5 Reasons I DO NOT Want a Kegerator

no-kegerator

I’ve had a happy little dream brewing in the back of my brain for the past several years.  In it, there are two tap handles sticking out from the door of my beer fridge in the garage, one a fount of New Holland Dragons Milk, the other a free-flowing supply of a lovely pale ale.

I’ve researched it, looked at pricing, I even diagrammed it here back in 2010.

But thankfully, I never did anything about it, which is good – because now I think it would have been a mistake, for five very valid reasons:

Temptation

temtationThis one is the most obvious – having a beer tap in my house will most certainly lead to giving into temptation more often and therefore drinking more beer.

For instance,  sometimes I finish a can of Dales Pale Ale, but still want a “little taste” more.  Right now, that means opening another 12 ounce can, which would be much more than a “little taste,” so I don’t do it.  I let the moment pass and the craving subside.

HOWEVER, if I had Dales on tap, it’d be very easy to wander out to the garage and pull that “little taste” from the spigot.   And then maybe another.  And then one more.  Probably while standing there in front of the fridge.  Those little pours would easily add up to the beer I decided I really didn’t want to drink, and who knows where that might lead.

In other words, I’m too weak a man to be trusted with a beer fountain.

Pressure

pressureYou’re on the clock the moment you put a beer on tap.  The microbial forces of nature and chemistry immediately begin working against the beer you’ve broken the seal on, slowly turning it from a glorious expression of the brewer’s art into a flat and sour keg full of wasted glory.  In other words, you gotta finish the beer before it goes bad.

I’m pretty familiar with the demons in my head, and I know they’d be cooing about how I need to get out there and finish that beer before it goes  to waste.  How I’m not giving into temptation (as outlined above), but rather how I’m doing a service to the men and women who worked hard to make such a glorious beverage in the first place.  Drink it now before it goes bad.  Finish your plate, fatty.

It would be very easy to rationalize drinking in excess under the guise of “saving” the beer.

Corpulence

corp

So it turns out that beer contains these things called “calories.”  When consumed in excess of what the body needs for fuel (especially just before bed), these calories are converted, through the magic of biology, into an energy storage substance called “fat.” This fat typically girds itself around the middle of the torso, ensuring you feel ashamed of your body whenever visiting water parks or the beach.

A beer tap is nothing if not a caloric fountain, and one that I certainly would have trouble resisting. Making things even worse is the fact that drinking to excess will undoubted lead to the Snack Monster slipping its leash and ravaging the cabinets for anything crunchy and/or containing cheese.  Nothing for my girlish figure like piling an entire bag of Munchies (the Super Friends of snacks) on top of 30 ounces of Imperial Stout.

The end game here is a wardrobe comprised mostly from pants with elastic waistbands.

Guilt

guiltHowever this ends, it most likely ends badly. Either I’m drinking too much, or I’m letting beer go bad, or I’m drinking myself out of my pants.  Any way you slice, there’s going to be remorse.

For me, the worse kind of guilt is boomerang guilt, the kind that comes from making the same mistake over and over again, even after feeling bad about it and telling yourself you’re going to do better next time.

I imagine a river of beer flowing through my garage will pull me back into making the same poor choices time and again, which will lead to an awful case of boomerang guilt, which is something I don’t need in my life.

Failure

I’m a fickle man, a shameful follower of fads.  I have a garage full of brewing equipment that has sat unused for almost two years (although I do use the big orange Home Depot bucket for washing the car on occasion), and I have two carboys full of what by now is compost feeder (it was homebrew 18 months ago, but my aversion to bottling has led to “extreme aging,” to be kind to myself).

I’m wise enough to know the same fate would most likely befall my kegerator, which requires maintenance and regular cleaning (two things which I do not excel at) to perform optimally.

Here’s how I see my failure unfolding: I give into temptation, driven by the pressure of not wanting to waste the beer I’ve tapped, and feel guilt about my out-of-control behavior and eventual corpulence.  My better self rides in to the rescue, and I curb my tap-curling to the point where the beer in the kegs go flatter than Kansas.  I then let the beers stew there, ruining the kegs, the lines, and generally mucking up the whole show.  Eventually, I purge the entire system from my life, disposing of it wholesale at the dump on a fit of shame and anger.

dumpIn the end, I will be a fat guy with a pickled liver who feels like a loser, and doesn’t even have a cool kegerator to show for it.

Instead, maybe I should just cut to the chase and drill and spackle two holes in the door of my beer fridge and pretend I’ve been there, and I’ve done that.

For me, a kegerator is nothing but the fast lane to failure.

.

.

