Hello beer lovers. Time for a quick update on a new beer toy that Santa bought! It’s called ‘The Sub’; powered by Krups and rolled out by Heineken, providing a variety of Heineken draught beers.
This is the beer gadget that allows true draught beer at home. There are other gadgets out there that allow semi-draught beers to be produced from shop bought beer cans and bottles, though these have their limitations. ‘The Sub’ on the other hand is not trying to turn a beer into the draught version – true draught beer is used.
My future father-in-law actually showed me this product first when he got a couple set up in his man-cave. I received many pictures of them, showing me what I would be in store for upon my next visit. Then I was lucky enough to get one for Christmas from my partner’s dad and since then I may have added another machine to my beer worktop……
The machine itself is called “The Sub”. It is made up of a main shell (which is a cooling system for the beer), a beer tap and a drip tray. It is connected to standard mains wiring for power and when acting in its “standing mode” (a chilled torp in situ) the energy consumption is similar to a generic fridge. The drip tray has a small magnet at the middle of one of the long edges, which keeps it attached to the Sub preventing slippage if an external force is applied. You may have noticed the word “torp”. Torps are the vessels that contain your future beers! They contain 2L, which is nearly 4 pints worth or 8 small glasses. Torps in combination with The Sub are the key components that will provide true draught beer at home.
The Sub (and the corresponding beer tap) comes in a variety of different colours, including:
- “Heineken edition” which looks like a mini Heineken keg!
The different colour options allow the customer to pick whatever shade is going to suit best with the area the sub would go in!
An instruction booklet comes in the box upon delivery, though the set-up of The Sub is actually very straightforward. In addition to the booklet there is a step by step guide on the company’s site. Upon plugging in the machine, it should switch on and show a red rim of light around the on-off switch. Simple as that. Now it is time to pick your beer.
The torp can be placed directly into The Sub immediately (a recommendation if you’ve just purchased the machine as surely you can’t wait to get started!), though I find that it is best to chill your next torp in the fridge prior to loading the machine. For instance, if I place a torp that is room temperature into The Sub, it will take approximately 4 hours to cool (the red rim of light around the power button turns to green to indicate that your beer is now at the perfect temperature for serving). If the torp had been cooled in a fridge prior to loading, it can sometimes take as little as 20 minutes before being ready to pour! Depending on fridge space and expectant use of The Sub, I will either put a torp in overnight to let it chill by itself or if I’m undecided on my next beer, I put a few torps into the fridge the night before and put off the important decision until the next day!
When you take the cap off the torp, inside there is a plastic tube with two contrasting ends. Insert the thick end into the mouth of the torp and unhinge The Sub door so that the beer can be placed inside the main body, with the connection-end of the torp pointing out towards you. Lift the lid next to the tap and feed the rest of the connector through this until you have locked it into place. Then close the lid and wait for the little green light! Don’t worry – the machine gives off a bit of noise during this point (hence why I’ll do the cooling process overnight or whilst I’m out at work), but this doesn’t last long.
Time for the main event! Here’s your pre-drink checklist:
- Beer in –
- Green light –
- Beer glass –
If you have checked the above mandatory criteria, then it is time to pour your beer. Take your glass in one hand and place it underneath the tap with your other hand ready for pouring. A 45° angle is recommended, though I personally suggest having the glass tilted at an even steeper angle.
On pouring you will see the beer start to run down the side of your glass and slowly fill. A noise will sound, but don’t be alarmed (it’s purely due to the pressure levelling out), and keep pulling the tap downwards. Slowly let the angle of your glass settle once you’ve filled at least 50% of the glass. The last second or so you are going to want to pour vertically into the middle of the glass, giving the perfect foam head (which should be about 1-2 inches in height). Set the beer aside on the mat if there is a risk of head overflowing. That’s it! At first it can take a few attempts to get used to pouring, but it’s quickly perfected and very user friendly!
As it is a Heineken based product, it is hardly surprising that the beers provided are brewed at their European breweries. They are primarily lager based, including Tiger, Desperados, Heineken, H41 Wild Lager and Birra Moretti. An IPA called Hofbräu Kaltenhausen Gandolf has also been released (forewarning this is a big IPA – a future review will be coming up on this soon!) and seasonal variants occur throughout the year – at time of writing there is a dark torp called Krušovice.
If you choose to chill the beer externally prior to placing into the machine, there is a handy indicator on the outer shell of the torp which turns blue once cooled fully! This is a great reference point to have and looks quite cool (no pun initially intended there). Another point of interest is that once you have poured your first beer it is recommended to finish that torp within 15 days – and please don’t switch beers in and out of The Sub. Drink them dry before moving on!
It would hardly be fair for me to tell you about this great beer gadget and not review one of its beers! As it is branded under Heineken, I should definitely start with their flagship lager. If I walked through the supermarket, the characteristic green bottle and red star would jump off the shelf, but I wouldn’t necessarily reach for a box of the lager. Though, as I waited for The Sub to perfectly cool the torp within, I suddenly became excited about a national lager.
I held the tap towards me, with my glass at a sharp angle and watched the bright golden liquid tumble towards the base of the glass. It finished beautifully with a clean white head, towering slightly over the rim of the glass, but just holding, preventing it from overspill.
On sampling, the key features identified were two-fold:
- The near ice-cold drink was exceptionally refreshing. Beers at home, even in the fridge do not achieve the level of thorough chilling that The Sub has engineered. This freshness remains even if the beer has been poured for a while.
- The smoothness of the beer is second to none – a feature that can only be achieved via draught. The gas settings are absolutely perfect.
The beer itself is a generic lager; light, crisp and fresh. It doesn’t have the widest of flavour profiles, though that is typical for the lager style. To be able to come in from work, or be playing a video game at home, and pull yourself a pint that rivals that of your favourite pub is just fantastic!
Rating: 3.5/5. Heineken is an average-good lager, but The Sub elevates it. *Let me just go and grab another to confirm*! Krups, in combination with Heineken, have made an excellent product that results in perfectly poured draught beer every time.
A general overview of the price is as follows;
- The Sub itself is approximately £119 (additional cost if you choose the Heineken style)
- Just now there is a valentine’s special for The Sub costing only £75
- Torps (2 litres in size) cost an average of £8, with a bit of variation beer to beer
- Discounts are available on bundle buys at times!
When you consider the price of a draught beer in your local bar, you could be charged anything between £2.50 and £4.00 (higher obviously in places like London or in trendy bars). So, £8 to enjoy 4 pints of beer in the comforts of your own home and at your own convenience means that you will basically end up saving money… It is a no-brainer.
Personally, I think that The Sub is an incredible product. It gives beautifully cold, smooth beer consistently. At two litres in volume, it is not too large and can be placed on kitchen worktops easily. The sleek design and colour options also provide a visually pleasing addition to your home as opposed to something too obtrusive. There are currently a good variety of starter beers available, which I anticipate will grow in the future. When on The Sub website, change the setting to the Netherlands and there is a dedicated part of the site providing a rotating selection of craft European beers to continental consumers. If the UK store becomes like this, I will be very, very excited.
Personally, I love trying new beers. Whether this be cans, bottles or a new draught I will always look out for unsampled brews. The Sub, although limited based in number of available beers available, it is a nice consistent beer to return to when trying other unknown beers. I have found that I will usually alternate The Sub draught beers with new craft varities!
Rating: 4.5/5, It is a fantastic product. Great in design and aesthetics and produces great chilled beer. I’m going to be harsh with the rating as secretly I want to give this a 5/5 score, but that will easily happen in time as more beers are added to their selection.