In the search for different types of entertainment during life under stay-at-home, I discovered beer which ships right to your door, via the Hopsy SUB Home Tap. With breweries closed and options slim at the grocery store, I ordered a machine along with 4 mini-kegs.
The Hopsy SUB Home Tap is run independently under Krups, which sends a countertop beer dispensing machine and mini-kegs to your home. Service can be either a monthly delivery or a premium subscription service. With a built-in refrigeration system, all you need is a plug. So, I decided to try the beer out.
Sitting at home, scrolling through Facebook, an ad popped out at me. I don’t remember the specifics, but my eyes selectively read “free” and “beer” and put them together. I tapped my phone for more info.
Disclosure: I was not solicited to use Hopsy and received no compensation for this. However, if after reading my review, you decide to get your own using my link, I receive a small commission in the form of beer.
Table of Contents
The Hopsy Free Beer Machine
Click here and get your own free Hopsy SUB Home Tap. In fact, this is the same offer I’m writing about.
I clicked on the option for the SUB Home Tap with 4 Mini-Kegs. I added to cart and was presented with this next screen:
It looked like pretty much every Mini-Keg for this offer is $9.99. This is a limited time, one-time promo price that won’t be offered on the website again. Separate from this quick-offer, mini-kegs on the site varied in price, from $14.99 and up.
I later learned this offer for $9.99/mini-keg is offered if you buy just 1 mini-keg at regular price. If you want one of these premade promotional packs but don’t have Hopsy Gold or a subscription, you can order just 1 mini-keg, wait for the email or webpage to offer you this deal, then order a lot more at this discounted price. I have currently done this method once successfully so far.
But how much beer is that, exactly? 67 oz of beer, to be exact. The website claims this is roughly a 6 pack. Scroll down to “Is Hopsy Worth It” for more detailed information on this.
I declined any more kegs for now. I was tempted, though, for the sake of research. Just for you, of course.
I entered in my credit card information and was pleased that I’d have 4 Mini-Kegs and a brand new lean, mean, beer dispensing countertop machine in 5 days. Sweet.
I was also presented with the option to join Hopsy Gold. $99.99 for a year of free shipping and a discount on beer. Since I could start Gold service anytime, I held off for the moment to try out the machine – and the beer – for a week first.
My Experience with Hopsy and the Beer
Unboxing the SUB was pretty uneventful. For my own preferences, I felt like there was a bit of redundancy in the amount of cardboard and boxes. I’d like to see their team improve upon this to reduce waste.
Inserting the mini-keg for the first time took a bit of time. The instructions didn’t include what to do regarding a couple plastic pieces, leaving me attempting to insert the mini-keg with them still attached. I eventually figured out to remove both pieces and was able to get the mini-keg inserted. I also twisted the mini-keg as I pushed it down, which resulted in a much slower pour from kinking the plastic tubing. My second mini-keg, I inserted it straight down, resulting in what I would have normally expected in a beer-pouring experience.
While the lid to the Hopsy SUB Home Tap has a rubber gasket and seal, the exterior top gets pretty cool, which means the insulation isn’t very good – perhaps SUB-par. Ha.
The manual stated up to twelve hours to cool the beer at room temperature. Mine cooled in three. The machine was initially very noisy during this cooling process and I was a bit worried it would be this loud all the time. Once the light turned green, the noise went down significantly to a tolerable and liveable level.
The second mini-keg I tried was stored in the fridge, which resulted in it being ready immediately, without any jet-engine like noise.
I initially started with filling standard sized pint glasses, but soon realized I wanted to drink a taster at a time. I really enjoyed being able to pour small amounts without worrying about carbonation or temperature. I had excellent pours available for my every whim.
The beer itself is what I expected. Its not crazy, wild micro-craft styles, which I personally enjoy sampling, but more so of safe varieties and flavors. The kind of beer anyone can easily drink.
In a time of life where we are required to stay at home, this convenience of having beer delivered and a snazzy machine to dispense it, I was pretty happy with my decision to try out the Hopsy SUB Home Tap.
I would recommend keeping at least the next mini-keg in your fridge for immediate use and not stored at room temperature.
When life normalizes, this would be a lot of fun to use at a small party or gathering. Sure, the beer goes fast, but the experience of pouring this way, when compared to opening a bottle or can is much more fun. I dig it.
After ordering, your email will get plenty of special offers to tempt you into buying endless amounts of beer.
Inspired to try to Hopsy on your own now? Use my link to buy a SUB!
Hopsy Beer Review
Beer reviews can be a pretty subjective topic, so instead of talking about tasting notes and that sort of thing that you may not even agree with, I’ll try to only discuss topics we can all agree on.
If you for whatever reason don’t like the beer, Hopsy strongly encourages you to empty the mini-keg completely before removing it. Based on their verbiage on the website about releasing pressure, I’m going to assume this is a secondary function to dispense beer onto the ceiling. And no, I’m not going to try it for the photo op. So, you either need to suck it up and drink all the beer, or dump it down the drain and try another.
Once opened, you have 2 weeks to drink the beer before it begins to go bad. Considering you have roughly a 6-pack’s worth of beer, this should be fairly doable, for even a light beer drinker.
Hopsy Mini Kegs
The Hopsy website claims each mini-keg is roughly a 6 pack, or 67 ounces.
My eyebrows were raised by the word “roughly.” After doing a bit of research, I decided Hopsy gets a pass on using the word “roughly.”
12 oz is standard for bottles and cans. A 6-pack of the standard is 72 oz, which means the mini-keg is 5 oz less than a standard 6-pack.
Being a craft beer drinker, I know there can be a lot of variations to the standard size and shape. How many variations? Let’s see.
