Check valve, beer engine and corny keg problems

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Fuggle

Check valve, beer engine and corny keg problems

Post by Fuggle » Tue Feb 13, 2018 8:37 am

Hey,

I'm one of very few Norwegians who has invested in a proper beer engine-setup with casks and all for my bitters. My problem is that I cannot go through an entire cask on my own, so I tend to put my beer on corny kegs if I'm not throwing a party or entering competitions. I was advised to get a check valve so I could use the beer engine with corny kegs and CO2 - however I cannot get it to work. It simply won't pull beer through.

I've got a CFBS/RLBS check valve with 3/8" John Guest inlet and a 1/2" barbed tail outlet. It's connected to the keg with about 10-15 cm of 3/8" PET tubing and to the beer engine with 20-25 cm of reinforced PVC gas tubing.

It simply won't budge, no matter the serving pressure, but it pulls water from a bucket fine.

Figured I'd check with this forum. Should be a few experts on beer engines in here I presume?

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orlando
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Re: Check valve, beer engine and corny keg problems

Post by orlando » Tue Feb 13, 2018 8:58 am

Fuggle wrote:
Tue Feb 13, 2018 8:37 am
Hey,

I'm one of very few Norwegians who has invested in a proper beer engine-setup with casks and all for my bitters. My problem is that I cannot go through an entire cask on my own, so I tend to put my beer on corny kegs if I'm not throwing a party or entering competitions. I was advised to get a check valve so I could use the beer engine with corny kegs and CO2 - however I cannot get it to work. It simply won't pull beer through.

I've got a CFBS/RLBS check valve with 3/8" John Guest inlet and a 1/2" barbed tail outlet. It's connected to the keg with about 10-15 cm of 3/8" PET tubing and to the beer engine with 20-25 cm of reinforced PVC gas tubing.

It simply won't budge, no matter the serving pressure, but it pulls water from a bucket fine.

Figured I'd check with this forum. Should be a few experts on beer engines in here I presume?
I've experienced the problem if you don't have enough top pressure in the keg/cask. What are you using to introduce it? Converting a bottled gas regulator to deliver 1/2 bar pressure to the keg is the method I use.
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Re: Check valve, beer engine and corny keg problems

Post by McMullan » Tue Feb 13, 2018 10:42 am

Since the beer is in a keg, you can supply CO2 directly at minimal pressure. Easy to purge if the beer gets too carbonated. If you go for the propane regulator option, you will have to order one from the UK, as those in Norway are a different design and not easily adapted, if at all. There are one or two recent threads on here that offer some great advice. Search for 'propane regulator'.

Fuggle

Re: Check valve, beer engine and corny keg problems

Post by Fuggle » Tue Feb 13, 2018 11:39 am

I've hooked the keg up to a standard CO2 regulator and set the pressure from everything between 0.5 and 2.5 bar. You're suggesting that the pressure is actually too high?

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Re: Check valve, beer engine and corny keg problems

Post by McMullan » Tue Feb 13, 2018 12:30 pm

I got mine working from a 9L keg. I used an inline valve in the beer line and minimal CO2 pressure to the keg. Is your valve on the wrong way? Can you get beer to flow through the engine with the keg purge valve open?

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Re: Check valve, beer engine and corny keg problems

Post by McMullan » Tue Feb 13, 2018 12:47 pm

Are you drawing beer through a dip tube in the keg or a float head? I use a CaskWidge float head and I had to ensure it was actually floating in the beer rather than jammed above the beer line, corny kegs being narrower than casks.

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Re: Check valve, beer engine and corny keg problems

Post by PeeBee » Tue Feb 13, 2018 12:51 pm

Fuggle wrote:
Tue Feb 13, 2018 11:39 am
I've hooked the keg up to a standard CO2 regulator and set the pressure from everything between 0.5 and 2.5 bar. You're suggesting that the pressure is actually too high?
It really is too high. However with a "check valve" (actually a demand valve, but if you really are using a "check-valve" - a one-way valve - that is the source of your problem) the hand-pump should still work but will probably bang and rattle a bit because they were never designed to handle pressure. You had best describe your "check-valve".

The LPG regulators mentioned above are a good solution. You still feed them from your "standard" regulator (do not connect a LPG regulator directly to a CO2 cylinder!) but they only deliver a fraction of a BAR (the standard UK one is 37mbar, or 0.037BAR, but you can get variable ones and with BSP connections).

As "McMullan" said, plenty of advice in this forum. Here's a big one to start you off viewtopic.php?f=38&t=79875 which also links an article I wrote. That article you can get directly from https://drive.google.com/file/d/0BwzEv5 ... V1bWc/view - the bit specifically on hand-pumps is near the back.

Fuggle

Re: Check valve, beer engine and corny keg problems

Post by Fuggle » Tue Feb 13, 2018 1:41 pm

I've got a check/demand valve, this one to be exact: http://rlbs.ltd.uk/check-valve-high-per ... valve.html

Works with a bucket of water and also works with the keg purge valve open, so I'll try it with minimum pressure and will order up a LPG regulator.

