If you find yourself reading this, it’s probably for one of two reasons. Either you’ve made the sound decision and invested in a Phillips PerfectDraft Machine and want to learn more about it; or it could be that you’re still on the fence and are asking yourself “Should I buy a PerfectDraft?”. Hopefully this nifty little guide will put your mind at ease and quell any doubts or concerns you have.

Our Phillips PerfectDraft Machine has been on the go for a few years now, and has gained a sizeable following within the beer community. The Facebook group ‘Perfect Draft Keg Tips’ was set up by machine owners as a platform to discuss all things PerfectDraft (and anything else beer related!). Due to this group’s enthusiasm Beer Hawk decided to host a yearly PerfectDraft Convention - so keep an eye out for tickets for next year’s PD Con!

About the machine

Unless you’re fortunate enough to have a home bar, the biggest question you or your partner may have before you invest in a PD Machine is ‘will it fit in my kitchen?’. The machine is 286 x 444 x 493 (mm), and has a sleek black and chrome finish that fits in quite nicely with the rest of your kitchen appliances. The machine runs from a standard UK plug socket, which works to cool the keg to the set drinking temperature of 3°C.

We recommend buying a PD machine from our website as part of a ‘Starter Bundle’. These start from £263 and gets you the machine, a keg and two glasses. Our ‘bundle builder’ is like a much more exciting version of a pick and mix, allowing you to curate your own bundle dependant on your preferences. We currently stock over 30 beers with our range constantly expanding, however some of the beers are seasonal so aren’t available all year round. A PD keg has a volume of 6 litres (Around 10.5 pints) and stays fresh for 30 days once in the machine; a readout on the machine will keep track of this for you, so there’s no need to mark it on the calendar!

So now you’ve got a very difficult decision to make; what beer are you going to choose first? Are you a lager veteran, or an Abbey beer connoisseur? Or perhaps you enjoy a tipple of British Ale or German Weissbier? The PD machine is here to accommodate all your beer needs. If you feel you need to do some solid research before stepping into no man’s land and committing to 6 litres of unfamiliar beer, then don’t fret; we offer a ‘Perfect Draft Taster Pack’ - crammed full of sample bottles from our PD range, allowing you to dip your toe into the beer before getting in shoulder deep (metaphorically speaking). 

Setting up your machine

So, you’ve chosen your beers and glasses, your PD machine has just arrived and your keen to set it up, however there are a few things to bear in mind before cracking into your fist keg. The machine cools the beer to 3°C and then maintains that temperature. A keg at room temperature will take between 12-15 hours to cool, but if you can’t wait that long there are a few ways around this.

Get your first keg in the machine as quickly as possible, chances are it will be still be nice and cool from being with the courier. With the second keg we recommend keeping somewhere cool - if you have your priorities sorted, you’ll make some room in the fridge. Ditch the veg draw if you must. You can use the machine while it’s still cooling, but the beer may be a tad frothy (and warm!). In terms of fitting your keg, we’ve made a lovely instructional film that talks you through it here (we feel it was snubbed at the Oscars, but we’re in contact with Meryl Streep for the next one).

As your PD adventure continues you find yourself collecting a lot of empty kegs, and you can send them back to us to be re-filled with more lovely beer. This is in your best interest as well - for every keg you return to us you get £5 worth of Beer Tokens added to your account (here's how). The best way to do this is with CollectPlus, you can use their website to find the closest drop off point to you. The most important thing is to make sure all the kegs are in boxes, and we recommend re-using the boxes they arrived in. Once your kegs get back to us, they will be processed by our lovely warehouse team. The Beer Tokens will then take around ten working to show up in your account – the best things in life come to those who wait!

Pouring your beer

At this stage you’re probably sussing out which room would be easiest to convert into a home bar and working out when you can get all your chums round to show off your lovely PD machine. If you really want to impress them, you need to be able to pour the perfect beer. Take your receptacle of choice; hold it at a 45° angle and place it under the tap - never allowing the tap to touch the glass. Pull the tap towards you and allow the beer to run down the inside of glass. When the glass is 2/3 of the way full hold the glass vertical and allow a head to form. The head is very important as it will hold a lot of the aroma, which will add to the flavour as well as protect your beer from the outside world. A bigger head is better than no head at all, plus you can always top up your glass.

When it comes to glasses, for most PD lagers we recommend using a nucleated glass to make sure your beers keep their fizz – these are the kinds of glasses with little patterns on the inside bottom. Your beer will taste great whatever you serve it in, but using these kind of glasses means your beers keep their fizz for longer. If you’re the kind of purist who likes to drink their beer from the brewery’s own glass (and let’s face it, who isn’t?) then you can check out our range of official brewery glassware.

There’s never been a better time to join the PerfectDraft club and make your dream of a home bar a reality. The range of kegs available is constantly expanding and the more popular PD becomes, the more of your favourite breweries will want to get involved. In the wider world of home beer dispensers, the PD machine is proving to be a firm consumer favourite; The Independent named it an Indy/Best buy back in 2017 and its only got better since then! This really is the best way to get pub-quality draft beer at home - and it’s only a few clicks away so come on, pull your finger out and make it a reality!