About these ads

Tags: , , , ,

Categories: Beer, Lifestyle

Author:Jim Galligan

Craft beer nerd, frequent beer blogger and occasional home brewer.

Join the Madness

Like beer? Like whiskey? Like goofing off? Follow Us!

44 Comments on “5 Reasons I DO NOT Want a Kegerator”

  1. February 12, 2013 at 12:54 pm #

    I guess if you really feel you have that little self-control, then it’s a good idea not to get one. I’ve been wanting one for years for homebrew. Bottling is such a PITA at times, and they take up a ton more space than corny kegs (of which I have close to a dozen just sitting around taking up space). As for the beer going bad, this won’t happen for many months if you use CO2 and store it properly (like, in a kegerator). Clean the lines every so often if you are truly afraid of bacteria. But beer goes bad in a keg quickly only when mixed with oxygen, which you get from party pumps, not from CO2.

    • February 12, 2013 at 1:11 pm #

      I probably have enough self control, Bill, but I had a conversation with a friend who had some struggles after adding taps in his home and they really resonated with me. I realized that my unfulfilled quest to add a tap was best left that way.

      • February 12, 2013 at 1:18 pm #

        Makes sense. I’m not saying you’re wrong. To each their own. But my own kegerator use would be for homebrew – 5 gallon corny kegs (or about 2 cases of beer each). I’d never consider getting a half-barrel to keep in the house.

        • February 12, 2013 at 1:20 pm #

          I agree 100% about the bottling thing – that was my main motivation for wanting a kegerator in the first place – I HATE bottling my homebrew!

  2. February 12, 2013 at 12:56 pm #

    I built a kegerator last year, and I speak from experience when I say that everything in this article is true.

    • February 12, 2013 at 1:12 pm #

      Thanks for the validation, Rich. Have you let yours go to seed yet, or is the beer still flowing?

      • February 12, 2013 at 1:25 pm #

        It flows way too rarely! Cleaning the lines well was a pain, and then I keep being too indecisive to commit to a beer. It’s been empty for over 6 months!

        • February 12, 2013 at 1:29 pm #

          I think I’d wind up in the same place – a fallow system (and an angry wife). Which reminds me, anyone want to buy a gently used beer kettle? :)

        • February 12, 2013 at 1:43 pm #

          Think I just sold it to Bill Swallow…see below…

  3. February 12, 2013 at 1:02 pm #

    All valid points. When I internalize them they become modestly frightening – especially because rather than go out to Kohls to stock up on a set of snazzy new sweatpants, I’d try to economize by digging through the sedimentary layers of clothing in the far reaches of my closet to repurpose a pair or two of off-white Sanz-A-Belt slacks.

    More practically, I’d get bored. I’ve even found myself buying less and less 6 packs simply because variety (for research purposes, of course) is a priority in my craft beer purchases. I’d even begin to look askance at a keg of Sculpin after a few days. Either that, or I’d feel compelled to have the neighbors over – even the ones I don’t like – every night to help polish it off.

    Now a setup with 4-5 sixtel taps on the other hand……

    Cheers!

    • February 12, 2013 at 1:13 pm #

      Sounds like someone should sell beer (or monger ale) for a living!

  4. BeerBanker
    February 12, 2013 at 1:02 pm #

    I’m in Jim’s corner on this one…Bill, making it sound so simple is truly paving the road to ruin for folks like us…

    • February 12, 2013 at 1:14 pm #

      He’s right about the homebrew/bottling thing: the main reason I really wanted a kegerator is so I didn’t have to go through the hassle of bottling that stuff!

    • February 12, 2013 at 1:25 pm #

      Well, knowing MANY people with kegerators, I know the road to ruin isn’t the norm. And yes, my advocacy for one is simply my own and not directed in general to everyone. It’s a PITA to always be bottling homebrew. Bigger bottles aren’t the answer either, as sometimes you want *a* beer and not a bomber. A kegerator would save me time, space, and allow flexibility in serving sizes (because sometimes I do just want a taste, particularly to see how the homebrew’s progressing over time, and doing so without committing to 12 ounces or spilling out the remainder).

  5. February 12, 2013 at 1:05 pm #

    I love this post. I had a house built for me in 2002. I worked with the cabinet guy to leave an opening for a built-in kegerator. 9.5 years later, a job change forced me to sell. I loved having a kegerator and I hated having a kegerator for most of the reasons you mention.

    With a six-pack, the accounting is easy: one empty container for each beer you’ve had. With a keg, it’s harder to keep track of all of the topping off.

