beer taste ideal between thirty-six and forty degrees Fahrenheit, which is relatively easy work for a kegerator, particularly if it has advanced digital controls and deep chill functions to keep brew cold for days at a time.
What Do I Need To Know About a Kegerator Before I Buy?
The majority of what you need to know is common sense. Where do you plan on putting the fridge? Do you have enough space? What are the dimensions of the model that you have in mind? This is where you start. Once you've got those areas squared away, you need to consider whether you want a fridge that can fit a half keg, a quarter keg, less than that, or more. This is an important area to research, as a kegerator is one household appliance you'd rather not have to return.
Certain top-of-the-line keg fridges come with two or three taps. But it's essential to point out that this almost never means that these fridges can accommodate anything more than one half keg, two quarter kegs, or three cornelius kegs (cornelius kegs hold 1/6 of a full keg's reserve). This isn't a big deal, as it still allows you to entertain with a decent bit of variety. But it is something you'll want to be aware of, just the same.
If you plan on placing the fridge over a carpet, you'll want a model with the tap coming out of the top. Any kegerator with a tap in the door might have a tendency to drip, regardless of whether there is a drip tray attached to the door or not. Also, consider whether you want to be able to move the refrigerator from place to place or not. Many keg fridges come with wheels or casters along the bottom, but this is not always the case. Finally, you'll want to take a look at several of the customer reviews. These may provide you with some insight, and they may also let you know some of the pitfalls to avoid.
Finally, decide whether you want to rent, buy, or build your own unit. For a one-time event, for example, it might be worth the rental expense, but if you plan to use it in your home all year, then buying or building one may be best. Many local retailers sell pre-made kits for easily modifying an existing fridge for use as a kegerator.
A Brief History of The Keg Refrigerator in America
The domestic refrigerator was invented as a more efficient alternative to the icebox during the early 1900's. Over the next 30 years, there were several innovations, including Freon, The Kelvinator, and Frigidaire's self-contained unit, which was followed by the addition of a freezer.
Beer or ale, meanwhile, had been sold in wooden casks for centuries, usually to major restaurant or tavern owners. The majority of these establishments maintained some type of cooling system, whereas individual beer drinkers had no way to keep tapped kegs from going skunk. During the second half of the twentieth century, the household refrigerator became an everyday appliance, while the aluminum keg began to replace the more traditional wooden barrel.
The keg fridge has continued to evolve over the past fifty years, particularly with the proliferation of in-house gaming rooms and basement bars. You're likely to find at least one keg fridge in every frat house, and a lot more in shared apartments of collegiate undergrads. Beer fridges have become especially popular due to the fact that buying one keg is a lot less expensive - and easier to manage - than buying the equivalent (approximately seven cases) worth of cans.