Everything beer engine, polypins, cask and questions

A forum to discuss the various ways of getting beer into your glass.
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PeeBee
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Re: Everything beer engine, polypins, cask and questions

Post by PeeBee » Fri Nov 08, 2019 3:11 pm

Dennis King wrote:
Thu Nov 07, 2019 7:58 pm
… I have been using this system without the chiller for many years. …
Yeap! You don't want to be wasting time with all that "chiller" nonsense: Just move here, to the UK, and all your chilling concerns go away. :-?

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Re: Everything beer engine, polypins, cask and questions

Post by PeeBee » Fri Nov 08, 2019 3:31 pm

Northern Brewer wrote:
Fri Nov 08, 2019 2:56 pm
shoreman wrote:
Wed Nov 06, 2019 6:38 pm
This is where I got the idea about using the Polypins (the bags)
Heh - confusion in language. To my mind a polypin is a plastic pin barrel - I guess what most homebrewers would think of as a 4.5 (imperial) gallon pressure barrel. I'd not come across people referring to bag-in-boxes as polypins, although Googling suggests it's fairly widespread. Looks like it could be partly a regional thing, more common down south.

You do see some use of Bibs attached to handpulls in real pubs, although mostly for cider. They can be a bit of a bugger for bag-conditioned stuff, as any slight disturbance kicks up yeast from the floor of the bag.
Polypins pre-date plastic pressure barrels by quite a few years. A home-brewer's source of "polypins" used to be second-hand empty ones from the local off-license (previously contained the abomination called "British sherry"). Bag-in-box is different again, being a multi-layered , single use (booo, although they can be reused if careful), flimsy bag, often used to contain wine (but not the oxidised, grape-juice concentrate brewed, "British sherry" thankfully).

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Re: Everything beer engine, polypins, cask and questions

Post by PeeBee » Fri Nov 08, 2019 4:22 pm

Following on from my post about polypins:
shoreman wrote:
Wed Nov 06, 2019 6:38 pm
This is where I got the idea about using the Polypins (the bags), seems to be a great pour on that beer:

How to install Hand Pull & Flexi Cask for Homebrew
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=B_zSwhYvd_U
I've watched that video now. He is using "BIB". You can see the difference not just because the bags are flimsy but also you can see the metallised coating on the bags. These bags are impervious to gases like oxygen. Polypins are NOT impervious to gases and the beer will go totally flat and oxidise - beer stored in polypins has a shelf life of about 4-5 weeks.

I've heard of one trick to keep some CO2 condition in the beer stored in bags: Stick a heavy book on top of the bag.

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Re: Everything beer engine, polypins, cask and questions

Post by Dennis King » Fri Nov 08, 2019 4:29 pm

PeeBee wrote:
Fri Nov 08, 2019 3:11 pm
Dennis King wrote:
Thu Nov 07, 2019 7:58 pm
… I have been using this system without the chiller for many years. …
Yeap! You don't want to be wasting time with all that "chiller" nonsense: Just move here, to the UK, and all your chilling concerns go away. :-?
I have lived in the UK for last 65 years.

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Re: Everything beer engine, polypins, cask and questions

Post by PeeBee » Fri Nov 08, 2019 4:54 pm

Dennis King wrote:
Fri Nov 08, 2019 4:29 pm
I have lived in the UK for last 65 years.
Oops, my forum member targeting system has gone on the blink. I know you've been in the UK for a few years Dennis (but I didn't know that many years!).

Na, I was just getting flippant with these folk living in warmer climes and rubbing in the fact that it's pretty cold and damp here today. "Chillers" … bah!

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Re: Everything beer engine, polypins, cask and questions

Post by shoreman » Fri Nov 08, 2019 4:55 pm

Sorry for the confusion about the polypins, that's what I've seen them called in my research.

To confuse it even more, they are called Cubitainers in the US and someone registered the trademark :( https://www.usplastic.com/catalog/item. ... mid=135328

I ended up with an Angram CQ and will be getting this going in the upcoming months. My basement is fairly cool year round here in New England, so I'm planning on not chilling unless I'm serving at a party and I'll just add some iced jugs to the cube storage.

Hey thanks for all the replies, you guys are very helpful.

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Re: Everything beer engine, polypins, cask and questions

Post by Goosey » Fri Nov 08, 2019 6:11 pm

PeeBee wrote:
Fri Nov 08, 2019 4:22 pm
Following on from my post about polypins:
Polypins are NOT impervious to gases and the beer will go totally flat and oxidise - beer stored in polypins has a shelf life of about 4-5 weeks
Well, I hate to disagree, but I have been using polypins (cubitainers) for several years and I can assure you they keep beer very well even if they are left for over six months. Also I have tried the thinner silver bags that feature in the video and have had beer go flat within a few days. I’ve also never had any problems using silicon tubing. Perhaps theory and practice don’t often agree? :roll:

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Re: Everything beer engine, polypins, cask and questions

Post by PeeBee » Fri Nov 08, 2019 8:35 pm

Goosey wrote:
Fri Nov 08, 2019 6:11 pm
… I’ve also never had any problems using silicon tubing. Perhaps theory and practice don’t often agree? :roll:
Err … unfortunately for me I learnt the properties of silicon tubing through practice, not theory. And I lied a bit; it wasn't oxidised beer that made me pull a face, after all, many of us can't even recognise a bit of beer oxidation: But I went through a phase of getting Acetobacter infections, possibly still get it? Acetobacter has a wonderful property of being quite clean and you can't detect it under normal circumstances and the bacteria just enters a dormant state. That all changes when you add some oxygen! The bacteria wakes up and for breakfast sets about eating the alcohol. Alcohol plus oxygen equals vinegar! It's hard to miss that unless you've had your tongue cut out. In troubleshooting this I learnt that the yeast might be the culprit, not Acetobacter, as yeast is quite capable of turning alcohol to vinegar in the presence of oxygen, but I didn't get any support to further this idea so Acetobacter it was.

