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.
TrailKeg 1 Gallon Pressurized Growler
I abandoned bottling quite a while ago for the same reason so many do- kegging is so much easier. And draft beer is much more rewarding/special than bottles when drinking at home, or hosting a party. Of course taking that beer to a party isn’t as simple as grabbing a few bottles and heading out the door, though. But like every problem in life that presents itself, solutions are found.
At breweries, their solution is the growler. You fill up your half gallon glass jug with your favorite beer, they put a lid on it, and you take it home. But this has limitations. Akin to pouring a glass of beer and then setting it in the fridge to drink later, beer in growlers lose carbonation and go stale tasting after a few days. The solution to this problem is the pressurized growler.
TrailKeg makes pressurized growlers. They come in half gallon and one gallon size. The half gallon is smaller and lighter, but only nets you about 4 beers. That works if you’re taking a beer to share with a friend or offer small tastings at a party. But the full gallon growler with its 8 beers is a much more social size. You’re obviously not going to fuel the whole party with that, but when the host tells you to bring a 6-pack of your favorite beer to share, you get bonus points.
What makes pressurized growlers “pressurized” is the fact that they have ports on them to let you pressurize with small CO2 cartridges. The small 16 gram cartridges contain enough CO2 to keep your beer pressurized and dispense all of your beer. Effectively, they turn your growler into a mini portable keg. The mini CO2 regulator has a tiny pressure gauge, and after you hook it up, you turn a pressure adjustment knob to dial in the serving pressure you want.
PerfectPour Dip TubePerfectPour Dip Tube Opening Comparison
And speaking of serving pressure, TrailKeg has an optional add-on accessory which was a dip tube with what they call a PerfectPour, which seems to be unique in the industry. It’s a cylindrical length of silicone that slides on over the bottom of their regular dip tube, and has a really small opening in it. With such a small hole, you have to be certain your beer doesn’t have hop bits floating around in it, but the concept solves a common problem on these small pressurized growlers. In the keg you probably carbonate at 10 psi or higher, but if you go over 5 psi in these growlers you get a foamy mess. With the PerfectPour restriction of the small hole, you can dispense out of your growler at the same pressure as you carbonate in your keg. No compromise.
Since your “mini keg” isn’t in your kegerator, it will get warm just sitting on the counter or tabletop. So TrailKeg made their growler insulated, by making it double-walled with an air cavity in between. As you may or may not know, air is an excellent insulator. For it to be effective, you have to trap the air and not let it move around, which is what you get when you hear “double walled insulated”. By trapping the air in between an inside layer (where your beer is) and an outside layer (where the warm air is trying to ruin your beer), you get great insulation. TrailKeg says their design keeps your liquid inside cold for 24 hours.
In transport mode
To get the cold beer out of this growler, the same lid that has the CO2 port also has a ball lock disconnect post, just like a Corny keg. This lets you keep it well sealed to avoid accidental spillage when transporting it to your party, and then you just pop on the ball lock fitting and are ready to go. Within the package that comes with the lid, TrailKeg has a cool set-up with a tap directly connected to a ball lock fitting. This completes the mini keg experience with a “kegerator on the go” delivery of your draft beer direct from an actual tap.