Ask any brewer and they’ll tell you all about their love affair with stainless steel. More expensive and addictive than any drug, there is no known cure. All you can really hope to do is earn enough money to support your cravings.
So it’s no surprise that the sheer, brushed finish on the iKegger Growler has made more than a few beers geeks weak at the knees, but it’s the other promises this vessel makes that has me really interested.
Made from double walled 304-grade stainless steel the Growler can hold 2L (a standard six pack) of beer – it boasts that it will keep that beer cold for up to 12 hours without any ice or refrigeration. Paired with the optional tap system (+$100) it also claims to keep beer fresh and frothy for a month!
To my mind this solves two of the biggest problems with a standard glass growler, you spend mega bucks filling one up with your favourite brew, only to find that by the third glass it’s lukewarm and if you dare leave it in the fridge for more than 48 hours after opening, the beer has morphed and oxidised into something unrecognisable.
Unboxing the components to the tap system is encouraging, they’re machined well and have that weighty “heft” attached to good stainless. The instructions come via email, which is a nice touch, and make assembly easy as everything is laid out in pictures. You do need to pay attention to all the connections, including the preassembled ones like the spear body, making sure that they’re air-tight. It’s recommended you go over everything prior to pouring.
Fully assembled it looks fantastic. It’s attention grabbing, if not a little top heavy, and will certainly be the envy of every beer geek within a 2 kilometre radius. The only negative point I have is where the tap lined up when tightened, it came to rest near the growler handle which looks and feels awkward. Or maybe it’s just me.
Now comes the tapping! I had a six pack of pale ale sitting in the fridge and decided this would make the perfect test subject. Up to this point my experience with the iKegger had been flawless, but the steps to get it to pour proved quite tricky.
After several attempts and following the instructions to the letter, it was quite hard to maintain a pouring pressure that didn’t result in either no beer coming out, or pouring a beer that was almost entirely head. I feel like a better quality, more sensitive regulator could have addressed this issue.
After some fiddling around I did eventually get a good pour, but for me the juice has to be worth the squeeze, and in my mind the tap system needs some work before I’d drop $100+ on it.
So how well can it hold temperature?
To test this I filled the growler with cold water, sat it outside away from direct sunlight and took an initial temperature reading. At 8:30am it was sitting at 7 degrees, by 2:30pm it had risen to 9.1 degrees, and after a full 12 hours outside the final temperature was 10 degrees.
This is a massive win as far as I’m concerned. When you’re sharing a growler between friends, the beer is usually gone in few hours, let alone 12, and it’s nice to know that the thermal efficiency of the iKegger means that beer will stay cold for the entire time.
Overall I’m pretty happy with so much about the iKegger, it’s fantastic at keeping beer cold and fresh, and looks the absolute business. As far as the optional tap system is concerned – without improvement to the regulator it’s an extra $100 I’d be putting towards beer to put in the growler.
Click here for more information on the iKegger.