I could isolate the problem quickly to the silicon tubing because early on the affected beer was confined to the tubing. And with that information I could explore the properties of silicon tubing.

And guess what I found out …



As for polypins: I gave up with them about 30 years ago, 'cos I didn't like my beer after it had been in them for a few weeks. Practice again, I only learnt the theory behind why I didn't like the beer quite recently.

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Re: Everything beer engine, polypins, cask and questions

Post by shoreman » Fri Nov 08, 2019 8:38 pm

As I'm in the US I'm not able to get alot of parts and was wondering if this check valve would work on a beer engine setup:

https://www.usplastic.com/catalog/item. ... id=popcorn

I'd like for it to serve the same purpose as https://rlbs.ltd.uk/check-valve-high-pe ... valve.html

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Re: Everything beer engine, polypins, cask and questions

Post by McMullan » Fri Nov 08, 2019 9:27 pm

That sounds like it should work fine for most beer engine set ups at home. The 'official' UK demand valves are designed for pubs and long beer lines in mind. Although they work fine at home they're not essential and you'll find the inline valves simpler to incorporate.

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Re: Everything beer engine, polypins, cask and questions

Post by shoreman » Fri Nov 08, 2019 10:06 pm

Thanks Mcmullan

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Re: Everything beer engine, polypins, cask and questions

Post by PeeBee » Sat Nov 09, 2019 2:55 am

shoreman wrote:
Fri Nov 08, 2019 8:38 pm
As I'm in the US I'm not able to get alot of parts and was wondering if this check valve would work on a beer engine setup: …
A long time ago "check valves" were used to stop beer flowing back to the cask from the pump. The valves in the pump should stop this but they are apt to wear out, and the beer in the pump can't be guaranteed not to be "bad" (which on returning to the cask, would turn it bad). In a home-brew situation it is less likely you would unknowingly have a leaky pump.

These days you'd have a demand valve instead of a check valve. Confusingly they are still referred to as "check valves" but operate entirely differently. They will still prevent beer returning from the pump to the cask, but also prevent beer being forced from the cask to the pump unless a pump is trying to draw the beer. Hence "demand valve". This difference allows "bad" practices, such as attaching a pressured cask (or keg) to a hand-pump. Some so-called "craft beer" Pubs do this, so you get fizzy beer out of a hand-pump. A Pub doing this can be considered "dishonest" in that they are attempting to deceive the customers.

I of course would never recommend such deceitful practices! Err … okay, I do. If you follow my "treatise" you must have a demand valve, not a check valve. McMullan gets away without one because, as he has said earlier in this thread, he follows the "intermediary" route (container fitted to hand-pump is unpressured). The other option I present is to use Corny kegs connected to the handpump and to CO2 via a variable "LPG" regulator. Even then, if the cask is six foot lower than the pump you can dispense with the demand valve and static pressure (six foot of water applies just over 2psi) will keep the beer in the cask. But I can't recommend this. Currently one of my hand-pumped beers has undergone a little "secondary" fermentation and is at 4-5psi. My gas lines have venting apparatus built-in so I can vent the cask back down again, but 4-5psi without a demand valve would have pushed beer through the pump to create a puddle on the floor!


(Side note: A check valve will hold back some pressure due to it having a "cracking pressure". But manufacturers try to keep "cracking pressures" as small as possible, so you can't rely on it).

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Re: Everything beer engine, polypins, cask and questions

Post by shoreman » Sat Nov 09, 2019 3:21 am

Thanks, the only thing I’m worried about is the beer coming from the cubitainer that is naturally conditioned out to the engine and just running out of the neck.

I want to simplify this, so I suppose you could technically just turn the spout off on the cubitainer at the end of the session, then flush with water. The check valve I thought was in place to make that a bit simpler.

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Re: Everything beer engine, polypins, cask and questions

Post by WalesAles » Sat Nov 09, 2019 3:48 am

Dennis King wrote:
Fri Nov 08, 2019 4:29 pm

I have lived in the UK for last 65 years.
Dennis,
Where did you live for the other 40 years? :D

WA

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Re: Everything beer engine, polypins, cask and questions

Post by PeeBee » Sat Nov 09, 2019 4:36 am

Don't want your beer "running out of the neck" of the hand-pump. Then you must have a "demand valve" (or a cellar, or an unpressured intermediary vessel). You "want to simplify this"? I have an answer for that to: DO NOT listen to me! Let me show you my gas management for casks (two):
20191108_200206.jpg
LPG regulators controlling pressure (0.75 - 2.0 PSI), Gas on solenoid valve controlled by a timer (as are the electrics to this box), big green buttons that enable the solenoid valves that keep the hand-pumps sealed, built-in cask venting arrangements (those bubble counters).

And the pumps themselves:
20191108_200023.jpg
(Work-in-progress, hence lots of dust and no flooring). One pump (Angram CQ) opened to show solenoid valve that seals the nozzle. Also shows the braided PVC hose that is replacing the oxygen porous silicon tube (a long curling piece of hose to prevent the hose being crimped shut in the cramped confines). It's a "Man Cave"! :D You can tell from the macho hand-pumps 8) , the stubby beer pump nozzles (not them long girlie loopy nozzles fitted with wuzzy "sparklers") :roll: and of course the masculine colour scheme in … pink? :oops:

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