Sacre Brew beers come in 330-mL & 500-mL glass bottles and 20-liter KeyKegs.

In all formats, the beer is conditioned in its packaging. We prime it with sugar and it undergoes a final stage of fermentation in the bottle or KeyKeg.

This means our beer is always:

  • naturally carbonated
  • unpasteurized
  • unfiltered
  • qualified as real ale according to CAMRA’s definition

This goes for our lagers, too!

We chose the KeyKeg for bulk packaging for several reasons:

  • affordability
  • lightweight
  • recyclable and made from recycled materials
  • unique bag-in-a-ball design, which keeps air from making contact with the beer (so the beer stays fresh longer) and how it pushes the beer out from the top (so the yeast stays at the very bottom)

Here’s a simple sketch of the KeyKeg design. There’s an outer plastic shell containing an inner plastic/foil bag. The beer goes in the bag, where it undergoes final fermentation. When the beer is ready, you let it sit undisturbed for 24-48 hours and the yeast settles to the bottom of the bag. To serve the beer, you attach the beer and gas lines via a coupler at the top. The gas (any gas, it doesn’t have to be carbon dioxide) is pushed into the space between the inner bag and the outer shell, never touching the beer. The beer is pushed out of the bag and into the line by the air. Since the beer is being pushed out from the top, the yeast stays at the bottom till the very end.

KeyKeg anatomy

 

So the gas in this design is used solely to mechanically push on the bag full of beer. It does not interact with the beer and it does not carbonate the beer.

We think KeyKegs are great. We wouldn’t be able to keg our beer without them. Click here for more information on KeyKegs.

Magic Rock has helpful information on serving out of KeyKegs, as well as a diagram illustrating the difference between a conventional keg and a KeyKeg.

Not everybody conditions their beer in KeyKegs; some breweries carbonate their beer first and then package it. But we encourage other brewers to try keg-conditioning because it works so well in this package, and we challenge CAMRA conservatives to expand their horizons and learn about this new technology.

Here’s an interesting interview with Garrett Oliver, Master Brewer at Brooklyn Brewery. He talks about the coolness of KeyKegs at 5:17.