With the pubs still closed for now, draught beer is understandably quite hard to come by. During the first lockdown, we expanded our offering into 5L mini kegs, so that we could still offer the latest keg beers to our customers.
They have proven to be a very popular choice, so we’re expanding our range once again to include five core beers that will always be available, and one or two specials that come and go depending on what is new at the brewery.
Here’s a little list of FAQs for anyone who is curious about how they work, what to do when they’re empty, and which Wild Weather beers you can buy.
Q: How long do they last?
A: If unopened and kept in a cool place, they can last for months – but why would you wait that long?
In order to serve the beer, you have to let air into the keg via the valve at the top. Once you start doing this, the beer will begin to lose carbonation, behaving exactly like a bottle of pop with the lid off. Initially this is a slow process, but if there is only 10% beer left and 90% air, then it will start to happen a bit faster. The beer will remain in great condition over the course of a weekend; that’s the time frame we usually expect people to have finished.
As a top tip, you can extend the life by closing the valve at the top in between pouring. This stops any extra pressure escaping, so the beer remains in good condition for longer. By doing this, you can eek out a mini keg for up to a week… but again, why would you wait that long?
Q: How do they work?
A: This is a gravity-fed container, so you don’t need any special equipment to serve it at home; just a counter top, somewhere cool to store it, and a glass.
The small black tab gets pulled down, and from there the red tap spindle can be pulled out. Both of these fittings are quite tightly sealed to protect the beer, so you may have to use more effort that you’d expect. To serve the beer, twist the end of the tap anti-clockwise.
Initially (for the first pint or so) the beer will come out under pressure, but as this decreases, you will have to let air into the top of the keg using the top valve. Simply lift the tab and turn 90 degrees anti-clockwise. As previously mentioned, you can turn it back to seal the keg in between servings to extend the life of the beer.
Hopefully these instructions are sufficient, but if you’re still unsure there is a QR code on the top of the keg that directs you to the manufacturers instructions for use.
Q: What temperature should I keep it at?
A: This really is a personal choice – some people have space in the fridge, but many people choose to keep them somewhere cool like a garage. Keeping them outside in the cooler months works too. In the end, beer is best kept fresh at cooler temperatures, but nothing bad will happen if you can only serve the keg at room temperature… you’ll just have room temperature beer. We recommend our lager and IPAs served cold (fridge temperature ideally), but for brown beers and stouts simply ‘cool’ will do just fine. Ultimately, it’s up to you.
Q: How much beer is inside?
A: 5 litres! For those of you who drink your beer by the pint rather than by the litre, it works out to just over 8.5 pints.
In terms of 440ml cans, it is about the same as 11 of them.
Q: How are they filled?
A: First of all, they are purged with CO2. By removing the air and replacing with inert gas, we keep the beer fresh. This is to prevent oxygen degrading the beer, making it go stale over time.
Under counter-pressure, the mini kegs are filled at 5C from a special apparatus attached to our bar in the brewery. They are filled by weight, to ensure everyone gets their 5L. Once filled, the top valve is placed over the hole and gently hammered into place, sealing the keg.
Q: Do I have to wait for it to settle?
A: Nope! The beer in the mini keg is direct from the taps on our brewery bar, so there is no sediment. Once they get to your house, they are ready to serve!
Q: What beers are available?
A: We are happy to announce a core range offering of mini kegs. You will usually find:
Hath No Fury – 4.4% – Helles Lager
King Street Pale – 4.2% – American Pale Ale
Full of Beans – 5.0% – Single Origin Coffee Stout
Shepherds Warning – 5.6% – Citra IPA
Peach of a Weekend – 5.6% – Peach Sour
As for specials, you’ll just have to check our webshop and our social media for announcements. So far we’ve put anything and everything into 5L mini kegs from Banana Milkshake IPA, to Dry Hopped Pear Saison, to Imperial Black Lager. These will come and go as and when we have availability.
Q: Can they be shipped?
A: Yes! We have a flat rate for shipment on the webshop, but if you exceed £60 with your purchase (3 mini kegs, or a case of cans + a mini keg), we’ll ship for free. UK mainland only.
If you’re local to the brewery, you can select ‘Click and Collect‘ as an option to save the money on shipping charges. You’ll receive an email from us within 24 hours to let you know your beer is ready to collect. The collection window is Monday – Friday, 1pm – 5pm.
Q: Why don’t you do bag in box anymore?
A: We’ve worked with bag in box before, but honestly? They’re just rubbish for maintaining good beer quality. It’s a cardboard box with a wobbly bag inside. The issue is, they swell up when gas is inevitably knocked out of the beer in transit, meaning it is more likely to pour flat. A mini keg on the other hand, is solid and maintains its pressure; you could take it on a bumpy car journey for a short holiday and still find the beer in good nick when you arrive.
Q: Do I need to return them?
A: Unlike 2L growlers, they are a one-way unit; we ask that you please dispose of them responsibly when they are empty.
The mini kegs, handle and stoppers are all made from 100% recyclable material, so when disposing, please check the rules for your local recycling. In some areas, it’s totally fine to put them in the normal recycling bin, but in others they ask that you bring them to your local recycling centre.
Q: Why aren’t you doing 2L growler refills at the moment?
A: We’re operating in a COVID-sensitive environment at the moment. A 5L mini keg is the best we can do to avoid inviting people repeatedly into the brewery for tastings and to fill up. Our click and collect service is entirely contact free, and orders are prepared by staff wearing appropriate PPE.
So, although we hope to offer growler refills again when the time is right, for now a 5L mini is the best way of getting hold of more significant quantities of Wild Weather beer at home. Head to https://wildweatherales.com/product-category/mini-keg/ to see our range and keep an eye on our social media for upcoming releases!