About a year ago, I finally decided to make the leap and get into kegging. I always used to bottle my beers, but eventually got tired of washing bottles and the tedious work of filling them one by one.
At home, I constantly keep 3 kegs in rotation depending on what I am brewing on any given month. I find that this is a great way to give me choice and variety depending on my mood. The only challenge that I have with this is that I need to keep checking the kegs to see if they are nearly empty. Often I get this wrong and sit with an empty keg or two while I wait for my next batch to finish fermenting. If you keg your own beers, you might be familiar with this problem!
A while ago, I blogged about the awesome Plaato digital airlock - so I was delighted when the team at Plaato reached out and asked me if I'd like to review one of their latest products - the Plaato Keg Management System.
The product reviewed for this article was provided by the manufacturer in exchange for an honest review; no other compensation was provided. The opinions expressed in the article are solely those of the author and a concerted effort was made to approach the review from an unbiased perspective.
According to the Plaato website: PLAATO KEG is a plug-and-play system that works by measuring the weight of the kegs. Each and every device is WiFi-connected, transmitting real-time data to the user.
A few weeks after chatting with the Plaato team, a package arrived in the post.
The product itself is very slimline, and arrived was neatly packaged inside a slimline box.
The box contained the device itself, a power cable and a link to the setup instructions. I have to admit that I'm not really one for reading instructions, and it seemed simple enough to get started, so I plugged the power cable into a USB plug and then into the device istelf. Unfortunately, the USB plug wasnt supplied with the kit, but I guess that this allows them to keep the packaging small and ship to many countries around the world without having to supply different plugs.
I already had the Plaato app installed on my phone due to using the Plaato digital airlock and I assumed that this would work too. From the app, I chose Add New Device, chose the device (the name wasn't obvious, but there was only one at the time) and entered the details for my Wifi in the house. The app found the device and started to configure it.
Hooray - that was it! Well.....at least it was set up in my lounge. Next, I needed to test the device for realz on my kegerator. My Kegerator, or Humebrew HQ as I like to call it, is located in the garage and like any homebrewer, this is my place of solitude.
My kegerator is a DIY job and involved me drilling an under-counter fridge to install the tap tower. I am not keen on drilling any more holes in my kegerator, so I simply decided to run open the door and run the cable through the front. Fortunately, this isn't a problem as the cable for the Plaato Keg Management System is very thin and didn't affect the seal on the fridge door.
I placed the keg on top of the device and within a few seconds, it started to register the keg and the amount of beer left inside it!
Before setting the device up, I imagined that I would need to configure different settings or measure the weight of an empty / full keg. I was super impressed that this was all handled for me. I didn't need to update anything.
The great thing about the Plaato Keg Management System is that it you are able to view the device information from anywhere around the globe (or even your sofa 10 metres away!). Using the app, you can configure the sensitivity of the device, receive notifications every time someone pours, updates on the temperature, and even when you are running close to empty.
The Plaato Keg Management System certainly delivers on everything you'd expect from it and much more. Over the week that I've been experimenting with it, there are a few things worth mentioning:
- As this is an IoT device, you will need to make sure that you have a decent WiFi connection. My garage is a little further from the house and I just about manage to get enough signal for the device. If you don't have a signal strong enough, this could be a problem for you.
- My Kegerator is a small under-counter fridge and although the device is not much wider (maybe a couple centimetres) than a standard corny keg, I would be unable to fit two of these devices in the kegerator due to space constraints. This is my own problem and it might not affect you depending on your setup, but it's worth thinking about.
There is not much more that I can say other than this is a great device. From start to finish, I was probably up and running in less than 10 minutes. The Plaato app makes it super easy to get started and the UI is simple enough for anyone to understand. I can imagine the Plaato app would make it easy enough to add multiple devices with ease.
Would I recommend buying this? Aboslutely!