    I also had a hard time finding small kegs. I don’t care how much you like a beer, 15.5 gallons of it is a lot. One thing I found effective was selling “keg shares” to friends. 1/4 keg share = 8 growler fills.

    I live very near Beverage Factory, the place I bought the previous kegerator from. I’ve thought about picking up another, but have decided against it.

    • February 12, 2013 at 1:17 pm #

      That’s a good insight – the body count of beer containers does indeed influence the pace of indulgence. Having a kegerator is like laying a video game where the bodies of your foes disappear – you never realize just how much carnage you’re responsible for!

  6. February 12, 2013 at 1:21 pm #

    As a home brewer, a kegerator is the best thing that happened to my brewing for a variety of reasons. Not the least of which is bottling is a PITA. But it’s more than that…

    Temptation- true at times, but it also makes it easier to have a 3-6 oz pour of a beer when you do not feel like a full one. I do that often now when I would have had a whole beer.

    Pressure- I still bottle many of my home brews straight from the keg, and I use small kegs (5 and 2.5 gallons). Therefore, this is a non-issue.

    Corpulence- basically repeating point one.

    Guilt- see solution to pressure.

    In addition, I am able to share my home brew easier because I can just fill up growlers for friends and family on the go.

    • February 12, 2013 at 1:25 pm #

      The reason I’ve given up home brewing (besides the fact that I kinda suck at it) is because I always bottleneck (pardon the pun) when it comes time for bottling. Kegging the beer makes a ton of sense, and is probably the only way I’d resume brewing, so I’m with you on that point.

      As for the times that you’re having 3 to 6 ounces, those are the times that I’m having zero. If I can’t finish a beer, I don’t open one, which includes most weeknights. A good thing, especially when it comes to corpulence (a word I’m glad we’re all using!).

      • February 12, 2013 at 1:29 pm #

        As big a beer nut as I am, I rarely drink during the week anyway. I just have too much going on, and with TKD classes several times a week, it’s generally a good idea to stay lucid for them. ;-) Holding off on buying/building one has mainly been about cost. Buying a new chest freezer and converting it costs roughly as much as buying a new kegerator, and they’re not cheap. I’m still waiting for a freebie or low cost used one to pop up on Craigslist.

        • February 12, 2013 at 1:31 pm #

          Looks like Mr. DiTieri might be looking to move his… :)

        • February 12, 2013 at 1:35 pm #

          LOL! Maybe! By his Facebook page he’s only 3 hours from me. Interesting… we both went to RPI as well.

  7. February 12, 2013 at 1:35 pm #

    Great post! And while I agree that the reasons above exist, I still LOVE my kegerator. In fact, right now I have a 1/6-barrel of Great Divide Yeti and it is glorious. Here are some things I do to curb your 5 reasons:

    1. Temptation is the toughest and I will admit to drinking my first 5 gallons of 2-Below very quickly. So, this one is only solved with will power. Most studies show 2 beers/day for the average-sized man is fine. I try to stick with that. Also, I use smaller beer glasses. So, I have the ability to do small pours for just a taste.

    2. Pressure. Sure, finishing the keg is an issue. But, for a 5-gal keg of Ranger, it costs me only $44. If I’ve had it for more than a month, its time to invite friends over. I’ve never had a 5-gal keg of Ranger for more than 2 weeks.

    3. Corpulence – earn your beers. I walk to work and home for lunch almost every day (except when it is below 20F here in Fort Collins). I get about 4 miles in of walking, In addition, I have a treadmill and free weights I use 5-days a week. I workout only to earn more beer.

    4. Guilt – I don’t have this issue. :-)

    5. Failure. For 5-gal kegs (which there are an abundance of here in northern CO), I can finish in about 2 weeks. The 8-gal kegs take 1 to 1.5 months to finish, but, the beer stays just as fresh.

    • February 12, 2013 at 1:43 pm #

      All good retorts for sure, and I agree that there’s certainly an upside to owning a kegerator, which is delicious and fresh beer at your fingertips.

      What I don’t understand is why you have a kegerator at all. I thought that residents of Fort Collins had four municipal/utility lines running into their homes: water, gas, electric and beer!

  8. February 12, 2013 at 1:48 pm #

    The Kegerator is the Craft Beer equivalent of marriage in my eyes. With 1800 breweries out there (plus all of the foreign stuff!) and 10,000+ different beers to try, I don’t want to be tied down to something that I will quickly tire of. I rarely buy six packs anymore thanks to my Craft Beer ADD, so buying a 1/4 keg or even a sixtel would be a complete waste for a guy with my short attention span. I want to play the field!

    • February 12, 2013 at 1:58 pm #

      You sir, are a craft beer Lothario!

