Cask 'style' from kegerator with flow control taps

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Re: Cask 'style' from kegerator with flow control taps

Post by guypettigrew » Sat Aug 07, 2021 7:46 pm

This is all a bit beyond me. My beers are in three King Kegs in a temperature controlled cupboard at about 12°C. My beers aren't primed, so carbonation is low.
PeeBee wrote:
Sat Aug 07, 2021 5:33 pm
But you're not excused for thinking you can "dial the pressure down to about 2 psi" on the Neanderthal regulators most brewers use. I've blagged on about it for long enough!
Ah, but I can be excused. As I don't use regulators your carefully crafted posts full of expert knowledge have gone in one eye and out the other!

Seems to me Cornies and carbonation are a problem looking for a solution. The beer goes into a Cornie, is often force carbonated and then, hey presto, it's too fizzy!

Give me beers from a KK any day. Very light CO2 pressure above the beer from the continuing fermentation. Occasional top up of CO2 from a cylinder to stop air being sucked back in when the pressure in the KK gets near negative.

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Re: Cask 'style' from kegerator with flow control taps

Post by MashBag » Sun Aug 08, 2021 7:05 am

I have up on cornies a while ago. Bottles are easier imo. The king keg setup sound interesting but is still only a pressure vessel, so is the difference a release valve?

Edit: should read "I gave up... ".
Last edited by MashBag on Mon Aug 09, 2021 7:42 am, edited 3 times in total.

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Re: Cask 'style' from kegerator with flow control taps

Post by PeeBee » Sun Aug 08, 2021 10:31 am

guypettigrew wrote:
Sat Aug 07, 2021 7:46 pm

Ah, but I can be excused. As I don't use regulators your carefully crafted posts full of expert knowledge have gone in one eye and out the other!
I was using the UK legal definition; "ignorance is not an excuse in the eyes of the law". :-P
guypettigrew wrote:
Sat Aug 07, 2021 7:46 pm
… Seems to me Cornies and carbonation are a problem looking for a solution. The beer goes into a Cornie, is often force carbonated and then, hey presto, it's too fizzy!
Corny kegs do need a bit of finesse and self-control to get cask-style beer out of them. It's why I'm always going on about LPG regulators; it is virtually impossible to manually judge having the pressure between 50 and 150 milli-BARs. I know when I used KKs the beer would frequently be fizzy because my estimates putting an extra squirt of CO2 from a little cylinder was always too much.

The "fixed" 37mbar LPG regulators haven't got enough puff to half empty a Corny unless using a hand-pump. "Breathers" (zero psi regulators) cannot be used without a hand-pump, will "crack" the lid seal on a Corny keg, and will not maintain (for more than a few days) a satisfactory volume of CO2 in the beer. I've seen stuff from CAMRA stating 1.1 volumes of CO2 is ideal and will be maintained by atmospheric pressure (from their old "die hard" days): Bless them … but complete boll****.

Cask-style beer and force-carbonation cannot be spoken of together; they are mutually exclusive.
MashBag wrote:
Sun Aug 08, 2021 7:05 am
I <g>ave up on cornies a while ago. Bottles are easier imo. The king keg setup sound interesting but is still only a pressure vessel, so is the difference a release valve?
KKs and Cornies are, like you say, both pressure vessels. The difference is put too much pressure in a KK (only over 10psi) and if you are lucky the crude relief valve operates, or, as would occasionally happen with mine, the KK makes like a football and blows the dimpled base out (or splits!). The potential destruction of beer and barrel focuses the mind to avoid such catastrophes.
Cask-conditioned style ale out of a keg/Cornie (the "treatise"): https://drive.google.com/file/d/0BwzEv5 ... rDKRMjcO1g
Water report demystified (the "Defuddler"; removes the nonsense!): https://drive.google.com/drive/folders/ ... sp=sharing

