Having your own beer kegs at home and serve some beers using your own beer tap is one of the most recurrent luxuries between male preferences.
Doing this is possible since Heineken group launched its keg 5-liter pressurized Beertender system. Soon after followed the Inbev group with its Perfect Draft 6 liter pressurized kegs.
In this article we will discuss what do you need to know about these devices and the most frequent questions about them in an attempt to help you choose between one beer tap or the other.
So: What do you need to know when buying a beer tap?
- The beer tap itself.
As we said before there are two systems of beer mini kegs systems, these are Perfect Draft (InBev group) and Beertender (Heineken group).
And both of them have its own beer taps for home use that are incompatible with each other.
Inbev offers their Perfect draft model HD3620 / 25. It sizes 28.6×44.4×49.3 cm (width, height, depth) and weighs 8.2 kilos.
This beer tap can cool a barrel of 6 liters in about 15 hours and has a display that constantly tells us the temperature of the beer.
Cleaning it is simple, in fact it is only necessary to clean the surface as the conduit for circulating beer barrel provided with each mini keg bought.
Meanwhile the Heineken group offers 3 models of beer taps which are Beertender models B70, B80 and B90 respectively. All of them have been designed by the company Krups, you might recognize this company as the designer of Nespresso.
The comparable model with the Philips HD3620 / 25 would be the B90, which has similar price and dimensions (30×45.2×49.4 centimeters (width, height, depth)) and weighs 6.7 kilos.
This model is the only Beertender model that has a display to show the temperature of the beer, nor B80 or B70 have it. It will take about 10 hours to reach a final temperature 3-5 degrees with any Beertender system.
The main difference with the Philips model is that the tube connecting the beer mini kegwith the tap itself is included in B70, B80 and B90, this tube has to be cleaned after each use.
Cleaning it is done by injecting water through the tube. For doing this a small plastic bottle is provided. Note that with the passage of time, especially if the tube is not properly cleaned, the tueb will get degraded (and taking flavors) and at some point you will need to replace it. Heineken provides replaces of this part.
From the functional perspective all devices are very similar, the B60 and B70 versions are slightly cheaper than their peers which might be a criteria for opting for one model or another.
But I would not consider the device itself as a key element in the decision.
- The available beers.
Both Perfect Draft and Beertender system are patented, which means that any beer brand, that does not belong to these groups, will not be able to market their beer kegs in any format compatible with these beer taps.
Therefore the selection of beers available for each system is a very important consideration when opting for one or another.
In general terms, Heineken commercialize easy to drink beers (Heineken, Cruzcampo, maes …). Those are the kind of light beers that are served very cold.
On the other hand, Inbev group markets stronger, more complex beers, usually Belgian and German like Becks and Franziskaner.
Also the selection of beers on Perfect Draft format is wider. For a full list of beers available in each format, visit the following links.
- Availability of kegs.
Both Beertender and Perfect Draft mini beer kegs are hard to find, especially if we move away from the most common brands. In general it can be said that:
A keg of Heineken beer is easy to find in the some supermarkets (not all) and therefore are easy to acquire.
There are a few common barrels such as Becks and Franziskaner (Perfect Draft) and Krombacher (Beertender) that can be found with relative ease in specialized online shops.
There are some rare brands that might be found in some online stores as Maes and Affligem (Beertender) and Diebels, Hoegaarden, Leffe and Lowenbrau (Perfect Draft).
All other trademarks are rarely found and it is necessary to buy them in specialized European stores by paying prohibitive shipping costs (more than 20 €).
The exception of these rule is if you live in France. France has the wider offer of beer mini kegs that I have found on Europe and you should be able to find any beer mini keg that you want.
- Price of each mini beer keg.
Both Perfect Draft and beertender mini kegs are priced in the range of 25-35 € (these might vary depending on the country) depending on the brand, except Heineken mini keg which is broadly distributed and therefore is cheaper.
However Perfect Draft mini kegs have an additional bond on their barrels from 5 to 7 € which adds to the price of a keg making the barrels slightly more expensive.
Sellers are required to accept returned barrels and return the deposit, however do not have to cover the shipping costs of the kegs to their facilities, so in many cases returning the kegs doesn’t pays off and the money is lost.
- Duration of beer kegs once opened.
Both Heineken and Inbev say their barrels keep the gas pressure for 30 days after opening.
In our opinion that is based on our personal experience, the duration of the kegs once fixed to the beer tap depends more on the quality of the tap than the keg. All taps are designed to prevent leakage of gas but it’s impossible to stop a minuscule yet constant flux of gas that escapes with the passage of time.
In the end, (always based on our experience), the length of the barrels in optimal conditions (with an adequate amount of gas) is about 3-6 days for Beertender mini kegs and 5-8 days for Perfect Draft mini kegs.
- Amount of foam generated when serving the beer.
Roughly the same. It depends more on the care you put when serving the beer than on the type of keg.
If you want advice on how to pour a beer in your beer tap without too much foam, visit the following links.