If you are a big beer fan and with Christmas so close, the SUB from Beerwulf could be the perfect gift, albeit an expensive way to consume your favourite beer.
About The SUB
The SUB is a draught beer system that accepts 2L Torps which then cools them down the to 2°C and keeps the beer fresh for up to 15-days. There are over 25 beer brands to choose from, and the options should suit all tastes including mainstream beers and ciders, plus plenty of craft options including IPA, pale ale, wheat beer and Belgium style beers.
The SUB compact costs £79.99, then there are more expensive better-looking options including the Sub Heineken for £129.99, they all do the same thing though. Beer ranger from £7.20 per Torp going up to £18.99 for the 8.5% Delirium Tremens.
Setting the SUB up is quite easy, but you need to do it all well in advance of drinking. The SUB will chill your beer, chilling it down from room temperature will take over 6 hours.
Similarly, if you are on a session, or sharing with friends, 2L won’t last you long. So, it is best to keep the Torp bottles in the fridge. Moving from the refrigerator to the SUB you should wait another hour or so to allow the beer to hit 2°C. Beerwulf explicitly states not to put the bottles in a freezer as it can warp the plastic, but if you want seamless transition when swapping out Torps, many users recommended switching from the fridge to freezer for a little while.
The instructions look a little intimidating at first as you have to run the tubing into the tap; however it was much easier than expected. The tube you need is supplied with each Torp, and it is in the cap you remove, you then just need to insert the end into the Torp, breaking the seal, and placing the nozzle end in its place where the tap is.
With that in place, you will need to wait for the LED to turn green before you use it, as this indicates the beer is cold enough.
I was supplied with two Fourpure Session IPA bottles and two Wild Beer Co Pogo bottles. When you buy the SUB there are 4 pack options, mine isn’t currently available but there is a 2 Affligem Blond + 2 Hofbräu Kaltenhausen Gandolf IPA choice for £109.00 which works out as £30 for 4 Torps or 4x Heineken for £99 so £5 per Torp which is a great deal for anyone that loves Heineken.
Like a lot of draught, it comes out quite frothy at first, I found the best way is to use two glasses, have one in place for the initial froth then switch to the other glass quickly while the beer continues to pour. I drank the frothy part, so there was no wastage.
The beer comes out perfectly chilled, and this is perhaps the main selling point here. I struggle to get the right temperature in the fridge; it is either too warm, or cold to the point I get no head on the beer.
The mouthfeel seems more peasant too, possibly due to the temperature but there is a smoother feel to the beer.
The combination of the above gives the impression of improved flavour and makes the overall experience more enjayable compared to drinking beer from a can or bottle.
Price and Comparison
As good as the SUB experience is, it is not the most cost-efficient way to buy beer. Apart from the initial £79.99 price for the SUB itself, it is the beer that is quite a bit more expensive than cans or bottles
Not all the beers Beerwulf offer are easily available, Cruzcampo Gran Reserva seems to be quite hard to get, even though Cruzcampo is common.
Looking at the table below, while the mass-produced beer looks the most appealing in terms of price, with a little being around £2, they are in fact worse value than the craft beers, being 68% through to 120% more than the bottle can equivalent.
You can get beer cheaper through some multi-pack deals. There is currently 8 kegs split with Tiger, Heineken and Birra Moretti Baffo for £57.53 which is 16L and £3.59 per litre.
On the flip side of this, craft beer is anything from 13-37% more expensive, which doesn’t feel too bad, but craft beer is already pricey in the first place, so paying £7.50 per litre could be off-putting.
|SUB price per litre||Can/Bottle price per litre||% Difference|
|Strongbow Dark Fruit||4.5||2.04||120|
|Wild Beer Co Pogo||7.5||5.45||37|
|Birra Moretti Baffo||4||3.03||33|
|Brand Session IPA||4.5||N/A||N/A|
|Fourpure Oatmeal Stout||8.5||7.5||13|
|Fourpure Session IPA||7.5||5.46||37|
|Hofbräu Kaltenhausen Gandolf IPA||5||N/A||N/A|
|Cruzcampo Gran Reserva||4.75||N/A||N/A|
There are of course competing technologies to this, Perfect Draft being the obvious one. This has a much more expensive setup cost of £239.00. This system doesn’t have any like for like beers, they seem to mainly focus on German and Belgium beers. These are mostly £30 per keg which is £5 per litre so in some scenarios they are arguable more expensive, others less. In my opinion, this system is less practical than the SUB due to the 6L size, but the beer does last 30 days on this system.
Beerwulf has an impressive-looking 8L Blade Keg system, but this is more for commercial applications and kegs such as Birra Moretti are only marginally cheaper than a Torp.
Similarly, the disposable 5L kegs are cheaper costing between £3 and £4 per litre, but these need drinking quickly and are challenging to keep chilled unless you have a dedicated fridge.
I approached this review with some scepticism, I saw the price of the beer and thought there would be no way I could recommend this over bottles or cans.
To some extent, for me, being tight-fisted, this is true, I wouldn’t use the SUB year-round as my main form drinking beer. However, the overall experience is better than the can/bottle equivalent, the beer is the perfect temperature, mouthfeel nicer, and the combination of the two subjectively makes the beer taste nicer.
So if you want to experience your beer in the best way possible without much regard for value, then the SUB is the way to go.
While I won't use this every weekly, I fully intend on using it a lot over the Christmas period, and I will continue using it throughout the year for times when I want to treat myself, in particular, I look forward to using it come summertime BBQs.
With Christmas approaching, I think the SUB + four Torps multipacks for £99 – £109 is a great deal and would make a wonderful Christmas present for any beer fan.
Beerwulf The SUB Compact Review Score
- Overall - 80%80%
While not cheap, this is a superior alternative to cans and bottles and would be a perfect Christmas gift this year.