Keg Management - Is It Worth It?

Keg management systems offer notifications straight from your phone on how much beer you have left in your kegs, but is it worth it?

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Good morning. Do you love Star Wars and homebrewing? You’re in luck.

The 27th annual Big Brew event hosted by the AHA is coming on May 4th. This event is in celebration of Homebrew Day (May 7th) and there are 5 Star Wars inspired recipes you can choose from to brew on the day to participate. I have my eye on Return on the Jedi Pale Ale.

May the “forth” be with you.

-Brandon Copeland

Keg Management - Is It Worth It?

Last week I mentioned a DIY method of building a keg management system similar to the Plaato Keg (link for clarity - do not buy!). At the time of writing, I was not aware of the situation that has unfolded with Plaato.

Plaato Keg management in a keezer. Photo credit: Amazon

Plaato announced in November 2023 that they were discontinuing their homebrewing line, which included their keg, airlock and valve devices. The kicker was that they were only going to support the app until November 2025. The problem is these IoT devices can only connect to their app, and without the app, they are rendered useless.

Those who bought these very expensive devices are left frustrated, and I can understand why. Where did Plaato go wrong, and is keg management worth it?

Keg Management For Homebrewing

Keg management is not necessary in homebrewing, it’s a luxury - after all if you really want to know how much beer is left in your keg, it’s as easy as giving it a lift. However, that being said, for those looking for cool ways to enhance their homebrewing setup or those with multiple kegs rotating on taps, it can be a nice addition.

The Plaato Keg fell short in a few ways:

1. Too Expensive

The biggest complaint was it was too expensive. The cheapest price for these were $99, with some suppliers selling them for up to $149. This price should easily be knocked down to around $75 at the max for a single unit with discounts for orders of 2 or more, making it more affordable and accessible.

2. Temperature Sensor Didn’t Work

The temperature sensor flat out didn’t work - it’s an unnecessary add on that could be taken out. Most people with kegerators have a way to control/monitor temperature anyway.

3. Connections Should Be Open Source

All of the value in the device is in the cloud, and if the app goes under, there needs to be a way to connect the device to a 3rd party application to manage the data.

So… Brewgr Keg?

My current mess of a kitchen table with Brewgr Keg prototype

In the past week I have been working on a prototype for a new keg management system. As an automation engineer by trade, I took this project on for myself as a side project to improve my setup. A week in I have a 3D printed base with wiring in progress, and a simple app in the works to read the data.

The idea would be if we could create it as a new product, we would follow through on the three items above while finding a way to “jailbreak” Plaato Kegs for their owners who are going to be losing functionality next year, giving them an app platform to connect to. Otherwise the functionality would be very similar to the Plaato keg with the same emphasis on load cells as point of monitoring.

It’s in the idea phase, and we would love your feedback below on if you’d be interested in a Brewgr Keg (working title, ideas welcome).

Would You Be Interested in a Brewgr Keg?

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Beer Trivia Question

🍺 Which fruit generally contains the same alcohol percentage as non-alcoholic beers?

Read to the end to find out if you're right!

Homebrewing Equipment Highlight

Craft Master Growlers (Affiliate Link)

If you want the most pimped out growler you could possibly imagine, in a gold finish no less, here is the product for you. This growler essentially doubles as a unitank, as it can be pressurized and actually has a built in CO2 regulator.

It has TC connections for any application you could think of - you could do small batch fermentations or use it as it is meant to be used - as a beer serving growler. The price is pretty steep but it is a cool piece of equipment.

Brewgr Recipe of the Week

An approachable stout is just the medicine you need some days. Going to breweries in the summer can be tough - if you’re lucky there is one dark beer on the menu, and rarely is it a stout. This recipe is simple and approachable, and could be the stout that everyone needs.

Credit: Sessionables

Poll Results: Is Homebrewing Dying?

It comes as no surprise to me that the overwhelming majority of people said resoundingly that homebrewing is not dying, and I have to agree with them. There is plenty of interest, and the novelty is still there - the joy of seeing friends and family taste your delicious homebrewed beer is worth it alone.

And the Answer Is...

🍺 Bananas contain between 0.2 - 0.4% alcohol depending on the ripeness of the banana. Riper bananas are higher in alcohol percentage because they ferment as they age.

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Happy Brewing!

- Brandon, Brew Great Beer Team

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