Bottle names and sizes:
- Nip / Pony / Grenade (7 oz)
- Stubby / Steinie (12 oz)
- Longneck (12 oz)
- Belgian (375 ml or 12.7 oz)
- British (500 ml or 16.9 oz)
- Bomber / Large Format (650 ml or 22 oz / 750 ml or 25.4 oz)
- Caguama / Ballena (940 ml or 32 oz)
- Forty (40 oz)
- Howler (32 oz)
- Magnum (50.7 oz)
- Growler (64 oz)
Can names and sizes:
- Nip (8.4 oz)
- 12 oz (12 oz)
- Tallboy (16 oz)
- Stovepipe (19.2 oz)
- Crowler (32 oz)
Glass serving sizes
- 4 oz – typical for a flight
- 8 oz – Higher ABV beers, usually served in a tulip glass or snifter.
- 16 oz – The good ole pint glass
- 20 oz – Imperial pint, for when you’re in Europe or Canada.
Glass serving sizes can help establish perceived value for Hopsy beers, especially if they are all priced the same.
Hopsy Beer Refills
Currently, Hopsy does not have the logistics or ability in place to pick up used mini-kegs. Their instructions are to recycle with your normal household recycling and purchase new ones.
The mini-kegs use proprietary technology which does not allow them to be used in any other unit. You also cannot use any other company’s mini-keg other than what Hopsy sells.
Hopsy Beer List
The Hopsy beer list is fairly varied, with enough options to please just about any beer drinker. At the time of ordering, in April 2020, there were 9 individual beers and 6 themed packs to choose from. Themed packs usually came in 4/6/8/10/12 amounts of mini-kegs.
Is Hopsy Worth It?
If you utilize a promo, the Hopsy SUB Home Tap is free, and you will only pay for mini-kegs and $10 for shipping. Prices vary based on the beer, but I am going to calculate this based on the most common pricing options.
An individual mini-keg is $19.99. Each monthly or 4-week shipment includes 6 mini-kegs by default. Assuming you never change the defaults, this comes to $119.94 + $10 to ship, for a total of $129.94.
At a price per beer ounce, 67 oz per mini-keg, the total ounces per shipment is 402.
That means price per oz is $0.32, or $3.87/standard beer bottle size for each shipment.
Is Hopsy Gold Worth It?
Hopsy Gold is $99/year. You get free shipping on your monthly deliveries and the cost per mini-keg goes down by $5/keg.
Over 12 months, Gold saves you $120 in shipping costs.
Assuming you never change your order from the default 6 mini-kegs, you are also saving $30 per 4-week order with the $5/keg savings.
Let’s simplify that a bit more and change it to $40 saved every month. The value of savings comes to $480 over a year. That is a huge savings over non-Gold. So where is the break-even point?
After 3 months of a Hopsy Gold subscription, you are now saving money with each 4-week delivery. That is an excellent value.
If you like the beer and want to keep using the Hopsy SUB Home Tap system, you absolutely should be purchasing the Gold subscription.
However, when calculating both beer prices with Hopsy Gold, is Hopsy worth it?
Over an entire year, the cost for Gold and all the deliveries, minus shipping, would be $1179. That is $98.25 per month.
Price per oz is $0.24, or $2.93/standard beer bottle size for each shipment.
In the current time of staying home, not socializing, and not going out, either option is a much cheaper alternative to hitting up the bar.
At either $2.93 or $3.87 per pour, you are definitely saving money compared to going out.
Are you saving money compared to buying 6 or 12 packs at the grocery store? Probably not, overall.
There is also value in the amount of space the SUB Home Tap takes up – space is fairly minimal, especially compared to the traditional keg size. The convenience of having cold beer on tap is really nice.
If you are the kind of person who shops at Costco and gets those 24 or 36 packs of beer, this is going to double or triple your expenses on beer. My go-to Costco party purchases come out to something like $1.20/bottle.
If you miss going out and want to relive that draft beer convenience – this is the way to go. This is also a fun way to enjoy beer in a fairly easy way that opening cans and popping open bottle caps simply can’t compete with.
Does the Hopsy SUB Home Tap Keep Beer Cold?
The SUB Home Tap has a built-in refrigeration unit. So yes, Hopsy unit keeps beer cold. All you need it an outlet to plug it into.
The unit is set to a strict 36°F and cannot be adjusted.
The SUB Home Tap is rated A+ by energy efficiency standards, with an average of 11 Watts in a steady state. A year of use is approximately 96.36 kWh. I personally pay 0.1711/kWh on average, which means the unit would cost me 3 cents per day and $11.56 per year.
The website does state to keep the SUB Home Tap plugged in at all times or the beer’s quality can diminish. I am curious what this means if the power goes out while a mini-keg is loaded and has beer inside.
Unboxing the Hopsy SUB Home Tap
After you place your order for your Hopsy and it arrives in the mail, here is what you can expect.
Box in a box.
User guide with some coupon offers to other companies.
Default beer selection.
User manual and more packaging.
Back of the SUB.
Closeup of the side, with a view of the heatsink.
Bottom of the Hopsy SUB. Note the fan and vents for heat to dissipate.
The bottom of the mini-kegs go here.
The dispenser nozzle fits in here, with the tube sliding down into the notch as the mini-keg gets pushed down gently.
The handle is easy to attach. Close the lid, plug it in, and if the light is red, the beer is cooling.
And the first Hopsy SUB Home Tap pour is ready! Success!
Hacking the Hopsy SUB Home Tap
A few people around the internet have found some creative ways to hack the HOPSY SUB home tap to do some various things. All of these will definitely void whatever warranties you might have.
One article details how to clean the entire assembly and refill with your favorite local brewery.