  9. February 12, 2013 at 2:21 pm #

    Hmmm you actually bring up some pretty good points even though I have also wanted a kegerator for awhile. I have actually been trying to cut back on my beer consumption lately just because I have noticed I’m nowhere near as fit as I used to be. I’m trying to only drink maybe 2-3 nights of the week max. It’s not easy when I have so many tasty options in my beer fridge haha.

    • February 12, 2013 at 2:33 pm #

      In that case, now probably isn’t the time to add beer pouring super powers…

  10. February 12, 2013 at 3:15 pm #

    Whenever I see beer being being drwan into a jug first [see the picture] and then poured into a glass my stomach turns at this abuse. Why do you want draught beer from a keg if you don’t want to drink it freshly drawn? What you, correctly, mention in your article, i.e. that beer will go stale if it’s kept too long in a keg – although that will take quite a time if it’s kept under presure and properly cooled – applies all the more to beer kept ina jug. That’s going stale rapidly.
    Best regards, and cheers, or “Prost” as we say in my native German,
    Pit

    • February 12, 2013 at 3:20 pm #

      I prefer to drink directly from the tap, sans jug, pitcher or glassware of any sort, whenever I can. of course, this usually upsets the bartender…

      • February 12, 2013 at 7:46 pm #

        Now that’s another way to drink beer! But I prefer it from a glass. I want to see the colour and the head. My eyes want to drink, too, so to speak.

        • February 12, 2013 at 7:53 pm #

          I just pin a picture of Pliny on the ceiling…

  11. February 12, 2013 at 4:10 pm #

    Its good to know yourself Jim–self-knowledge is a powerful thing.

    I fail to see the guilt thing w/ drinking beer on a weekday though. As a retired person closer to the three quarters of a century mark than half a century, I can truthfully say that furniture disease (i.e., my chest has fallen into my drawers) long ago caught up with me. But I console myself with the fact that good beer is good for you.

    I drink one, sometimes two, 12 oz beer w/ dinner every day. I don’t feel guilty about this at all–my weight, though more than optimum, seems to stay about the same. In addition, I don’t: drink soda or coffee, eat fast food, chase women, or smoke, so I see one or two good brews a day as a minor indulgence. Also, like Chad, I do try to “earn” my beer by walking between 3 and 7 miles each day. When the weather allows, I’m also outside, gardening, mowing (push mower), lumberjacking etc. The bottom line here is, as with food, don’t consume more calories than you expend (One can also spend less time in front of the tube–a big contributor to that pear shape so may complain of.)

    As for the kegerator, I think the best argument for not getting one is lack of variety. When I get the yen for draft, I can drop by my local anytime and be assured that they’ll have one or two items I haven’t tasted before on their rotating taps–a very nice option indeed. (Besides, it helps support a local businessman.)

    • February 12, 2013 at 4:27 pm #

      I don’t yet have furniture disease, Wayne, but I fear making my case of Dunlap’s Disease any worse (where my belly done laps over my belt!)

  12. February 12, 2013 at 5:31 pm #

    I’ve been homebrewing for a little over 3 years and last year I finally bought a garage fridge and installed two taps. Kegging has been the best thing I have done for my homebrewing hobby second only to moving to all-grain. Bottling is a PITA and the yeast sediment in every bottle ticked me off when I had to leave 1-2 ounces of beer behind. I can also pour a true pint from the taps.

    That being said, I have fairly good self control and I work hard and exercise regularly so I’m not too concerned about most of the issues on the list. As for pressure, homebrew allows me to push the beer with CO2 so there is only inert gas in the keg at all times, significantly extending the shelf life.

    That being said, it’s definitely a luxury and easily given up if any of the items on your list creep into my life.

    • February 12, 2013 at 5:35 pm #

      The funny thing is, you guys are talking me back into wanting one of these damn things with all of your RESTRAINT and LOGIC – knock it off!! :)

  13. February 12, 2013 at 6:25 pm #

    Having a kegerator is awesome when you know people in the industry who can get you free kegs. My fiance works for a brewery and can easily bring home a professional cleaner kit and clean the lines between kegs. It’s nice to have something on tap for parties so you don’t have to worry about the kitchen fridge space and bottles piling-up. I haven’t used it for homebrew yet but we will. I see your points and understand that if you don’t have homebrew to put on tap and drink in a timely manner or free/very cheap kegs it wouldn’t be worth the investment. Great article!

    • February 12, 2013 at 7:56 pm #

      If I was having parties (with, you know, friends and stuff), I would definitely consider a kegerator. But for”Jim, party of one” it makes less sense.