McMullan

Re: Cask 'style' from kegerator with flow control taps

Post by McMullan » Sun Aug 08, 2021 10:37 am

No, a hand pump isn’t absolutely necessary to serve genuine cask conditioned ale. A lot of casked ales are actually (gravity) served through a simple tap rather than pulled through a hand pump. The difference is usually very subtle, depending on the ale and whether it’s brewed to offer up a nice creamy head. When I’m back home in the UK I drink in a very small craft pub that’s about the same size as my living room. They only serve casked ales. They don’t have room for beer engines (hand pumps) and serve all their ales via simple taps knocked into the casks (keystones). Their ales are always served well conditioned. Better than some hand pulled casked ales in some pubs, to be honest. The ‘secret’ is to condition the ale before serving it. ‘Condition’ here means something that seems to confuse the average brewer. The cask is tapped and the ale allowed to condition overnight by letting it ‘breathe’ (degas) through a permeable soft spile knocked into the cask shive, traditionally.

This is super easy to replicate at home. Even if using cornie kegs, which are designed specifically for highly carbonated, sediment free beverages, like Coke and Pepsi. Just transfer some ale from a keg into a mini keg or plastic bottle and condition it overnight using a soft spile:
IMG_0437.JPG
IMG_0437.JPG (918.14 KiB) Viewed 2421 times
Then simply pour ‘cask’ conditioned ale. The higher the pour the more CO2 gets knocked out. If using a plastic drink bottle, get one of these to attach the disconnect/soft spile. Once conditioned to your taste, cap it. No ‘treatise’ required.

I’d happily recommend a beer engine, though, when you have space for one. I’d also recommend you stop buying cornie kegs. I replaced most of mine with slimline sankey kegs and replaced the spears with floating dip tubes. Much more compatible with cask conditioned ales, as they aren’t dependent on pressure to seal therefore remain sealed even at very low pressures.

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Re: Cask 'style' from kegerator with flow control taps

Post by MashBag » Mon Aug 09, 2021 7:51 am

... dependent on pressure to seal therefore remain sealed even at very low pressures.
And that ladies and gentlemen is the issue in a nutshell. They are designed for higher pressures to operate well.

By modding and fiddling to much, and actually just polishing turd?

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Re: Cask 'style' from kegerator with flow control taps

Post by MashBag » Mon Aug 09, 2021 7:54 am

PeeBee wrote:
Sun Aug 08, 2021 10:31 am

The potential destruction of beer and barrel focuses the mind to avoid such catastrophes.
Lmao.

There has to be a better more accurate relief valve.

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Re: Cask 'style' from kegerator with flow control taps

Post by PeeBee » Mon Aug 09, 2021 11:03 am

MashBag wrote:
Mon Aug 09, 2021 7:51 am
... dependent on pressure to seal therefore remain sealed even at very low pressures.
And that ladies and gentlemen is the issue in a nutshell. They are designed for higher pressures to operate well.

By modding and fiddling to much, and actually just polishing turd?
You're right! The OP doesn't actually mention "Cornies" and I shouldn't have helped drag them into the limelight. They were the "thing" once, when they were being dumped for really low prices (cheaper than a King Keg), but there are better things on the market now for not much difference in price to "Cornies" these days.

And they do often need "modding" for low pressure. Not much perhaps; I switch the lid O-ring for "fatter" ones such as sold by "the-beer-tap-shop" on eBay. It was always recommended to use silicone rubber O-rings because they are "softer". Rubber hardness is measured in "Shore A" (for O-rings), so replace the 70 Shore A nitrile rubber ones for 70 Shore A silicone rubber ones … Eh? :-k (You can find 60 Shore A nitrile rubber ones, but I've not tried them and being softer they damage more easily). The fat ones make fitting the lid trickier but they are not a headache to seal.

For both "fiddling" and "modding" I always replaced the dipstick with flexible floating ones.

Anyway that's enough of "Corny kegs". They're "off-subject" in this thread, as are their very similar alternatives (… "polished turds").
Cask-conditioned style ale out of a keg/Cornie (the "treatise"): https://drive.google.com/file/d/0BwzEv5 ... rDKRMjcO1g
Water report demystified (the "Defuddler"; removes the nonsense!): https://drive.google.com/drive/folders/ ... sp=sharing

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Re: Cask 'style' from kegerator with flow control taps

Post by james1988 » Wed Aug 11, 2021 8:44 pm

Evening all,

Lots to mull over in here. Yes, you're right I'm using cornelius kegs which is really where the issue lies I suppose with them operating at fairly high pressures.

