There’s nothing more refreshing or better than an ice cold beer on a hot summer’s day whilst hosting a cookout, however what is the best way to achieve this? Whilst bottles do the job these are bot always suitable. Whilst you can fit plenty of bottles in a standard sized refrigerator there is the issue of guests continuously going in and out of the house to get a drink, and then there is the issue of potential broken bottles as well as disposing of the empties after the cookout, which is a bit of a chore. A beer keg is the cookout drink of choice, besides there is something about having a keg of beer that makes the cookout a real occasion, and since a keg is quite large it is highly unlikely to fit in the average sized refrigerator.
It is possible to buy specific keg coolers, although they are either for indoor or outdoor use and not suitable for both, therefore it is important to get the right one. Specific keg coolers are very expensive, and unless you hire it out (by making it an investment to recoup your money) or hold many outdoor cookouts the cost will not outweigh the benefits making it a very expensive item that will spend most of its time redundant in the garage. So, how do you keep a keg cold whilst hosting an outdoor cookout, or any outdoor bash for that matter?
In order to make a DIY keg cooler the first item you’re going to need to obtain is a large trash can or container, and by large it needs to be at least the 55 gallon size, although the largest you can find should be bought. The can should be obviously be large enough to hold the keg but also make sure that it is tall enough so the keg doesn’t come out of the top of the trashcan.
Whilst dark colours attract heat more than lighter colours they do provide more shade from the sun and this is what is needed here. The darker the better so don’t go for one of those clear plastic ones.
Before making the cooler you need to decide where it is going to be located. Once loaded with the keg and all the other bits and pieces required the overall package is going to be heavy, therefore get it in the correct location first time out. Ideally the keg cooler should be out of direct sunlight and in the shade, however it needs to be out of the way but accessible so this needs to be borne in mind.
The next thing on the shopping list is at least 8 large bags of ice. Once the location of the cooler has been decided put the trash can in situ and then cover the bottom in a layer of ice. The layer needs to be 4 inches – 6 inches deep.
Next put the keg of beer in to the trashcan on top of the ice. Put the keg in the centre so it is possible to pack more ice around it for optimum cooling. The next step is to add cold water, ensure it is not hot or even luke warm by running the cold tap for several minutes, to the trashcan. Don’t put in too much water you only need to make the ice “wet”.
Add more ice to the DIY keg cooler on an hourly basis to ensure it is topped up and kept nice and cool. When topping up the ice try and remove any excess water since this is likely to be warm and will melt the top up ice quicker.
So there we have a makeshift keg cooler. Whilst it may be a bit rough and ready, but it is much cheaper to buy and run than a specific keg cooler, it will do the job and should be adequate for all cookouts. This cooler won’t keep the keg cool hours and hours on end but with a bit of maintenance, i.e. regularly topping up of ice and removal of excess water, it will keep the beer cold for a few hours, which should be long enough to see the party through to its conclusion.
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