I have been asked this question a few times, “what is a polypin beer bag?”
So I thought I would answer it for all to access. The polypin is not a new way to store and consume drinks, but it is being used more and more for beer these days.
Whether you fill it yourself or buy one pre filled with your favorite beer. It’s a great product to use for storing and dispensing beer. It is ideal for use in a home bar, so let me explain how it works and how you might just fall in love with a polypin.
What Is A Polypin Beer Bag?
A polypin is a bag in a box, the bag is filled with drink in the box and has a tap to dispense the drink. They come in various sizes and are ideal for low carbonation beer, cider, wine and even soft drinks. The bag in a box can be used for homebrewing (only with low carbonation beer) instead of kegs or bottles. However they can be used to purchase beer from breweries for parties or your home bar.
Could it be the answer to your beer dispensing problems? By digging deeper into the polypin we can find out.
A Polypin Beer Bag
The polypin of beer serves two purposes for the storing and consumption of beer. First it is ideal to purchase a polypin of your favorite craft ale in a bag in a box. Second, the polypin is ideal for your homebrew of real ale to store and dispense.
Either one is a great way to have a decent quantity of beer on tap without all the hassle. Very simple to use and can sit on your bar top with a tap to dispense, life just got easier at the home bar.
The video shows how a bag in a box is filled ready to be shipped to a customer.
A Prefilled Polypin
Many breweries now offer the delivery of a polypin of beer. Therefore instead of buying your favorite craft beer in cans or bottles, just buy it in a bag in a box.
The box will take up less room than the cans and bottles of the same quantity. It is also easier to recycle than all those cans and bottles. Additionally there is no equipment required. Therefore they do have a great deal of appeal to them.
Ideal for a home bar when your family and friends gather. Equally ideal for sunny afternoons in the garden with that barbeque on the go. Or just great for parties and other gatherings.
A Homebrew Polypin
There are many homebrewers using polypins instead of kegs and bottles, but you have to be aware of the pressure that can build up.
Some homebrewers are having great success with polypins, however some are not finding it works for them. It is about trying different methods to control the pressure build up.
There is a great discussion on polypin management on Jim’s Beer Kit. It explains what some who are having success are doing to control their beer in the polypins.
The polypin does have similar advantages to buying a prefilled polypin. So much room saved instead of all those bottles. Furthermore you have a tap ready to dispense your beer when it is ready.
Are Polypins Really That Good?
It has to be said that yes, polypins really are that good. Basically for all the reasons I have already mentioned. They are convenient and compact, less fussy than an array of cans and bottles.
However there must be a downside right.
Well there is always the opposite to something, however there is not a lot to put you off the polypin.
When you receive a polypin of beer from your brewery, you cannot jump straight in and pour yourself a pint. The box will need to be put in the position your are going to dispense from and left for 24 hours. This will let the beer settle, and don’t keep moving the box, otherwise you will have to let it resettle.
It hits hard when you have all that beer sitting there and you can’t touch it for 24 hours, but it is only a small price to pay.
How Long Does Beer Last In A Polypin?
This is another downside to the good old polypin. However this is debatable as just like anything some people have a better experience than others.
Some complain that the beer only last a few days once opened. Others however have reported two, sometimes three weeks of good beer from a polypin.
Most breweries do say this time period of two weeks is typical of how long the beer lasts in a polypin. In contrast some only give it 7 days, and some as little as 3-4 days. But a brewery will stipulate the time period when you look at purchasing a polypin. I guess it kind of depends on what beer you are looking to get.
This brings me onto another point.
What Beer Can You Put In A Polypin?
There is a limit to the polypin in terms of the type of beer it can handle. A highly carbonated beer is not really suitable for polypins. They are better served for real ales and low carbonation beers. To much pressure could find your polypin blowing up like a balloon and worse case, bursting.
If you are buying a polypin from a brewery then you don’t have to worry. They will only sell a beer that the polypin can take comfortably.
On the other hand be sure to be careful what beer you put into a polypin if you are homebrewing. Otherwise things could get messy, you want to drink the beer, not wear it.
How Many Pints Can A Polypin Hold?
There are various sizes of polypins available, however the most common supplied by breweries is 10 litres (18 pints) or 20 litres (36 pints). However I have seen 5 litre (9 pints) ones too.
Whether you are buying a prefilled one from a brewery or an empty one for you to fill with your homebrew. They are available in these sizes, so it depends how much beer you want.
A party might warrant a large 20 litre (36 pint) polypin, whereas a 5 litre (9pint) one would be suitable for an individual.
How Much Does A Polypin Cost?
For prefilled this will depend on a few things. Obviously the size of the polypin, and of course the beer that is going into the polypin.
If you order a large polypin it will cost you less per pint than a smaller polypin. This is standard with any product, the more volume you buy the cheaper it is.
The beer makes a difference too. I looked at one brewery and their everyday ale at 4.3% Vol worked out less per pint than their premium 6.6% Vol ale.
Therefore the price per pint can vary considerable from beer to beer as well as brewery to brewery. I looked at several breweries and the price per pint at time of writing this ranged from £2.00 – £4.60 per pint. So the range is fairly big.
When it comes to homebrew you are only buying the empty bag and box, so these are fairly cheap. A good quality bag, again at the time of writing this will cost you around £20.00 for a 10 litre and £25 for a 20 litre.
For a lesser quality bag and box you can get a 5 pack for just over £10.00. Bear in mind though, these are more like the bags you find with a box of wine you get from the supermarket.
Can You Reuse A Polypin beer Bag?
If you have purchased a prefilled polypin, then you are not really going to want to refill it. Unless of course you decide to maybe fill it with a soft drink. As long as you thoroughly wash out the bag, then there is no reason to not reuse it.
The same goes for homebrew with polypins. As long as you make sure you clean the bag properly as you would with any homebrew equipment, then it is probably fine.
Having said that there is probably a limit to how many times you can reuse the bag. Overtime it might start to perish, so a thorough check of the bag is needed before reuse.
The polypin then is a great way to store beer and dispense it. A great idea for a home bar, instead of fitting a real beer pump, which can be expensive as well as cumbersome. Although we now have a variety of compact kegs for the bar top, so don’t forget them.
If you get it right the polypin can be a great way to store and dispense homebrew. It just might take a little perseverance to perfect it. However once you do, you might not look back.
A prefilled polypin of your favorite beer is very tempting to get from a brewery. I haven’t done this myself yet, mainly because I tend to try different beers for rate my beer. Having said that, I might indulge soon and get myself a 10 litre (18 pint) bag in a box.
Something to remember is that all the breweries I have looked at fill polypins to order. Therefore you need to give yourself time if you are ordering one for a party or special occasion. Which by the way they are perfect for, instead of a load of bottles or cans.
So that is what a polypin beer bag is and how they work. May be your next order of beer will be a polypin of your favorite. Be sure to share your thoughts on how it went and of course what beer it was.