Temperature control maybe a good place for me to start. Peebee, I've read your guide, it's very good. I now need to work out how I can put it in to practise.

James

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Re: Cask 'style' from kegerator with flow control taps

Post by f00b4r » Wed Aug 11, 2021 9:58 pm

McMullan wrote:No, a hand pump isn’t absolutely necessary to serve genuine cask conditioned ale. A lot of casked ales are actually (gravity) served through a simple tap rather than pulled through a hand pump. The difference is usually very subtle, depending on the ale and whether it’s brewed to offer up a nice creamy head. When I’m back home in the UK I drink in a very small craft pub that’s about the same size as my living room. They only serve casked ales. They don’t have room for beer engines (hand pumps) and serve all their ales via simple taps knocked into the casks (keystones). Their ales are always served well conditioned. Better than some hand pulled casked ales in some pubs, to be honest. The ‘secret’ is to condition the ale before serving it. ‘Condition’ here means something that seems to confuse the average brewer. The cask is tapped and the ale allowed to condition overnight by letting it ‘breathe’ (degas) through a permeable soft spile knocked into the cask shive, traditionally.

This is super easy to replicate at home. Even if using cornie kegs, which are designed specifically for highly carbonated, sediment free beverages, like Coke and Pepsi. Just transfer some ale from a keg into a mini keg or plastic bottle and condition it overnight using a soft spile:
IMG_0437.JPG
Then simply pour ‘cask’ conditioned ale. The higher the pour the more CO2 gets knocked out. If using a plastic drink bottle, get one of these to attach the disconnect/soft spile. Once conditioned to your taste, cap it. No ‘treatise’ required.

I’d happily recommend a beer engine, though, when you have space for one. I’d also recommend you stop buying cornie kegs. I replaced most of mine with slimline sankey kegs and replaced the spears with floating dip tubes. Much more compatible with cask conditioned ales, as they aren’t dependent on pressure to seal therefore remain sealed even at very low pressures.
That’s a nice hack and the transfer gets rid of the issue of having to drink a big keg in a couple of days.
Ever tried this method or similar with a beer engine (I’ve spent too much of my beer drinking time in the North)? Just thinking about the possible time frame change for the spile being in place if hooking to a beer engine. A good way to try a few different beers on an engine if you only have one engine but a few friends round - prepping a few bottles cannot be much extra marginal effort.

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Re: Cask 'style' from kegerator with flow control taps

Post by f00b4r » Wed Aug 11, 2021 10:01 pm

james1988 wrote:Evening all,

Lots to mull over in here. Yes, you're right I'm using cornelius kegs which is really where the issue lies I suppose with them operating at fairly high pressures.

Temperature control maybe a good place for me to start. Peebee, I've read your guide, it's very good. I now need to work out how I can put it in to practise.

James
A lot of people buy second hand kegs, new ones tend to seal much better at lower pressures (and are other not that much different in price once you factor in refurbishing them and/or casting a good deal on new ones) but Sankey kegs will guarantee it.

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Re: Cask 'style' from kegerator with flow control taps

Post by PeeBee » Thu Aug 12, 2021 2:07 am

f00b4r wrote:
Wed Aug 11, 2021 9:58 pm
That’s a nice hack ...
No it's not!

I did fart about with that "method" ... once. But my "soft spile" didn't look so pretty; it was just cotton-wool stuffed hard in a disconnect. But transferring the beer to a "intermediary" (that's what I call it in my "treatise") was a pain, and once the "spile" is used the "intermediary" cannot be moved: The space above the beer now contains oxygen but if not moved it takes time for the oxygen to trash the beer. Move the "intermediary" and the oxygen mixes into the remaining beer an trashes it in minutes.

Use a LPG regulator. They are not "poor-mans' breathers", for home-brewers they've proven to be much more than that.



