Smart kegerator

We first came across kegerators last year: it never ceases to amaze me how many of you use your Raspberry Pis to both simplify and massively overcomplicate your drinking. The kegerator is not a popular device here in the UK, but, judging by the emails I get from readers, there are enough of the things across the pond to get the whole continent of North America very drunk indeed.

A kegerator, for the uninitiated, is a device that allows you to have chilled draught beer on tap in your house without a cellar – broadly speaking, a fridge with a tun of beer and a pump in it. Wikipedia says: “A Kegerator is sometimes used in a Man cave.”

(As a beer-swilling, technology-fetishising woman who would love the space required for a cave and kegerator of my own, and who does not believe that caves of any sort should be gender-segregated, I am reminded that sometimes I kind of hate Wikipedia.)

Phil Harlow has a kegerator in his house. He shares his beers with friends and roommates, and it’s hard to work out who’s drunk what when splitting the bills for a new keg. So (you knew it was coming), he came up with a Raspberry Pi solution.

You can read much more, including a parts list, references and all the code you’ll need, at Phil’s website. We love it: and we’re wondering if we can squeeze one into the office somewhere. For research purposes, of course.



killor avatar

This application deserves great toast! :P


Dodo Woods avatar

Please use a picture of photo and give a try!!!

Phil Harlow avatar

Thanks killor!

Andy avatar

Maybe a kegerator full of hot coffee might be better excepted… or maybe you just want a beer.

PaulDow avatar

Now I finally understand what all the excitement about the RPi is about. ;-)

Hopefully one of the future enhancements will allow preventing a pour if the face is not recognized.

That’s a very nice interface. I’ve got to take a close look at Qt.

Tom Fool avatar

This just begs for a test of the facial recognition system. I would hold up a photo of the owner in front of the camera and thus charge my beer to that person…

liz avatar

I’m PRETTY sure that this is a hack for a set of trusted housemates who don’t want to have to do hard sums when they’re a bit tiddly, rather than an attempt at beer security.

Jim Manley avatar

So that’s what they mean by “free as in beer”! :lol:

Why would you want bear security, Liz? Oh, beer security! Well, that deserves not just a man cave, but a man vault. BTW, you meet all of the requirements to enter any “man” cave. Besides, at the current rate of mutation, supposedly within something like the next 30,000 years, the human Y chromosome will have withered to the point of essentially disappearing, and by then there will only be women inhabiting former man caves. First, it was making us watch all of those weepy “chick flicks” when we really wanted to watch stuff blow up. Then, it was getting us hooked on soap operas because that was the easiest way to be in proximity to women who clearly had emotional needs for attachment long before we arrived on the scene. Insistence on a lack of facial hair, and more recently, a lack of hair anywhere is the latest abomination (You wanna “landscape” what? Yikes!). You should count yourselves lucky that we’ve invented a place to preserve what little is left of our Manleyhoods – you think your girlfriends are honestly going to tell you when you look … ummm … well … errr … “overvoluptuous” in something? ;)

The best variants on kegerators are the kind that also deliver your beer in addition to keeping it cool, e.g.: :lol:

liz avatar

I’m sure it won’t surprise you at all to learn that I have a marked preference for movies with explosions rather than movies with romance. And I will note that currently Eben has about half a centimetre of beard in order to further confuse people who think he’s Jason Statham.

Jim Manley avatar

I heard Jason is either going to put out a restraining order on His Likeness from appearing in public any more, or hire him to do the stunts for which even his stunt men draw the line :lol:

liz avatar

Eben was asked *again* in a restaurant the other night whether he was, in fact, Jason Statham. He said: “No. I don’t have a broken nose.”

The waiter replied: “For the right money…”

ColinD avatar

My man cave is called our “study”. It’s full of:

– Raspberry Pi’s and other electronics bits including a Maplin robot arm on the desk.
– A server rack (everyone should have a server rack) which includes a Sun Ultra 5 (everyone should have a Sun workstation)
– a medieval crossbow mounted on the wall (everyone should have…)

Hmm Ideas Lightbulb moment: a Raspberry Pi powered medieval crossbow…

liz avatar

That sounds a lot like our study, only instead of the crossbow there’s an antique print of Indian livestock being murdered by Indian snakes, each snake meticulously numbered and labelled for identification at the bottom.

The woman at the framing shop looked at me in a very strange way when I took that in to be mounted a few years ago.

Declan Malone avatar

A tun of beer? I always thought a tun was a really big vessel (for brewing, rather than storage, but never mind that). In fact, wikipedia confirms that a tun is big. It says it’s usually 252 gallons.
If they’re drinking beer in those quantities, no wonder they’re getting drunk…

asb avatar

I didn’t know tun was a unit of measurement. With TUN/TAP there’s definitely a networking/beer crossover joke there…

Master Lakin avatar

My mother runs a pub in new zealand, as all public establishments do they have a problem with overpour, wasteage and sadly ‘theft.’

With out turning this into a CSI investigation, I must say that you are onto a winner with this!!

Its incredibly hard to monitor which pint is going where in a busy establishment and whos is or isnt paying for that pint.

Once it is all set up please do get in touch as I have some fantastic ideas to market this over seas!

[Mod edit – email address redacted. Sorry Matt, but we don’t allow people to post their personal details here; it’s an invitation for spambots to target you. If you’d like people to get in touch, I’d suggest setting up an account on our forums and asking there, or posting your username here; people can send you DMs, which is a way to get in contact with others without risking getting on a giant list of people hawking Oakley sunglasses and Louis Vuitton handbags.]


Phil Harlow avatar


Thanks for the article! But you are linking to a copy of my video. Could you please use my video instead? I’d like to keep track of views.

My video:


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