Skimmed your article PeeBee and it looks interesting - will read tonight!

Cheers for the help so far, I'm really looking forward to abusing an India Brown Ale on the engine this weekend. If it works it'll be time to brew up a keg of bitter.

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Re: Check valve, beer engine and corny keg problems

Post by joe1002 » Tue Feb 13, 2018 3:19 pm

To me it sounds like co2 isn't getting in to the keg at all therefore creating a vacuum (hence why it works with the PRV open). I would start by checking your grey gas disconnect and gas in post on the corny. If all ok then check the co2 is actually flowing from the bottle and down your gas line.

As an aside, if you do want to use your casks you can use one of these to supply co2 to the cask thus removing the need to drink it in 3-4 days.

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Re: Check valve, beer engine and corny keg problems

Post by orlando » Tue Feb 13, 2018 4:23 pm

joe1002 wrote:
Tue Feb 13, 2018 3:19 pm
As an aside, if you do want to use your casks you can use one of these to supply co2 to the cask thus removing the need to drink it in 3-4 days.
Yes they work really well. Screw in though, don't use a mallet. :D
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Re: Check valve, beer engine and corny keg problems

Post by PeeBee » Tue Feb 13, 2018 6:03 pm

Fuggle wrote:
Tue Feb 13, 2018 1:41 pm
I've got a check/demand valve, this one to be exact: http://rlbs.ltd.uk/check-valve-high-per ... valve.html ...
That should do the trick (it's what I have!). Don't believe the "no-judder" remark, mine judder with just 5-10PSI (0.5BAR), but then you needn't connect such high pressured beer to a hand-pump (Pubs might to deceive the drinkers).
joe1002 wrote:
Tue Feb 13, 2018 3:19 pm
To me it sounds like co2 isn't getting in to the keg at all therefore creating a vacuum (hence why it works with the PRV open). I would start by checking your grey gas disconnect and gas in post on the corny. If all ok then check the co2 is actually flowing from the bottle and down your gas line.

As an aside, if you do want to use your casks you can use one of these to supply co2 to the cask thus removing the need to drink it in 3-4 days.

Now that could be possible. The lid seal fails on Corny kegs even at low pressure for some people, but Corny kegs are very variable and yours could be holding out under a bit of a vacuum. Should be easy to check: Connect any sort of "freeflow" tap to the disconnect in place of the pump and it should work under the keg's pressure. If it doesn't 1): There is no CO2 pressure in the keg to drive the beer, or 2): The outlet disconnect is blocked. Should be easy to devise a test of which is which.

The listed "co2 barrel spigot" looks fine, but you can use them with the afore mentioned LPG regulators, don't use the extraordinarily expensive "aspirators" or "breathers" offered by the site (my article explains why; apart from the cost your beer will go very "flat" after a week).

Fuggle

Re: Check valve, beer engine and corny keg problems

Post by Fuggle » Thu Feb 15, 2018 8:45 am

All my kegs work with CO2-dispensing from normal Perlick taps, so I'm not worried about a vacuum.

Will order up one of those spigots along with a LPG reg. Would be nice to use a proper cask as my go-to for serving at home as well as the cornies :D

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Re: Check valve, beer engine and corny keg problems

Post by McMullan » Thu Feb 15, 2018 10:19 am

The CaskWidge system works very well and it accepts a CO2 connection too. Also the CaskWidge head floats can be used in corny kegs, by swapping the long (liquid out) dip tube for a short (gas in) dip tube. The float head tubing then goes on the short (out) dip tube. It's a good option if the beer is naturally conditioned in the keg and finings are used.

http://www.caskwidge.com

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Re: Check valve, beer engine and corny keg problems

Post by Kev888 » Thu Feb 15, 2018 11:43 am

If the exact same setup works with a bucket of water but not a corny keg then I can think of two main possibilities: The keg/disconnect is blocked or using a tiny bore of beer line (I wouldn't use say 3/16" with a beer engine). Or else the keg pressure is wrong - which may be negative pressure or conversely far too high for the demand valve. To identify which, you could try removing the corny PRV (or loosening its lid) to make the pressure equivalent to your bucket.

The demand valves and engines I previously used (I forget the make of the former) would work fine at normal keg pressures (which for me were up to 10psi). But there are limits so I woudn't go higher than you need, and that will also help avoid foaming problems through over-carbonating the beer.

Though don't go too low, obviously gas needs to be supplied to the keg to stop it trying to form a vacuum as beer is drawn off. But personally I would go beyond that and aim for a modest equilibrium pressure. Partly to prevent the beer going flat and partly because a lot of older/used corny lids don't seal too well without significant pressure. Some of mine weren't reliable below several PSI and I'd never have considered them suitable for use with a cask-breather without taking fairly extreme/complex measures, though if yours are good examples you'll be able to manage lower pressures.
Kev

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