Using a cask as a keg (sorry!)

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dean_wales
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Using a cask as a keg (sorry!)

Post by dean_wales » Mon Mar 19, 2018 11:12 pm

Hi guys,

I have a regular stainless cask that I would like to use with a beer engine and CO2. I onbviously don't want to force carbonate the beer but I would like to use CO2 to keep it from spoiling and also serve from the cask upright in a keezer alongside my kegs.

I have the cask, hand pull and check valve as well as beer and gas lines. What bit of kit do I need to hook up the cask to the gas and beerlines?

Any tips from or links to those who have done anything similar very welcome!

Cheers,
Dean.
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Re: Using a cask as a keg (sorry!)

Post by thepatchworkdoll » Tue Mar 20, 2018 11:46 am

You'll also need a Cask Aspirator. If you google it you will see what I mean
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Re: Using a cask as a keg (sorry!)

Post by PeeBee » Tue Mar 20, 2018 12:05 pm

"Cask Widge" designed a floating extractor for upright casks.https://www.caskwidge.com/. I use them in all my Corny kegs too (in place of the dip tubes).

Don't care much for "breathers" and "cask aspirators" for home-brew for this and that reason; I use variable LPG regulators (0.75-2PSI) for controlling the gas (see https://drive.google.com/file/d/0BwzEv5 ... V1bWc/view if you haven't already).

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Re: Using a cask as a keg (sorry!)

Post by dean_wales » Tue Mar 20, 2018 2:23 pm

Thanks both. I should have said that it is a bare cask and I have not used one before, so I am starting from the very basics and also trying to rig it up as cheaply as possible as I normally keg beer but want one 'real' ale on this summer!

I think I need to:
- Get a solid plastic shive to plug the side (from where? I only need one!).
- Get a few soft keystones (from where? I want to test with water so need a few).
- Get a cask widge or flexible ale extractor. The ale extractor looks considerably cheaper do they do the same thing?
http://www.caskwidge.com/shop/index.php ... 2Aixcet3p3
https://www.harrymasons.com/product/one ... rkin-size/
- Hook up a CO2 line at minimal pressure, like 2psi.
- Connect beer line from the cask gadget to the check valve and then on to the beer engine.
- Turn on the gas and then pull through a few pints of spluttering foam before the fun starts.

Or am I missing something here?

Cheers,
Dean.
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Re: Using a cask as a keg (sorry!)

Post by dean_wales » Tue Mar 20, 2018 2:28 pm

Or would I be better of treating the cask as normal but inserting one of these?

https://www.ebay.co.uk/itm/Spile-Olympu ... Sw5VFWN6~5

Thanks,
Dean.
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Re: Using a cask as a keg (sorry!)

Post by Jim » Tue Mar 20, 2018 4:24 pm

You'll need keystones (for the tap hole) and shives (for the bung hole on top). To get gas into a cask you also need a cask breather adapter. [EDIT: that spile peg you linked to is a version of cask breather adapter].

You'll need a cask tap and suitable fittings to connect said tap to a beer line.

Keystones and shives are one-use only, so you'll need a supply.
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Re: Using a cask as a keg (sorry!)

Post by swiggingpig » Tue Mar 20, 2018 5:42 pm

This is the way I have mine set up
Image

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Re: Using a cask as a keg (sorry!)

Post by PeeBee » Tue Mar 20, 2018 8:13 pm

dean_wales wrote:
Tue Mar 20, 2018 2:23 pm
...
- Turn on the gas and then pull through a few pints of spluttering foam before the fun starts.
...
There is no need for "spluttering foam". You just see it happen in Pubs when they haven't had the time to "vent" the cask properly. There is a section on venting homebrew in my article - or you can bog yourself down with "soft spiles", "hard spiles" and other Pub gubbins (just remember you are a home brewer, not a Pub selling a cask in a few hours).

"Spluttering foam", i.e. an example of trying to serve over-conditioned beer, is a good example of why I don't recommend "aspirators" or "breathers". At zero PSI the beer will hold on to CO2 condition for a few days (yeap, even "Real-Ale" contains an appreciable amount of CO2) ... but home-brew? It's going to be pretty flat by the time the week is out despite the "aspirator". Hence 1-2PSI of top-pressure to keep the condition (no more than 2PSI, and probably keeping the cask with frigid kegs isn't best - about 14C for cask is alright).

"Swiggingpig's" diagram is pretty good but you wont need the Flojet pump unless you have the cask yards away. Flojet pumps are because you can't hire buxom bar wenches with well developed arms anymore. Your attachments will be different because you have a cask not a keg.

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Re: Using a cask as a keg (sorry!)

