Beer Engine With A Cornelius

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LeeH
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Beer Engine With A Cornelius

Post by LeeH » Thu Dec 05, 2019 6:44 pm

So, hopefully I'll be buying a beer engine from a member on here.

How are we serving cask like beer from a keg? :? Can you gently pressurize at 1-2 psi with a beer engine to keep the O2 out?
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Re: Beer Engine With A Cornelius

Post by shoreman » Thu Dec 05, 2019 6:51 pm

I just recently tried this and its possible, but I'm moving towards polypins or cubitainers (in the states). It is hard to keep that 1-2psi without a cask breather.

If you are going to consume the beer in a few days than you could just pull the vent and let 02 get in to not create a vacuum. I did that as a test with a keg that had like a gallon left in it. Would consider doing this in a party situation where the 2.5 gallon keg will be consumed that day, but if you need to store it, it will be oxidized.

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Re: Beer Engine With A Cornelius

Post by PeeBee » Thu Dec 05, 2019 7:30 pm

You've surely got my take on it: https://drive.google.com/open?id=0BwzEv ... DNPdmV1bWc

It's a big read, so perhaps if you have seen it you've not got to the end of it? It discusses handpumps towards the end.

I can get a bit rude about "breathers"! They are Pub tools; great for Pubs but naff for homebrew. Hence I plug these: http://gasproducts.co.uk/gas-regulators ... ooder.html (you can also get them from BES and elsewhere). But without one you do need to be careful about that "vacuum": If using Corny kegs any vacuum will suck air past the seals resulting in bad beer within a week.
LeeH wrote:
Thu Dec 05, 2019 6:44 pm
... Can you gently pressurize at 1-2 psi with a beer engine to keep the O2 out?
That's exactly what the variable propane regulators are doing. 150mb is just a touch over 2PSI to maintain about 1.1 volumes of CO2 in the beer (1.1 volumes is described in one CAMRA publication I have as "ideal" but no CAMRA publication describes 2PSI of CO2 as "ideal"!).

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Re: Beer Engine With A Cornelius

Post by PeeBee » Fri Dec 06, 2019 9:43 am

There was a recent thread about using handpumps:viewtopic.php?f=38&t=82130
It was started by … hey it's "shoreman" again! :beer:

That thread packed in some useful related information.
shoreman wrote:
Thu Dec 05, 2019 6:51 pm
I just recently tried this and its possible, but I'm moving towards polypins or cubitainers (in the states). It is hard to keep that 1-2psi without a cask breather. …
Off subject for this thread perhaps: But I've heard of people putting a heavy weight (e.g. book) on the polypin to keep a scrap of pressure to retain the CO2 condition for a bit longer.

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Re: Beer Engine With A Cornelius

Post by LeeH » Fri Dec 06, 2019 10:07 am

Thanks peebee I’ll take a look at it all.


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Re: Beer Engine With A Cornelius

Post by Trefoyl » Fri Dec 06, 2019 12:48 pm

As Peebee says, I use a low pressure LP regulator. I’m in the US and this is the one I have:
https://www.amazon.com/Camco-59013-Sin ... B0014E3MSI
It is not adjustable but seems to keep good condition in the beer.
Be sure to let the pressure out of the keg by lifting the safety valve before connecting, otherwise beer will rush up into the gas hose.
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Re: Beer Engine With A Cornelius

Post by f00b4r » Fri Dec 06, 2019 5:27 pm

Trefoyl wrote:As Peebee says, I use a low pressure LP regulator. I’m in the US and this is the one I have:
https://www.amazon.com/Camco-59013-Sin ... B0014E3MSI
It is not adjustable but seems to keep good condition in the beer.
Be sure to let the pressure out of the keg by lifting the safety valve before connecting, otherwise beer will rush up into the gas hose.
Will this not happen over time anyway as the system equalises, unless you ensure that the beer is at or below the pressure of the propane regulator? Maybe worth using the set and forget method with this one?

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Re: Beer Engine With A Cornelius

Post by Trefoyl » Fri Dec 06, 2019 5:53 pm

f00b4r wrote:
Fri Dec 06, 2019 5:27 pm
Trefoyl wrote:As Peebee says, I use a low pressure LP regulator. I’m in the US and this is the one I have:
https://www.amazon.com/Camco-59013-Sin ... B0014E3MSI
It is not adjustable but seems to keep good condition in the beer.
Be sure to let the pressure out of the keg by lifting the safety valve before connecting, otherwise beer will rush up into the gas hose.
Will this not happen over time anyway as the system equalises, unless you ensure that the beer is at or below the pressure of the propane regulator? Maybe worth using the set and forget method with this one?
No, the regulator bleeds excess pressure. It just can’t hold back high pressure all at once.
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Re: Beer Engine With A Cornelius

Post by f00b4r » Fri Dec 06, 2019 7:30 pm

Useful to know. :)

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Re: Beer Engine With A Cornelius

Post by PeeBee » Sat Dec 07, 2019 10:12 am

Trefoyl wrote:
Fri Dec 06, 2019 5:53 pm
… No, the regulator bleeds excess pressure. It just can’t hold back high pressure all at once.
This hi-lights a little annoyance with propane regulators in the UK:

Regulators are either of a "relieving" design (most are), or "non-relieving". "Trefoyl" obviously has a "relieving" regulator in that it "bleeds excess pressure". In the UK the "non-relieving" design is supposed to be used when the pipes contain foul, poisonous or explosive gases … like propane regulators! But I've found relieving propane regulators in the UK too. Those Clesse ones I've linked are definitely "non-relieving", so it becomes important to have some form of "venting" procedures for over-pressured kegs ("venting" as in the traditional procedure for UK "cask" style beer). I use aquarium "bubble counters" for this.

