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Philips PerfectDraft Review

Verdict

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Does what it says on the keg: the Philips PerfectDraft delivers pub-quality beer, perfectly chilled in the comfort of your own home. Incredibly simple to use, this machine chills kegs and maintains the perfect pressure, giving you beer on tap when you want it.

There’s a growing number of beers available, although the range is weighted towards lagers and IPAs, so this may not be ideal for ale drinkers.

Pros

  • Very simple to use
  • Professional results
  • Good selection of kegs

Cons

  • Large
  • Not for ale drinkers

Availability

  • UKRRP: £219

Key Features

  • Beer selectionBeer comes in 6-litre kegs, with more than 40 types available.

Introduction

Drinking beer out of bottles or cans just isn’t the same as getting a fresh pint in a pub. With the Philips PerfectDraft, you get to replicate what you get in the pub from the comfort of your own home, selecting from a growing range of 6-litre kegs.

It’s very simple to use and gives you professional results, but the kegs are skewed towards beers better served at colder temperatures (lagers and IPAs), so this machine may not be ideal for ale drinkers.

Design and features

  • Kegs clip simply into place
  • Machine automatically cools
  • LCD shows amount left and freshness

Although the Philips PerfectDraft is available from quite a few sources, it’s best value at BeerHawk. Given that the kegs all come from BeerHawk, too, it makes little sense to buy this machine anywhere else. Think of this, then, as a system for beer much like the Nespresso capsule system for coffee.

Here, the machine is designed for PerfectDraft kegs, of which there are now 40+ options available. Each keg takes 6-litres of beer, which works out at just over ten pints. Given that each keg keeps its freshness for 30 days once opened, this is a good compromise: large enough volume to give you a beer on tap without hassle; small enough volume that you don’t have to over-drink to empty out the machine.

There’s a growing selection of beer available, from the bog-standard brands (Bud, Beck) to some finer choices, including Schneider’s Bayrish Hell, Lowenbrau and Goose Island Midway IPA. Although there are a couple of stouts, some wheat beers and stronger beers, the selection is more aimed towards beers that are best served at lower temperatures.

Philips PerfectDraft kegs

This is largely because the PerfectDraft machine cools kegs to 3C, and there’s no option to select different temperatures. Depending on your tastes, then, the PerfectDraft machine may not be for you. I recommend checking out the choice before you make an order.

Prices range from just under £30 to just over £40 a keg, which works out at a starting price of around £2.80 a pint. That’s not the cheapest that you can get beer, but you should factor in the £5 refund you get for returning each keg. This appears as a credit on your BeerHawk account, so you can use it towards future purchases. This system means that you’re also doing good, as returned kegs are refilled and reused. 

When you get a keg, you undo the top and fit the plastic spout. With a new spout for each keg, you ensure that the beer coming out is clean and uncontaminated.

Philips PerfectDraft spout

Then you open the machine, clamp the keg into place and close the front. With the power on, the PerfectDraft will then lower the temperature of your beer to 3C. From fresh, that can take up to 12 hours, but you can pre-chill kegs in the fridge to give them a headstart.

Philips PerfectDraft keg in place

On the front of the PerfectDraft is an LCD, which shows how many days of freshness are left (counting down from 30) and a status display that shows how much beer is left. The latter is particularly handy, as you can see when you’re low and pre-chill the next keg.

Philips PerfectDraft display

There’s a compressor pump that pushes air into the keg (this doesn’t touch the beer, which is held in an aluminium bag) to maintain the perfect pressure. It means no messing around with CO2 gas canisters, as with the Klarstein Skal Beer Dispenser. Although the Skal uses supermarket kegs, it’s fiddlier to install them and, as well as installing the CO2 canister, needs to be filled with water.

Performance

  • Slightly foamy
  • Mostly very quiet
  • Dispenses excellent beer

Pouring a beer is as easy as sticking a glass under the spout, at a 45-degree angle, then pulling the tap fully open. If you don’t fully open the tap, then the beer comes out very foamy. Even fully open, beer tends to come out with quite a bit of head, so you may need a small rest before fully filling a glass.

Philips PerfectDraft froth

There’s little noise while the machine pours, bar that compressor kicking in to maintain pressure in the keg.

Results are excellent overall. Far colder than beer from a bottle, both the Schneider’s lager and IPA I tested had that proper ‘pub’ taste to them that’s far superior to what you get from a bottle. It felt as though I’d just popped down the pub and come back with a glass of ice-cold beer.

Philips PerfectDraft final pint

In terms of maintenance, there’s very little to do. If you spill beer into the drip tray, then you should clean this out; when you switch kegs, the drip tray can be put into the dishwasher. Philips recommends that you also wipe down the inside of the machine weekly to remove the condensation.

As this PerfectDraft cools your beer, there is some noise. When the machine is on full cooling mode, the fans are quite audible in a quiet room, but a conversation or TV drowns out the noise. When the machine is in its low-power state there’s just a gentle noise of fans. Your average fridge is much louder in my experience. 

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Should you buy it?

If your want perfectly conditioned beer delivered to give you the same quality pints that you’d get from a pub, then this is the machine for you.

Ale drinkers and those that like a much wider choice of beer brands and styles may find this machine a little too limiting.

Final Thoughts

There are plenty of machines out there designed to give that pub-like experience at home, such as the Fizzics DraftPour, which uses soundwaves to add microfoam to beer poured from a bottle or can. None deliver quite the same experience as the Philips PerfectDraft. Perfectly chilled and expertly delivered, it gives you the same quality of beer as you’d expect from a decent pub. 

It is quite large and the range of beer may not suit everyone, but for those that want the purest beer experience at home, there’s a lot to like here.

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FAQs

Can you swap kegs with PerfectDraft?

You can swap kegs before emptying one, but it’s not recommended. Once you’ve opened one, it’s best to finish.

How long does a PerfectDraft keg last?

It lasts 30 days once opened, although you should use a keg before the best before date.

Full specs

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