Any kind of home bar is a great thing, whether it is a well set up basement bar or a converted shed. The ultimate part of a home bar is a draught beer system. But what is best a flash cooler or kegerator?
Whether you think about a draught system when setting up a home bar or add one to it later. The type of system you choose will depend on the room you have in your bar. In this article we look at a flash cooler system and a kegerator system.
What Is Best A Flash Cooler Or Kegerator?
A flash cooler is an ideal system to deliver cool beer at the tap when room is tight in a home bar. However it will not keep a keg cool and only cools beer at the point of dispensing. A kegerator is ideal because it keeps the keg cold, however it also takes up more room. While a kegerator my be best, the one that suits will depend on the room available as well as the budget.
A kegerator is more expensive, although there is a way to bring the cost down considerably.
What Is A Flash Cooler?
A flash cooler is a compact beer chilling unit that cools beer at the point of service. The keg is stored at room temperature and as it is drawn from the keg and goes through the flash cooler.
Inside the flash cooler the beer travels through a coiled pipe that is submerged in coolant. This is cold enough to cool down the beer and by the time it reaches the tap it is chilled.
Pros Of A Flash Cooler
A flash cooler is compact, so can easily be placed on a counter or shelf under the counter.
The unit doesn’t have to be on when it is not being used, so uses less energy therefore cheaper to run.
A flash cooler is cheaper to buy than a kegerator.
Cons Of A Flash Cooler
The keg of beer is stored at room temperature which could impact its condition and shelf life.
Some complain that flash coolers can be noisy.
If the unit is turned off when not in use, it will need time for the liquid inside to be cooled down before using.
A lot of pipes in an out of the unit to the keg a tap.
What Is A Kegerator?
A kegerator is a refrigeration unit designed to house and dispense beer. Although they can be used for dispensing other beverages too.
A kegerator as you would imagine works the same as a fridge. The keg is stored inside the unit and will keep the keg at the desired temperature.
There are several types of kegerator available.
A mini kegerator can stand on a counter top which makes it ideal if space is tight. However it can only house mini kegs which are 5L units, the equivalent or around 10.5 pints.
A full size kegerator is about the size of a standard fridge with a beer tower and tap on top. There are free standing units that can normally be moved around fairly easily. Or built in units that are incorporated under the bar counter.
It is also possible to get an outside kegerator, which is obviously designed to withstand the outside elements. Ideal if you have an outside bar.
Pros Of A Kegerator
The beer keg is stored at the right temperature.
Because of this the beer will last longer than one stored at ambient temperature.
Runs quietly and holds everything in a tidy unit.
Cons Of A Kegerator
Expensive to buy.
Takes up more space than a Flash cooler.
Unless you get a mini kegerator, however then you can only get mini kegs too.
Runs all the time to maintain the right temperature, constantly using energy.
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What Is Best A Flash Cooler Or Kegerator?
In my mind the kegerator is better than a flash cooler. It is more versatile and keeps everything neat and tidy. Although it is more expensive and takes up more room, it is worth it.
Both a flash cooler and a kegerator will dispense the beer at the right temperature. However a kegerator has other uses too.
By adjusting the temperature (depends on the model) it can be used as a fermentation unit too. If you brew beer, then it can be kept at the desired temperature during fermentation. When beer has been kegged and ready for drinking, just adjust back to dispensing temperature.
When the kegerator is not being used for either beer dispensing or brewing, it can be used as a fridge. Convert it to a fridge by adding shelves and store bottles and cans.
A kegerator is by far a better option than a cooler, although some do prefer to have a flash cooler instead. Also the cost of a kegerator does put many off.
There is an alternative to the manufactured kegerators. Convert a fridge at the fraction of the cost.
How To Convert A Fridge To A Kegerator
As a kegerator was born from a fridge, it is relatively easy to convert a standard fridge into a kegerator. However it does involve drilling a hole either in the fridge door if you are to fit the tap on the door. Or in the side if you are going to run the pipes to a tap fitted on a bar top.
I am not actually recommending this for obvious reasons, but many people do it as you can see from the video.
Most fridges can be converted to a kegerator, but it is important to measure whether a keg and gas bottle will fit. If you have not already got a spare fridge, then buying second hand is the cheapest option.
Apart from drilling a hole and emptying the fridge of shelves there is little else to do. But you will need a kegerator conversion kit which will supply everything else needed for the job.
This is a great alternative to a manufactured kegerator and will be considerably cheaper too.
Although a flash cooler is perfect for the job of getting your beer to the tap at the right temperature. I prefer the kegerator, mainly because it is a neater unit and more versatile.
Having a unit that can also be used as a fermentation chamber makes it a winner.
The fridge conversion has obviously a lot cheaper to get both a kegerator and fermentation chamber. However a fridge conversion can also become an even better option if you want to house more then one keg.
Invest in a manufactured multiple keg kegerator and the price goes off the scale. But by using a bigger fridge or chest freezer conversion, you get room for more kegs without it costing you much more.
A fridge conversion seems to be the way to go.