For decades home-brewers have tried to emulate cask beers by attempting to copy what they do in Pubs. For decades home-brewers didn't bother to emulate cask beers because the copy-cat attempts failed! Do yourself a favour, read that "treatise" ("No ‘treatise’ required" indeed!); it might save a lot of wasted time; after all, it's the condensed results of decades of my wasted time (with some successes).
Cask-conditioned style ale out of a keg/Cornie (the "treatise"): https://drive.google.com/file/d/0BwzEv5 ... rDKRMjcO1g
Water report demystified (the "Defuddler"; removes the nonsense!): https://drive.google.com/drive/folders/ ... sp=sharing

McMullan

Re: Cask 'style' from kegerator with flow control taps

Post by McMullan » Thu Aug 12, 2021 9:09 am

f00b4r wrote:
Wed Aug 11, 2021 9:58 pm
McMullan wrote:No, a hand pump isn’t absolutely necessary to serve genuine cask conditioned ale. A lot of casked ales are actually (gravity) served through a simple tap rather than pulled through a hand pump. The difference is usually very subtle, depending on the ale and whether it’s brewed to offer up a nice creamy head. When I’m back home in the UK I drink in a very small craft pub that’s about the same size as my living room. They only serve casked ales. They don’t have room for beer engines (hand pumps) and serve all their ales via simple taps knocked into the casks (keystones). Their ales are always served well conditioned. Better than some hand pulled casked ales in some pubs, to be honest. The ‘secret’ is to condition the ale before serving it. ‘Condition’ here means something that seems to confuse the average brewer. The cask is tapped and the ale allowed to condition overnight by letting it ‘breathe’ (degas) through a permeable soft spile knocked into the cask shive, traditionally.

This is super easy to replicate at home. Even if using cornie kegs, which are designed specifically for highly carbonated, sediment free beverages, like Coke and Pepsi. Just transfer some ale from a keg into a mini keg or plastic bottle and condition it overnight using a soft spile:

IMG_0437.JPG

Then simply pour ‘cask’ conditioned ale. The higher the pour the more CO2 gets knocked out. If using a plastic drink bottle, get one of these to attach the disconnect/soft spile. Once conditioned to your taste, cap it. No ‘treatise’ required.

I’d happily recommend a beer engine, though, when you have space for one. I’d also recommend you stop buying cornie kegs. I replaced most of mine with slimline sankey kegs and replaced the spears with floating dip tubes. Much more compatible with cask conditioned ales, as they aren’t dependent on pressure to seal therefore remain sealed even at very low pressures.
That’s a nice hack and the transfer gets rid of the issue of having to drink a big keg in a couple of days.
Ever tried this method or similar with a beer engine (I’ve spent too much of my beer drinking time in the North)? Just thinking about the possible time frame change for the spile being in place if hooking to a beer engine. A good way to try a few different beers on an engine if you only have one engine but a few friends round - prepping a few bottles cannot be much extra marginal effort.
It is, works perfectly. Someone should type a 'treatise' on keeping it simple :lol: I transfer to a 2L or 5L mini keg, depending on demand.
IMG_0455.JPG
IMG_0455.JPG (989.63 KiB) Viewed 2318 times
On my next batch I'm going to go back to using a cask breather. I think it's going to work great with the sankey kegs, as a keg breather. I'll just add a little CO2 pressure at the end of the session to maintain condition. A thread for a nice autumnal English bitter. And give me time to finish my caskerator project.

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Re: Cask 'style' from kegerator with flow control taps

Post by f00b4r » Thu Aug 12, 2021 11:31 am

McMullan wrote:
f00b4r wrote:
Wed Aug 11, 2021 9:58 pm
McMullan wrote:No, a hand pump isn’t absolutely necessary to serve genuine cask conditioned ale. A lot of casked ales are actually (gravity) served through a simple tap rather than pulled through a hand pump. The difference is usually very subtle, depending on the ale and whether it’s brewed to offer up a nice creamy head. When I’m back home in the UK I drink in a very small craft pub that’s about the same size as my living room. They only serve casked ales. They don’t have room for beer engines (hand pumps) and serve all their ales via simple taps knocked into the casks (keystones). Their ales are always served well conditioned. Better than some hand pulled casked ales in some pubs, to be honest. The ‘secret’ is to condition the ale before serving it. ‘Condition’ here means something that seems to confuse the average brewer. The cask is tapped and the ale allowed to condition overnight by letting it ‘breathe’ (degas) through a permeable soft spile knocked into the cask shive, traditionally.

