As a beer geek, this is one of the most exciting products I have gotten my hands on. Far more than just a growler, the uKeg from GrowlerWerks assures you can have tap-fresh beer at home or on the go.
- Size: Available in 64 and 128 oz (1 gallon) sizes
- Finish: Brushed steel or copper-plated
- Interior: Vacuum-insulated stainless steel
- Pressurization: Adjustable pressurization from 0 to 15 psi using a regulator cap and food grade 8 or 16 oz CO2 cartridges
- Dispensing: Pressurized dispensing tap for that perfect pour with a removable tap handle allowing further customization. The tap handle can be locked to assure no lost beer during transport.
- Homebrew Friendly: The uKeg can carbonate portions of small-batch homebrews without the cost and complication of a full-scale kegging system. It is also perfect for comparing and contrasting bottle-conditioned and force-carbonated beers.
- Care/cleaning: Easily cleaned with hot water and baking soda.
The uKeg uses CO2 to both dispense the beer and to keep the beer fresh and fizzy even weeks after you fill it. My own experimental analysis has shown that the growler is so well-sealed that a single 8 gram CO2 cartridge can provide pressure for three weeks plus even with the pressure dial turned to full open. This means there is no need to be in a rush to finish off that growler of Imperial Stout or worry about picking up your favorite local microbrew several days before your next get-together.
You also can confidently carry a growler of your favorite local brew to your long-distance friend on your next road-trip. Alternatively, you can take the uKeg with you empty, and if you find a true gem even early in your trip, you can fill it for sharing with friends at home and know it will still be fresh when you get back. If your trip is going to be via pedal power, fill it up and put it in the fridge at home or in a cooler in your car at the start of your next bikepacking adventure and have brewery fresh celebration beer waiting when you roll in.
The regulator cap allows you to set the perfect carbonation level for the style of beer in the growler. GrowlerWerks provides recommended carbonation levels by beer style with stouts and barleywines being 3-6 psi, IPAs 7-12, and lagers/pilsners being 12-15. However, if you want to get a bit more carbonation tingle from your porter or feel too much carbonation burn is interfering with the hop bite of the IPA, there is nothing stopping you from experimenting with other pressures for these styles.
Unlike glass growlers, the vacuum-insulated uKeg will keep beer cold for hours allowing you to fill it on your lunch break and pour a glass as soon as you get home from work. Measuring the heat transfer properties in a controlled environment of about 70 degrees using an immersed thermocouple, the growler showed a liquid temperature rise from just under 40 degrees to 55 degrees in 4 hours. The temperature of the liquid had plateaued around 61 to 63 degrees in 7 hours. This indicates that for long term storage away from a refrigerator, the uKeg should be placed in some ice in a cooler.
The 64 oz copper-plated uKeg reviewed here is available for $159 at www.GrowlerWerks.com. The brushed version sells for $139 (currently sold-out at the time of this article). The 128 oz versions as well as accessories, replacement parts, and CO2 cartridges are also available on their site. The CO2 cartridges do not have to be ordered through GrowlerWerks, but it is important that you get the non-threaded, food-grade cartridges if you do order elsewhere.
GrowlerWerks has not only nailed a highly-functional pressurized growler with the uKeg, they have made perhaps the most aesthetically pleasing growler out there. The long list of features of the uKeg does not inhibit from its ease of use. Once you know your preferable carbonation level for the beer style, it is truly a set it and forget it system.
The uKeg is equally suited to pouring beers from your home fridge or traveling along with you on road trips and to trailheads. There’s nothing quite like a brewery fresh IPA just put on at the taproom, and with the uKeg, there’s nothing stopping you from enjoying that experience for weeks in the comfort of your own home or having that taproom waiting at the end of your next adventure.