  14. February 13, 2013 at 3:54 pm #

    When I married my husband I also inadvertently adopted his shabby kegerator, leftover from his Air Force days. It was a dusty brown box with an ancient empty keg and had certainly seen more festive days. A few years ago for his birthday, I bought the conversions needed to house a Guinness keg (Guinness being the beer of choice in this house). He was so excited….installing the parts, ordering the keg, taking the first pull of home drawn Guinness, adjusting the flow and gas…..everything was fabulous! Until we floated the $200 keg in under 2 months. Then reality hit….we drink way too much beer! And we really shouldn’t have this tempting delicacy in the house…due to guilt and lack of funds, keg stayed empty for awhile.

    Well now we’ve matured (ie had a kid) and we approach the Guinness keg a little differently. We try to keep a keg in there, but will only drink from it occasionally. A few on a Sunday watching the game, or on an evening when we have a few friends over. But your concerns are very real (except the beer going bad, which other commenters have already addressed)But I think it helps that we have 2 involved in the buying/drinking/guilt/clarity/reasoning of the keg, and that one of us is a chick :). Because one of us (me….) always eventually puts their foot down. Cheers!!

    • February 13, 2013 at 4:33 pm #

      How “under 2 months” was it? ;) Two people at 2 months to kill a keg isn’t bad. That’s a pint a day.

      • February 13, 2013 at 5:27 pm #

        I think it was 5 – 6 weeks. We figured we could get almost 100 pints (20 oz) per keg – so yea, about 8 to 10 English pints per week. But we drink other beer and wine too… :)

  15. Diss Content
    February 14, 2013 at 1:06 pm #

    Variety and being able to sample but a fraction of the existing bounty is what keeps my desires for a kegerator in lock-down.

    Warren Buffet said the average American lives better today, than Rockefeller did. Want to cool down in the summer? Push a button and your home is cooler. No need to summer in Maine with a cadre of servants, with jobs like cutting ice, butchering livestock, or tending cooking fires. Technology has certainly changed some things for the better and beyond.

    I engaged in home brewing after returning to the US from England in the late 70’s. It was the lack of beer that fueled my desire to brew, not the abundance. I maintained connections with guys flying to Lakenheath, Templehof and Wiesbaden, so I could maintain supply lines and enjoy the occasional taste of beers which must have been fermented by the very hand of God.

    Then it finally started here, in the good ol’ USA. They were freaks or pet projects like Samuel Adams and Anchor Steam, and often viewed as ‘foreign beers’ by those used to the big three. But they were very good and allowed me to dismantle my home system which was limited by space, temperature control and my erratic time home to tend to the thing.

    Now the notion of a kegerator can only be used in an economic model, where some remnant of a price break may exist. Let’s break it down:

    Price of a 15.5 gallon keg of Mendocino Red Tail Ale (from Bevmo.com) is $174.99, or $11.29 per gallon, which is 9 cents per ounce; a good value indeed.

    A six pack from the same store is $7.99, or $1.33 per bottle, which is 11 cents per ounce. I’ll take the extra hit financially in order to have a cornucopia of choices in the fridge to match the mood I may be in, since I’m so complex or schizophrenic; whatever. That’s my 2 cents anyway.

  16. February 21, 2013 at 9:39 am #

    My biggest hangup would be the “grass is always greener” syndrome…….even if I got a keg of my absolute favorite beer (which is hard enough to decide), inevitably I’d drink it every day for a week and then be in the mood for something else – but still have 40 pints left in the keg. I crave variety.

    I’d even be ok if I had a multi-tap kegerator with about 5 different beers on tap, but if I had to drink just one beer (or even one style) until the thing was kicked, I’d be tired of it way too soon.

    • February 21, 2013 at 1:42 pm #

      I think a two-tap system is the minimum – one with something lighter, and one with something heavy. In my case, I’d go Victory Prima Pil and New Holland Dragons Milk. And a case of liver pills…

  17. Doug
    February 26, 2013 at 1:06 pm #

    I have a two tap set up. One is always a gentler style for the masses, the other is usually a little more crafty. Right now it is a quarter barrel of Yeungling Porter and sixth barrel of Sierra Nevada Ruthless Rye. I get my variety from sampling what will go on tap next which is a big decision. You need to choose carefully and find out of it is “Ms. Right” or “Ms. Right Now” . All the points in the article are valid. I’m at a lowered state of drinking now after the first two years of having the kegerator. I usually only have one a night, and am skipping a lot of days during the week now.

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s

Follow

Get every new post delivered to your Inbox.

Join 8,240 other followers

%d bloggers like this: