February 13, 2013 by Woodystock
You threw a kegger and one of two things have happened, either no one came or you have a full keg to dispose of in your sorry own gullet or your party was a hit and you now have an extra keg. The question now remains, what do I do with this keg? Do I drink it, save it, dump it, donate it to poor irish children? If you have tapped it, the clock is already ticking.
A keg of beer contains roughly 50 litres. You can acquire smaller kegs, known sometimes as torpedo kegs, and depending on where the beer is coming from it may range in size by a few gallons/litres/leagues but for a working volume we will use 50, this is a common size for a commercial/frat guy size keg and is a nice round number.
The average life expectancy of a keg of beer is 45-60 days for an unpasteurized beer. For a working number we will use 53 days that a keg of beer can exist between being kegged and spoiled. Now here is the fun stuff.
The size of a pint varies between bars, regions, countries and arrogance. It can range anywhere from 12 ounces (as with some of the dumpster bars I’ve worked in) to 20 ounces plus (as is defined by the government of Canada as a “Pint”). In the US, a pint is 0.47 litres, which equals to 15.89 ounces. An imperial pint is 0.56 litres, equal to 18.93 ounces. Math is shitty and boring and I will round this off to 17 ounces, which is 0.5 litres.
A pint is, for the purpose of this article, 0.5 litres.
So let’s recap, 50 litres in a keg, .5 litres in a pint and a keg has to be consumed 53 days before spoiling after bottling (kegging), but no one buys a keg straight from the vat so let’s minus a week. So it is now 46 days. So now, you are a responsible adult that has a full keg in your possession and plan on drinking it from a glass that is half a litre in volume and are puzzled as to how long you have to drink it before this magical cylinder of happiness has before it expires. Here it is;
2.22 pints a day based on the numbers. But numbers lie and two pints a day is boring and pathetic. I suggest at least four pints a day for sake of being human, let alone preservation of kegged beer.
This equation would make sense if you had 47 people drinking from a keg on the same night, but you do not. The more time that passes between pouring, the closer the beer is to spoilage.
CO2, the gas you have most likely used to pressurize the keg is slowly eating away at the alcohol in the beer. Oxygen is bad for beer, regardless of the confusing scientific reasons, Oxygen is bad. Carbonated beer already vents CO2, and when you add more CO2 to the keg you are speeding up the process.
Here is a ninth grade science question for you all, what does the “O” stand for in CO2?
It is Oxygen, same as with NO2 which is what you are pumping into the keg if you have one of those frat party hand pumps. The more air that goes into you beer, the sooner it will go flat. So in summation, I urge you to drink as fast and as much as possible.