Hands on Review: Weekend Brewer 5L Mini Keg Growler + Ball Lock Lid, Micro Regulator & Tap

This review is by Homebrew Finds Contributor Brad Probert.  Brad is an engineer, expert homebrewer and experienced reviewer.  Grab a link to Brad’s website at the end of this review.

Weekend Brewer 5L Mini Keg Growler

You might wonder what a “Mini Keg Growler” is. The name tells you that it’s for draft beer. The Weekend Brewer obviously came up with that name as an indication of the melding of two functions together. One is the transport of draft beer from point A to point B- Growler. The other is using it to store [small amounts of] beer for dispensing in a draft system- Mini Keg.

Size comparison vs a 1 gallon milk jug

The 5L Mini Keg Growler is about the size/proportions of a gallon milk jug. It has a small screw-on lid with a silicone seal, for use as a growler. It’s made of stainless steel to make it much more durable than a glass growler. It’s not insulated, which has the drawback of not being able to keep itself cold sitting out on the counter. However, by not having a double wall construction with a barrier of air in between, that means its overall size is smaller and hence much friendlier to sit inside a refrigerator or cooler. To get something in this size in an insulated configuration, you’d have to decrease the amount of beer you could fit in. So they decided that bigger is better. There is a neoprene sleeve you can buy as an add-on if you want to go that route.


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To use as a Mini Keg, they sell lids that have dispensing hardware built into them for putting CO2 in and getting beer out. The most keg-like of these lids is a small stainless steel machined lid that screws in to replace the regular lid, and has two ball lock posts and Pressure Relief Valve. Yes, exactly like your Corny Keg. With the ball lock fittings, you can stick it in your kegerator and hook up your normal gas and liquid lines to use it for small volume brews (5 Liters is just over 1.3 gallons).

Growler with Ball Lock Lid InstalledMicro CO2 Regulator 30 psi Gauge

Being smaller than a full-sized homebrew keg, you can more easily take it with you to a party and hook up various mobile options to supply CO2 in and get the beer out. The micro regulator they sell screws onto a threaded gas ball lock disconnect and then you can attach various size CO2 cartridges. It has adapters so it can take 3/8” threaded 16-gram cartridges, or the larger 5/8” threaded 74-gram cartridges. The 16 gram size has plenty of CO2 for dispensing 5L of beer. But it can also be handy to have the flexibility of using the regulator together with a Corny keg if you’ve got bigger plans.

Hands on Review

The growler has a brushed stainless external surface to help it stay looking good and not be prone to smudging and fingerprints, and it looked good. The opening size of the growler seemed a bit on the smaller size when it came to washing it out afterwards and being able to do a good visual inspection inside, but as a trade-off, the smaller size made it much more manageable when using it as a growler and trying to pour beer directly from it into a glass.

The dual ball lock top was excellent. This provides a great amount of flexibility in options for how to get CO2 in, and how to get the beer out. Notably, if you’re going to do a fill/vent cycle a few times with CO2 to reduce Oxygen in the headspace, you can kill a 16 gram cartridge pretty fast (learned through personal past experience). Having the option to just hook this up to my keezer CO2 bottle supply, I was able to work through this and keep the small cartridge CO2 just dedicated to serving beer at the party. And I’m not a 1-gallon batch brewer, but if you were, this dual ball lock lid lends itself to the various different low oxygen closed transfer processes out there.

Picnic Tap and Liquid Ball Lock in Dispense Kit

I did have some issues with air pickup in the dip tube while dispensing. I was running a lower pressure of about 4 psi, but the beers were coming out about 2/3 – 3/4 foam. I tried using different dispensing options like a long run of tubing with a picnic tap, but still had issues. If I ran a very low pressure of 1-2 psi, I could get the foam down to a manageable ~20-25%, with a very patient pour. However, I found I could eliminate the foaming issue by replacing the harder plastic pick-up tubing inside with a softer silicone tubing. The silicone was able to conform more to the fitting on the inside of the lid and make a better seal, preventing it from sucking in air on its way out of the growler. I highly recommend you go this route (I passed this suggestion/finding along to the owners of Weekend Brewer, and they were going to explore this more, as well).

Conclusions

Overall, the Weekend Brewer Mini Keg Growler creates an interesting proposition for those that are looking to get into 1-gallon batch brewing, but want to keep their current kegerator/keezer set-up. And the versatility of the double ball-lock lid provides lots of options to allow you to dual-purpose these kegs and take them with you, as well as use them as low oxygen fermentation or transfer vessels.

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Also: Kegerator Tips & Gear | Keg Repair Part #s | Recent Keg Finds

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Double Ball Lock Lid- InsideMicro Regulator Customizable Adapter for Different CO2 Cartridges Mini Keg Growler Screw-on Lid with Silicone Seal Ring

Top Post: Tips and Gear for Growler Filling

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Special Thanks to The Weekend Brewer for providing the unit used for evaluation in this review.

By Brad Probert.  Check out Brad’s website – beersnobby.com

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