One of the most important things to know when it comes to kegged beers is knowing how to keep a keg cold.
Not chilling a keg, or improperly chilling a keg can produce a beer with a poor head and also weakening the taste of the brew.
Here’s where our how to chill a keg guide comes in hand, with tips and tricks on how to properly cool your keg, and guides on alternatives that you can use if you don’t have a proper keg tub.
Step 1: Prepare a tub for the keg
Before you start to chill your keg, you will need a large durable container, into which the keg will fit with a little room surrounding it. The best option to chill a keg is to purchase a specialized keg tub. If you don’t want to purchase one online, you can find these at many liquor stores, online or home brewing supply stores as they are a key component to chilling kegs.
If you can’t get your hands on a keg tub, another ideal container is a large trash can. You will find that most high-capacity outdoor trash cans will provide enough room to easily fit a keg of beer inside it, with enough room to spare to put in a layer of ice. Though be sure the trash can you’re using is durable.
A third option that can always come in handy if you have a tight schedule is to place your keg of beer directly into a bathtub in your home. This method will prevent your need for having to procure a separate container. However, it will also require your guests to fill their beer glasses from your bathroom. So we always recommend either making use of a keg tub or a large trash can over a bathtub.
Step 2. Place Ice into the Container of your choice
This step is the most important step in how to keep a keg cold. After you have prepared your chosen storage, whether it’s your keg tub, large trash can or a bath, and you will need to pour a layer of ice into the bottom. This is should be about 12 inches (30 cm) thick of ice. This ice will rest underneath the keg and help ensure it remains cool.
Step 3: Lower the keg of beer into your chosen container
To lower the keg into the selected container, you will likely need a few people to safely place it into your container.
You and your friends should lift the keg carefully and slowly, making sure you keep it upright throughout the process. Lower the keg as gently as possible into the keg tub that has our ice.
Moving the keg around too much can end up causing the beer to become very foamy when you finally go to dispense it, so the gentler you lower it, the better.
Step 4: Fill the Rest of the Tub with Ice
Once you have lowered the keg into the tub, you will now need to pour the remaining ice into the tub until the vast majority of the tub is covered in the ice, ensuring that the keg is cool on all sides. If you run out of ice don’t fret too much as just having half the keg covered should be sufficient to chill the keg.
Step 5: Add Cold Water to the Keg Container (OPTIONAL)
While ice alone will help chill the keg, it isn’t the most effective way. The most effective way is to also pour ice-cold water over the ice in the keg tub until the water reaches the level of the ice. This method will ensure the keg is effectively chilled and should slow down the rate at which the ice melts. Of course, this is not something you are required to do but we recommend it.
Step 6: Ensure the keg remains chilled
To ensure the keg is kept chilled throughout your event or party, make sure you regularly add fresh ice to the keg tub to make sure it is constantly cooled. If you find that you have lots of excess water then simply remove by scooping it out, having a drain hole near the top of the container, or buying a keg tub with a drain valve.
Now, this is a pretty cheap way of keeping a keg cold and is quite effective. I hope this has taught you how to keep a keg cold there is also another method but is slightly more expensive.
If you have the money and time, I highly recommend taking a look at a kegerator. These are fridge setups where you can place your keg inside connect the hoses up and have a keg on tap chilled. If you want to learn more, then be sure to check out our page on beer kegerators.