Post by PeeBee » Wed Mar 21, 2018 10:06 am

Should have mentioned:

If you are using the cask upright the "shive" on the side becomes redundant and only essentially needs fitting once. Everything happens through the keystone, tap end, much like a keg. Hence the complete "Cask Widge" system, or similar systems, are a tad pricy because they must have adapters to replace the tapping bit with something that allows the beer out and gas (or air if you are a "Real-Ale" Pub not a home-brewer) in.

The "shive" isn't that redundant - it still offers the best access for cleaning and filling the cask.

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Re: Using a cask as a keg (sorry!)

Post by Kyle_T » Wed Mar 21, 2018 2:51 pm

I probably have all the pieces you need to run a cask at home, I can look if you are interested?
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Re: Using a cask as a keg (sorry!)

Post by dean_wales » Wed Mar 21, 2018 3:10 pm

That would be absolutely fantastic! Take a look and let me know? Cheers, Dean.

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Re: Using a cask as a keg (sorry!)

Post by ingo » Mon Sep 02, 2019 11:40 am

[quote=PeeBee post_id=830821 time=1521543938 user_id=16274]
Don't care much for "breathers" and "cask aspirators" for home-brew for this and that reason; I use variable LPG regulators (0.75-2PSI) for controlling the gas (see [url]https://drive.google.com/file/d/0BwzEv5 ... V1bWc/view[/url] if you haven't already).
[/quote]

Old thread, I know, I have a question on the above mentioned document. PeeBee what vessel/container do you use for the trap with the bubblecounter?

TIA,

Ingo

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Re: Using a cask as a keg (sorry!)

Post by PeeBee » Mon Sep 02, 2019 4:15 pm

ingo wrote:
Mon Sep 02, 2019 11:40 am
Old thread, I know, I have a question on the above mentioned document. PeeBee what vessel/container do you use for the trap with the bubblecounter?
Blimey, it is an old thread you've dug up. But far from the oldest I've seen resurrected!

The "trap" for that rare moment when you connect a very full and very lively keg: I originally used a water filter housing because they're big and will absorb a particularly large "blow back". Like these (for example): https://www.ebay.co.uk/itm/10-in-line-W ... 0903.m5276. I've never actually experienced a "blow-back", I just know one could happen.

But I'm currently replacing it with these: https://www.ebay.co.uk/itm/1-Garden-Irr ... 4083942804. Good for 140psi and considerably smaller but I'm guessing it will be big enough to give sufficient warning to disconnect the keg again. The 1" BSP ports will need some form of adapter to reduce the size to something more useful. Being so small it'll get permanently fixed to a wall so that it's always available, not stuffed away like the current one so it requires more effort to get ready, so you don't bother, … and … oops, I shouldn't have done that!

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Re: Using a cask as a keg (sorry!)

Post by ingo » Mon Sep 02, 2019 6:24 pm

PeeBee wrote:
Mon Sep 02, 2019 4:15 pm
But I'm currently replacing it with these: https://www.ebay.co.uk/itm/1-Garden-Irr ... 4083942804. Good for 140psi and considerably smaller but I'm guessing it will be big enough to give sufficient warning to disconnect the keg again.
Filter housings are a nice one, hadn't thought about those.

Theoretically I could hook up several kegs to a trap, bubbler and regulator and eventually all CO2 levels will be averaged out to the level set by the regulator, right? Assuming similar CO2 levels to start with, not including one with a Weizen level. Thinking about mounting a whole set up in a Gamko keg cooler that holds 6 20l cornies. On top will be three beer engines.

Thanks,

Ingo

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Re: Using a cask as a keg (sorry!)

Post by PeeBee » Mon Sep 02, 2019 7:09 pm

The "trap" was part of a "first aid" venting device for those occasional wayward kegs (/casks?). My main brewery (which has been off-line for 9 months) turned out a minimum 40L batch size, so by the time I got around to the second corny it could have got "excited". I only connect that contraption for a day or so before putting the keg/cask on the serving lines. However, I have incorporated bubble-counters into the gas lines connected to the casks (for the occasional adhoc venting - the LPG regulators prevent over-doing the venting).

I never saw the venting apparatus (with trap) being more permanently connected as you are suggesting, and would worry about cross-contamination having more than one cask sharing the apparatus. Although cross-contamination is very unlikely. But if you are looking to have as many as six casks serving perhaps a "sharing" scheme would make sense? I only have two "casks" serving at a time so can manage a regulator (and bubble-counter) for each cask.

My gas "management board" for the two casks is as follows. It is obviously the creation of a lunatic! So I'm not sure it will help you much.
20180819_131843_WEB.jpg
(EDIT: This photo was to illustrate the bubble-counter in use venting a cask. Look carefully and the cask can be seen to be over-pressure at about 400mbar. It will take about 24 hours to get down to 100-150mbar which is quite enough).
Last edited by PeeBee on Wed Sep 04, 2019 10:51 am, edited 1 time in total.

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