Beer Keg Care: How Long Does It Stay Fresh?

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Since a keg can be stored differently, the answer to this question is indefinite. Aside from that, beers also come in different kinds and styles which make it more difficult to determine the shelf or storage life for beers. However, most kegs stay fresh in the between the range of 20-120 days.

A lot of factors affect your kegged beer’s quality, but generally, a keg’s “freshness clock” starts as soon as it is being filled at the brewery. Meaning, as time passes by, your beer will slowly change.

Before we dwell on how long your keg’s life is, below are two common ways one would tap a keg: 

Two Ways to Tap a  Keg:

Manual Pump

Usually, people attach a manual pump to their barrels especially at parties and cookouts that’s why they’re also called “party pumps.” The manual pump operates by pumping air inside the keg for pressure to dispense the beer. However, this apparatus also have problems such as dispensing extremely foamy beer, and over-pumping. Aside from that, attaching a manual pump to a keg can drastically

Unfortunately, this isn’t the only problem with the manual pump. It also drastically reduces the shelf-life of the beer inside your keg because of the oxygen that’s being pumped inside the keg which makes the beer’s quality to change.

Unfortunately, whenever you use this method to dispense the beer, the noticeable change in the beer’s taste becomes apparent, and it happens quickly especially when you pump more and more oxygen into the keg.

Naturally, you will at least have eight hours to use the contents of the keg before it starts to taste differently. However, it would still depend on the type of beer and the amount of oxygen that you pump into the keg.

Kegerator with CO2

Compared to the manual pump, this method can keep your beer fresher longer since the keg becomes pressurized but does not undergo oxidation. This way, your beer stays fresh for a couple of months; however, the type of beer would still be a factor of the total shelf time. If the beer is pasteurized, its quality won’t be altered for at least three months or six if stored in right temperatures. For beers that are non-pasteurized, they will most likely last for two months.

The Importance of Storage Temperature

Basically, how you store your keg is crucial. Regardless of what kind of pump you use, if you fail to store it at the right temperature, your beer’s quality will be at stake. Usually, the recommended temperature is 38 degrees Fahrenheit. Going above or below that point would make a massive difference to your beer’s taste and overall keg life.

If the temperature goes above the appropriate temperature, it will result in a foamier beer. Aside from that, it can also produce stale beer. Bacteria will also start to cultivate if the temperature starts to rise above 55 degrees Fahrenheit.

On the other hand, if you keep the temperature very own, the beer will keep its carbonation. Whenever this happens, you will be deprived of the actual quality of your beer. Once the temperature drops below 28 degrees Fahrenheit, your beer will naturally freeze.

It would be ideal to have your keg stored in your kegerator or in a refrigerator that is set at the correct temperature.

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