This is super easy to replicate at home. Even if using cornie kegs, which are designed specifically for highly carbonated, sediment free beverages, like Coke and Pepsi. Just transfer some ale from a keg into a mini keg or plastic bottle and condition it overnight using a soft spile:

IMG_0437.JPG

Then simply pour ‘cask’ conditioned ale. The higher the pour the more CO2 gets knocked out. If using a plastic drink bottle, get one of these to attach the disconnect/soft spile. Once conditioned to your taste, cap it. No ‘treatise’ required.

I’d happily recommend a beer engine, though, when you have space for one. I’d also recommend you stop buying cornie kegs. I replaced most of mine with slimline sankey kegs and replaced the spears with floating dip tubes. Much more compatible with cask conditioned ales, as they aren’t dependent on pressure to seal therefore remain sealed even at very low pressures.
That’s a nice hack and the transfer gets rid of the issue of having to drink a big keg in a couple of days.
Ever tried this method or similar with a beer engine (I’ve spent too much of my beer drinking time in the North)? Just thinking about the possible time frame change for the spile being in place if hooking to a beer engine. A good way to try a few different beers on an engine if you only have one engine but a few friends round - prepping a few bottles cannot be much extra marginal effort.
It is, works perfectly. Someone should type a 'treatise' on keeping it simple :lol: I transfer to a 2L or 5L mini keg, depending on demand.
IMG_0455.JPG
On my next batch I'm going to go back to using a cask breather. I think it's going to work great with the sankey kegs, as a keg breather. I'll just add a little CO2 pressure at the end of the session to maintain condition. A thread for a nice autumnal English bitter. And give me time to finish my caskerator project.
Good to know and I would be interested in seeing how you get along in comparison with the cask breather and just little squirts of pressure to maintain condition; the effort is low.
Next time I am in the UK though I do plan to get a LPG regulator to compare though (I have check valves rather than a breather).

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Re: Cask 'style' from kegerator with flow control taps

Post by f00b4r » Thu Aug 12, 2021 11:39 am

PeeBee wrote:
f00b4r wrote:
Wed Aug 11, 2021 9:58 pm
That’s a nice hack ...
No it's not!

I did fart about with that "method" ... once. But my "soft spile" didn't look so pretty; it was just cotton-wool stuffed hard in a disconnect. But transferring the beer to a "intermediary" (that's what I call it in my "treatise") was a pain, and once the "spile" is used the "intermediary" cannot be moved: The space above the beer now contains oxygen but if not moved it takes time for the oxygen to trash the beer. Move the "intermediary" and the oxygen mixes into the remaining beer an trashes it in minutes.

Use a LPG regulator. They are not "poor-mans' breathers", for home-brewers they've proven to be much more than that.



For decades home-brewers have tried to emulate cask beers by attempting to copy what they do in Pubs. For decades home-brewers didn't bother to emulate cask beers because the copy-cat attempts failed! Do yourself a favour, read that "treatise" ("No ‘treatise’ required" indeed!); it might save a lot of wasted time; after all, it's the condensed results of decades of my wasted time (with some successes).
That is comparing apples and oranges though, you have no idea of the oxygen permeability versus a soft spile, it could be factors higher. Also there is no need to leave a headspace with oygen, especially with a plastic bottle (purge, cap on foam or just squeeze the bottle to remove it).
Low pressure in the beer is only part of the charm of cask beer, there is a great post by Graham Wheeler on here somewhere where he speaks about the transformations beer goes through from the semi-controlled oxidation; before it is ultimately ruined by the same process.

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Re: Cask 'style' from kegerator with flow control taps

Post by Trefoyl » Thu Aug 12, 2021 11:51 am

I’ve been using an aspirator / breather https://rlbs.ltd.uk/rlbs-cask-aspirator ... valve.html with a corny with my beer engine for years, starting with a low pressure LP regulator which works exactly the same way but much easier and cheaper to get in the US.
Sankey kegs were not available to homebrewers in the US unless you bought a pallet of them so I never tried one, but MoreBeer now carries them.
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