The anomaly in available UK propane regulator designs is likely due to the weight of cheap Chinese imports?

I do not follow what "Trefoyl" means by "can’t hold back high pressure all at once" though? (Can you enlighten me please)?

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Re: Beer Engine With A Cornelius

Post by LeeH » Sat Dec 07, 2019 10:30 am

The reg in the link ships to the UK. Is that the one to have ideally?


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Re: Beer Engine With A Cornelius

Post by PeeBee » Sat Dec 07, 2019 11:23 am

LeeH wrote:
Sat Dec 07, 2019 10:30 am
The reg in the link ships to the UK. Is that the one to have ideally?
I think your question is targeted at "Trefoyl"? But the one I linked (UK supplier) is only £12.50 and "variable" (50-150mbar). The fixed "37mbar" ones are okay for some, but some may prefer slightly more CO2 condition. It is why my article goes on about "perceived as flat" to cover variation in tastes.

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Re: Beer Engine With A Cornelius

Post by Kev888 » Sat Dec 07, 2019 1:33 pm

LeeH wrote:
Thu Dec 05, 2019 6:44 pm
So, hopefully I'll be buying a beer engine from a member on here.

How are we serving cask like beer from a keg? :? Can you gently pressurize at 1-2 psi with a beer engine to keep the O2 out?
I would strongly suggest testing your own, specific corny kegs to check they seal 'reliably' at the pressure you wish. These soda kegs aren't designed to work at low pressure so especially if they're second hand you will probably find some won't whilst others might just about. I had a couple of dozen cornies at one point; even after lots of TLC was lavished on them only a few could be trusted at or below a few PSI, the rest were a recipe for aggravation and/or complication to work around it.

If not, there is the option of using modestly higher pressure to maintain the lid seal, just sufficient to balance the carbonation. Not completely cask-like I know, but at that level it will still not increase carbonation and yet has the benefit of stopping the beer going flat (which might be useful for drinking kegs slowly at home). You may need a demand valve, to stop the pressure pushing beer through some hand pumps.

Otherwise it might be worth going for something suitable for the purpose, even if just whilst dispensing the beer. The thicker kind of flexible polypins work well, casks of course would be very authentic though may need to be used with a CO2 aspirator (or re-purposed propane regulator) if you only drink them slowly, and beer kegs will also work very well without pressure if wished.
Kev

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Re: Beer Engine With A Cornelius

Post by Trefoyl » Sat Dec 07, 2019 2:53 pm

PeeBee wrote:
Sat Dec 07, 2019 10:12 am
I do not follow what "Trefoyl" means by "can’t hold back high pressure all at once" though? (Can you enlighten me please)?
I let the pressure out of the keg by lifting the safety valve before connecting, otherwise beer will rush up into the gas hose. When that happens the excess gas pressure dramatically hisses out which is very startling. Then I need to replace that section of hose, so it’s a mistake I don’t repeat very often.

I would not recommend buying this model from the US, wouldn’t the pipe thread be different? Not worth the trouble and expense.
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Re: Beer Engine With A Cornelius

Post by PeeBee » Sun Dec 08, 2019 10:12 am

Kev888 wrote:
Sat Dec 07, 2019 1:33 pm
… I would strongly suggest testing your own, specific corny kegs to check they seal 'reliably' at the pressure you wish. …
Dead right!

Corny kegs can be a proper pain sealing at low pressures. I've got 15 a the things, this is what I did to get them all working at (very) low pressures. (I'm not guaranteeing total success, some kegs are completely trashed and will fail whatever effort you put in - I'm fortunate in having not come across one).

There are five seals that might leak, four on the disconnect posts (gas-in post chiefly) and one big one for the lid. The visible (outside) O-ring seals on the disconnect posts probably got replaced being made ready for sale; they come into effect when the disconnect is "connected". Make sure they are in good nick and lightly lubricate. When the disconnect is "disconnected" the poppets come into play. These do not normally get replaced before buying 2nd-hand Corny kegs. Note they need internal pressure to seal and will fail if negative internal pressure (vacuum). The spring helps keep the seal a bit, but its effectiveness can't be determined. Replacing them requires the post to be removed. Replacing just the O-rings will drive you nuts! There are several designs, at least two different O-ring sizes, and are very difficult to get out undamaged. I'd recommend "universal poppets" as replacements, but they are not ideal: Only use the disconnect to depress them and not a pointy tool like a screwdriver (they can accidentally rotate in the housing). Be careful removing the posts, the threads can be damaged and if you have a few, the threads can be different (I think there's two different threads in use?).

Then on to the most obvious seal; the big O-ring on the lid. Note this also requires internal pressure to seal and the spring clip does help at low pressure so should be in good nick. Forget all the clap-trap about "soft" silicon seals to get a better seal: If you find any of these check the hardness rating; it will be 70 ("Shore A" scale) just like the common Nitrile seals. The seals I'd recommend are slightly over-sized in cross-section (e.g. https://www.ebay.co.uk/i/321915194712?c ... DoQAvD_BwE). Lightly lubricate them.

Finally, fill the keg and purge the airspace with CO2. Pressure the keg to 10-15psi during purge and this will better seat the seal. After 4-5 purges I leave the keg pressurised (the pressure will drop as CO2 is absorbed). Along with priming to give about 1.3 volumes of CO2 (the excess pressure is "vented" back to 1-2 psi before serving).
Last edited by PeeBee on Sun Dec 08, 2019 10:43 am, edited 1 time in total.

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