Are you a bottled beer fan or a connoisseur of the keg? Each variety has its own set of characteristics that makes the flavor and effervescence unique and palatable. If you are of the opinion that there’s nothing like a pint of foamy beer right out of the keg, you certainly know that keeping the beer fresh throughout the lifetime of the keg can get a little tricky. Exposure to oxygen, bacteria, and temperature are all factors that affect the rate at which a beer will lose its finest qualities. The keg is at its freshest point the day the brewery fills it. After that, it slowly begins to lose this quality. Here are a few facts about a keg’s freshness that you can use to get the most out of your beer on tap.
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.
Are There Exceptions to the Rule?
The short answer to this question is yes; there are always exceptions. For instance, bigger beers with higher alcohol content will last a bit longer than “the norm.” The character imbued on the beer by its hops will fade a bit, but these beers can be expected to last up to six months. In other cases, beers change even more slowly.
How Do I Know How Much Beer to Get?
If you are concerned about having a keg that is too big to finish before it loses its freshness, there are options you can consider to avoid this dilemma. Kegs come in varying sizes, so it is not always necessary to buy the biggest one on the market. Standard sizes and the amount of beer you can expect to get out of them are as follows:
- Full-size Keg (Half Barrel) = 165 12oz beers
- Euro Keg = 140 12oz beers
- Quarter Barrel Keg = 82 12oz beers
- Five Gallon Keg = 55 12oz beers
- Three Gallon Keg = 32 12oz beers
If you pay attention to these tips and facts about draft beer, you should be able to maintain freshness in your keg for the amount of time it takes for you to finish the beer. For more
information, and a selection of fine kegs for your home or business, come and see the experts at Payless Liquors today.